The National Telecommunications and Information Administration is kicking off its 500-day countdown to the DTV transition, and gearing up for its digital-to-analog converter box distribution responsibility. It said today it has partnered with Family Career and Community Leaders of America, a student organization comprising 7K chapters and 220K members, in conjunction with Best Buy/Geek Squad. FCCLA’s Jason Westerheide, a high school senior from Ohio, said his organization was prepared to fan out and spread the word within their communities about the upcoming change, and to explain the NTIA coupon program. With ubiquitous chapters, he said they will hit all urban and rural areas and everywhere in between, making a special effort to reach seniors and low income households. Best Buy and its Geek Squad have seeded FCCLA with 50K, which is sponsoring a contest among its chapters to see which can make the most penetration into their area. Citizens may request up to two 40 dollar converter box coupons during phase one, when 1B of a 1.5B coupon allocation will be doled out. The remaining 500M, if needed, will go to over-the-air households only. Kneuer said at this point it looks like the boxes will retail for between 50-75 dollars, and will be physically unobtrusive. He estimated the size of one as being 4" x 6" x 1.5".
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