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Sanders Tosses Another DTV 'Lifeline'

Related: The DTV Countdown: Complete Coverage of the DTV Transition

As advertised, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has re-introduced a basic TV "lifeline" bill.

The bill would assure that over-the-air only viewers at risk of losing some TV stations’ signals after the DTV transition continue to have access to their local TV stations.

Sanders introduced a similar bill last session.

That assurance would come in the form of an $80 coupon that the National Telecommunications & Information Administration would administer, much as it now does the $40 coupons for digital-to-analog converter boxes.

The new subsidy would cover the cost of getting help installing a converter box, or toward the purchase of an outdoor antenna, or both if they are needed to pull in a digital signal.

It would also cover equipment or set-up costs of getting a basic multichannel video package supplying local TV channels.

The program would last 18 months and be budgeted at $700 million.

Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.), who is expected to become the next chair of the House Telecommunications & Internet Subcommittee, is also working on a similar bill in the House.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.