Department of Commerce; National Telecommunications and Information Administration: Rules to Implement and Administer a Coupon Program for Digital-to-Analog Converter Boxes
GAO-07-726R: Apr 24, 2007
- Full Report:
GAO reviewed the Department of Commerce, National Telecommunications and Information Administration's (NTIA) new rule on rules to implement and administer a coupon program for digital-to-analog converter boxes. GAO found that (1) the final rule implements a program through which eligible U.S. households may obtain via the United States Postal Service a maximum of two coupons of $40 each to be applied towards the purchase of a Coupon-Eligible Converter Box; and (2) aside from the required 60-day delay in its effective date, NTIA complied with the applicable requirements in promulgating the rule.
Department of Commerce; National Telecommunications and Information Administration: Rules to Implement and Administer a Coupon Program for Digital-to-Analog Converter Boxes, GAO-07-726R, April 24, 2007
Pursuant to section 801(a)(2)(A) of title 5, United States Code, this is our report
on a major rule promulgated by the Department of Commerce; National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), entitled Rules to Implement and Administer a Coupon Program for Digital-to-Analog Converter Boxes (RIN: 0660-AA16).
The Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Act of 2005 (Act) directs the Federal Communications Commission to require full-power television stations to cease analog broadcasting and to broadcast solely digital transmissions after February 17, 2009. Recognizing that consumers may wish to continue receiving broadcast programming over the air using analog-only televisions not connected to cable or satellite service, the Act authorizes NTIA to create a digital-to-analog converter box assistance program. The final rule implements a program through which eligible U.S. households may obtain via the United States Postal Service a maximum of two coupons of $40 each to be applied towards the purchase of a Coupon-Eligible Converter Box.
Enclosed is our assessment of the NTIA's compliance with the procedural steps required by section 801(a)(1)(B)(i) through (iv) of title 5 with respect to the rule. Our review indicates that, except for the delay in the effective date, NTIA complied with the applicable requirements.
If you have any questions about this report, please contact Michael R. Volpe, Assistant General Counsel, at (202) 512-8236. The official responsible for GAO evaluation work relating to the subject matter of the rule is Patricia Dalton, Managing Director, Physical Infrastructure. Ms. Dalton can be reached at (202)
Robert J. Cramer
Associate General Counsel
REPORT UNDER 5 U.S.C. sect. 801(a)(2)(A) ON A MAJOR RULE
ISSUED BY THE
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE;
NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION ADMINISTRATION
"RULES TO IMPLEMENT AND ADMINISTER A COUPON PROGRAM
FOR DIGITAL-TO-ANALOG CONVERTER BOXES"
(i) Cost-benefit analysis
NTIA performed a cost-benefit analysis of the final rule. The coupon program established by statute and implemented in the final rule is a DTV subsidy program, and, as the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has recognized in testimony on this program, it is difficult to measure specific benefits and costs of undertaking a specific DTV subsidy program. (GAO-05-623T,
(ii) Agency actions relevant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. sections 603-605, 607, and 609
A Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis was prepared in connection with the final rule. The analysis complies with the requirements of the Act, including the steps taken to reduce the economic impact on small entitles.
(iii) Agency actions relevant to sections 202-205 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995, 2 U.S.C. sections 1532-1535
NTIA's compliance with the Act's documentary requirements regarding costs, benefits, and alternatives considered are contained in NTIA's Regulatory Impact Analysis, which was prepared for compliance with Executive Order 12866. Section 202 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 authorizes such use of other analysis for compliance.
(iv) Other relevant information or requirements under acts and executive orders
Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. sections 551 et seq.
Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. sections 3501-3520
The information collection requirements contained in the final rule have been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The assigned OMB Control Number will be provided in a subsequent Federal Register notice.
Statutory authorization for the rule
The final rule is authorized by Title III of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, Pub. L. No. 109-171, 120 Stat. 4, 21 (
Executive Order No. 12866
The final rule was reviewed by OMB and found to be an economically significant regulatory action under the order.