September 30, 2002
Commerce Department Grants $36 Million to Public
Grants Assist Television Stations Across the Country in Upgrading Technology
The Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) today announced the award of $36 million in Public Telecommunications Facilities Program (PTFP) grants to assist 97 public broadcasting stations across the country complete federally mandated conversions to digital technology. An additional $6 million in PTFP grants were awarded for public radio, distance learning, and replacement of television equipment.
"The conversion to new technology not only benefits viewers with better pictures and enhanced service, but it also means that the broadcast spectrum is being used more efficiently," said Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information Nancy J. Victory. "As broadcasters convert from analog to digital signals, we are able to allocate more of our precious spectrum resources to new uses that benefit every American."
The federal grants, which total $42 million, will be matched by more than $74 million in funds raised by the recipients. Of the 116 PTFP grants awarded, most of the funds, in 52 awards totaling over $36 million, will be used to assist 97 public television stations in their conversion efforts, while seven of the television awards will help stations replace basic equipment.
This year, NTIA is awarding 59 grants totaling $37.4 million to public television stations; 52 grants totaling $3.1 million to public radio stations; four distance learning grants totaling $1 million; and one grant to the University of Hawaii for $475,000 for the PEACESAT project (Pan-Pacific Educational and Cultural Experiments by Satellite). More information and a complete list of the FY 2002 PTFP grant awards are available on the PTFP Web site at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/otiahome/ptfp/Projects/2002/index.htm or by calling NTIA at 202-482-5802. A fact sheet on the awards is at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/ntiahome/press/2002/ptfpfactsheet_9302002.htm
In addition to these projects, NTIA awarded three grants from a special supplemental appropriation earlier in the year to three stations in New York City--WNET-TV, WNYC-FM, and WKCR-FM. The grants are helping to re-establish the stations' transmission facilities that were destroyed by the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.
Established in 1962, the PTFP program supports the extension and strengthening of public telecommunications services, and supports the participation of minorities and women in public broadcasting.