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NTIA letter, Technical Standards for Digital Television

Docket Number
MM Docket No. 87-268
Friday, December 06, 1996

The Honorable Reed E. Hundt
Federal Communications Commission
1919 M Street, N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20554


Re: Technical Standards for Digital Television
MM Docket No. 87-268


Dear Chairman Hundt:

I am writing as the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information and the Administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to comment on the recent industry compromise on digital television standards. As a part of the U.S. Department of Commerce and principal adviser to the President on telecommunications and information policy issues, NTIA has an interest in seeing the benefits of digital television brought to the American public.

NTIA applauds the broadcasting, consumer electronics, and computer industries for reaching a compromise regarding technical standards for digital television sets. We are pleased that industry has taken an important step in defining the future of digital television because we believe that superior technical standards can result from a widespread agreement among interested parties. Indeed, NTIA called for an industry compromise earlier this year after the Administration held two meetings on this subject that brought together representatives of industry, consumer groups, and the creative community. We recognized at that time that the full potential of digital television would not be realized if legitimate concerns raised by competing interests were not addressed by the parties themselves. We particularly commend Commissioner Susan Ness for the leading role she played in encouraging the parties to compromise.

The compromise reached by the parties will allow the transition to digital television to begin. Digital television promises greatly improved television service for American consumers and myriad benefits for the U.S. economy. The industry compromise has the potential to allow American consumers access to the benefits of this remarkable technology more quickly and affordably. In addition, we hope the compromise will provide an avenue for development of interoperability between broadcasting and computer services, which we believe is important for the development of the National Information Infrastructure. Adoption of a digital transmission standard also promises to spur the American economy in terms of manufacturing, trade, technological development, and international investment -- including job growth. To achieve these ends, we urge the Commission to move forward expeditiously to promote the transition to digital television.



Larry Irving


cc: The Honorable James H. Quello
The Honorable Susan Ness
The Honorable Rachelle B. Chong