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John Podesta, the Obama transition team co-chairman, has sent a letter to lawmakers urging Congress to postpone the Feb. 17 switch from analog to digital television (DTV) broadcasting. Really.
This kind of things was inevitable, of course. We've been warned about this for years and now that it's finally here, people are crying because they're not ready. The real problem, of course, is that the coupon program needs a bailout. I'm not sure why we would bail it out. There was a budget ($1.3 billion) allocated to ease the pain and it's done that. I don't think anyone believed it would take care of the full burden. Full disclosure: I applied for my two coupons early and spent them to help boost the economy. :-) I wanted DTV everywhere I could get it as soon as I could get it.
Consumer Union (publishers of Consumer Reports) is behind this push. In a letter to President Bush, President-elect Barack Obama, and the heads of the House and Senate commerce committees that said, in part:
"Millions of consumers could now be forced to spend their own money to navigate this federally mandated transition," says the letter from Consumers Union. "This economic climate is not the right time to ask consumers to dig deeper into their own pockets to pay for the miscalculation by the federal government."From DTV troubles: Consumer group pushes to delay digital transition | csmonitor.com
Referenced Thu Jan 08 2009 13:13:22 GMT-0700 (MST)
This isn't what I'd call a federally mandated transition so much as an effort to reallocate impacted bandwidth (a commonly held resource) to places where it has more societal benefit. And DTV is better anyway: more channels, clearer signal--what's not to like?
The pandering politicians and consumer groups trying to make a name for themselves need to get out of the way to let's free up some bandwidth now so we can reap the benefit later.