Feb 12, 2009 | 3
Senate and House negotiators reportedly stripped out billions of dollars in tax cuts for big telcos, including Verizon Communications, Inc., and AT&T, from the compromise $789-billion stimulus package that were included in the Senate version to spur expansion of broadband coverage into rural areas.
The Senate money measure had called for 10 percent tax credits for companies that increased Internet service in pockets where it exists but is scarce and a 20 percent tax breaks for building new networks in currently unserved parts of the country. The House bill did not contain any plan for tax credits.
Feb 5, 2009 | 7
Ever wonder if those bizarre cases Dr. Gregory House cracks every week on TV really happen? Like many med dramas, the Fox series has MD consultants, and like another successful franchise, Law & Order, the plots from House are ripped from the headlines — in this case, out of medical journals.
David Foster, an internist who's a writer and producer on House, tells today's Wall Street Journal that he gets some of his best plotlines from the clinical problem-solving column in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) — "one of the great gold mines of diseases," he tells the newspaper. Other ideas come from The Merck Manual, Harrison's Manual of Medicine (a textbook), friends, and (surprise) the Internet. "It's good for us but bad for humanity that there are so many ways that the body breaks down," Foster tells the Journal.
Feb 4, 2009 | 2
Just two weeks before a switch to all-digital TV was set to take effect, the House today voted 264 to 158 to delay the move until June 12. This was the second attempt by the Democratic-controlled House to push through the measure, which the Senate easily passed last week (twice) and President Obama has said he will sign into law. Obama and congressional Democrats backed the delay to give some 2.6 million people who still do not have digital TVs time to get $40 vouchers from the feds to subsidize the $50 to $70 cost of converters that will enable them to watch digital programs.
People with digital TVs, who subscribe to digital cable service or have satellite dishes don't have to worry about getting a converter or taking any other steps when the change takes effect. All new televisions sold in the U.S. since March 1, 2007, have been required to have a DTV digital receiver built in.
Jan 28, 2009
In a surprising defeat, House Republicans today beat back legislation pushed by President Barack Obama that would have delayed the transition from analog to digital television broadcasting by four months.
The move comes just a day after the Democratic-controlled Senate unanimously passed a measure to delay the switchover from February 17 to June 12 to give the 6.5 million U.S. households (according to The Nielsen Company) that don't have digital TV sets time to buy converter boxes.
Broadcasters had opposed the delay, complaining it would cost an estimated $22 million to continue airing shows in both analogue and digital for an additional four months. To assuage them, the bill would have allowed stations to make the change before the new deadline if they permitted public safety agencies to use the vacant airwaves as soon as it became available. (Congress in 2005 voted to switch broadcast signals from analog to more efficient digital to free up so-called "white spaces," areas of unused wireless spectrum, for commercial wireless services and interoperable emergency-response networks.)
Jan 27, 2009
Despite a year of warnings that television was going digital, consumers are not ready to make the transition, according to President Barack Obama and telecom officials. So the Democratic-controlled Senate unanimously passed a measure yesterday that would push back the switch from analog to digital TV broadcasts to June 12, giving the 6.5 million U.S. households (according to The Nielsen Company) unable to receive digital TV programming a chance to buy converter boxes. The House is set to approve the legislation today.
Among the reasons for the delay: The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) ran out of $40 coupons it was distributing to offset the $50-to-$70 cost of buying a device to convert traditional analogue TVs to digital. Nearly 2.6 million viewers had to be put on a waiting list for the coupons, the Associated Press reports. People with digital TVs, who subscribe to digital cable service or have satellite dishes don't have to worry about getting a converter or taking any other steps when the change takes effect.
Jan 17, 2009 | 7
Democratic lawmakers are calling for $80 billion in federal funds to be set aside to beef up the nation's Internet services, develop renewable energy sources and computerize health care records.
The investment would be part of the $825 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill of 2009 [pdf] (which the House is expected to vote on the week of Jan. 26). The money spent on new technology is expected to "increase economic efficiency by spurring technological advances in science and health" via $54 billion to bolster production of energy from renewable sources, $20 billion to computerize health care records and $6 billion to provide broadband Internet to regions where it's lacking.
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