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CERC Applauds NTIA’s Retailer Certifications

Washington— The Consumer Electronics Retailers Coalition (CERC), a lobbying group representing CE dealers and their trade groups, lauded yesterday’s certification of over 100 retailers by the National Telecommunications and Information Agency (NTIA) to participate in its digital TV converter box coupon program.

All of CERC’s brick-and-mortar members and affiliates, including Best Buy, Circuit City, Kmart, RadioShack, Sam’s Club, Sears, Target and Wal-Mart, were approved, the group said.

CERC executive director Marc Pearl said that yesterday’s announcement by NTIA acting administrator Meredith Baker “speaks well for the hard work and dedication of the NTIA team, the IBM Team, and the retailers involved. This is an important milestone on the way to getting the ‘coupons’ to consumers, and the TV converter boxes into widespread retail distribution, on the schedule announced by Secretary Baker today. We applaud this hard work and will continue to work with the NTIA, the FCC, and the Congress to keep this program, and the transition, on track.”

The certifications cover more than 14,000 storefronts representing national accounts, regional chains and smaller independents. Retailers may continue to be certified in the program through March 31, 2008.

NTIA also announced yesterday that it will begin mailing the coupons on Feb. 17 to consumers who have applied for them. The coupons can be applied at NTIA-certified retailers toward the purchase of set-top TV tuners with a built-in digital-to-analog signal converter, which will enable users to continue receiving over-the-air (OTA) broadcast signals after analog TV broadcasts are switched off on Feb. 17, 2009.

CERC is a public policy issue organization consisting of the major specialty retailers of consumer electronics products and retail associations. Members include, Best Buy, Circuit City, RadioShack, Sears, Target, Wal-Mart and such leading retail industry trade associations as NRF, NARDA and RILA.