FCC addresses DTV next week


Washington is exhibiting signs of heightened anxiety over the upcoming DTV transition almost every day lately. With any luck, the FCC will be able to soothe some nerves next week at its Digital Television Consumer Education Workshop, running all day Wednesday 9/26/07. Early arrivals at the session held at the FCC’s HQ in Southwest Washington will be able to see demonstrations, including converter box use, digital televisions and comparisons to analog use. The rest of the schedule and a list of panelists is provided a click away.

RBR observation: The list of panelists attending this session should allay some fears. It is a seemingly well-thought-out and comprehensive roster of VIPs (very interested parties). While we recognize the potential for disaster in the DTV transition, we also remember the disaster that didn’t happen: anybody else remember the night our computer network was going to shut down because of Y2K? It seems that the appropriate individuals are taking the appropriate steps to make sure no analog TV owners are left behind on 2/17/09.

[FCC DTV agenda here]
9:00 AM//9:30 AM: Welcome
9:30 AM/10:00 AM: Government Update on DTV Transition
 * Federal Communications Commission: Cathy Seidel, Chief, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau
 * National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce: Tony Wilhelm, Director of Consumer Education
 * U.S. Administration on Aging/U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Edwin L. Walker, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Programs

10:00 AM/11:00 AM: What is the Industry’s Role in Facilitating the DTV Transition?
Moderator: Cathy Seidel, Chief, FCC Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau
 * Consumer Electronics Retailers Coalition: Marc Pearl, Executive Director
 * Consumer Electronics Association: Julie Kearney, Senior Director and Regulatory Counsel
 * National Cable Television Association: Rob Stoddard, Sr. VP, Communications and Public Affairs
 * National Association of Broadcasters: Jonathan Collegio, VP, Digital Television Transition

11:00 AM/12:30 PM: Consumer Interest and Advocacy Group Roundtable: Part I (General Consumer Groups)
Moderator: Thomas Wyatt, Deputy Bureau Chief, FCC Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau
 * Alliance for Public Technology: Sylvia Rosenthal, Executive Director
 * American Library Association — Carrie Lowe, Internet Policy Specialist
 * Association of Public Television Stations: John Lawson, President and CEO
 * Consumer Action: Linda Sherry, Director of National Priorities
 * Consumer Federation of America: Dr. Mark Cooper, Director of Research
 * National Association of Consumer Agency Administrators: Elizabeth Owen, Executive Director
 * National Consumers League: Susan Grant, VP Public Policy
 * Consumer’s Union, Gene Kimmelman: Vice President Federal and International Affairs

12:30PM/12:40 PM: Greetings
FCC Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate
Meredith Attwell Baker, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information, and Deputy National Telecommunications and Information Administration Administrator
12:40PM/1:30 PM: Lunch Break
Attendees are encouraged to visit the technical demonstrations and have informal discussions with other participants.

1:30PM/3:00 PM: Consumer Interest and Advocacy Group Roundtable: Part II (Specific Populations)
Moderator: Nicole McGinnis, Deputy Bureau Chief, FCC Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau
 * American Association of People with Disabilities: Jenifer Simpson, Senior Director, Telecommunications and Technology Policy
 * AARP: Jo Reed, Coordinator for Livable Communities and Consumer Issues
 * La Raza: Lisa Navarrete, Vice President, Public Information
 * NAACP: Hilary Shelton, Director NAACP Washington Bureau
 * National Puerto Rican Coalition: Manual Mirabal, President and CEO
 * Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association: Noah Cuttler, Director of Regulatory Affairs
 * U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation: Frank Lopez, President & CEO
 * Native Public Media: Peggy Berryhill, Director of Services and Planning
 * Southeast Asia Resource Action Center: Doua Thor, Executive Director

3:00PM/3:15 PM: Wrap Up

3:15PM/4:15 PM: Technical Demonstrations Remain Open