TV Converter Box Coupon Program ready for new, replacement requests
WASHINGTON – As the June 12 deadline for the nationwide conversion to digital TV approaches, the TV Converter Box Coupon Program has begun to accept replacement requests from eligible households whose coupons expired without being redeemed. Meanwhile, money allocated to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has allowed NTIA to clear the digital converter box coupon waiting list.
“This is very good news for Americans who were unable to redeem their coupons before they expired,” Acting NTIA Administrator Anna Gomez said. “With the backlog of applications now eliminated, consumers can apply for coupons and get assistance right away, allowing them to continue to receive important local television news and emergency information by purchasing a converter box at a reduced cost.”
If an eligible household has redeemed one coupon toward the purchase of a TV converter box and the other coupon has expired, then it will be approved for a single replacement coupon. Consumers may apply for replacement coupons in accordance with existing program application rules by visiting http://www.DTV2009.gov, calling 1-888-DTV-2009 (1-888-388-2009), mailing an application to P.O. Box 2000, Portland, Ore., 97208, or faxing an application to 1-877-DTV-4ME2 (1-877-388-4632). Deaf or hard of hearing callers may use 1-877-530-2634 (TTY).
NTIA also announced that the Coupon Program has eliminated its waiting list and is processing all coupon requests as they come in with a maximum 9 business day turnaround time.
On January 4, 2009, the Coupon Program reached its funding ceiling and placed incoming coupon requests on a waiting list, to be fulfilled as previously issued coupons expired. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provided NTIA $650 million to issue at least 12.25 million more coupons, to start mailing coupons via first class mail and to ensure vulnerable populations are prepared for the transition from analog-to-digital television transmission. Applications are now being processed on a first come, first served basis while supplies last.
“I urge all consumers who are still unprepared for the transition to act today to get their converter boxes and resolve any technical issues well ahead of the June 12 deadline,” Gomez added.
Consumers can receive digital television today by purchasing and connecting 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.
The DTV Delay Act 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 641 stations (36%) terminated their analog signals as of 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 http://www.DTV.gov.