Chris Llana, Editor
Senator McCain Introduces Digital TV Transition Bill
June 17, 2005 . . . updated June 18
Senators McCain and Lieberman introduced "The SAVE LIVES Act" on the Senate floor on Tuesday (6/14). The Senate bill (S.1237) would move the transition to digital television forward, thus getting us closer to freeing up vital radio spectrum for use by public safety agencies.
That spectrum is now used by TV stations for their analog broadcasts, and will be returned to the government at the end of the transition. McCain has been impatient with progress toward the full adoption of the ATSC digital television standard, most notably with the slow progress being made by broadcasters, and apparently also with the absence of a digital transition bill from the Senate Commerce Committee (which he formerly chaired). [A similar bill can be expected shortly from that committee, now chaired by Ted Stevens of Alaska.]
The formal name for the bill is the "Spectrum Availability for Emergency-response and Law-enforcement to Improve Vital Emergency Services Act." The bill was drafted in response to the 9-11 Commission's Final Report, which recommended the "expedited and increased assignment of radio spectrum for public safety purposes."
I just got a copy of the bill, and have now provided a detailed update. Here are the basics:
The draft legislation:
The last provision obviously anticipates that millions of people will replace their analog sets in order to take advantage of the dramatically higher quality video and audio that comes with the new digital standard.