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House Asks P.O. to Speed DTV-Coupon Mailing

The leadership of the House Energy & Commerce Committee asked the U.S. Post Office to prioritize the mailing of digital-TV-to-analog converter-box coupons. That request was necessary because the government agency mailing out the coupons is sending them standard class to save money.

The coupons expire 90 days after mailing, and the Secretary of Commerce suggested that those expiration dates are not going to be extended.

Writing to Postmaster General John Potter, the legislators said that even though the National Telecommunications and Information Administration is mailing the coupons standard class, "We strongly urge you to give mailed coupons priority status so that households receive them promptly."

The coupons are worth $40 apiece toward the purchase of digital-to-analog converter boxes that will allow analog-only TV sets to receive a TV picture from full-power TV stations after they switch-over to all-digital broadcasting Feb. 17.

The letter was signed by House Energy & Commerce Committee chairman Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) and ranking member Joe Barton (R-Texas), as well as Telecommunications Subcommittee chairman Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and ranking member Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.).