The FCC has contracted with IBM to provide call center services to support the digital transition, still scheduled for Feb. 17.
Experience with markets that have completed the transition prior to the deadline suggests higher-than-expected call volumes, including queries from consumers who experienced no TV service interruptions because they received signals through a pay-TV provider.
In September, Congress voted to allocate $20 million to the FCC to help fund its DTV outreach programs. The FCC is tapping this fund to pay for the IBM contract, which, depending on circumstances, could go as high as $12 million.
The FCC said IBM will be able to handle up to 2 million agent-assisted calls during the week following the transition.
The FCC did not say what would become of the contract should the transition date be pushed out sometime after Feb. 17, as many lawmakers, including two FCC Commissioners (story here), would like to do.
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