NAB wants DTV converter boxes in grocery stores

March 17, 2008

The NAB has asked the government to help place DTV converter boxes into the nation’s grocery stories, especially in rural areas where there’s a lack of electronics retail stores.

The NAB asked the National Telecommunications & Information Administration, manager of the DTV converter box coupon program, for the program change. Grocery-store chains can already qualify to carry the government-certified boxes so long as they have at least one year of experience in electronic retailing. However, there is also a waiver policy for smaller stores with “good cause.”

In a letter to NTIA chief Meredith Atwell Baker, NAB president David Rehr said he understood concerns about trained staff or possibilities for fraud, but he also suggested that good cause would be “ensuring that stores in every community can provide their consumer with the ability to conveniently purchase equipment necessary to keep their television reception intact.”

Rehr wrote that “particularly in rural areas, we need to make certain that stores convenient to all households will be able to participate in the converter box coupon program. In areas where there might not be a large consumer electronics outlet, there will certainly be grocery stores. I believe that an accommodation should be made for grocery stores, and that at a minimum information on NTIA’s program and its waiver criteria should be made available to stores, especially those in rural areas.”

Rehr said the NAB was ready to help the NTIA promote the availability of that waiver for smaller stores or other outlets that don’t meet the electronics retail experience.

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