The US Senate Commerce Committee has voted against setting a hard deadline for television broadcasters to air only in digital, as mooted in a proposed bill by Senate committee chairman Senator John McCain.
The Committee has dashed hopes that the US could have set January 2009 as the deadline for a US digital switchover. The decision has put a big question mark over the strategy proposed by McCain's draft, which would have raised billions in a bandwidth auction held by the government to dispose of old analogue frequencies. McCain's strategy, outlined in the draft proposal, was to sell these to commercial wireless operators.
McCain had also pushed for the 2009 switchover because he wanted public safety groups to get some of the airwaves in keeping with government policy to improve security in the post 9/11 environment.
But there is a glimmer of hope for one of McCain's proposals, that of providing $1bn in aid for households to make the switchover.
It is reported that the Senate may give the go ahead to these grants, which would pay for digital TV or equivalent equipment for low-income viewers to make the switch.
Lovelacemedia | 23.09.2004