Lovers of analog TV rest easy: the US senate has approved a bill that will delay the DTV switchover to June 12th, four months after its original February 17th deadline. Citing concerns that viewers are not “technically reader” for the change from analog to digital broadcasts, the delay will also give the government time to reissue DTV coupons which subsidize the converter boxes by $40. Apparently 2.5m people are on the waiting list for coupons, which ran out earlier this month.
The decision is also being pegged as an opportunity for President Obama to assert control over the situation, with Senate Commerce Chairman John Rockefeller suggesting that “the Senate acted responsibly to give the Obama administration time to attempt to bring order to a mismanaged process.” Some estimates claim that 20 million people are still not ready for the switchover.
In addition to delaying the change, the bill also grants AT&T and Verizon an extension on the licences they acquired last year. The carriers are waiting for the frequencies currently being used by analog TV to be freed up for mobile data use, and will see their contracts extended by 116 days to account for this new postponement.