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NTIA, Federal Partners to Hold Converter-Box-Coupon Powwow

The National Telecommunications & Information Administration will get together with its federal partners in the digital-TV-to-analog converter-box-coupon program for a Jan. 24 meeting at the U.S. Department of Commerce, which overseas the NTIA.

The hour-and-a-half meeting will come some three weeks after viewers can begin applying for the coupons. It also comes after criticisms in a much-touted Government Accountability Office study saying that there was not sufficient coordination or any single coordinating entity for the transition and the DTV-education campaign.

According to an NTIA source, the meeting is meant to provide more than one-dozen federal agencies -- including the NTIA's principal partner, the Federal Communications Commission -- with a preview of the converter-box-program promotional materials available to them, as well as providing an opportunity to share its timeline of planned activities, which include a Feb. 17 kickoff for the issuing of the coupons, as well as getting feedback from them on how the NTIA could "leverage existing communications vehicles to reach our target populations," which include the rural, poor, elderly, physically challenged and minority populations.

Expected to attend the meeting are representatives of the Federal Trade Commission; the Departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs, Agriculture and Health & Human Services; the IRS; the Social Security Administration; the HHS' Administration on Aging; the Cooperative Research & Extension Services; Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service; the Food Stamp Program; the Administration for Children & Families; Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the General Services Administration; and the United States Post Office.