FCC Says Not So Fast To TV Stations' Itchy Switch Fingers
from the not-completely-surprising dept
The regulations say that one station in the broadcasters' metro areas must maintain analog service until at least the middle of April, but also that the stations must increase their "educational" programming about the switchover, and also provide both "local or toll-free telephone assistance, including engineering support" and "provide a location and staff for a consumer 'walk-in' center to assist consumers with applying for coupons and obtaining converter boxes, to demonstrate how to install converter boxes, to provide maps and lists of communities that maybe affected by coverage issues, and to serve as a redistribution point for consumers who are willing to donate coupons, converter boxes, televisions and for those in need of these items."
If this didn't involve the government, it would almost be remarkable. The government botched the converter coupon program, has caused more confusion with the delay, and now wants TV stations to set up call centers and walk-in locations to deal with it. What's even more galling is that stations will be forced to toss resources at an issue that effects a small sliver of the population: take the small subset of Americans that watch TV, but don't have cable or satellite, then the subset of those that haven't yet gotten with the program. From those few people that are left standing, will they be any more ready in June than they would be on the 17th, when the switchover was supposed to happen? And why should broadcasters have to devote so many resources to them, particularly when it's the bungled coupon program that's largely to blame?