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Commerce Department's NTIA Awards IBM Contract
For Digital-to-Analog Converter Box Coupon Program Services

Consumers May Request Coupons Starting January 1, 2008

For Immediate Release: August 15, 2007
Media contact: Todd Sedmak, (202) 482-7002 or tsedmak@ntia.doc.gov

WASHINGTON -- The Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) today awarded IBM a contract to provide services for the Digital-to-Analog Converter Box Coupon Program, which is designed to help all Americans receive free, over-the-air television when full-power television stations cease analog broadcasting after February 17, 2009. The total award is $119,968,468, which breaks down to $84,990,343 for the base period, and $34,978,125 for a contingent period. The contract performance will begin immediately, and is scheduled for closeout September 30, 2009.

"This is a major milestone toward implementing a successful Coupon Program to ensure the switch from analog to digital television is completed smoothly and as planned," said NTIA Administrator John Kneuer. "By awarding the contract on schedule, NTIA is preparing to be open for business so consumers may request coupons starting January 1, 2008, as required by law."

IBM will provide services in three areas:
. Consumer education;
. Coupon distribution to consumers and retail store participation; and
. Financial processing to reimburse retailers, to maintain records, and to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse.

The Coupon Program, authorized by the Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Act of 2005, provides for distribution and redemption of coupons that consumers may apply toward the purchase of digital-to-analog converter boxes. Households using analog televisions will not be able to receive digital broadcasts after February 17, 2009, unless the analog television is connected to a converter box that switches the digital signal to an analog format, or the analog television is connected to cable or satellite service.

Between January 1, 2008, and March 31, 2009, all U.S. households may request up to two coupons, worth $40 each, to be used toward the purchase of up to two digital-to-analog converter boxes until the initial $990 million allocated for the program has been exhausted. After this initial phase of the program, NTIA may request an additional $510 million already authorized by Congress. During this "contingent period," coupons will be available exclusively to households that rely on over-the-air broadcasting as their sole source of television programming.

Additional information about the award may be found online at www.fbo.gov, and for information about the Coupon Program, go to www.ntia.doc.gov/dtvcoupon.

NTIA is responsible for the development of the domestic and international telecommunications policy of the Executive Branch.

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