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Highlights

The digital television (DTV) transition offers the promise of enhanced television. At the end of the transition, radiofrequency spectrum currently used for analog broadcast television will be used for other wireless services and for critical public safety services. To spur the digital transition while preventing any loss of television service to households, some industry participants and experts have suggested that the government subsidize DTV equipment to enable households to view digital broadcast signals. This testimony provides information on (1) some challenges to administering a subsidy program for DTV equipment, (2) some administrative options for implementing a DTV subsidy, (3) examples of government programs that make use of rebates or vouchers to provide subsidies, and (4) other efforts necessary for the completion of the DTV transition. We discussed administrative challenges to and options for a DTV subsidy with federal and state government officials, electronics manufacturers and retailers, and experts in product promotion. As in our previous work, we take no position on whether a subsidy should be implemented or not, or whether, if a subsidy program is established, it should be implemented in any particular way. While policies other than a subsidy might help promote the DTV transition, any other such approaches were not part of this investigation.

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