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Commerce Secretary Gary Locke Urges Americans to Prepare for June 12 Switch to Digital Television

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

CONTACT OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS

202-482-4883

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke Urges Americans to Prepare for June 12 Switch to Digital Television

Commerce to Increase Outreach to Most Unprepared Communities During Final 30 Days

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke is urging Americans to prepare for the national switch to digital television (DTV) before the June 12 deadline—just 30 days from today. In the final month before the national switch, the Commerce Department is increasing its outreach efforts into communities that have been identified as the least prepared for the transition.

“With just 30 days to go, Americans who haven’t prepared for the transition to digital need to act now to ensure they will be able to continue to receive the television programming they count on,” said Commerce Secretary Gary Locke. “We are aggressively reaching out to the most unprepared communities across the country to educate consumers and help them to get ready for the June 12 national switch.”

The president’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act set aside $650 million to help millions of unprepared Americans get ready for the transition from analog to digital television. The money funded the creation of an additional 12.25 million coupons to help consumers offset the cost of buying digital-to-analog converter boxes and has allowed the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to eliminate the waiting list for coupons.

During the final month before the end of analog broadcasting, NTIA will focus its outreach efforts on communities that are lagging in DTV preparedness. NTIA will send mobile assistance centers to more than two dozen cities and their surrounding metropolitan areas, where staff will help consumers apply for coupons toward the purchase of DTV converter boxes and learn how to install the boxes.

These cities include: Portland, Ore.; Seattle, Wash.; Boise, Idaho; San Jose, San Francisco, Sacramento, Fresno, and Los Angeles, Calif.; Las Vegas, Nev.; Phoenix, Ariz.; Salt Lake City, Utah; Colorado Springs, Colo.; Albuquerque, N.M.; Monroe, La.; Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, and McAllen, Texas; Tulsa, Okla.; Joplin and St. Louis, Mo.; Minneapolis, Minn.; Des Moines, Iowa; Cleveland, Canton, and Akron, Ohio; Baltimore, Md.; and Indianapolis, Ind.

In addition, the Commerce Department is running Public Service Announcements in buses, transit shelters and benches; airing radio ads in both Spanish and English; and will launch a text message campaign to raise awareness about how to prepare for the transition.