Programming

NAB: Viewers May Now Reapply for Converter Box Coupons

More than 17 million coupons have expired 3/24/2009 09:50:00 AM Eastern

The National Telecommunications & Information Administration called a press conference for Tuesday morning to announce a DTV transition update, but the National Association of Broadcasters may have beaten it to the punch.

According to NAB's own latest DTV update, TV households can now reapply for expired digital-to-analog converter boxes, up to two per household, to replace ones that expired. They can apply online at www.dtv2009.gov/ApplyCoupon.aspx or call 1-888-DTV-2009. NTIA oversees the coupon box subsidy program. Over 17 million coupons have expired.

The DTV date-change bill allowed for that, and the NTIA got access to the $650 million in stimulus bill money to pay for it, but it took NTIA several weeks to retool for that scenario. Up until this point, any reapplications it received before it was ready were rejected.

In addition, according to NAB, there is no longer a waiting list for coupons, which had swelled to over 4 million and helped spur the Obama administration and Congress to change the hard date for pulling the plug on analog signals from Feb. 17 to June 12.

NTIA has been saying for a couple of weeks that there was no waiting list, but instead a queue from which requests were being processed daily, expecting to have cleared the former waiting list in two-three weeks, which would be about now.

Spokespeople for NTIA were not available for comment at press time.

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