A US lawmaker has called on the US Congress to urge the government to subsidise at least some of the costs of digital switchover. Under US law broadcasters have to complete switchover by the end of 2006, or when 85% of US households can receive digital signals - whichever comes later.
Many observers say the high cost of digital receivers will put off consumers. Texan Republican Joe Barton (pictured), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said the 2006 target should be kept, but suggested subsidising equipment for those households unable to afford it.
"Why shouldn't this committee, in the next Congress if not this Congress, just say we're going to uphold the 2006 deadline and set up some sort of fund to pay for converter boxes for low income citizens?
"Why shouldn't we just do that and just short-circuit this debate about a transition that might drag out to 2009 or some other date?"
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