NTIA Won't Immediately Gain Access To DTV Coupon Money [Multichannel News]
President Obama signed the economic stimulus bill yesterday, which contained $650 million in additional funding for the federal government's digital television converter box coupon program and consumer DTV education. Last month, the federal agency responsible for the program announced that it had run out of money, just weeks prior to the digital transition deadline. The program started a waiting list for the coupons, which now totals 4.2 million requests - nearly as many households as the number that remain unprepared for the digital transition.
While the additional funding will restart the coupon program, it may take a few weeks before coupons begin hitting mailboxes again. The lag time is due to the normal course of bureaucratic red tape that exists when a new appropriation is made by Congress. Still, the coupons won't be available to consumers in markets with stations that switched to digital television this morning - that was 641 stations by last count.
I'll be following digital transition news closely over the next few days as we find out how the transition is going in those markets that opted to go ahead with a February 17th digital switch. Mike posted a comment on this blog asking why I keep writing about this since our customers are already prepared.
Great question. Two reasons. First, Insight customers who don't have all of their TV's hooked up to cable may not be prepared for the transition on the TV's that aren't. Second, although this blog is primarily aimed at Insight customers, they are not the only readers. I am also interested in reaching people all around the country who simply are interested in telecommunications issues. Our readership research shows that people who read this blog come from everywhere imaginable.