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Thank goodness there must have been SOME voice of reason in the US House today regarding the switch to digital television transmission and the shutting down of analog transmissions.  Although the special rules required a 2/3 vote to approve, at least the House did not roll over and give in like the idiots in the Senate on Monday night (who voted for this travesty unanimously).

Why is this bill a problem?

Well, we understand and accept the fact that, ahem, 4% of households have not yet switched to the digital format (most simply needing a $50 converter box that the government has been providing a $40 coupon for now for over a year now.  Evidently, part of the issue is the sudden delay in sending out coupons.  According to the Wall Street Journal:

Republicans say the extra money isn’t necessary because the Commerce Department has only spent half of the $1.5 billion allotted for coupon program. They say the waiting list could be eliminated more easily by waiving an accounting rule barring Commerce from sending new coupons before older, unused ones have expired.

But what I don’t get is this: we have been knocking into people’s heads now for YEARS that this was coming.  It didn’t sneak up on us, just on the few that evidently don’t watch TV anyhow, because if they did, they’d already know about this and have done what was needed by now!

Democrats would like to see this delayed 4 months, (and may take another swipe at this next week) but the delay is not going to make the stragglers any better off… most of those that are left are still going to have done nothing by June. 

The only way you get some people to move on is to just force the issue, and staying on schedule will accomplish that. 

Other, more pressing problems with the bill, are the costs that many businesses will bear because of both the Government’s buracracy and people waiting until it’s too late… television stations around the country will now be forced to maintain both their analog signal and have already run up the expenses on the digital installation by now… they’re ready to go.  So now, the stations have to pay to keep the analog signal running.  A local media exec last night told me that each station is looking at about $20,000 per month to keep the analog on.

Plus, most dish and cable companies worth their salt have already hired temporary employees to take orders for new service over the next month or so… with this bill they might end up reworking those plans and extending their costs as well.

And then there are the companies that have already lined to use the new frequencies that are being opened up by this change, who have already invested in equipment and such and with this bill would lose months worth of value on their investments.

And the Socialists Democrats in Congress will just wag their tongues about how these big profit companies can absorb the costs.  Of course they can.  It’s called rate hikes.  If their costs go up, the consumers have to pay more for the service.  That simple.

This has got to be worse than when Congress moved Daylight Savings Time a few years back without considering the impact on technology.  So many software companies could not get changes made in time to ensure companies and individuals didn’t have problems… I got hit from multiple sides and it’s all because Congress thought it might help us save a little money… instead it ended up costing millions to fix their “help”.

That’s why people fear anyone from the government that comes in and says they’re here to help.

More info on DTV at DTV.GOV.  Coupons can be requested at DTV2009.GOV.

Thanks to Reuters and the Wall Street Journal.

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