Agencies respond to Markey questions; NTIA cites sudden funding shortfall for converter box program

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA), chairman of the House Telecommunications and the Internet Subcommittee, today released the following responses from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) about the status of their preparations for the digital television (DTV) switch-over on February 17, 2009.

"The challenged posed by the DTV switch cannot be underestimated. I am pleased that the FCC and NTIA responded promptly to my request for a status update.  The expected surge in consumer demand for converter box coupons is occurring and the fact that NTIA now projects it will have to delay or possibly deny the issuance of converter box coupons to consumers without additional funding is of great concern. Moreover, lingering consumer confusion over aspects of the transition and an apparent lack of converter box availability and call center capability pose additional threats to success the transition," said Rep. Markey.

"I will carefully review these responses but it is becoming increasingly clear that at minimum Congress may need to quickly pass additional funding for the converter box program in early January to prevent any delay in coupon availability or issuance."

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FCC response to Rep. Markey:
Cover letter: /imo/media/doc/martin_response_dtv_122308.pdf
Q&A: /imo/media/doc/martin_response_dtv_qa_122308.pdf
Attachment: /imo/media/doc/martin_response_dtv_spending_plan_122308.pdf

NTIA response to Rep. Markey:
Cover letter: /imo/media/doc/baker_response_dtv_122408.pdf
Q&A: /imo/media/doc/baker_response_dtv_qa_122408.pdf
Attachment: /imo/media/doc/baker_response_dtv_letter_to_retailers_122408.pdf

Click here for more information about the DTV transition.

December 26, 2008

CONTACT: Jessica Schafer, (202) 225-2836