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FCC Fiscal Year 2008 Budget

February 5, 2007

I can tell right off that this is not the most exciting reading, and you may want to pass. But it is your government in action!

I have copied below that portion of the Bush Administration's proposed budget for the FCC for FY 2008 that pertains to the digital TV transition. Public education, it's for. $1.5 million.

The NTIA (part of Commerce Department) has already been given another $5 million to do basically the same thing. The NTIA money is to educate the public about the digital-to-analog converter box program and the transition. If you're telling them they need a converter box, pretty much you're going to have to tell them why, so same difference.

Like I said, your government in action.

Since Congress has the Constitutional responsibility for raising and spending money, this proposal has been sent over there and eventually it will be adopted or amended or decimated.

But back to the FCC's DTV education budget (also known as building a better bureaucratic empire)(and keep in mind that when you're trying to reach 200 million or so TV viewers, the most effective way just might be to put out the information on TV) Here it is in their words:

In FY 2008, the FCC will review media regulation to foster competition and diversity, and continue its management of the Digital TV transition process, pursuant to which over-the-air broadcasters will convert to digital transmission and relinquish their current channels, which can then be reallocated to commercial and public safety uses. To support this goal and facilitate the Digital TV transition, the FCC is seeking additional resources to develop a consumer outreach campaign to help educate the public about the impact and benefits of Digital TV.

1. Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau: $1,500,000

DTV Outreach $1,500,000:

The proposed 2008 Digital TV (DTV) outreach initiative builds on activities planned and conducted in 2007 to prepare consumers for the February 2009 transition to DTV deadline through production and distribution of consumer information materials, public service announcements (PSAs), and Web materials. The purpose of the FCC's DTV outreach initiative is to prepare the public for the transition from analog to digital in concert with stakeholders that include the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), broadcasters and cable operators. The FCC will help to ensure a smooth transition to digital television through a coordinated consumer education and advocacy campaign. This campaign will provide consumers with the information necessary to continue to view their TVs after transition is complete. Moreover, these unbiased and technologically and competitively neutral information initiatives will enable consumers to knowledgeably evaluate and purchase DTV products and services that are best for them.

The FCC's DTV Outreach initiative would primarily use the media, Internet, publications, and participation in forums, public events, and community education programs to disseminate DTV information. We would also work with broadcasters and broadcasting industry associations (including the National Association of Broadcasters and the Association of Public Television Stations) to maximize the distribution of DTV information through production and airing of PSAs and support of broadcasters' community outreach activities. Other media projects include multimedia public service announcements and features, news and feature article production and placement, and radio and TV satellite media tours. Internet projects would include the further expansion of the national DTV Web portal, www.dtv.gov, more interactive activities, more and better reference information, and expansion of our referral pages for obtaining DTV information locally. We will also identify and utilize existing Internet-based information outlets for the wider dissemination of topical DTV consumer information.

DTV publications would be printed and distributed to consumers who learn about them through our media activities and event participation. Event participation includes exhibiting and making presentations at major consumer-oriented conferences and such as the annual AARP "Life@50+" event and National Council of La Raza conferences. Working relationships with state and local entities, educational institutions, and community organizations are being strengthened and will be expanded to plan and conduct joint DTV outreach programs at the local level. Additional exhibit materials may be needed in order to participate in multiple and overlapping DTV-related events. We envision an increasing demand for DTV exhibitions and participation in local DTV education projects as the transition deadline approaches.

Multimedia DTV Transition information packages would be developed and distributed to government agencies, community organizations, and stakeholders for use in conducting DTV educational programs independent of FCC participation in localities we are unable to reach directly. Our innovative "DTV Deputy" program for children would be expanded to teach kids about DTV and encourage them to take transition information to their parents and caregivers. Educators would be provided with materials for expanding the DTV Deputy program. DTV outreach in 2008 will include enhanced components for producing and distributing transition information to low-income and minority consumers, as well as those who speak languages other than English, including Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and other languages. To maximize DTV outreach effectiveness and efficiency, programs will be coordinated with the NTIA and other government agencies with DTV transition involvement.

Outcome-oriented Performance Goal 12: Facilitate the transition to digital television and further the transition to digital radio.

Targets:

(1) Adopt the final DTV Table of Allotments.

(2) Conduct outreach campaign to educate and inform consumers about the transition to digital television (DTV).

(3) Continue to negotiate and implement agreements with Canada and Mexico for the deployment of digital services in border regions.

(4) Maintain dialogue with policy makers, regulators, research communities, and industry on emerging technologies and services in the media marketplace.

(5) Adopt, enforce and defend against legal challenge policies and regulations to facilitate the transition to DTV and Digital Radio.