Senate Appropriations Committee proposes $90M for more DTV education

by John Eggerton, Broadcasting & Cable

Additional money for the DTV-to-analog converter box coupon program would come out of the $8.75 billion broadband stimulus portion of the Obama administration's economic recovery package and would include $90 million for more DTV education. That is according to a copy of the Senate Appropriations proposal for how to divvy up that money.

According to the proposal, the National Telecommunications & Information Administration would oversee the $650 million, with $90 million of that available for education and outreach, including helping viewers with setting up converter boxes.

NTIA can turn over some or all of that $90 million to the Federal Communications Commission if it decides to, and $2 million of the $650 million has to be turned over to Commerce's Inspector General for audits and oversight of the spending of the rest of the money.

Administrative costs are capped at 3% of that $650 million.

Both the Senate and House are currently considering bills to either fix the converter box-coupon backlog or move the DTV transition date from Feb. 17 to June 12, or both.

The Appropriations proposal would also set aside $200 million computer capacity in colleges and libraries, $250 million to encourage broadband adoption, and $350 million for broadband mapping to identify underserved or unserved areas.

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