NTIA D-to-A Converter Box Rules
March 15, 2007
NTIA D-to-A Converter Box Rules Consumer Rules
Eligible households will be able to request coupons from NTIA through a Web site, over the phone or by mail between Jan. 1, 2008, and March 31, 2009. The coupons will be electronically trackable and uniquely numbered so that each transaction will be verified at the retailer's point of sale terminal through NTIA's coupon distribution database. Similar to gift cards, this type of coupon will be consumer-friendly and minimize the opportunity for waste, fraud, and abuse. If contingent funds are needed, consumers requesting coupons from these contingent funds must self-certify to NTIA that they do not subscribe to cable, satellite or other pay television services.
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Manufacturers of converter boxes that can be purchased with coupons must build devices that include specific features and meet certain performance specifications identified in the Technical Appendix to the final rule. Features are either "required" or "permitted" and examples of "disqualifying features" also are provided. Manufacturers seeking to have their converter boxes certified by NTIA as eligible for purchase with the coupon will follow a technical approval process described in the final rule. Manufacturers will submit production models and certified testing results for review and possible testing by the FCC. NTIA will identify certified eligible converter boxes and add the product information to the electronic systems database to tie into retailers' point of sale terminals.
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Online and conventional retailers are encouraged to participate in the program and need to apply by contacting NTIA after June 1, 2007. Retailers must have been engaged in the consumer electronics business for at least one year and be registered in the Central Contractor Registration database ( www.ccr.gov). A retailer with interest in the program but who doesn't meet this requirement should contact NTIA. Retailers will need to train employees on the purpose and operation of the coupon program with materials provided by NTIA. Retailers may use commercially reasonable methods to order and manage inventory to meet customer demand for certified eligible converter boxes. NTIA intends that retailers will be paid for valid coupon redemptions on a commercially reasonable basis.
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