President Signs Bill with Inouye Amendment Aiding Seniors, Rural America, and Minorities with DTV Transition Prep

August 4, 2008

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The President has signed into law S. 2607, a bill to make technical corrections to the Deficit Reduction Act. Introduced by Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), S. 2607 included a full substitute amendment authored by Commerce Committee Chairman Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii) that expands funding for digital television (DTV) transition assistance. The amendment also provides for timely reimbursements for equipment upgrades to low-power broadcasters.

“I am pleased the President signed this important legislation into law,” said Senator Inouye. “Many Americans, especially low-income Americans and seniors, turn to over-the-air television to stay informed about current events and in the event of emergencies. This bill provides assistance to those most affected by the transition and it brings us a step closer to ensuring that when we move from analog to digital broadcasting on February 17 of next year, consumers will not be left in the dark.”

Specifically, the law:
  • 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 only digital signals on February 17, 2009.