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The Commerce Blog

Secretary Locke Urges Unprepared Consumers to Ensure At Least One Television is DTV-Ready for June 12 Switch

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TV Converter Box Coupon Program logo. Click to visit DTV2009 Web site.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke urged Americans who rely on over-the-air broadcasting–typically those who use older televisions with “rabbit ears” or a rooftop antenna–to take immediate action so that at least one television in their household continues working when the nationwide switch to digital television occurs one week from today. "With one week to go before the nation’s switch to digital broadcasting, I urge consumers who use an older television not on cable or satellite to take the necessary steps to ensure that they can continue receiving the news and information they rely on after June 12," Locke said. (More) (Apply for Coupon) (www.dtv2009.gov)

NOAA, Army Corps of Engineers to Build Alaska Satellite Operations Facility

Illustration of COSPAS-SARSAT Symtem Overview. Click for larger image.

The Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, will construct a new NOAA satellite operations facility in Fairbanks, Alaska. The contract is valued at $11.7 million. NOAA will use $9 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and additional funding provided by the Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009 to complete this project. NOAA’s Office of the Chief Administrative Officer and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Alaska District, will jointly manage the construction effort. (More)

Secretary Locke Meets with Singapore's Minister of Trade and Industry Lim

Secretary Locke and Minister Lim shaking hands in front of their countries' flags. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke hosted a meeting with Singapore’s Minister of Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang at the Commerce Department today. This was the first meeting between Minister Lim and Secretary Locke. Secretary Locke and Minister Lim expressed a commitment to strengthening an already robust bilateral commercial relationship, grounded in the extremely successful U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Since implementation of the FTA in January 2004, two-way trade between the United States and Singapore has increased 41 percent, with U.S. exports increasing nearly 74 percent over the same time period. (More)

Secretary Locke Announces Recovery Act Grant to Create Jobs, Boost Development in Montana

EDA seal.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and U.S. Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester announced a $2.7 million Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant for the State of Montana to capitalize a Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) that will provide timber and wood businesses with the financing they need to become more competitive. This grant is the first awarded by the Commerce Department under President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). (More) (Commerce.gov/Recovery)

Secretary Locke Announces Availability of $27 Million in Recovery Act Funding to Help Midwestern Communities

AARA logo. Click to go to www.Commerce.gov/Recovery.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced the availability of $27 million in grants for Midwestern communities. These grants, made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), are available through the U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA). The region targeted by the grants is coping with the downturn of the U.S. auto industry. The money will be available for communities and organizations in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota. (More) (Remarks) (Commerce.gov/Recovery)

Internet Use Triples in Decade, Census Bureau Reports

U.S. Census Bureau seal.

New data from the Department of Commerce’s U.S. Census Bureau show that 62 percent of households reported using Internet access in the home in 2007, an increase from 18 percent in 1997. “These data give us a better understanding of who is using the Internet and from where,” said Thom File, a statistician with the Census Bureau. Among the states, Alaska and New Hampshire residents had among the highest rates of Internet use from any location (home, work or public access) for those 3 and older in 2007. Mississippi and West Virginia had among the lowest rates of Internet use at about 52 percent. (More)

NIST Delivers Updated Draft Standards for Electronic Voting Machines

Image of electronic voting machine.

The Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) delivered to the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) a draft revision to the 2005 federal Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG) Version 1.0, specifying how electronic voting machines are built and tested. “The guidelines announced today are designed to further improve the quality and efficiency of the testing conducted on voting systems,” said John Wack, NIST voting team manager. “This enables improvements to be made sooner rather than later when the next full set of standards is finalized.” (More)

Commerce Secretary Locke Meets with Mexico's Secretary of Economy Mateos

Secretary Mateos and Secretary Locke seated in front of fireplace talking. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke hosted a meeting with Mexico’s Secretary of Economy Gerardo Ruiz Mateos at the Commerce Department. This was the first meeting between Secretary Ruiz and Secretary Locke.Secretary Locke and Secretary Ruiz highlighted the importance of our bilateral trade relationship and the need for continued cooperation in strengthening our competitiveness in the region and removing impediments to trade. (More)

Commerce Secretary Locke: "Time is Running Out" to Receive TV Converter Box Coupons Before June 12 Switch

TV Converter Box Coupon Program logo. Click to visit DTV2009 Web site.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke is urging Americans who need help getting ready for the national switch to digital television (DTV) to apply for a converter box coupon no later than Monday, June 1, in order to receive it before the June 12 transition. "Time is running out. Americans who rely on free television who aren’t prepared for the transition should apply for a coupon today if they need help purchasing a converter box so they can continue receiving the television programming they count on," Locke said. (More) (Apply for Coupon) (www.dtv2009.gov)

USPTO: May 29 Last Day for National Medal of Technology and Innovation Nominations

Image of National Medal of Technology and Innovation.

The Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is seeking nominations for the nation’s highest honor for technological achievement. The USPTO administers the NMTI program on behalf of the Secretary of Commerce. The deadline for nominations is May 29, 2009. Honorees are chosen for outstanding contributions to the nation’s economic, environmental and social well-being through the development and commercialization of technological products, processes and concepts; technological innovation; and development of the country’s technological manpower. (More)