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Obama Aide Sends Second Letter to Congress Urging Digital TV Delay

20 Jan, 2009 By: Erik Gruenwedel

It’s not President Barack Obama’s first order of business, but it’s looking more certain by the day that the Feb. 17 digital television transition will be delayed.

Obama top aide John Podesta has sent a second letter to Congress urging a delay to the analog switch-off to allow consumers more time to prepare, the Washington Post reported. Podesta sent lawmakers a letter Jan. 8 suggesting the government wasn’t prepared for the potential fallout of millions of Americans without TV.

“Since then, the situation has only gotten worse,” Podesta wrote in the Jan. 19 letter obtained by the Post. “Lack of appropriate planning has left many consumers vulnerable.”

Two separate bills have been introduced that would delay the analog shut-off to June 12, and both bills ask for additional funding for a $40 digital converter box coupon program. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced earlier this month that it had run out the $1.34 billion Congress allocated to the program.

One of the bills would extend the expiration date for coupons that haven’t been redeemed yet to mid-September.

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