Congress has voted to postpone the end of analogue television in America by four months to give consumers more time to prepare for the digital transition. The bill passed on its second presentation, by a vote of 264 to 158, to go forward to President Barack Obama for his signature. The incoming Obama administration maintains that preparations for the digital transition had been mismanaged.
Over six million households that still rely on analogue broadcasts stood to lose television reception on 17 February. There is still a waiting list of several million for converter box coupons, after the government scheme ran out of funds.
The final end of analogue television transmissions in America will now be postponed from 17 February until 12 June.
Television stations will still be allowed to end analogue transmission before that date–some have already done so–provided they have approval from the Federal Communications Commission.
The president of the National Association of Broadcasters welcomed the news. “We appreciate members of Congress for their leadership and swift action in ensuring viewers get continued access to free, over-the-air television,” said David Rehr.