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IBM to Manage DTV Coupon Program for Converter Boxes

IBM Awarded Commerce Department NTIA Contract for Digital-to-Analog Converter Box Coupon Program

The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) today awarded IBM (NYSE: IBM) a contract to provide services for the Digital-to-Analog Converter Box Coupon Program.

The program is designed to help all Americans receive free, over-the-air television when full-power television stations cease analog broadcasting after February 17, 2009. The total award is $119,968,468 over 25 months, and work will begin immediately.

“This is a major milestone toward implementing a successful Coupon Program to ensure the switch from analog to digital television is completed smoothly and as planned,” said NTIA Administrator John Kneuer. “By awarding the contract on schedule, NTIA is preparing to be open for business so consumers may request coupons starting January 1, 2008, as required by law.”

“IBM and our business partners are pleased to support the NTIA program,” said John Nyland, Managing Partner, IBM Global Business Services, Public Sector. “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.”

IBM and its business partners, Corporate Lodging Consultants, Epiq Systems and Ketchum, will provide services in three areas:

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  • Consumer education;
  • Coupon distribution to consumers and retail store participation; and
  • Financial processing to reimburse retailers, to maintain records, and to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse.

The Coupon Program, authorized by the Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Act of 2005, 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 February 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 January 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. After this initial phase of the program, NTIA may request an additional $510 million already authorized by Congress. During this “contingent period,” coupons will be available exclusively to households that rely on over-the-air broadcasting as their sole source of television programming.

Additional information about the award may be found online at www.fbo.gov.

NTIA is responsible for the development of the domestic and international telecommunications policy of the Executive Branch. For more information about the Coupon Program, go to www.ntia.doc.gov/dtvcoupon. Additional information on IBM can be accessed by visiting www.ibm.com.

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