TIA puts out strong argument for digital television transition

March 7, 2005 - Association says conversion will clear valuable spectrum for other important uses, such as advanced wireless services.

The Telecommunications Industry Association is arguing for the digital television transition.

The TIA has has noted its points in a recent policy statement.

The TIA argues that converting to digital television (DTV) will clear valuable spectrum for other important uses, such as advanced wireless services with both commercial and public safety applications. The DTV transition will clear 108 MHz of spectrum in the 700 MHz band. The propagation characteristics of this particular spectrum band make it extremely desirable for new, innovative broadband applications and state-of-the-art first-responder communications, the TIA says.

The TIA believes it is important to encourage the deployment of advanced wireless networks that can support converged communications services offering consumers competitive choices for voice, video and data applications. Some companies in the high-tech industry are delaying the commercial development and deployment of high-speed wireless broadband equipment and services due to the uncertainty clouding the DTV transition. The TIA argues that consumers in rural America must continue to wait for broadband access, and new opportunities for interoperable public safety wireless communications are being deferred, with negative impacts to homeland security. For these reasons, the TIA is urging Congress to set a date certain of Dec. 31, 2006, for completion of the DTV transition.

The TIA argues that establishing a date certain for the DTV transition will also help drive the market for digital products and will provide the requisite certainty for manufacturers seeking to produce low-cost digital-to-analog converters that will enable consumers to continue to use their analog television sets following the transition.

The DTV issue was discussed recently when TIA members met with Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, during the TIA's Broadband and Technology Dialogue Luncheon Series. The TIA delivered a letter to Upton on the transition at this meeting. Similar letters advocating the TIA's position on the DTV transition will be delivered to the leadership and other members of the House and Senate commerce committees.

During the informal discussion, Upton laid out his subcommittee's agenda for the next several months, including its focus on updating telecommunications laws to reflect advancements in technology. Before any legislation is introduced, the subcommittee plans to hold additional hearings on topics that include industry mergers, VoIP and IP video.

"Chairman Upton has been a staunch supporter and a strong voice for the communications technology industry," says TIA President Matthew Flanigan. "The subcommittee recently held a historic hearing at which CEOs of five major communications equipment manufacturers, all members of TIA, spoke of the challenges facing the converging communications industry.

"He is aware of the evolving nature of our industry and realizes the enormous value of the spectrum that will be freed up when television broadcasters shift from legacy analog to state-of-the-art digital transmission," Flanigan continues. "We look forward to working with Chairman Upton, his staff and the subcommittee on the DTV transition and the reexamination the Telecom Act."

The TIA is based in Arlington, VA. For more information visit www.tiaonline.org.

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