I didn't see this previously posted:http://www.broadcastingcable.com/art...desc=topstoryl
Gutierrez: Don't Extend Converter-Coupon Expiration Date
Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez has a breakfast metaphor for the DTV-to-analog converter: a box of cereal.
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 6/27/2008 12:14:00 PM
Former Federal Communications Commission chairman Mark Fowler once famously referred to TV as a toaster. Now Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez has a breakfast metaphor for the digital-TV-to-analog converter: a box of cereal.
NTIA DTV-to-analog converter box coupon
Gutierrez said the expiration date on the $40 DTV-to-analog converter box coupons Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration is handing out should not be extended beyond 90 days, as some in Congress have asked for, likening it to the coupon on, say, a box of Frosted Flakes.
"I had experience in couponing given my previous background in the cereal business [Kellogg]: 90 days is pretty much the expiration you have on most coupons," he told C-SPAN in an interview for its The Communicators series. "It's long enough to give consumers a chance to think about when they are going to buy and what they are going to buy, but it's short enough to force a decision.
Gutierrez added that the longer the expiration date, the less redemptions there are and eventually the consumers forget they have them. "A lot of what we are doing here is similar to what you do in a packaged-goods industry.[The redemption] should not be any longer," he said.
But some high-profile members of Congress have pushed for extending that date, not wanting those who do forget and then can't obtain the subsidy to show up with pitchforks and torches come election time.
Acting NTIA chief Meredith Attwell Baker has said that the NTIA has the authority to permit reapplication.
Gutierrez also said he didn't think the NTIA needs to ask for any more money now on top of the $1.5 billion allocated for the coupon program, adding, "What we need to do is execute."
The NTIA is the Commerce agency overseeing the coupon program, although it has subcontracted the mechanics of that program to IBM.