Monday, July 20, 2009

Analog to Digital TV Conversion Problems Continue; FCC Passes the Buck

If you follow my blog, you are aware I have been without television since June 12 when I lost my analog signal. I have tried everything from purchasing two converter boxes, to a new antenna, to an adapter, to finally breaking down and buying a new digital TV, and nothing works. I get no signal. As a matter of fact, MILLIONS of low income, unemployed, retired, or other Americans on fixed incomes don't have TV now. Even more are making decisions to put television service above home repairs and medical expenses because we count on our televisions for weather alerts. Here in Tennessee it is vital during our lengthy spring and fall tornado seasons, as well as for other weather alerts and crisis information.

I have made four request to the FCC phone hotline to send me the complaint forms they tell me they send out to people like me. After four requests since May, this week I received a glossy, full-color booklet telling me all the advantages of going digital - still no complaint forms. I have also requested a supervisor call me back on three occasions, and no one has bothered to return my calls. The FCC specialist I spoke with today offered no explanation, but she told me that Congress mandated the change; the FCC is just the department chosen to implement Congress' wishes. So the buck doesn't stop at the FCC office.

The FCC specialist also said the FCC couldn't address the issue of just one person. I had already told her that several people in my area are having problems and that I was getting comments on some of my articles and blogs indicating others across the country were experiencing the same difficulties. She replied that may be so, but it was just me on the phone. I asked, "So, I am the ONLY phone call you have taken recently on this issue?" to which she replied that no, they got plenty of calls at which point she stopped trying to make this MY issue.

So the FCC is sending no complaint forms and offering no helpful feedback as to what they intend to do to fix this problem. Instead, they are now trying to hide behind Congress and imply it is an individual's problem, not theirs.

For more on this issue read:

According to a report released June 7 by Nielsen, as of June 12, 2009 2.8 million Americans are now without television while unemployment rates rise simultaneously.

I own not one but two Magnavox DTV Digital to Analog Converter boxes which I will probably be stuck with since Magnavox won't stand behind their product.

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