IBM Snags $12 Million FCC Call Center Contract

Friday evening before the long weekend—the time-honored slot for burying news—the FCC announced it had awarded a contract of up to $12 million to IBM for a massive DTV call center.

The FCC did not release details but said it will handle up to 400,000 agent-assisted calls Feb. 18, the first day without full-power analog TV, and up to 2 million agent-assisted calls that week.

Outgoing FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has previously pegged the possible call volume—including both agent-answered and automated—at 2 million just on Feb. 18-19, peaking at 125,000 calls per hour.

The Friday night release did not say how many live agents would staff the center in peak hours. Martin told Congress in December that he hoped for up to 2,300 operators.

Martin has taken heat in the commission, including in a letter from fellow Republican Robert McDowell, for failing to communicate on progress the call center

The money comes from $20 million Congress appropriated for DTV outreach late September.