3.2 Million Now Awaiting Converter-Box Coupons
As the House readies to vote next week on delaying the digital TV transition to June 12, the number of converter-box coupon requests on hold is continuing to grow.
The Department of Commerce Web site says that as of Jan. 28, requests for 3.2 million coupons are on hold, up from the 2.6 million reported last week.
The government in 2005 set aside $1.5 billion for the program, which offers up to two $40 coupons per household to defray the cost of converter boxes needed for analog sets not connected to cable or satellite to view digital broadcast signals. Some of the money was for administration and about $1.3 billion for the coupons, which are good for 90 days.
Money to issue new coupons ran out in early January, and new ones can’t be issued until current ones expire. The House version of President Barack Obama’s stimulus plan includes $650 million for additional coupons, and Capitol Hill may act to allow more coupons to be issued, even before the stimulus plan gets approved.
Proponents of delaying the digital TV transition cite the growing number of coupon requests as one major reason for a delay. House Republicans say the coupon program can be fixed without delaying the transition date.