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Federal Communications Commission
1919 - M Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
News media information 202 / 418-0500
Fax-On-Demand 202 / 418-2830
Internet: http://www.fcc.gov

This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action. See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).

October 6, 1998


I welcome and applaud the news today from the National Association of Broadcasters that 41 stations will begin their digital television broadcasts next month.

This number significantly exceeds the 26 stations that committed to the November 1, 1998, voluntary start-up date. It shows that broadcasters in major markets are taking DTV seriously, and are lining up to start their competitive DTV engines.

The fact that stations outside of the top ten markets are starting DTV is particularly important because it means that more than one-third of the television households in the country will have access to at least one digital TV signal this year.

I have said many times that digital is the future of over-the-air television, and that the pace and direction of the transition to digital TV will be set by the private sector, by the marketplace and by competition.

There will be many significant "firsts,""start-ups" and "launches" in the weeks and months ahead as DTV stations and services are rolled out by the broadcasting industry. For instance, CBS is airing their first National Football League telecast in High Definition TV on November 8.

The fact that so many stations have committed to accelerating their DTV start-up and jumping the gun to bring the benefits of DTV to their communities sooner than required will be remembered as one of the most significant developments in the DTV transition process.

I commend each of them for their innovative spirit and their dedication to seeking new ways to serve American consumers.

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