NTIA: Wait List For DTV Coupons Keeps Growing

3.27 million requests now on the list

With the DTV transition date looking more like it may stick at Feb. 17, and no government action yet on clearing up the DTV-to-analog converter-box coupon problems, the wait list for coupon applications continues to grow.

According to National Telecommunications & Information Administration figures to be released Friday, there are now 3.27 million such requests on the list.

NTIA has reached its funding limit, which means it can't send out coupons until others expire and free up more money. But more requests are coming in each day than coupons are expiring, which created the waiting list that has been growing since the agency met its $1.34B funding cap at the beginning of this month.

It still has the money to fund and distribute the coupons, but due to accounting rules it can only access that money as expired coupons free it up.

The economic stimulus bill passed in the House Wednesday, which provides $650 million for the coupons and other DTV education, but that bill hasn't passed the Senate yet and probably won't until mid-February.

If the hard date holds, Congress will have to do something before that. Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) has introduced a bill to fix the accounting problem and free up the funds.