Televison: Newsmakers Jan. 6, 2009

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TV Week:

In a new challenge to the digital TV transition, the government's program offering $40 coupons for TV converter boxes is out of money, weeks sooner than anyone expected. The Department of Commerce today announced that it has committed the entire $1.34 billion available for the coupons and is starting to put new requests on a waiting list. It was just two weeks ago that Meredith Atwell Baker, acting assistant secretary of the Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration, warned U.S. Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's telecom panel, that the $1.5 billion set aside for the coupon program might run short of requests. That wasn't expected to happen immediately. A blitz of media stories over the Christmas holidays, however, brought in a flood of requests. Ms. Atwell Baker had warned Mr. Markey that although a third or more of coupons haven't been redeemed, the way the program is structured could force it to delay sending out new coupons. The government sets aside money for any coupons issued during the 90 days they can be redeemed; Ms. Atwell Baker's worry was that the agency might have to temporarily stop issuing new coupons. At a news conference this afternoon, Ms. Atwell Baker suggested the coupon program was a victim of its own success. She cited a "massive spike" in December that brought requests for 7.2 million coupons rather than for the 4.3 million that NTIA expected... Digital TV Coupon Program Runs Out of Money (Mon, 1/5)

 

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This page contains a single entry by Mike Austerman published on January 6, 2009 8:19 PM.

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