[opendtv] News: NTIA: $1.5B Should Cover It

  • From: Craig Birkmaier <craig@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: OpenDTV Mail List <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 29 Jul 2008 08:57:54 -0400


NTIA: $1.5B Should Cover It

National Telecommunications and Information Administration: $1.5B budget for distributing digital-TV-to-analog converter-box coupons should be sufficient.

By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 7/28/2008 4:30:00 PM

Not to worry. That was essentially the answer of acting National Telecommunications and Information Administration chief Meredith Attwell Baker to the chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee.

The NTIA said its $1.5 billion budget for distributing digital-TV-to-analog converter-box coupons should be sufficient. It added that it already took into account sending out more than the 33.5 million coupons budgeted for. In fact, it said, given the rate at which the coupons are going unredeemed -- more than 50% -- it should be able to have funding for 50 million coupons.

Baker was responding to concerns expressed by Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), principally that there might not be enough money to administer the reissuing of so many coupons. Baker's answer was less definitive: "The NTIA initiated talks with IBM to discuss a 'fair and reasonable' price for the distribution of more than 33.5 million coupons. Those negotiations are ongoing."

The NTIA told IBM to get ready to send out another 6 million coupons above the 33.5 million it estimated it would be able to send out giving the funding. But Baker told Dingell that had only been an estimate and that the NTIA all along took into account that depending on the nonredemption rate, it might be able to fund more coupons.

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