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SBCA Commends Senate Commerce Committee’s Efforts to Set Firm Date for Digital Transition

Alexandria, Va., Sept. 22, 2004 – The Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association (SBCA) today commended Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and the Senate Commerce Committee for today’s mark-up which aims to set a firm date for the Digital Transition. Today’s mark-up requires broadcasters to switch from an analog to digital format and return the analog spectrum to the US government by December 31, 2008. Sen. McCain drafted the legislation.

SBCA has been a long-time proponent of the Digital Transition, as DBS has provided 100 percent digital quality service since its inception in 1994. The Digital Transition has been recommended by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and mandated by Congress, but no firm date had been set before today’s mark-up. In the past, Congress encouraged completion of the Digital Transition by Dec. 31, 2006 or when 85 percent of US television households could receive a digital, over-the-air signal.

“SBCA applauds the Senate Commerce Committee and Sen. McCain for their continued efforts to speed the Digital Transition,” said Richard DalBello, president SBCA. “This bill pushes broadcasters forward by setting a concrete date, instead of the more ambiguous 2007 or 85 percent guideline.”

The completed Digital Transition would free up analog spectrum that could be returned to the US government and auctioned off for advanced wireless services. This spectrum is estimated to be worth tens of billions of dollars. A portion of this returned spectrum would also be distributed to public safety entities such as police and fire departments.

The Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association is the national trade organization representing all segments of the satellite industry. It is committed to expanding the utilization of satellite technology for the broadcast delivery of video, audio, data, music, voice, interactive, and broadband services. The SBCA is composed of DBS, broadband, satellite radio, and other satellite service providers, content providers, equipment manufacturers, distributors, retailers, encryption vendors, and national and regional distribution companies that make up the satellite services industry. Additional information can be found at www.sbca.com.