February 1, 2005
Commissioner Jonathan Steven Adelstein
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, SW, Room 8C-302
Washington, DC 20554
Dear Commissioner Adelstein:
The Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE) represents 10 affiliated national unions with nearly one-half million media professionals, artists, technicians and support workers who are involved in all phases of news and entertainment programming. In addition, the 25 labor organizations which comprise our alliance represent over 4 million union households with nearly 10 million television viewers in them who are consumers of news and entertainment programming. In the past, our organization and these unions have worked with the Federal Communications Commission on a range of communications issues including media ownership.
For several years the DPE and a number of our affiliates have also been very involved in the rollout of digital television. Our member unions have filed comments with the FCC as well as made known their views on Capitol Hill in an effort to assure the timely and judicious development of this new technology that will, we believe, greatly enhance the television viewing experience for our members, their families and the American public.
In this regard, we would like to advise you of our concerns with regard to recent actions by the FCC on what had previously been known as the “Media Bureau Plan” to accelerate the nation’s transition to digital television.
First, we applaud the Commission’s recent decision to defer to Congress’ legislative judgment the final decision-making on the major elements of the “Plan”. At the same time, however, we believe that the decision to bifurcate the issue by separating out and scheduling a February 10th Commission vote on multicasting was misguided. We strongly believe that multicasting is an integral part of the DTV transition and cannot be separated from it.
We therefore urge you to take whatever action is appropriate on February 10th to assure that the multicasting issue is, as well, left to U.S. Congress.
As always, thank you in advance for your consideration of our views.
Paul E Almeida