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Highlights

In Berlin, Germany, the transition from analog to digital television (DTV), the DTV transition, culminated in the shutoff of analog television signals in August 2003. As GAO previously reported, the December 2006 deadline for the culmination of the DTV transition in the United States seems unlikely to be met. Failure to meet this deadline will delay the return of valuable spectrum for public safety and other commercial purposes. Thus, the rapid completion of the DTV transition in Berlin has sparked interest among policymakers and industry participants in the United States. At the request of the Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, House Committee on Energy and Commerce, GAO examined (1) the structure and regulation of the German television market, (2) how the Berlin DTV transition was achieved, and (3) whether there are critical components of how the DTV transition was achieved in Berlin and other areas of Germany that have relevance to the ongoing DTV transition in the United States.

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