Commerce Secretary Gutierrez Announces Ten Millionth Coupon Requested for TV Converter Box Program

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 
April 08, 2008
News Media Contact: 
Commerce Department, Office of Public Affairs, 202-482-4883
 

WASHINGTON—Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez announced over 10 million coupons
have been requested since the launch of the TV Converter Box Program on January 1, 2008. The
February 17, 2009 transition will offer consumers a clearer picture, more programming choices and
free up the airwaves for better communications among emergency first responders. The Commerce
Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is administering
the TV Converter Box Coupon Program.
“With ten million coupons requested, the TV Converter Box Coupon Program is running strong,” said
Gutierrez. “While we’re pleased with this high level of participation and the program so far, challenges
remain, and the NTIA is working hard to ensure a smooth transition.”
As of April 1, 2008, more than 1,100 retailers are participating in the program representing 11,448
participating outlets nationwide, including locations in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin
Islands. To date, NTIA has certified 66 converter boxes. Additionally, consumers can choose from
among ten online retailers and four phone retailers. Consumers – even those in areas where the closest
consumer electronics retailer is fifty or one hundred miles away – will have ready access to couponeligible
converter boxes.
The transition to digital television is an unprecedented effort, and the NTIA is working to ensure all
Americans are aware of the transition and take the necessary action before February, 2009. NTIA is
leveraging relationships with consumer groups, community organizations, federal agencies, and
industry to inform consumers of their options. NTIA is collaborating with more than 200 partner
organizations, including social service and community organizations with ties to the senior citizens,
rural, minority, and disabled communities, as well as a variety of federal agencies with direct
communications with other constituent groups.
“Our combined efforts to get the word out and educate consumers are succeeding, but we must continue to
inform the American public about their options for making the transition,” added Gutierrez.
Background:
The Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Act of 2005 requires full-power television stations
to cease analog broadcasts and switch to digital after February 17, 2009. The Act also authorizes
Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to create the TV
Converter Box Coupon Program.
By February 17, 2009, consumers need to look at each analog television set in their home that is not
connected to cable, satellite, or other pay television service and make a decision:
• They may connect it to cable, satellite, or pay television service;
• They may replace it with a TV with a digital tuner, or
• They may keep it working with a TV converter box.
Some viewers watch programs over translators or other low power stations which may continue
broadcasting analog signals after February 17, 2009. Those viewers may wish to select a converter
box that will pass through analog signals.
Households may request two coupons, which are worth $40 each and can be used toward the purchase
of up to two, digital-to-analog converter boxes. Between now, and March 31, 2009, households can
request two coupons while funding is available in one of four ways:
• Apply online at www.dtv2009.gov.
• Call the Coupon Program 24-hour hotline 1-888-DTV-2009 (1-888-388-2009), TTY 1-
877-530-2634
• Mail a coupon application to: PO BOX 2000, Portland, OR 97208-2000
• Fax a coupon application to 1-877-DTV-4ME2 (1-877-388-4632)
NTIA will provide consumers a list of eligible converters and participating retailers when coupons are
mailed. Coupons expire 90 days after they are mailed, and only one coupon can be used to purchase
each coupon-eligible converter box.
NTIA is responsible for the development of the domestic and international telecommunications policy
of the Executive Branch.
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