Growing support for US ASO delay

Supports grows in the United States for the delaying the February 17th deadline for analogue switch-off. President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team has asked Congress to consider delaying the country’s planned switch off of analogue terrestrial TV, claiming poor, rural and elderly residents will be unprepared for the cutoff off. Following this letter, more people have joined the call for a delay.

The law governing the switchover was signed three years ago by President Bush and Congress would have to pass a new law to move that date. Broadcasters are not happy with such a move, as they spend a considerable amount of money educating the American public about the upcoming changes.

About eight million homes are thought to be solely dependent on analogue terrestrial reception. These homes are eligible for a special $40 voucher towards the purchase of a digital to analogue converter set-top box. Problem is, the Commerce Department ran out of money. Already $1.34 billion was spent on the programme.

Congressional leaders were already considering pushing back the digital conversion date by three or four months. They’re also looking at how to add more money to the government coupon program quickly.