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IBM Wins NTIA Contract

IBM won a $120 million government contract Wednesday to help market digital-to-analog converters for consumers after the February 2009 cutoff of analog broadcast signals.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration awarded the contract to Big Blue. NTIA said IBM will get $84.9 million for the base period of the contract, and $34.8 million for a contingent period.

“The contract performance will begin immediately, and is scheduled for closeout September 30, 2009,” NTIA said in Wednesday’s announcement.

NTIA said IBM will be responsible for consumer education and distributing coupons to consumers that can be used to purchase the converters. All U.S. households may request up to two coupons, worth $40 each, which can be used to buy the converters.

Congress has authorized NTIA to spend $990 million on the converter program. It can request an additional $510 million from Congress.

Officials at the National Association of Broadcasters cheered Wednesday’s announcement. “This is an important step in a process that will bring digital television to all Americans,” NAB vice president Jonathan Collegio said in a prepared statement. “The success of the converter box coupon program is critical to upgrading America to digital television.”