Delaying Push for TVs to Switch to Digital Signals Good for Multifamily

By Anuradha Kher, Online News EditorWashington, D.C.–President-elect Barack Obama has asked Congress to consider delaying the February 17 deadline for the nation’s television stations to switch to digital signals. This anticipated change could postpone the introduction of new advanced wireless services.The Obama administration believes that if the deadline is not pushed out, millions of Americans could lose access to television services because of a spike in requests for free coupons to acquire new equipment necessary to receive digital signals using older analogue TV sets. There are apparently over a million people on the waiting list. Robert Bishop, CPM Vice President of Utility Services at Riverstone Residential group, tells MHN, “Congress should fund the legislation they have enacted for the digital converter coupon program. The changeover should be coordinated more closely with adequate funding of the program, and delivery of the coupon orders to those who need them.” Multifamily owners and managers who have master antenna systems on their properties will be affected by this move. “While most of our apartment communities have cable-installed video plants, and all residents would have access to that, we do have residents who choose over-the-air access to TV programming. There is also a small number of our properties that have the antenna systems and will be affected,” says Bishop.While Bishop believes that there was a huge miscalculation that has caused all these people to be on the waiting list, he does not dispute the move to digital TV itself. “The conversion to all digital programming is important for our country’s growing telecommunications needs. But with so many requests on the waiting list, the conversion should also be put on the waiting list as well,” concludes Bishop.