According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the federal
hotline set up to hear calls relating to the mandatory DTV transition has
had over 700,000 calls since Friday morning, the day the analog signals
were cut off.
200,000 of the calls were related to the federal coupons towards digital
converter boxes, perhaps implying a significant amount of people still do
not have the right equipment to receive digital signals.
Another 200,000 calls were from consumers who have the boxes but were
confused on how to operate them successfully. The FCC told many to "re-scan
the airwaves for digital frequencies," and says 99 percent of the problems
Many others called about problems with reception, which is a much deeper
problem than simple converter box issues.
"Our job is far from over," said FCC Chairman Michael Copps. "This
transition is not a one-day affair. We have known about re-scanning and
reception issues for some time and have been doing our best to get the word
The most callers came from the Chicago, Illinois area, but significant
calls came from Dallas, New York, Philadelphis and Baltimore as well.
The Commerce Department recently reported they had sent out coupons for
over 60 million converter boxes, but were still receiving over 100,000
requests a day, even during the last week. Research firm SmithGeiger LLC
says there are probably still over 2 million households which are not
prepared, despite repeated warnings and a full marketing campaign by the
government. The most likely groups to not be prepared? Minorities, people
over 65, and people under the age of 35.