Mobile players debate DTV switch
Companies in the mobile phone industry are weighing in on the upcoming U.S. transition to all-digital television broadcasting, in advance of a meeting tomorrow by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
AT&T and Verizon, which offer television service in addition to their flagship telephony businesses, both already said they support a limited delay.
Qualcomm remains solidly against any delay. The company has a plan to turn on 100 transmitters for its MediaFlo system in 15 markets, reaching 40 million people, CEO Paul Jacobs told Congressional commerce committees this week.
But that increasingly seems to be an uphill battle. FCC Commissioners Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein added their voices to those calling for a delay. Copps, in particular, has been questioning the transition shortcomings for the past year. His opinion is important because he’s expected to become interim FCC chairman, holding the seat for newcomer Julius Genachowski.
There is precedent for concern: An early switchover to digital in Hawaii elicited hundreds of calls from consumers, even from some people who were having no problem getting reception, thereby swamping call centers.
In response, the FCC recently hired IBM for call center support. The contract is worth up to $12 million.
– Additional reporting by Brian Santo, CED
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