updated 02:15 pm EST, Wed January 28, 2009
Congress Downs DTV Delay
The US House of Representatives at mid-day has voted against a bill that would delay the switch from analog to digital for over-the-air TV until June 12th. The bill had cleared the Senate on Monday but lost 258-168 after some congressional Democrats joined Republicans in resisting the delay. Without an emergency bill, the new vote keeps the originally scheduled February 17th date.
Proponents of moving the changeover to June have argued that about 20 million Americans are either too poor to afford converters or wired TV service, or else live in fringe and rural areas where no digital broadcast towers exist. Critics, however, have argued that the delay would create problems for plans to use the soon-to-be vacated 700MHz space for 4G Internet access and might not necessarily resolve problems with coverage.
A new bill proposed in the House would keep the original date but would borrow an aspect from the since-rejected bill that would let more viewers get coupons for converter boxes.