IBM lands TV coupon deal

In an effort to help Americans receive free, over-the-air television when full-power television stations cease analog broadcasting in 2009, the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration awarded IBM a contract to provide services for the Digital-to-Analog Converter Box Coupon Program.

The contract is worth about $120 million over 25 months, and work will begin immediately.

"A complex initiative like this requires innovative thinking, leading technologies and cooperation among retailers, broadcasters and government agencies to ensure that all Americans have continued access to free television broadcasting, including educational, entertainment, emergency and homeland security information," said John Nyland, Managing Partner, IBM Global Business Services, Public Sector.

The Coupon Program, authorized by the 2005 Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Act, provides for distribution and redemption of coupons that consumers may apply toward the purchase of digital-to-analog converter boxes.

Households using analog televisions will not be able to receive digital broadcasts after Feb. 17, 2009, unless the analog television is connected to a converter box that switches the digital signal to an analog format, or the analog television is connected to cable or satellite service.

Between Jan. 1, 2008, and March 31, 2009, all U.S. households may request up to two coupons, worth $40 each, to be used toward the purchase of up to two digital-to-analog converter boxes until the initial $990 million allocated for the program has been exhausted.

IBM of Armonk, N.Y., ranks No. 18 on Washington Technology's 2007 Top 100 list of the largest federal government prime contractors.

About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Washington Technology.

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