The DTV deadline may or may not be on track, but that isn’t stopping denizens of Washington DC from unholstering their fingers and pointing them at those alleged to be to blame. CQ Politics points out that the process has been plagued in part by a series of transitions. It got underway with Republicans in control of the White House and Capitol Hill. Democrats wrested the Hill away late in 2006, and now are about to get the White House as well, and are not happy with the set-up they inherited.
Democrats did think Republicans were lowballing the process when they allocated $1.5B to the converter box coupon program. That said, the number has stayed precisely at that level through two years of Democratic rule on Capitol Hill.
Another problem, pointed out to CQ by a consumers advocate, and which has been obvious from the outset, is that there is no one DTV czar responsible for coordinating the national transition effort. Legislators did not even pick a lead agency, putting most of the onus on the FCC but giving major responsibilities to NTIA as well.
Meanwhile, local organizations and – most particularly – broadcasters themselves have funded almost all of the consumer education effort.
RBR/TVBR observation: We are still of the belief that even if everything had gone perfectly, there would still be a significant number of citizens who simply refuse to get the message. Where the optimistic glass-is-way-more-than-half-full viewpoint? If about 6%-7% of TV households are unprepared, doesn’t that mean 93%-94% are ready to go? America has just over a month to focus on bringing along that last sliver of the population. Let’s just do it and get it over with.