Responding to a letter from FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin indicated that he is willing to consider field tests that involve a full switchover from analog to digital television (DTV) signals in a limited number of markets prior to the February 2009 DTV transition deadline. Writing to Martin on Monday, Copps stressed the importance of seeking “critical real-world experience in advance of the [DTV] transition” in an effort to minimize “consumer disruption on February 17, 2009.” While acknowledging the “technical and practical challenges with planning and conducting full-scale test markets this close to the transition date,” Copps nevertheless told Martin that, “given the potential benefits for the broader transition, we need to try.” To that end, Copps urged Martin to convene expeditiously a working group—consisting of FCC officials, representatives of other government agencies, consumer groups and industry players—that would identify potential test markets and that would also work with broadcasters, local government leaders, and community groups to organize and conduct the tests. Such testing, according to Copps, could be useful in exploring (1) the quality and effectiveness of DTV reception across markets with varying topographies, (2) the number of households that will need to acquire DTV converter boxes, (3) the ability of cable and satellite TV operators to receive and pass through DTV broadcast signals, and (4) consumer reaction to the transition. In reply, Martin pledged to ask the agency’s DTV task force “to coordinate with various industry stakeholders to begin exploring how we could undertake many of these initiatives,” as he thanked Copps for offering “some interesting ideas that I am in favor of pursuing.”