NTIA Begins to Clear TV Converter Box Coupon Request Waiting ListThursday, March 5th, 2009
Commerce’s NTIA Begins to Clear TV Converter Box Coupon Request Waiting List to Assist More Americans with Transition to Digital TV Broadcasting
WASHINGTON – U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) today announced that the agency has begun to clear its waiting list for requests to the TV Converter Box Coupon Program as a result of additional funds provided by Congress.
“NTIA expects to eliminate the current waiting list within two to three weeks,” said Acting NTIA Administrator Anna Gomez. “This is good news for the more than two million households on the waiting list, who soon will be able to enjoy the benefits of digital television broadcasting. I encourage all consumers to redeem their coupons immediately so that they, too, can enjoy clearer pictures and more programming choices from digital television.”
On January 4, 2009, the TV Converter Box Coupon Program reached its funds obligation ceiling and placed incoming coupon requests on a waiting list. While NTIA has fulfilled requests for 3.4 million coupons from the waiting list, requests for over 4.1 million coupons – representing over 2.3 million households – still remain on the waiting list.
While the DTV Delay Act signed by the President on February 11th allows NTIA to issue replacement coupons to households whose coupons have expired, NTIA is currently not accepting requests for replacement coupons. NTIA will announce shortly when it will be able to issue, upon request, one replacement coupon for each coupon that expired without being redeemed.
The DTV Delay Act also established June 12, 2009, as the final date by which all full-power television stations in the country will be required to shut down analog broadcasts. However, some stations and entire markets may choose to switch before then. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced that, of the nation’s nearly 1,800 full-power televisions stations, a total of 641stations (36%) terminated their analog signals as of February 17, 2009. The FCC has released a list of full-power TV broadcast stations terminating analog service on or before February 17, 2009. More information on the digital television transition is available by calling 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) or by going on-line to the Web site www.DTV.gov.
Consumers can receive digital television today by purchasing a TV converter box (with or without a government coupon), buying a digital TV, or subscribing to cable, satellite or another pay service. Consumers who currently have coupons in hand should use them immediately. The coupons may not be used as a rebate and must be presented to the retailer at the time of purchase.