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Sanders Eyeing DTV Rooftop Antenna Subsidy Bill

Look for Vermont independent Senator Bernie Sanders to reintroduce a DTV rooftop antenna subsidy bill as early as Tuesday, when the new Congress is scheduled to be officially sworn in.

That's according to Press Secretary Will Wiquist, who said it would definitely be introduced by the end of the week. Time is of the essence, since the bill would help pay for a rooftop antenna to help some folks retain a TV signal after the switch to digital on Feb. 18, 2009.

Wiquist said there might be a few tweaks, but no significant changes to the new version of the bill, which was originally introduced early last month. He said he didn't have a sense of its chances for passage, though Sanders would like to make it part of the arguably must-pass economic stimulus package.

The would also direct the FCC to insure that a low-cost lifeline cable service--no more than $10--would be available for those who lose access to over-the-air signals.

The FCC has conceded that some folks in outlying areas could lose traditionally viewed signals, but others, like Sanders and Rep. Rick Boucher, a Democrat representing a mountainous region of Virginia, argue that without new, rooftop antennas, there could be many more people losing their signals, particularly in hilly/mountainous terrain. "If you're 80 years old, you will not be going up on your roof in a Vermont winter," Sanders told the Philadelphia Inquirer two weeks ago.