The National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA), the government agency responsible for administering the government’s coupon program for digital television, wants Congress to raise the $1.34 billion cap on funds for the subsidy program.
The NTIA has responsibility for giving out $40 coupons — up to two per household — to help viewers pay for the converter boxes at retail outlets. Just over $1.1 billion has been obligated to the coupons. At the current rate, the cap amount will be used up by mid-January.
So far, the redemption rate is barely more than 50 percent, meaning half the coupons go unredeemed. The NTIA’s concern is that its coupon distribution may be slowed or halted next month as demand increases for the box as the Feb. 17 deadline approaches.