Dingell to Constituents: Get Your Converter-Box Coupons

House Energy & Commerce Committee chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.) encouraged all of his constituents to apply ASAP for digital-to-analog converter-box coupons good for $40 toward their purchases.

"It is my goal that everyone in my district be prepared for the digital transition well ahead of the deadline,” Dingell told his constituents, according to a release from the committee.

“If your family has any television sets that receive signals over-the-air or using rabbit ears, I strongly recommend that you apply for and redeem your converter-box coupons at your earliest convenience,” he said. “The new digital technology will benefit all Michigan residents with more and higher quality over-the-air programming, new advanced wireless services and better connectivity for first-responders and other public-safety communications."

Dingell has been one of the legislators concerned that if the DTV transition does not go smoothly and viewers are upset, Congress will be in the crosshairs, particularly with the current administration scheduled to exit only weeks before the Feb. 17, 2009, DTV switchover date.

He scheduled a hearing in the Telecommunications & Internet Subcommittee for Feb. 13 to get a read on the progress of the transition one year out from the 2009 date. The National Telecommunications & Information Administration is also holding a public hearing on the coupon program Thursday, Jan. 24.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.