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FCC Preparing Rules for Second Phase Of DTV Switch

The FCC was working Friday on rules to implement the balance of the DTV transition date-move bill.

That's according to Democratic FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein in an interview for C-SPAN's series, The Communicators.

641 stations have made the move to digital as of Feb. 17, but over a thousand have not.

He said that the FCC expects most of those will wait until June 12, but the commission needs to come up with a plan for those that want to move earlier, beginning March 14, which is the next date on which stations can start to pull the plug on analog.

"We're going to releasing a notice right away, we're working on it today," he said. 'We're trying to figure out what the interim switch is." An aide to FCC Chairman Michael Copps has said that stations may be allowed to go on different dates, or the FCC might suggest an intermediary date to help out with call center planning.

"We want to make sure that there is adequate notice to consumers," of the next analog plug-pull, said Adelstein, " we want to make sure that ther is a continued nightlight fort viewers to get basic news and local information as well as information about the digital transition on an analog station."

"It's going to be an ongoing switch to some extent," he said, "but we still expect that the big bulk of stations are going on June 12."

Commissioner Adelstein said the FCC was planning to set up walk-in centers in every market in the country to help viewers with technical problems, and also have either volunteers or paid staff provide in-home help.