January 5, 1998

CONTACT: Sallianne Fortunato
 (202) 482-7002


Potential Applicants Encouraged to Participate in Regional Workshops

WASHINGTON, DC - Approximately $17 million in grants will be awarded in 1999 by the Commerce Department to state, local, and tribal governments and non-profit entities as part of the Clinton Administration program to extend benefits of the Internet and other information technology to all Americans, especially those in inaccessible, rural and underserved urban communities, Commerce Secretary William M. Daley announced.

"Across America, communities are recognizing that telecommunications and information technologies are key to creating economic opportunities. The Commerce Department's Telecommunications and Information Infrastructure Assistance Program (TIIAP) is playing an important role, as it focuses on underserved communities, especially inner cities and rural areas," Secretary of Commerce Daley said. "The TIIAP program illustrates how technology equips American workers and entrepreneurs, students and teachers, doctors and patients, and parents and children with the skills and tools they need to meet the challenges of the Information Age. Projects funded through these grants have helped forge partnerships in local communities across the country and have ensured that information technologies live up to their potential and enhance community services, health care delivery, civic participation and much more."

TIIAP is a highly-competitive, merit-based grant program, providing seed money for innovative, practical projects that use advanced telecommunications and information technology. Administered by the Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the program, since its inception in 1994, has provided more than $118 million in matching grants.

NTIA said it will launch the 1999 grant award competition and immediately begin accepting applications, which are due by March 11, 1999. Grant applicants are encouraged to develop projects of national significance which demonstrate how telecommunications and information technologies can be used to extend valuable services and opportunities to all Americans, especially the underserved. Projects funded so far include innovations in education and training, support for the creation of more responsive public institutions, enhancement of economic development in rural and disadvantaged areas, and increased public access to health care.

In addition, the program is specifically encouraging projects developed by smaller, locally-based organizations that both serve and represent technologically underserved communities. Grant applicants are also encouraged to consider the use of advanced network technologies to enhance the quality and efficiency of services delivered through non-profit entities. Moreover, TIIAP is interested in cross-cutting projects involving partnerships among its five application areas-community networking; education, culture, and lifelong learning; health; public safety; and public services.

"Our purpose in establishing some specific priorities this year is to bring new groups and people into the process," said Larry Irving, Assistant Secretary and Administrator for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. "We hope that by encouraging organizations that haven't been as involved in the past and by encouraging new partnerships among different types of organizations, we'll get an even stronger pool of creative and compelling applications."

NTIA will hold a series of regional Technical Assistance Workshops to discuss the TIIAP funding priorities, application requirements, and lessons learned from previous TIIAP grantees. This is a key opportunity for interested parties to understand the TIIAP goals and process and meet representatives of other organizations interested in the TIIAP program. The Technical Assistance Workshops will be held on January 21, in Portland, Oregon; January 26, in Albuquerque, New Mexico; January 29, in Memphis, Tennessee; February 3, in Boston, Massachusetts; and February 11, in Chicago, Illinois.

Assistant Secretary Irving will hold a special briefing for press, associations and interested parties in Washington, D.C. on January 19 at the Department of Commerce, Room 4830, at 2 P.M.

Information about the program's regulations and procedures can be found in the Notice of Availability of Funds, published in the Federal Register on January 4, 1999. For more information about TIIAP and the Technical Assistance Workshops, call (202) 482-2048, or e-mail to, or via the Internet at

TIIAP is administered by the U.S. Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). NTIA serves as the principal adviser to the President, Vice President and Secretary of Commerce on domestic and international communications and information issues and represents the Executive Branch before the Congress, other Federal agencies, foreign governments and international organizations.