Dingell Troubled by GAO Report on Digital TV Transition

Dec 11, 2007  •  Post A Comment

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell is sounding loud warnings about the 2009 digital transition in the wake of a new General Accountability Office report suggesting government agencies aren’t adequately coordinating or monitoring the switchover.
“I am deeply troubled by the report’s conclusion that the FCC does not have a comprehensive plan to guide consumers through the digital television transition,” said the powerful Michigan Democrat. He said without adequate monitoring, he feared the Feb. 19, 2009, switch of the country’s broadcasts from analog to digital could leave consumers without use of their TVs.
“I believe the amount of preparation at all levels of government and industry to address the change and its consequences is hopelessly inadequate,” Rep. Dingell continued. “The DTV transition will be successful only if all aspects of government are working together. If this does not happen, it will be the American people—particularly the elderly and poor—who will suffer when their televisions stop functioning.”
Today’s GAO report, released by Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s telecom panel, concluded that the FCC and the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration don’t have any comprehensive plan or strategy to judge how the transition is going.
Mr. Markey also was critical.
“Without a comprehensive plan, tens of millions of consumers could be adversely affected and this important transition put needlessly in jeopardy,” he said. “Given the high stakes, the GAO’s call for the FCC and NTIA to develop an overarching strategic framework for success is one that these agencies would do well to heed.”
The FCC argued that while there is no specific overall plan, individual steps taken by the agencies amount to a plan.


  1. This is so typical of the left wingers in congress. They see anything at all as a problem to bring in more government intervention.
    The TV switchover has been fully and continuously covered in many media for the past two years at least; not to mention all the Electronics Stores
    who have pitched digital TVs ever since they came out.
    So the Dems in congress really have a not-so-well hidden agenda of creating more government ‘oversight’ where none is needed.
    I’m an 87-year-old retired geezer, and if I can understand the TV changeover, anybody should. And if someone doesn’t, I am sure he will find out in a timely manner without Big Brother breathing down his neck.

  2. This issue will be settled in the marketplace. No matter how much government or the private sector does, there will be consumers that have no clue, won’t notice and will take no action until their analog sets go dark on February 17, 2009.
    The best approach is to do nothing and let everyone figure it out on February 18.

  3. I read here….the typical right wing reaction on this blog. Blame the victim and throw in a few implied truths which are false. The largest increase in the size of the fed. gov., in history, just took place in the last 6-7 years. Could we all guess who was in charge during this staggering increase in the size of the fed. gov.? Hint: it wasn’t the “left”. Whether the angry authoritarian right believes it or not, one of the responsibilities of the gov. is to take care of those less fortunate. Life in the USA is not an Ayn Rand book, nor a neo-con survival of the only the fittest test. Too bad at 87 years of age, a sense of grace and concern for those less fortunate than he wasn’t developed. Ciao.

  4. If this bunch of ideolgue thugs in the administration had been doing the job over the last 7 years there’d be solutions rather than problems. The bigger the problems the better the payout to the privitazion cronies.
    I haven’t been in an electronics store in years- Kinda know my monpoly cable system or the satalitte operaters would be screwing me some time in the not too distant future.
    Digital TV – something I don’t want, and damn sure don’t need. Watching the mediore crap in analogue is good enough for me.

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