Congress Prepares To Push Back Digital TV Deadline

Congress may soon help the 1.76 million consumers anxiously waiting for their $40 digital TV converter coupons. According to Congress Daily, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) is drafting legislation to push back the February 17 digital television transition deadline as requested last week by both Consumers Union and the incoming Obama Administration.

As the Senate prepares to push back the deadline, the House Energy and Commerce Committee is trying to clear the coupon backlog by “tweaking accounting rules,” presumably to make it look like the Commerce Department has spent less than the $1.34 billion it was given. We guess there isn’t much interest in actually providing more funds to the program, so why not pull a Wall Street-style accounting caper to gin-up some extra cash?

The transition to digital has been woefully underfunded from the start. We’ve spent less than $10 million on public education, while England, five times smaller than Alaska, spent close to $400 million on their transition. Unless Congress acts fast, expect your grandparents to call on February 17 asking what happened to all their stories.

Rockefeller Drafting Legislation To Postpone DTV Switch [Congress Daily]
PREVIOUSLY: Consumers Union Asks Congress To Delay Digital Broadcast TV Switch
(Photo: Tubes.)