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SBCA President Testifies Before Congress on Digital Transition

**Click Here to Read the Submitted Testimony**

Alexandria, Va., June 2, 2004 – Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association (SBCA) president Richard DalBello today testified before the House Telecommunications and the Internet Subcommittee on the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) Media Bureau’s proposed digital transition plan. This plan would move television spectrum from an analog to digital format, freeing valuable spectrum that the US government will auction off for advanced wireless services and distribute to public safety entities such as police and fire departments.

The transition has long been a priority of the FCC and Congress. The current deadline, set by Congress, for this transition to take place is December 31, 2006 or when 85 percent of US television households can receive a digital signal - whichever comes later. Under the FCC’s proposed plan the switchover date would be in 2009 and it would adjust the aforementioned 85 percent to include DBS and cable subscribers.

“Without the introduction of Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) as a viable competitor in the multi-channel video market, the word ‘digital’ would not be part of the cable industry on such a widespread scale today,” said DalBello. “Satellite operators were the first to offer digital multi-channel video to consumers, spurring a $75 billion investment by the cable industry to keep up with our digital offerings.”  

DBS has offered subscribers a 100 percent digital transmission since its launch in 1994. DBS also pioneered the carriage of High Definition (HD) television by broadcasting the first HD signals in 1999. By providing content on an all-digital platform, DBS providers are giving the American consumer a reason to invest in digital equipment and in turn spurring the economy. Over 22 million households in the US receive multi-channel video service via satellite — one out of every five television households in the country.

“By offering a superior quality product at a competitive price, the DBS industry has not only given consumers a choice, but it has also accelerated the digital transition by introducing digital signals to the US television industry,” continued DalBello.

Richard DalBello was appointed president of SBCA in April of this year. He has more than 20 years experience in the communications and satellite industries.

The Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association is the national trade organization representing all segments of the satellite industry. It is committed to expanding the utilization of satellite technology for the broadcast delivery of video, audio, data, music, voice, interactive, and broadband services. The SBCA is composed of DBS, broadband, satellite radio, and other satellite service providers, content providers, equipment manufacturers, distributors, retailers, encryption vendors, and national and regional distribution companies that make up the satellite services industry. Additional information can be found at