Lawmakers Push 2009 DTV Deadline in Save Lives Act

Jun 14, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., introduced legislation Tuesday that would require broadcasters to switch to digital TV by Jan. 1, 2009. Under the measure, called the Save Lives Act of 2005, some of the analog spectrum broadcasters return to the federal government when they make the switch would be turned over to public safety agencies to improve communications abilities.

“The Save Lives Act implements one of the top recommendations of the 9/11 commission,” Sen. McCain said in a statement. “It also ensures that when our nation experiences another attack or is confronted with a natural disaster or emergency, our police, firefighters and emergency response personnel will have the ability to communicate with each other to prevent another catastrophic loss of life. Now is the time for congressional action before another national emergency or crisis takes place.”

In the wake of a lobbying barrage by broadcasters, the Senate Commerce Committee rejected similar legislation by Sen. McCain last year.

Said Eddie Fritts, National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO, in a statement of response: “As former Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge has noted, local television stations provide a lifeline service during terrorist attacks, hurricanes, tornadoes and other natural disasters.

“We are committed to completing the digital transition in a timely fashion, including return of analog spectrum, and will work with Congress to ensure that millions of consumers are not left stranded by a premature end to analog broadcasting.”