Senate revives possibility of delaying DTV transition

| 2/2/2009

Despite being shot down by the House of Representatives this past week, the Senate revived the bill to delay the transition to digital television, giving the extension a new shot at becoming reality.

The delay is one that has been sought by the Obama administration since he took office.

“The agency review process determined what it believed to be shortfalls in planning for the DTV transition. For instance, it found that the coupon program for converters had 3.3 million requests sitting on a waiting list, and that the FCC told Congress that the call center that it had established could not handle the rate of incoming calls,” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters on Friday, Jan. 30.

Gibbs explained that although the Senate passed the previous attempt at an extension unanimously, the House of Representatives vote required a two-thirds majority. The bill failed to clear that hurdle.

So, the Senate took the bill up again on Thursday, Jan. 29, and passed it. The Senate retooled the bill in such a way that all the House has to do is pass the bill with a simple majority. A two-thirds vote will not be required this time around.

“I’m told that the House will vote next week. We anticipate that the House will pass a delay on DTV to June 12,” Gibbs told reporters.

“If that gets to the president’s desk, and when that happens, the president will sign that delay into law so that we might undergo a little bit better planning process to ensure no interruption for people with televisions.”