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Commerce Secretary Gary Locke Urges Los Angeles Residents to Prepare for June 12 Switch to Digital Television

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

CONTACT OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS

202-482-4883

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke Urges Los Angeles Residents to Prepare for June 12 Switch to Digital Television

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke joined Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa at the Boyle Heights Technology Youth Center today to urge residents to prepare for the national switch to digital television (DTV) before the June 12 deadline. 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, including the Los Angeles area. While the city has made progress since February—the original date for the switch—Los Angeles is still among the least-prepared cities in the country, according to Nielsen data.

In addition to offering consumers a clearer picture and more programming choices, the transition also will free up the airwaves for better communications among emergency first responders and offer advanced wireless services for consumers.

“With just two weeks to go, Los Angeles residents who haven’t prepared for the June 12 transition need to act now so they will be able to continue to receive the television programming they count on,” Locke said. “I commend Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for their work to help educate Los Angeles residents about the upcoming digital transition. If you’re already prepared for the switch to digital TV, make sure your friends and family are ready, too.”

Consumers who have TVs connected to cable, satellite, or another pay TV service are ready for the transition to digital. If they don’t prepare, consumers who rely on free, over-the-air TV and use “rabbit ears” or a rooftop antenna with a television that uses an analog tuner, will lose television service on June 12. There are several options that consumers have to get ready for the transition including: subscribing to cable, satellite or another pay service; buying a television with a digital tuner; or purchasing a TV converter box.

If you choose to buy a converter box, you can apply to Commerce’s TV Converter Box Coupon Program for coupons to help toward the purchase.

“If you need help toward the purchase of the converter box, I urge you to apply for a coupon before June 1 to ensure you receive them before the switch,” Locke said. “Eligible households can receive up to two $40 coupons, which cover most of the cost.”

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 weeks before the end of analog broadcasting, NTIA will focus its outreach efforts on targeted communities that are lagging in DTV preparedness. NTIA will send mobile assistance centers to Los Angeles and other targeted cities where staff will help consumers apply for coupons toward the purchase of DTV converter boxes and learn how to install the boxes.

In addition, the Commerce Department is running a series of public service announcements on buses, transit shelters and benches; airing radio ads in both Spanish and English; and planning to launch a text message campaign to raise awareness about how to prepare for the transition.

Consumers can call 1-888-DTV-2009 or visit www.DTV2009.gov for more information or to request a coupon.