Trying to get a fix on exactly when the final DTV transition deadline will be has lately been a lot like trying to nail Jell-O to the wall. But in an effort to keep our readers up to date, we are pleased to report that the Senate has voted unanimously in favor of extending the deadline from February 17 to June 12. (Note: some press reports have characterized the extension as a “four-month” extension. Don’t be fooled. If the June 12 date holds, the extension will be for 115 days, not four months – since “four months” would take it to June 17.)
You can read the full text of the Senate bill here. While it extends the transition date, it expressly does not require stations to continue to operate in analog up to June 12. Earlier termination is permitted, as long as it occurs in accordance with Commission policies and rules (including those set out in the Third Periodic DTV Review released in December, 2007).
The bill also gives folks who received government-issued DTV converter box coupons but failed to use them another chance. Originally those coupons were issued on a two-per-household, use-them-or-lose-them basis, with a shelf-life of 90 days. A fair number of households apparently got their coupons but then didn’t cash them in, and the Senate has decided to give those folks another chance.
It looks like the House is going to bring a version of the bill to the floor for a vote, possibly as early as today (January 27). Stay tuned.