One celery stalk, a gallon of milk and a converter box


Not every town in the US can support a consumer electronics store, but you can bet that almost all of them have a grocery store of two. To make sure all consumers have easy access to digital-to-analog converter boxes, NAB is asking NTIA to put grocery stores on its list of approved converter box retail outlets. In a letter to NTIA head Meredith Attwell Baker, NAB’s David K. Rehr wrote, "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."

A day earlier, Rehr made another appeal to Baker. Noting that over 20% of seniors are over-air only TV viewers, he asked that special arrangements be made to get coupons to assisted living facilities and nursing homes. "We understand that current NTIA policies and procedures could hinder the efforts of seniors in assisted living facilities and nursing homes to obtain coupons, by utilizing too narrow a definition of "household" for purposes of coupon eligibility. Surely, this is something that can be fixed, perhaps with a designation to identify seniors at an address that has multiple eligible recipients. These citizens deserve to be admitted to the government’s program to ensure continued television reception. While we all value our favorite television programs and rely on television broadcasts for vital weather and emergency information, our senior population above all others cannot be cut off from receiving television programming."

RBR/TVBR observation: The time for common sense and flexibility is now — there is no "next year" any longer. We encourage the FCC, NTIA and Congress to pay close attention when any stakeholder identifies a crack in the DTV transition system and do whatever is needed to plug it immediately.