Michael Powell, US Federal Communications Commission Chairman, has endorsed a January 2009 date for the country’s analogue to digital TV broadcast switchover.
And what a commitment it was! Although he requested an unspecified date for the switchover during his testimony in front of the Senate Commerce Committee, when questioned by reporters about the FCC-proposed 2009 date he was heard to say “Yes, I’m saying it really strongly.”
The UK’s own switch-over is likely to happen sometime between 2010 and 2012, depending on who you believe. Americans have a lot of work to do to meet their 2009 date, as only 2% of households have digital TV equipment. I guess they must replace their televisions more frequently than us British.
Congress have set a trigger point requiring broadcasters to switch to digital television signals once 85% of homes can be reached.Powell’s key motivator behind the switch-over is freeing up the analogue spectrum for the emergency services and public-safety broadcasts, as evidenced in his statement. Since the project is being tackled as a defence against terrorism, them no doubt a lot of resources will be thrown at it.