Good Grief, Charlie Brown! The DTV Transition and Congress

As I noted on my blog last week, the political wrangling over the transition from analog to digital television is becoming a total mess!

And now this:

“The House of Representatives on Monday approved legislation to complete the country's transition to new, higher-quality digital television by February 17, 2009. Under a deal negotiated by Republicans in the Senate and House, a $5 billion fund would be created to help some consumers buy converter boxes so existing analog television signals do not go dark when the transition is finished.” (Find it here)

The key word being "some".

Maybe because:

"Current law requires stations to switch to airing only digital broadcasts when 85 percent of the country can receive the new signals, or by December 31, 2006, whichever comes later." (Read it here)

85%! I'm no math wizard, buy I know 85% percent of the country is not everyone.

And also this:

“By contrast, the House Commerce version sets a Dec. 31, 2008, date and only sets aside a little under $1 billion for the subsidy, and makes it a first-come, first-served program with a couple of administrative hoops to jump through, that may not cover everyone who needs it.” (Check it here)

But, what's most infuriating is this, from Markey’s interview on C-Span that I blogged about when he said:

“the Republicans want to use the funds that are going to be raised from auctioning off the analog spectrum for a tax break for people who are in the upper one percentile!”

Ah, yes. 'Tis the season…

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