During a hearing Tuesday before the Senate Commerce Committee, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin was subjected to further questions about the ongoing digital television (DTV) transition test in Wilmington, North Carolina, as committee chairman Daniel Inouye (D-HI) warned that the thousands of calls received by FCC staffers after the Wilmington transition “may translate into millions of calls” following next February’s nationwide DTV transition. As with a similar hearing conducted last week before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, panelists questioned Martin on the impact of the digital cliff effect, through which viewers on the outer fringes of analog TV coverage areas could be left without access to DTV signals in spite of their usage of DTV sets or converter boxes. Acknowledging that the FCC received hundreds of complaints from Wilmington residents who, as a consequence of digital cliff problems, lost access to local NBC affiliate WECT, Martin again emphasized that the FCC is “exploring what steps can be taken to address this problem in Wilmington and minimize the burden on viewers throughout the country.” Martin also said that the 2,272 calls received by the agency in connection with the Wilmington transition represent only 1.2% of the households in that market and that the FCC was able to resolve nearly 90% of calls reporting converter box problems or other technical issues. Meanwhile, with respect to the converter box program managed by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), Mark Goldstein—an official of the Government Accountability Office—noted that only 12.5% of U.S. households have requested subsidized converter box coupons and that only 5% have redeemed them to date. As Goldstein voiced concern that “all of the people who need a coupon will not get them in time,” NTIA acting director Meredith Baker maintained that her agency is prepared to handle the expected upsurge in coupon requests. Terming the problems outlined by Martin and Baker as “immediate and significant,” Inouye urged both the FCC and NTIA to “remain vigilant so that the next administration does not inherit a communications crisis.”