Hurry Up and Wait!

Remember when I said you should order your digital TV converter coupon from the NTIA “today”? I hope that you did, because word comes from Washington that the agency has run through its funding and is now putting new requests on a waiting list.

According to a report in TWICE, the NTIA has filled 46 million coupon requests from 24 million households. According to Nielsen, there are about 14.3 million U.S. households that depend solely on over-the-air TV broadcasts, and the NTIA says that they have fulfilled requests from about 12.6 million of them. If those numbers are right, then there are still about 1.7 million households that rely on broadcasts but who have not yet requested a coupon.

Note also that the NTIA reports that some 13 million coupons have expired without being redeemed. (You did know that they expire after 90 days, right?) The agency does not say how many of those are in the 12.6 million broadcast households that requested coupons.

The bottom line is that there are likely to be millions of households who will not get coupons in time, if ever, and many homes that rely on broadcast television are likely to miss out on the coupons altogether. And I remain convinced that there will be millions of people who will lose their television service come February 17th.