The nation’s broadcasters may not complete their long-awaited switch to all-digital TV next month, after all, reports the New York Times.
On Thursday President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team urged Congress to extend the Feb. 17 cutoff date for analog broadcasting, injecting new uncertainty into a switch that has confused customers and cost the government more than $1.3 billion in subsidies.
Several television networks and high-ranking Democrats supported Mr. Obama’s proposal, although it remains unclear whether a change will be made.
In the most significant sign to date of concern about the impending transition, John D. Podesta, the chairman of the Obama transition team, said the Congressional financing to support the change was "woefully inadequate." Echoing concerns from consumers groups, Mr. Podesta said in a letter to Congressional leaders that the Obama staff had found major difficulties in the transition, which was authorized by Congress in 2005.
He said a federal coupon program for discounts on the cost of converter boxes has, at least temporarily, run out of funds, forcing more than one million coupon requests to be put on a waiting list. To date, 18.8 million coupons have been redeemed; some have expired without being used, and as more expire, new ones will be made available…
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