NTIA awards $2.8 million to association to assist seniors with DTV transition

The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has awarded $2.7 million to a an umbrella association devoted to elderly issues to help ensure the nation’s 37 million senior citizens are prepared for the February 2009 DTV transition.

With about three months to go before the transition, the NTIA issued the sum to the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a), which, according to the group’s Web site, supports a nationwide network of 650 Area Agencies on Aging. The money will fund efforts to help seniors complete DTV converter box coupon applications, secure a set-top converter and connect it to their home TV. The assistance will begin immediately and last until April 2009.

The n4a will work together with various senior-centric organizations, such as Meals on Wheels Association of America, the National Association for Hispanic Elderly, the National Asian Pacific Center on Aging and the National Caucus and Center on Black Aged, to form the “Keep Seniors Connected (KSC) Coalition.”

According to Sandy Markwood, CEO of n4a, the most important aspect of what the coalition will offer is direct interaction with seniors to provide one-on-one assistance to ensure that the DTV transition goes smoothly for “these vulnerable populations.”

According to the NTIA, more than 18 million households so far have requested more than 35 million converter box coupons, 14 million of which have been redeemed.

For more information, visit www.ntia.doc.gov.