Wright warns of spectrum plans

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NBC President-CEO Bob Wright told reporters at a speech before the National Press Club in Washington Thursday that budget proposals under consideration by Congress could impose a "$100 billion TV tax" on American consumers. Budget plans passed by the House and Senate project $15 billion and $23 billion, respectively, in new revenue from the broadcast spectrum.

The proposal also includes an accelerated timetable for return of that portion of the spectrum that has been loaned to broadcasters for the transition to advanced digital TV, and a tax on broadcasters' use of the spectrum.

"Let me make it clear: Every single television in America Thursday--all 200 million--will be made obsolete overnight if the government sets an arbitrary date to cut off the current analog signal," said Mr. Wright. "At Thursday's prices, to put a converter box on all existing television sets would cost more than $100 billion. Even if prices come down in the future, the hidden tax on consumers will be enormous."

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