Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Va., takes over as chairman of the House subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet with next month’s digital transition breathing down his neck.

Boucher, who was named as the subcommittee chairman yesterday, said in several media reports that he supports Congress acting to prevent millions of citizens from losing their TV signals once the federally mandated transition to all-digital signals takes place on Feb. 17.

President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team sent a letter to Congress this week asking for a delay in the digital transition (story here). Consumer advocacy groups have also asked that the transition be delayed until this summer.

Boucher is working on legislation that would subsidize the purchases of new, higher-powered rooftop antennas for consumers so they could still get the digital signals over the air.

The 13-term member of the House is also a proponent of net neutrality.

Boucher was selected as chairman of the Communications, Technology and the Internet Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.  Boucher assumed leadership and switched places with Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., who took over Boucher’s role as head of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee.

Boucher’s selection was met with enthusiasm by several cable industry organizations. Both National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) President and CEO Kyle McSlarrow and American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew Polka congratulated Boucher for his new role in their respective press releases.

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