Family in San Juan May be Affected With Digital Transition

POSTED: Wednesday, January 28, 2009 - 10:50am

UPDATED: Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 11:32am

Maria Castañeda is on the waiting list to receive the coupons from the government to offset the cost of a $40 converter box. But if she doesn't receive that coupon in time, she says she'll have to do without TV for a while. She lives in a trailer with her husband and uncle who has never paid for cable because she says he cannot afford it.

“He works to pay the rent, to pay the light bill. He works to pay water and gas. It’s hard for him to do because he has to pay to keep his truck maintained and keep food on the table.”

Maria says her uncle has always relied on those rabbit ears to catch a signal to watch TV. Paying for cable was never an option for him, but after hearing about the transition, it made him inquire about cable.

“I don't think he can afford cable. To them it's an arm and a leg. They’re working hard to pay all other bills and they don't have phones. There’s no phone here. He doesn't pay for one because that's extra.”

Since he is not able to pay for cable, he will have to do without watching television until he receives the coupon for the much needed converter box.

The U.S. Senate passed a bill Monday to delay the transition to digital from February 17th to June 12th because there was worry viewers like Maria wouldn't be technically ready for the switch-over. The measure now goes to the house for consideration. But, there are reports that state President Barack Obama supports that 4-month delay.

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