C&P from: http://money.cnn.com/2005/10/21/technology/digital_tv.reut/ WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Stevens said Wednesday he plans to propose a $3 billion subsidy program to ensure older television sets still work when the transition to better quality, digital broadcasts is completed. Stevens, an Alaska Republican, said the estimated cost of a box to convert the new digital signals back to analog so existing television sets continue to work is $50 each and he proposed the government subsidize $40 of that amount. "We plan to provide a set-top box...to everyone who has a TV that needs a box," Stevens said at a luncheon sponsored by the Free Enterprise Fund. "It may be we have to set a limit." Stevens has proposed legislation requiring television broadcasters to end analog broadcasts and only air digital by April 7, 2009. His committee plans to vote on setting the deadline and the subsidy amount Thursday afternoon. However, Republican Sen. John Sununu of New Hampshire may propose an amendment paring the subsidy fund to $1 billion, according to a list of expected amendments obtained by Reuters. Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican, also had planned an amendment to cap the program to $500 million but now may not do so, according to a source close to the issue. The money for the subsidy would come from selling some of the old analog airwaves at auction for commercial wireless services. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated a sale could raise $10 billion if the airwaves were made available in 2009. There are approximately 21 million homes in the United States that rely solely on broadcast television, while most households subscribe to cable or satellite services. The National Association of Broadcasters, which represents most television stations, has estimated that there are about 73 million television sets in homes in the United States that are not hooked up to cable or satellite service and rely solely on broadcast.