Early Cut-Off Returns: FCC Receives 27,000-plus Calls

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According to a source at the Federal Communications Commission, the early returns on the national soft analog cut-off test are showing a wave -- but not yet a flood -- of calls to the FCC DTV transition call center.

The majority of the 950 or so stations pulling the plug on analog June 12 were participating in the soft test, which for most comprised three simulated analog turn-offs, one in the morning, one at noon and a third in the evening.

According to the source, 27,106 calls had been received through 3 p.m., which would include all the morning tests and all but the Pacific time zone noon tests. That was compared to an average of 15,000 calls per day the center has been averaging since May 1.

Of those 27,000-plus calls to 1-888-callfcc, 52% were about DTV-to-analog converter box coupons -- about evenly split between callers saying they wanted to apply for them and those who had applied and were left to wonder about their coupons' whereabouts.

NTIA, which is administering the program, has cut the processing time for coupons from about three weeks to nine days and is sending them out by first class mail.

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