For Immediate Release
Monday, February 14, 2000
Contact: Ranjit de Silva
(202) 482-7002
Art Brodsky
(202) 482-0019

ASSISTANT COMMERCE SECRETARY ROHDE TO HOST PUBLIC ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION ON RURAL AND SMALL MARKET ACCESS TO LOCAL TV BROADCAST SIGNALS

Washington-Gregory L. Rohde, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and administrator of NTIA, will host a public roundtable discussion March 2 to explore ways in which television viewers in rural regions, small markets and other under served parts of the country can get the benefit of local news and information through new technologies.

The roundtable discussion launches a wide-ranging public inquiry which Rohde announced last month. The wide-ranging inquiry is part of NTIA's efforts to ensure that consumers in rural and under served communities do not fall on the wrong side of the digital divide-those with access and those without access to information technologies that are critical to advancement.

The purpose of the public inquiry is to determine whether there are additional options to ensure that viewers in under-served communities can receive the benefit of local news and information though new technologies.

NTIA announced the roundtable discussion in a Federal Register notice published today. The Notice also requested interested parties to submit written comments on the issue. Written comments must be filed on or before April 14, 2000. Written reply comments must be filed on or before May 15, 2000. Comments and reply comments received will be posted on NTIA's website at www.ntia.doc.gov/ntiahome/ruraltvroundtable/

The roundtable discussion will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the U.S. Department of Commerce, Room 4830, 1401 Constitution Avenue, N.W, Washington, D.C. 20230. The meeting will be open to the public.

NTIA serves as the principal adviser to the President, Vice President and Secretary of Commerce on domestic and international communications and information policies and represents the Executive Branch before Congress, other Federal agencies, foreign governments and international organizations.

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