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Broken Promises: New Study Details Failures of Digital TV Broadcasters

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Abstract:

Television broadcasters first received free licenses to operate on the publicly-owned airwaves in exchange for a pledge to serve the "public interest, convenience and necessity." As technology advanced, they lobbied Congress for--and received--additional spectrum to broadcast in digital by promising high-definition audio and video, as well as increased local and public interest programming.

Today, a majority of television stations are broadcasting digital programming. However, their promises to the Congress and the public remain unfulfilled. The Media Policy Program of the Campaign Legal Center examined one week of programming aired by 91 digital commercial broadcasters in 16 media markets and found less than five percent of digital programming is aired in high-definition, and only 0.3% was dedicated to local public affairs.