In Depth

DTV Soft Test Results in Record Number of Helpline Calls

A record number of consumers called the Federal Communications Commission’s national helpline Thursday in response to a nationwide DTV soft test.

The FCC helpline received more than 55,000 calls from consumers, a single-day record. The helpline has averaged 15,000 calls per day since May 1 and prior to the soft test.

For TVWeek’s comprehensive coverage of the digital television transition, visit the DTV Switch Navigator page.

The most common issues raised and information sought by callers included information about government coupons for DTV converter boxes, concerns about reception and instructions for installing DTV converter boxes. Consumers seeking information about coupons represented 51% of calls, while reception issues and installation accounted for 15% and 10% of calls, respectively.

More than 125 broadcast markets participated in the soft test. The Chicago market generated the most calls at 1,310, followed by New York with 1,277 calls and Dallas-Fort Worth with 764 calls. The Dallas-Fort Worth market is the No. 2 most DTV-unready market, according to a report released by Nielsen last week.

“This soft test did exactly what it was supposed to do,” Michael Copps, acting FCC chairman, said in a statement. “It was a wake-up call for consumers who are unprepared, alerting them to the fact that they need to take the necessary steps before the June 12 DTV transition.”