Washington – President-elect Barack Obama is urging key lawmakers to postpone the Feb. 17 transition to digital television broadcasting, as the federal program providing coupons to consumers for the purchase of necessary digital converter boxes has run out of funds, the Associated Press reported. "With coupons unavailable, support and education insufficient, and the most vulnerable Americans exposed, I urge you to consider a change to the legislatively mandated analog cutoff date," John Podesta, co-chair of the Obama transition team, wrote in a letter to a bipartisan group of lawmakers on the Senate and House Commerce committees.
Earlier this week, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) revealed that it has exhausted the $1.34 billion originally earmarked for providing consumers with coupons for purchasing converter boxes.
The NTIA said it has now set up a waiting list for coupons, which currently counts 1.1 million requests.
Since the Feb. 17 date was written into law, a postponement or any efforts to increase funding must be dealt with by Congress.
The Bush administration, which opposes any postponement, is seeking an additional $250 million to supplant funding for coupons.
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