76th Annual  Meeting
The U.S. Conference of Mayors
76th Annual Meeting
June 20-24, 2008



WHEREAS, full-powered analog broadcasting will cease on February 17, 2009, and thereafter all full analog television broadcasts will be in digital format; and

WHEREAS, Congress allocated up to $1.5 billion for an analog to digital converter box subsidy program through the U.S. Department of Commerce – making two $40.00 coupons available to every home that applies to partially pay for up to two converter boxes - but the current budget does not adequately fund outreach and education directed toward the approximately 5% of viewers who depend exclusively on over-the-air reception and will need to replace their analog television sets with a digital tuner, subscribe to cable or satellite services, or purchase a converter box in order to continue to receive broadcast television; and the current budget does fund technical support for viewers who opt to purchase the converter box and need assistance with installation or selecting the appropriate antennae; and

WHEREAS, public outreach and education play a vital role to ensure a successful transition to digital transmission, particularly for low-income, elderly, rural area households, and Spanish-speaking households most in need of support and information; and

WHEREAS, the federal government has allocated just $5 million in public outreach and education funding to the National Telecommunications and Information Association, and that the Federal Communications Commission has requested only $1.5 million for the same purpose; and

WHEREAS, in contrast, the United Kingdom is spending up to $400 million on its digital transition public education campaign fora population about one-fifth the size of the United States population; and

WHEREAS, one of the benefits of shifting to digital television is the freeing up 700 mhz block of spectrum and making it available to first responders across the country so that police, fire and rescue services can interact with one another, will directly benefit our local communities,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the U.S. Conference of Mayors supports the digital television transition and calls upon Congress to increase funding in order to make the transition as smooth as possible by ensuring overall public awareness and preparedness; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the U.S. Conference of Mayors calls upon Congress to provide increased federal funding targeted for public broadcast television stations to undertake these activities; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that mayors should meet with their local broadcasters, as well as employ local Public, Education and Governmental (PEG) channels, to better educate their constituents on the impending deadline.