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House Version of Sanders DTV Bill Introduced

Democratic Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon has introduced a bill that would put another $700 million into the DTV transition over the next two years.

The bill, The Digital TV Transition Fairness Act, is the House version of a bill introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders last December.

The bills would extend the DTV-to-analog converter box program--coupons currently can only be applied for through July 31; fund the purchase or an indoor or outdoor antenna, including the cost of installation; and require multichannel video providers to make a $10 package of basic broadcast service available, with broadcasters waiving retrans fees for that service.

The $10 basic package would only be available to households that could show they had lost at least one channel due to the DTV switch.

DeFazio has three co-sponsors.

The bill comes as broadcasters and the FCC work to resolve reception issues with VHF stations in urban areas in the wake of the June 12 switch to digital, but the bill has been in the works for a while and plans had been in place to introduce it earlier.