Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Helping seniors with digital TV transition
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 10, 2008
Menendez Press Office 202-224-4744
Ashley Glacel (Kohl) 202-224-5364
SENS. MENENDEZ AND KOHL LEAD CALL FOR COUPONS
FOR THOSE IN NURSING HOMES, CARE FACILITIES
Senators call for quick rule change to assist residents of these facilities in purchasing converter boxes
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Herb Kohl (D-WI), Chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, along with 13 of their colleagues, are urging the agency in charge of the digital television transition coupon program to expedite a rule change that will allow residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities to receive coupons to purchase converter boxes. Since these seniors do not have home addresses of their own, they were originally left out of the coupon program. Though the National Telecommunications and Information Administration is working on a rule change to include them, every day that passes is a day less that seniors have to prepare for the February 17, 2009 transition to digital.
“The public airwaves should be accessible to everyone, which is why we need to include every American in the transition to digital,” said Senator Menendez. “Millions of our nation’s seniors will be relying on these coupons to ensure that their TVs still receive a signal after the digital transition, and we have to make sure that the ones in long-term care facilities are included.”
“With only eight months left until analog televisions go dark, the NTIA needs to move quickly on this rule change,” Senator Kohl. “For some seniors in long-term care facilities, television serves as their only link to the outside world. It is imperative that the NTIA make these government-issued coupons available to seniors no matter where they live.”
An estimated 21 million Americans rely on over-the-air broadcasts and will need a converter box. Forty percent of them are seniors.