Confab set to help inform masses

The Federal Communications Commission will host a confab next month to develop a coordinated strategy for informing millions of Americans still in the dark about the switch to all-digital television in early 2009.

Releasing the preliminary agenda for the Sept. 26 meeting at FCC headquarters, the agency said, “Organizations representing a broad range of consumers and other stakeholders will be represented, including those who represent senior citizens, low-income consumers, non-English speakers, people with disabilities, tribes and public-interest organizations working on behalf of underserved customers or those living in rural areas.”

The National Cable & Telecommunications Assn., the National Assn. of Broadcasters, the Consumer Electronics Retailers Coalition and the Consumer Electronics Assn. will also participate.

The NAB has said surveys show that more than 60% of the population do not have a clue about the impending switch that will cut off all analog signals in February 2009. Unless hooked to a digital-to-analog converter box or a cable or satellite TV system, analog televisions will go dark when the switch happens.

The federal government has mandated the switch so that it can recoup the analog spectrum and auction it off.

Anyone not able to attend the all-day meeting will be able to watch via live webcast at

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