For Immediate Release
Thursday, May 4, 2000
Contact: Morrie Goodman
(202) 482-4883
Ranjit de Silva
(202) 482-7002
Art Brodsky
(202) 482-0019


Study is part of continuing administration effort to close digital divide

WASHINGTON-Commerce Secretary William M. Daley today announced the award of a $100,450 contract to the Virginia Polytechnic Institute in Blacksburg, Va., for a survey of 100 Community Technology Centers (CTCs), a major component in public/private initiatives aimed at closing the nation's digital divide.

A Commerce Department report issued last July said that the gap between Americans with access and those without access to information technologies-tools critical for economic success and advancement-had widened significantly. Closing the digital divide is a major administration initiative. Both President Clinton and Secretary Daley will continue separate nationwide tours to underscore the issue and highlight on-going efforts to close the technology gap.

Community Technology Centers are at the center of efforts to close the information technology divide because they provide those in economically disadvantaged areas with ready access to the Internet to obtain information about economic development, educational opportunities and public services.

Daley said the survey will focus on the CTCs' information technology resources, factors impeding the creation of new technology centers, the integration of CTCs into economically distressed neighborhoods, methods for increasing access to the CTCs, and ways for improving their effectiveness.

"The important role that Community Technology Centers play in helping to bridge the digital divide cannot be overstated," Daley said. "Their survival and growth will continue to be a part of the solution of finding new gateways that provide access to information technology," he said.

"The premise of this study is that Community Technology Centers succeed in communities where a culture of cooperation and community building is well developed," Gregory L. Rohde, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information, said. "This, in turn, leads to more useful and sustainable community networks to provide essential services," Rohde added.

The Contract was awarded by the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) under its Technology Opportunities Program (TOP).

The Virginia Polytechnic Institute is a leader in developing and using Internet technology to solve community problems. NTIA's TOP program is funding a series of research and evaluation projects designed to provide information on sustainable telecommunications networks and on the diffusion of telecommunications and information technology applications in the public and non-profit sectors.

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


Note: Additional information is available on the Technology Opportunities Program Web site. To get to the site, go to the NTIA home page (www.ntia.doc.gov) and follow the links to "grants" and the Technology Opportunities Program. Information on the digital divide initiatives is available on the administration digital divide web site, www.digitaldivide.gov