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Bush Administration Does Not Support Moving DTV Date

The new administration may want to move the DTV transition date, but the old one apparently still doesn't.

Meredith Attwell Baker, acting head of the National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA), the Bush administration's telecom policy advisor, had no official comment on

Barack Obama's request that the Congress move the DTV transition dates

. But a government source with knowledge of the White House's thinking says the current administration does not support moving the date.

Baker did release a statement Thursday as the issue of moving the date heated up, driven by NTIA's announcement Monday that the DTV-to-analog converter box coupon subsidy program had run up against its $1.34 billion ceiling and would have to start putting people on a waiting list.

“We are working with Congress and other stakeholders so coupons can be processed and mailed without further delay,” said Baker.

“While we have reached a temporary limit on the number of coupons we can issue, we expect to be able to issue several million additional coupons during the course of the program, and we are working with Congress to make that happen. Since the program began in January 2008, NTIA has urged households to apply for coupons as soon as possible, so they can be fully prepared by February 17, 2009. We have been communicating with Congress throughout the Program and advised as early as November 6 that coupon demand may hit the $1.34 billion obligation limit by mid-January.”

“NTIA has been committed to efficiently implementing the program to ensure that Americans know their options for the transition. We remain committed to ensuring the smoothest transition possible within the requirements of the program established by Congress."

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.