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Engel Wants DTV Waiver For NY

Hardly had the new House DTV transition bill draft been circulated Thursday night when  rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) asked for a waiver for New York City.

Under the heading "NEW YORK BRACES FOR TV BLACKOUT," Engel said the city should get a waiver from the bill's December 2008 hard date, saying otherwise "a large part of the New York Metropolitan area will wake up to blank TV screens after the December 31, 2008 conversion to digital TV broadcast."

Actually, the bill subsidizes $40 of the expected $50-$60 cost of converter boxes to make sure those sets don't go dark, but it will not guarantee that unless viewers actively apply for those subsidies through a multi-step process.

Engel pointed to 9/11 and its impact on communications there, saying “It seems that Congress has forgotten its pledge to help New York recover from the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.  If this waiver  is denied , hundreds of thousands of people could be without free, over-the air television signals.