McCain: “Embarrassed” by DTV transition delay
Senator John. McCain (R-Ariz.) expressed his frustration that Congress hasn’t moved fast enough in moving television broadcasters out of 700 MHz spectrum and said he would try to move up the date to clear the spectrum currently held by television broadcasters from April 2009 in proposed legislation to late 2006 or early 2007.
“I’m embarrassed to stand before you today to note that some of the tragedy that took place as a result of Hurricane Katrina could have been avoided if Congress had acted in a more timely fashion.” McCain said today, as he spoke at a policy event sponsored by the New America Foundation. “It’s not a proud moment for me.”
McCain cited the power of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) in lobbying to delay legislation for setting a “date certain” for shutting down analog television broadcast. He is proposing an earlier cutoff date to accelerate the transfer of 700 MHz spectrum to the first-responder community as soon as practical, commenting that it will take additional time to allocate funding for, and to purchase, new equipment after the spectrum is transferred.
However, McCain isn’t sure if there are enough votes in committee to get earlier date to transfer the 700 MHz spectrum.
“I just don’t know,” he stated.
Draft legislation proposing the April 2009 transfer date originally was supposed to be marked up by the Senate Commerce Committee tomorrow, but the meeting has been rescheduled for Thursday.