Senate Adopts Inouye Amendment Aiding Seniors, Rural America, and Minorities with DTV Transition Prep

Measure Assists Low-Power Broadcasters with Equipment Upgrades

June 20, 2008

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate approved Commerce Committee Chairman Daniel K. Inouye’s (D-Hawaii) amendment to expand funding for digital television (DTV) transition assistance. The amendment, passed late yesterday by unanimous consent, also provides for timely reimbursements for equipment upgrades to low-power broadcasters.

I am pleased the Senate approved this important amendment unanimously,” said Senator Inouye. “With just seven months remaining until the DTV transition, too many Americans remain in the dark about what the DTV transition means. It is imperative that any unused funds be directed toward assisting those who will be most impacted by the switch.”

The Senator continued, “And we must be mindful of those diligently working to make the transition successful. Low-power broadcasters must have the tools needed for a smooth transition.”

The DTV Transition Assistance Act amendment was adopted as a substitute to S. 2607, a bill to make a technical corrections the Deficit Reduction Act, sponsored by Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine). Specifically, the amendment:

  • Provides the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) with the authority to use leftover funds for grants, contracts, and assistance programs to assist senior citizens, rural residents, and minorities with taking necessary steps to prepare for the DTV transition;
  • Adjusts dates in earlier DTV legislation to ensure that low-power broadcasters can be reimbursed for their expenses when they upgrade from analog to digital equipment.

Broadcasters will stop broadcasting analog signals and start broadcasting digital signals only on February 17, 2009.