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FCC Says It Is Handling DTV Calls So Far

The FCC said Wednesday that it had recieved 6,750 calls between midnight Tuesday night and 11 a.m., which were the first few hours after the deadline for 421 stations pulling the plug on analog. That was "well within the capacity of the call center," said the commission.

That was a boost of only 5% over the average to the 1-888-CALLFCC line, which incorporates both the FCC line subcopnmtracted to IBM and an industry call center effort spearheaded by the cable industry.

Call volume Tuesday was 28,315, 37% higher than it had been the day before. Calls jumped starting Monday from an average of about 9,000 per day for Friday through Sunday.

The FCC says that since most of the 421 stations didn't terminate analog until Tuesday at midnight, "the Tuesday calls could not reflect the impact of those stations going dark."

The FCC said many of the calls were from people who did not know they had to re-scan for DTV channels either on their digital TV or converter box.

The National Association of Broadcasters took its own survey that suggested there had not been a flood of calls from disaffected viewers, and one Hill aide said there had been no calls to his congressman’s office. Legislators have long expressed concern that constituents would flood switchboards or show up with torches and pitchforks if the transition went badly. So far, 36% of TV stations have pulled the plug on analog broadcasts.