US TV Stations Ready for Digital Day

03 September 2008

WASHINGTON DC: As the US digital broadcasting transition enters the home stretch, a report from the nation's media watchdog says nearly all television stations are ready to flick the switch on February 17 next year.

The Federal Communication Commission's media bureau reports more than 96% of active full-power TV stations are either operationally ready with digital service or on track to be so by the deadline.

The report says 1,002 stations (56% of the current 1,798 active TV stations) have fully constructed their post-transition DTV facilities and are ready for the switchover.

Another 41% have not yet completed construction yet but claim they are making appropriate progress and expect to be ready before the deadline.

Around three percent of stations will take advantage of the flexibility offered by the FCC and will be serving at least 85% of viewers by switchover day, with final digital operations beginning shortly after.

This leeway is available for stations needing more time to manage "unique technical challenges".

One station, unnamed in the report, has admitted it will not be able to complete construction of its digital facility until a few days after the deadline and will be dark for a brief time.

Data sourced from FCC (USA); additional content by WARC staff