Congressional leaders want to allow consumers to reapply for DTV converter box coupons

Reps. John Dingell, D-MI, and Edward Markey, D-MA, have asked the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to allow households to reapply for converter box coupons, which expire in 90 days, if they miss the expiration date.

However, NTIA chief Meredith Baker refused to commit to that, adding that she would work with legislators to address the issue. She said as the issue moved from the theoretical into the real world, the NTIA would be sympathetic.

Baker said she asked IBM, which has been contracted to administer the coupon program, to determine how much the reapplication process would cost.

The NTIA is overseeing a government subsidy program for DTV-to-analog converter boxes that will allow over-the-air viewers with analog-only TV sets to still receive a full-power TV station signal after the transition.

Each household that applies can get up to two $40 coupons toward the purchase of the converters, which range in price from $40-$70.