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In case you didn’t believe it when the Yonder’s Mimi Pickering reported that millions of people — many in rural America — will be without television when a 1,000 broadcaster shut off their analog signal and begin beaming the latest news, weather and degrading reality show in digital, the New York Times reports Saturday morning that, yes, “Millions Face Blank Screens in TV Switch.” The Times’ Stephen Labaton wrote, “Michael J. Copps, the acting head of the Federal Communications Commission, said that the people most likely to lose reception are society’s most vulnerable — lower-income families, the elderly, the handicapped and homes where little or no English is spoken. The transition will also hit inner-city and rural areas hardest, he said.”
The Nielsen Company figures that three million homes won’t have TV when the switch takes place. Millions more will have bad reception. Apparently, the area to be hardest hit is Puerto Rico. One of the problems is procrastination. People put off doing their chores, and here the chore is acquiring a set-top box that will allow an analog television to show a digital signal.
What Pickering reported, but Labaton does not, is that new broadcast signals may not reach many rural homes at all. The digital signal is weaker and many rural residents will only be able to tap into a useable signal with special equipment. Meanwhile, there are more than 4,000 translators that will need to be upgraded or signals to rural areas will be cut off entirely.