Draft legislation unveiled last week would force America’s TV broadcasting industry to complete the transfer from analogue to digital transmissions on December 31, 2006 at the latest.

At present, broadcasters must surrender their analogue spectrum when 85% of the nation’s households have access to dTV – a requirement that has done little to spur progress in America’s switch to digital.

In a bid to kick-start the process, Representative Billy Tauzin (Republican, Louisiana), chairman of the House Commerce Committee, has drawn up a draft bill to address the issues facing the various parties in the digital debate.

Many of the proposals – such as measures to protect digital content from piracy and a single digital cable standard to aid TV manufacturers – were welcomed by consumer groups and trade bodies.

However, the new deadline for the end of analogue transmissions did not go down well with broadcasters. Whether it is imposed remains to be seen – the legislation is still only at draft stage and is subject to negotiation.

Data sourced from: MediaWeek.com (USA); additional content by WARC staff