President Barack Obama’s signing of the $787 billion economic stimulus package this week injected $650 million into the DTV coupon fund, allowing the program to move forward.
The funds will help the almost 4 million coupon requests (representing 2.3 million households) that were placed on a waiting list for the coupons after the National Telecommunications and Information Association, the governmental organization tasked with managing the DTV converter box coupon program announced that it had run out of money late last year. According to the NTIA, more than 24.1 million coupons have been redeemed so far from the $1.34 billion fund, which allows for the distribution of up to 33.5 million coupons.
“This additional funding will help keep more Americans connected to free, over-the-air television broadcasts,” said Acting NTIA Administrator Anna Gomez. “We expect to clear out the coupon waiting list expeditiously and get coupons into the hands of the American people. In addition, NTIA is moving swiftly to make the modifications in the TV Converter Box Coupon Program rules and systems to implement the changes authorized in the DTV Delay Act. These changes will ease the financial burden to the viewers of TV stations that are ceasing their analog broadcasting between now and June 12, 2009.”
The NTIA is expected to begin accepting requests for replacement coupons after a rulemaking process is completed. Once that’s done, the association said it will issue, upon request, one replacement coupon for each coupon that expired without being redeemed or was cancelled due to being reported as lost.
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