Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) announced that the South Dakota Board of Directors for Educational Telecommunications in Vermillion will receive a total of $34,870 in grants from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Low Power TV and Translator Upgrade Program. The funding, which will be distributed to television stations in Spearfish and Belle Fourche, will be used to reimburse rural broadcasters for upgrading to digital broadcasting technology.
“I am pleased that broadcasters in South Dakota are participating in this program as they transition to digital television,” Johnson said. “This is an important program that improves service for South Dakotans who rely on television to access local news, weather and important public safety information.”
While most television stations were required to transition from analog and exclusively broadcast digital signals by June 2009, many rural, low-power stations are allowed to continue broadcasting in analog. The Low Power TV and Translator Upgrade Program, administered by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, encourages these stations to make the digital transition by reimbursing costs.
As of June 2009 most television stations ceased broadcasting analog signals as part of a Congressionally-mandated change in television broadcasting. The switch to digital, which was mandated by Congress as part of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, has provided viewers with improved quality and has freed up bandwidth for new public safety communications services and made it easier for first responders to communicate with one another. Subscribers to cable, satellite or television services provided by a telephone company were not affected by this change.