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Instructions for Applications
for
Nonbroadcast Planning Projects


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    This section assumes that you have already looked at the Instructions for Filling Out the PTFP Application Form and now are ready to prepare the parts of your PTFP application that are specific to the type of project you are proposing.

    PTFP cannot consider Nonbroadcast Applications that propose projects to replace, improve, or upgrade equipment.


Program Narrative The Financial Qualifications Criterion
The Applicant Qualifications Criterion The Involvement of Women and Minorities Criterion
The Project Objectives Criterion Exhibits
Urgency Assembling the Application
The Planning Qualifications Criterion Notifying Others About Your Application

    This section assumes that you have already looked at the Instructions for Filling Out the PTFP Application Form and now are ready to prepare the parts of your PTFP application that are specific to the type of project you are proposing.

 

    PTFP cannot consider nonbroadcast projects to replace, improve, or upgrade equipment. As a result, it cannot consider applications to plan for such projects.



General Information

    Planning—as applied to the Public Telecommunications Facilities Program—is defined in the PTFP Final Rules as “activities to form a project for which PTFP construction funds may be obtained.”

    A planning application and a construction application to implement the plan cannot both be submitted in the same application or in separate applications in the same grant round.

    Nonbroadcast planning projects may have a number of purposes:

          To examine the feasibility of establishing or expanding a nonbroadcast facility, or

          To determine how a nonbroadcast system might best be configured, or

          To do all of these things.

    A nonbroadcast planning grant project needs to be designed to address a number of important issues in the Final Report on the project. Your nonbroadcast planning should:

          Perform a comprehensive needs assessment.

          Establish firm, precise goals and objectives for the system based on the needs assessment.

          Select the type(s) of nonbroadcast technical system(s) you wish to use; e.g., fiber optic lines for T1 services; satellite distribution; ITFS; other microwave; online interconnections for web-based video, voice, graphics, and data services.

          If you consider the use of digital technologies that could include a portion of a digital television signal for distance learning services, identify this proposed use.

          A planning proposal for distance learning services may propose to use digital technologies to provide multi-media content using the digital television transmission infrastructure and delivered through a method that is not a typical broadcast channel.

          Your Final Report must explain the basis for choosing your technical system(s) and what alternative systems were considered and why they were rejected.

          Project staffing: If your project is for distance learning, you should determine how many staff will be dedicated to the project if it is constructed in order to operate, maintain, and administer it.

                Staff training fits under this heading. Your planning should incorporate how you intend to provide sufficient — and continuing — training to the faculty who would be using the system, either as teachers or as mentors.

          Determine what sort of advisory group would be desirable to ensure that the nonbroadcast distance learning system will continue to serve the needs of its users.

          Indicate what sources of funding will be available for two purposes: (1) to provide the non-federal share of a PTFP project implementation proposal, if relevant, and (2) to support the eventual nonbroadcast system adequately over the long term.

 

    It should be understood that it is perfectly acceptable for a Planning Grant project to conclude that no facility should be constructed.

 

    Deferred Applications: If you are reactivating an application that did not receive a grant award in the last grant cycle, you must submit a complete application. You should examine very critically what was submitted before to see if it can be strengthened.

  

Program Narrative
for Nonbroadcast Planning Projects
for
Six Evaluation Criteria

    ☛       You must prepare a Narrative to address the six evaluation criteria contained in Section 2301.17 of the PTFP Rules and that are discussed in this section. The criteria are:

                                    1. Applicant Qualifications

                                    2. Project Objectives

                                    3. Urgency

                                    4. Planning Qualifications

                                    5. Financial Qualifications

                                    6. Involvement of Women and Minorities

 

    Begin your Narrative with an Executive Summary of your project.

          Make it a brief, straightforward statement of what you propose to accomplish.

                Do not include any supporting arguments/justifications here; put them in the sections that follow.

    Then address the six evaluation criteria in separate sections of the Narrative.

          We recommend that you address them in the order that follows and that you label each section with the name of the criterion being discussed to help the reviewers who evaluate your application.

          Several of the evaluation criteria should also be addressed in Exhibits, as explained below.

 

    The Narrative is limited to a total of five pages for the Executive Summary and the first five criteria

          You may make as much use as you wish of Optional Exhibits to provide a detailed explanation of any subject.

          Give cross-references in the appropriate section of the Narrative to the Optional Exhibits in which you provide additional information.

 

    There is no page limit on your response to the sixth criterion, “Involvement of Women and Minorities.”

  

Evaluation Criterion 1
Applicant Qualifications

    If your organization is a government entity, an Indian Tribe, or a non-profit organization that has received a prior PTFP grant, no further documentation of eligibility is required at this time.

    If yours is a non-profit organization that has never received a PTFP grant, you must supply certified copies of the following in Exhibit G.

          its Articles of Incorporation as filed with the state,

          its By-Laws, and

          its IRS 501(c)(3) letter or other evidence of non-profit status.

    Your Narrative should describe . . .

          your organization,

          its history,

          and the resources it has (or will have) available to complete the proposed planning.

    Detailed discussion of Financial Qualifications goes under Evaluation Criterion 5.

  

Evaluation Criterion 2

Project Objectives

    Begin with a description of your project, including:

          the community need that the planning is intended to address,

          how you became aware of this need, and

          what led you to apply for this project.

    Describe the number and types of organizations — if any — that will participate and cooperate with you in your proposed planning project.

          Document the involvement of these organizations by providing letters of support, participation, and cooperation in Exhibit E (see below).

    Discuss how the project has been coordinated with any telecommunications services in the service area or with local, regional, or state telecommunications agencies.

    Discuss whether or not there are already-existing distance learning services in the area for which you want to plan.

          Make clear why you must plan for additional services if there are existing distance learning services in the area.

    If you have done pre-planning, copies of any documentation that resulted should be placed in one of the Optional Exhibits with a cross-reference from the Narrative.

 

Evaluation Criterion 3
Urgency

    You need to make a compelling case that justifies funding the proposed project during the current grant cycle.

          You might discuss any negative consequences that may result if your project is not carried out at this time.

    If applicable, you should discuss why your project is timely in pursuing a unique or innovative opportunity to provide substantial potential benefits to a target audience.

          Place supporting documentation that relevant groups/educational institutions intend to actively work with the proposed facility in Exhibit E or one of the Optional Exhibits.

  

Evaluation Criterion 4

Planning Qualifications

    Your Narrative should address the following:

          Proposed planning process and timetable.

                Prepare a timetable for the project and explain what step-by-step procedures will be followed to complete your planning.

                These items should be thoroughly described and are typically two to three pages of information in outline form.

                Include them as separate documents placed in one of the Optional Exhibits clearly cross-referenced from the Narrative.

    Discuss how you will go about addressing the issues set out above.

    Staff or consultants. A planning project ordinarily requires a number of qualified staff members and/or a consultant organization or individual to ensure that the project will be conducted and completed professionally.

          Describe the experience and capabilities of the staff members who will be involved in carrying out the planning project.

          If you intend to use consultants, you should discuss the professional qualifications you expect of either consultants in general or of the specific consultants you identify as the ones most likely to work on the project.

 

          Consultants must be selected in free and open competitive bidding. If you have contracted with a consultant to provide services such as pre-planning that may be considered directly related to this project, you must explain why you believe that the particular consultant is integral to the project. Your discussion should explain whether your project would be substantially hindered or delayed without the participation of the consultant in question. The Department of Commerce will determine if you may use the same consultant, or must use competitive bidding for consultants to carry out the project.

 

    You must incorporate into your planning potential funding sources to support the proposed facility if it is constructed. You must show how you will determine what financial support exists for

          the construction and

          the operation and maintenance of the proposed facility if it is built.

    You must incorporate into your planning potential sources of professional-level engineering to support the proposed facility if it is constructed. You must show how you will determine what professional engineering resources exist for

          the construction and

          the operation and maintenance of the proposed facility if it is ultimately constructed.

    How answers to the questions set out at the beginning that are needed for the Final Report will be developed.

  

Evaluation Criterion 5

Financial Qualifications

    Describe and document your organization’s ability to raise operating and capital funds.

    If you request more than 75% Federal funding, you must include justification for this request.

           PTFP will consider a persuasive, well-documented demonstration of extraordinary need as justification for grants of up to 100% of the total project cost.

          Simply stating that you have such a need is not enough!

    Put any available documentation of local financial support that has been committed or pledged to your planning project, even if conditionally, in an Optional Exhibit with a cross-reference from the narrative.

    Show how you will raise the necessary funds to pay for any part of the planning that will not be supported by a PTFP grant.

  

    Response to this Evaluation Criterion should be included as part of the Program Narrative, but it is not subject to the five-page limitation.

    Failure to address this criterion will lower the final score given to your application by reviewers.

    In accordance with 392(f) of the Act, the Agency will give special consideration to applications that foster ownership of, operation of, and participation in public telecommunications entities by minorities and women. NTIA has not established any minimum minority or women participation requirements for special consideration in PTFP evaluations in order to carry out the objectives of the statute. Rather, NTIA believes that the Congressional intent can be achieved in a fair and flexible manner by taking into account all factual circumstances that might lead to special consideration.

    The PTFP Rules, in §2301.5, provide the following clarifications about special consideration.

“Ownership and operation of” includes the holding of management and other positions in the entity, especially those concerned with programing decisions and day-to-day operation and management.

“Participation” may be shown by the entity’s involvement of women and minorities in public telecommunications through its programing strategies as meeting the needs and interests of those groups

“Minorities” include American Indians or Alaska natives; Asian or Pacific Islanders; Hispanics; and Blacks, not of Hispanic Origin.

    Employment of minorities or women is not the only way in which NTIA may assess whether an application promotes significant diversity in the ownership of, operation of, and participation in, public telecommunications entities by minorities and women. NTIA is also interested in outreach efforts, audience development, and programing strategies. One stated purpose of this program is to respond to the educational, cultural and related programing needs of diverse groups.

    Applicants should provide a narrative (with supporting documentation when necessary) that documents the participation of women and minorities in the facility’s ownership and management, especially those concerned with programing decisions and day-to-day operation and management. In preparing their material, applicants should take care to clarify whether they are discussing women, minorities (minorities can be considered as a single group, but the predominant group should be identified as such), or a combination of women and minorities (where the predominant group/gender should be identified, and applicants should express whether they are discussing women or minorities in the case of an individual who is a female minority).

  

 

                  Planning Grant applicants do not submit the following exhibits:

                                    Exhibit A: Inventory

                                    Exhibit B: Justification of Equipment Requested

                                    Exhibit C: Five-Year Equipment Plan

                                    Exhibit D: Maps

                                    Exhibit F: Distribution Agreements

 

Exhibit E: Letters of Support

    It is extremely important that distance learning projects provide full documentation of support from residents, community organizations, and local groups within the proposed service area of the project. This documentation usually takes the form of letters of support that are placed in Exhibit E or one of the Optional Exhibits.

    Reviewers usually notice when letters of support are all worded identically and vary only in their letterheads and signatures.

    You may forward support letters at any time, even after the Closing Date, but please understand that letters received by PTFP more than three or four days after the Closing Date probably will not be seen by the reviewers because the applications normally will be in their hands by then.

 

    If you obtain letters of support from members of Congress addressed to the Department of Commerce, NTIA, or PTFP, you should be sure the originals of those letters are mailed separately to the addressees. The originals should not be included in the application folders. You should place copies of the letters in this exhibit for consideration by the reviewers.

  

Exhibit G: Proof of Eligibility

    If yours is a non-profit organization that has never received a PTFP grant, supply in this exhibit certified copies of the following:

          its Articles of Incorporation papers as filed with the state,

          its By-Laws, and

          an IRS 501(c)(3) letter or other evidence of non-profit status.

  

Exhibits H - Z

    These are optional exhibits that you may use to submit materials not specifically required by PTFP or to supplement parts of your application.

          Such materials should be limited to items related directly to the proposed project.

    Do not submit recordings of any kind — tapes, cassettes, DVDs, CDs, etc.; any received will be destroyed without being considered.

    If you include several optional exhibits, please provide a Table of Contents for them.

    Be sure to cross-reference optional exhibits from the appropriate places in the Program or Budget Narratives.

  

Exhibit AA: Required Certifications

 

Application for Federal Assistance — Standard Form 424B

Assurances — Non-Construction Projects

    In spite of the “Non-Construction” designation, all PTFP applicants must submit these pages. They must be placed as the first item in Exhibit AA of your application.

          The copy in the folder labeled “original” must have an original signature and be dated on the second page.

 

Certification Regarding Lobbying — CD-511 & SF LLL

    Certification Regarding Lobbying — CD-511. All applicants must submit the CD-511.

          The copy in the folder labeled “original” must have an original signature, the signer’s title, and be dated.

    Standard Form LLL, Disclosure of Lobbying Activities needs to be submitted only if you used either Federal or non-Federal money for lobbying as discussed in Sections (1) and (2) of the CD-511. Membership in a public broadcasting organization that is considered an advocacy organization for public broadcasting is normally not regarded as lobbying.

          If Sections (1) and (2) do not apply, you do not need to include Form LLL with your application.

  

    You must submit an original and five copies of the complete application. Please assemble each copy according to the instructions here. Doing so greatly assists the reviewers who evaluate your application.

   Put one copy of the application in a six-panel folder arranged as explained below; please do NOT put the original in this folder!

          PTFP will send you a free six-panel folder on request. Call 202-482-5802, fax 202-482-2156, or email ptfp@ntia.doc.gov. PTFP must have your request at least two weeks before the Closing Date to be sure of delivery in time for you to meet the Closing Date.

          If you want to supply your own six-panel folder, please use an ACCO #ACC-15036, Oxford ESS-920025RCP2, or equivalent.

    Put the signed original and the four remaining copies in separate manila file folders labeled with your organization’s name and secured with binder clips.

    Label the manila folder with the original copy “ORIGINAL” on the outside.

          This copy must have original signatures on the third page of the Application Form, the Assurances (SF-424B), and the CD-511 certification of lobbying activity. Also Form LLL, if required.

    Separate major sections of each copy of the application divider sheets with labeled index tabs that protrude from the edge of the sheet. (Please use labels that won’t fall out!) The outline below marks each labeled index tab with an asterisk (*) and lists the material you should place behind that divider.

          The folders provided by PTFP have six panels, and each panel has a metal clip at the top. Please arrange the Application Form and other materials on the panels as follows:

Panel 1     Please leave this panel blank for PTFP use.

Panel 2     *Application for Federal Assistance — Standard Form 424 (p. 1), the PTFP-2 Form (p. 2), and the SF 424A (p. 3)

                  *Program Narrative

                  *Exhibit A            Not required from Planning Applicants.

                  *Exhibit B            Not required from Planning Applicants.

                  *Exhibit C            Not required from Planning Applicants.

                  *Exhibit D            Not required from Planning Applicants.

Panel 3     Please leave this panel blank for PTFP use.

Panel 4     *Exhibit E            Letters of Support or Project Participation, if required

                  *Exhibit F             Not required from Planning Applicants.

                  *Exhibit G            Eligibility documentation, if required

*Exhibit H - Z — Optional material (include a table of contents if there is more than one optional exhibit)

Panel 5     *Exhibit AA         Assurances and Lobbying (SF-424B, CD-511, plus Form LLL if required)

Panel 6     *FCC documents — Not required from Planning Applicants.

  

    All applicants: If the states served by your project participate in the State Single Point of Contact (SPOC) process, you must send copies of Standard Form 424 and page PTFP-2 to their SPOC offices.

          Your cover letter should state that a copy of the rest of the application is available upon request. Enter the date of the cover letter in Item 19 on page 1 of the SF-424 before submitting to PTFP.

          A list of SPOC offices is available through the Office of Management and Budget home page at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants/spoc.html.

          If you receive a response from your SPOC office, please send two copies of it to PTFP.

    You are advised to notify the telecommunications agency, if any, in each state served by your project.

          You will find a list of State Telecommunications Agencies on the PTFP website.


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Page Last Updated: January 13, 2010