US sees smooth digital transition

By Robert Briel | June 15, 2009

ASO of the remaining 971 TV stations in the US went relatively smoothly, with the number of calls to a special helpline well below expectations.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) expected anywhere between 600,000 and 3 million calls to its special helpline, 1-888-CALL-FCC. On Saturday, the day after the midnight ASO, the total number of calls had not yet reached the lower estimate.

The transition to all digital terrestrial broadcasts was originally scheduled to take place on February 12, but the date was postponed three months in order to give people more time to prepare.

“Things went about as smoothly as we could have hoped,” said FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein during a press conference.

“It’s looking more like Y2K than the Bay of Pigs. Certainly, if we had not delayed and prepared, it might have been a disaster. But with the additional time, resources and actual planning, we put things in order just in time.”