CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro expressed concern Monday over provisions in S.2686, a telecom bill governing the transition of networks from analog to digital television. In a letter addressed to the Senate, Shapiro claimed that wording in the bill allowing two extra years for Spanish-language stations to make the switch “sets the wrong tone for consumers and the public interest.”
According to The Budget Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, all networks have until February 17, 2009 to switch to digital. The provisions in S.2686, also known as The Communications, Consumers’ Choice, and Broadband Deployment Act of 2006, would allow all Spanish-language stations within 50 miles of the U.S. border until February 17, 2011 to make that transition.
Shapiro wrote that the urgency of the transition is spurred by the need to reclaim the analog band at 700MHz for public safety and national security, asserting, “As we enter another hurricane season, we must ensure progress in recovering the 700 MHz band, as these frequencies are essential to the swift and effective response of Homeland Security, police, firefighters, and other first responders.”
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