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FCC Plans to Unveil Campaign Educating Consumers on Technology

Sep 15, 2004  •  Post A Comment

In a new effort to spur the broadcast transition to digital television, the Federal Communications Commission plans to unveil an agency campaign next month to educate consumers about the technology, FCC Chairman Michael Powell said Wednesday.

At a press briefing in Washington, Mr. Powell said the effort will include the launch of an educational Web site by the agency, and perhaps a series of personal promotional appearances by him and other FCC personnel. He said the agency is seeking the support of the National Association of Broadcasters and other industry groups for the initiative.

Until now, the FCC has left promotion of the shift to the new technology up to industry efforts. But at his briefing, Mr. Powell said he wants to complete the transition by the end of 2009 to clear the way for government auctions of the broadcasting industry’s analog TV channels.

“It’s a really good use of government assets and government resources,” Mr. Powell said of the educational campaign. “Sometimes what’s needed is just a lot of communication.”

The Consumer Electronics Association supports the agency’s plan to take a larger role in spurring the transition, CEA spokeswoman Jenny Miller said. “The point is to get the information to the public,” she said.

NAB spokesman Dennis Wharton said, “NAB and individual broadcasters have collectively spent millions promoting digital and HDTV programming through PSAs, television spots and creation of DTV zone cities. We will continue to lead DTV promotion efforts.”

As part of the new initiative, Ms. Miller said the agency has agreed to make presentations at three CEA-sponsored DTV industry transition briefings this fall in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago.

Also at the press briefing, Mr. Powell said he hopes to get the agency to vote on the new rules aimed at paving the way for the 2009 transition deadline as soon as this fall.