Digital Tornado to Hit Rural Fringe Areas

To read the report:

Teletruth News: New Report and Survey. September 23, 2008

New Study and Real-World Testing of Over-the-Air Television (OTA) viewers:

DTV - Digital Tornado to Hit Rural Fringe Areas from Antenna, Lack of Signal, and Technical Problems

New Real-World Test of Hunterdon, County, New Jersey Reveals 100% Loss of New York Stations, 100% Lost of Some Stations Or No Reception with Current Antennas and Converter Box Configurations.

FCC's Wilmington Test Not Real-World Test for Most who Are Impacted by the DTV Transition - Rural areas. Whole Communities Are Expected to be Impacted.

Teletruth Files Separate Data Quality Act Complaint - FCC's DTV and Wilmington Data and Statements Play Down Harms - FCC's Needs a Class in Basis Statistics.

Executive Summary

Email to Teletruth:

"After I emailed you I also emailed every single person with the FCC that I could find an email address for. I'm really, REALLY concerned for the safety of my loved ones who rely on the TV for emergency situations and news. It is also how my elderly family members stay "in touch" with the outside world".

EXAMPLE: Real World-Test Score of Hunterdon County, New Jersey. Customer has large antenna on the roof. Test with converter box and current equipment - 100% loss of current programming, No New York or Philadelphia stations; three of the same PBS station using multi-casting. Hunterdon County, NJ is part of the New York Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and is considered a 'rural fringe' area.

With Current TV

Converter Box added

CBS, Channel 2 NY


CBS, Channel 3, PA


NBC Channel 4 NY


Fox Channel 5 NY


ABC Channel 6 PA


ABC Channel 7 NY


WOR Channel 9 NY


CW Channel 11 PA


PBS Channel 13 NY


PBS, NJN Channel 58.1

PBS, NJN Channel 58.1

PBS, NJN Channel 58.4

On May 14, 2008, Tom Allibone, Director of Audits for Teletruth, a resident of Hunterdon County, New Jersey, and an FCC "DTV Deputy" bought a converter box with his coupon to be able to have his free, over-the-air television switch from an analog to digital signal, just like millions of Americans. The box failed to deliver on signals of stations he currently enjoyed, and though he received new channels, such as the Korean station, theses were not programs he would be likely to watch.

After a story came out about his experience in the Hunterdon Democrat with contact information, 29 Hunterdon County residents called or emailed Teletruth, as well as 6 other calls or emails from around the US. Teletruth followed up with interviews as well as on-site visits to examine the transition issues first hand.

Findings and Issues Summary: Teletruth's Data Contradicts FCC's Proposed Plans for the DTV Transition.

Our sample of Hunterdon County over-the-air viewers found:

1. 100% of those tested lost some of their current viewing channels, even with a large antenna.

2. 100% of those tested lost ALL New York stations, even though Hunterdon County is part of the New York City MSA.

3. Some customers got higher quality for some channels in Philadelphia, but still lost some of their Philadelphia channels.

4. The antenna and the technical expertise to actually get a signal in rural areas may cost hundreds of dollars, if it can be done at all.

5. Based on our findings and findings from other researchers, whole communities throughout the US could have a very high percentage of households that will lose over-the-air free TV service.

6. The FCC claims that Wilmington had 1% of the customers at risk while their own data shows over 13% called about issues.


7. FCC's Wilmington Test does not adequately address rural fringe areas.

8. How did the FCC and NTIA spend over $1 billion dollars and counting on the DTV campaign without actually testing the converter box and antenna configurations, especially in rural fringe areas?

9.As of September 2008, over $300 million dollars has been lost in expired coupons and other problems related to this transition.

10. The FCC, NTIA as well as the NAB, NTCA and all of the channels using the data provided by the these organizations including ABC, CBS, NBC, Telemundo, Fox, PBS and other outlets are giving a false and misleading impression about the requirements for this transition.

11. Teletruth has filed a separate Data Quality Act Complaint against the FCC's statements on the Wilmington and DTV transition.

For more information:

Bruce Kushnick, Chairman, Teletruth

Executive Director, New Networks Institute

[email protected]

Tom Allibone, Director of Audits,

President, LTC Consulting

[email protected]