Date: 11th October 2000

Broadcasters Slam Kennard On Call For DTV Speedup

Broadcasters heatedly denied charges by FCC Chairman William Kennard Tuesday that they were "squatting" on the digital spectrum and failing to provide high definition TV programming.

He said that if the industry continues to move at its current rate, it will take 25 more years before digital TV replaces analog in most homes.

In a statement NAB chief Eddie Fritts charged that Kennard had "failed the test of leadership" and insisted that it is cable companies who are dragging their feet in converting to digital TV and that broadcasters are in fact "well ahead of schedule .. with 158 stations now sending digital signals to almost 65 percent of all U.S. households."

A spokeswoman for NBC echoed Fritts's comments, adding that consumers needed "time to make the transition to digital." But Jeff Joseph of the Consumer Electronics Association said that the group supported Kennard and pointed out in an interview with the Associated Press that "It's content that drives the market, and the fact is there is very little content."

Source: Studio Briefing