The National Telecommunications and Information Administration has inked IBM for just under 120M to get the digital-to-analog converter box coupon program under way. IBM is expected to be ready to start fielding coupon requests on the first day of 2008. About 85M of that is allocated to the "base period," and about 35M to the contingency period if it is necessary. IBM’s responsibilities will include consumer education, coupon distribution to consumers and making sure retailers participate; and financial record-keeping, including reimbursement of retailers, record-keeping and waste/fraud prevention. "This is a major milestone toward implementing a successful Coupon Program to ensure the switch from analog to digital television is completed smoothly and as planned," said NTIA Administrator John Kneuer. "By awarding the contract on schedule, NTIA is preparing to be open for business so consumers may request coupons starting January 1, 2008, as required by law." The main period will include the distribution of 40-dollar coupons up to a total of 990M, with provision for an additional 510M in coupons if needed. The DTV deadline is 2/17/09.