Who’s Not Ready?

Well, it looks as though the U.S. Congress is going to delay the transition to digital television broadcasts, and I’ve already made my position clear on why that’s not a good idea. Nielsen reported new numbers last week on about how many households remain unprepared for the end of analog broadcasts, and the results provide support for both camps on the issue.

According to Nielsen, 6.5 million households remain completely unprepared for the switch to digital-only broadcasts. That number is down from 7.8 million a month earlier in December 2008, and down even more from the May 2008 mark of 10.7 million. For those in favor of the delay, this signals a possible acceleration of those getting ready for the switch. It also supports the position that 6.5 million is too many, and the federal phone banks could only handle calls from about one out of 20 of a day for that many those households. This is sure to leave millions frustrated and unhappy with their loss of television service.

On the other hand, those opposing the delay could argue that four months will not be enough to reach most of those who remain unprepared, as many of them either cannot afford to get ready, or are not capable of dealing with the problem for any number of reasons. The delay will only cost taxpayers and businesses money, and in the end, we will still have millions of U.S. TV households that will still be completely unready.

That’s the beauty of statistics and other information; they can tell you what the situation is, but they can’t tell you what is the right decision to make.