After much debate, the government has announced the details of how it plans to subsidize digital-to-analog converter boxes for those who still receive over-the-air television. There's nothing too remarkable here; households will be allowed to apply for up to two $40 vouchers, 22.5 million of which will be made available. If those run out, Congress is authorized to make another 11.5 million available. Although this should easily cover the estimated 19 million households that still watch TV the old fashioned way, some are not satisfied by the plan. An analyst at the Consumers Union argued that more should be done to make it easier for users to get boxes, noting that because the switch was government-mandated, as opposed to market-driven, consumers should not be forced to bear any costs. But it doesn't really make sense to talk about government vs market-driven switches when you're talking about wireless spectrum. By its very nature, such an event involves government regulation. On the whole, this sounds like a fairly pragmatic solution. It should satisfy most TV viewers at a reasonable cost, considering the enormous benefit to the public from opening up this spectrum.
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