2009-01-16 / Community

Weiner Calls For Emergency Funding For DTV Switch

Representative Anthony Wiener, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, is calling for emergency funding for the digital television switch coming in February.

As of October 2008, nearly 100,000 New York City households that will need converter boxes in order to access basic television must still make the switch. In all, 321,941 New York City households needed converter boxes when the transition was announced.

Weiner said that many New Yorkers, especially vulnerable people like seniors, were being shut out of the process because the Commerce Department had run out of money to provide coupons for converter boxes. Commerce Department officials have created a waiting list for all future coupon applicants.

"It is simply wrong to place over a million people on a waiting list with no guarantees of if or when they would receive these coupons," said Weiner. "This switch is necessary and important, but given the economic crunch Congress must act immediately to provide emergency funding for discount coupons that were promised to consumers."

Beginning February 17, television stations will only be able to broadcast digitally, which means many New York City residents without cable or satellite must purchase digital converter boxes, which range from $50 to $80, in order to access basic television.

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