January 28, 2009 By Corey McKenna
until June 12th. The DTV Delay Act would extend the transition date until June 12th and broaden the FCC's authority to auction off spectrum in order cover the costs of the delay. Additionally, the bill would allow broadcasters to switch to digital before that date and permit the FCC to award vacant spectrum to public safety. The bill also contains a fix for the problems with the digital converter coupon program. The House was expected to vote on it Tuesday. If the House approves the bill, President Obama, who has supported the delay, is expected to sign it.
Senator John D. Rockefeller, who introduced the bill earlier this month, is worried that should the country experience a major disaster "we face the prospect of millions of consumers without access to television, without a lifeline for news and information that may be necessary to protect them from harm."
Further, according to Rockefeller, call centers at the FCC and the Department of Commerce are not equipped to deal with volume of calls expected on February 17th from consumers who did not make the transition in time.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) expects to receive almost 1.5 million calls on the days immediately following the transition but at current capacity their call center will be able to process only 350,000 of those calls each day.
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