[Federal Register Volume 63, Number 2 (Monday, January 5, 1998)]
[Pages 368-372]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 98-40]

[[Page 367]]


Part IV

Department of Commerce


National Telecommunications and Information Administration


Public Telecommunications Facilities Program; Notice

Federal Register / Vol. 63, No. 2 / Monday, January 5, 1998 / 

[[Page 368]]



National Telecommunications and Information Administration
[Docket No. 960205021-7302-06]
RIN 0660-ZA01

Public Telecommunications Facilities Program: Closing Date

AGENCY: National Telecommunications and Information Administration 
(NTIA), Commerce.

ACTION: Notice of availability of funds.


SUMMARY: The National Telecommunications and Information Administration 
(NTIA), U.S. Department of Commerce, announces the solicitation of 
applications for planning and construction grants for public 
telecommunications facilities under the Public Telecommunications 
Facilities Program (PTFP).
    Applicants for matching grants under the PTFP must file their 
applications on or before February 12, 1998. NTIA anticipates making 
grant awards by September 30, 1998. NTIA shall not be liable for any 
proposal preparation costs.
    Approximately $21 million is available for FY 1998 for PTFP grants 
pursuant to Pub. L. 105-119, the Departments of Commerce, Justice, and 
State, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1998. The amount of a 
grant award by NTIA will vary, depending on the approved project. For 
fiscal year 1997, NTIA awarded $14.2 million in funds to 97 projects. 
The awards ranged from $8,067 to $650,000.
    The applicable Rules for the PTFP were published on November 8, 
1996. These rules, 15 CFR part 2301 et seq. will be in effect for FY 
1998 PTFP applications. Certain requirements of the PTFP at 15 CFR part 
2301 are modified in this Notice. Copies of the 1996 Rules will be 
distributed as part of the PTFP Application Kit and applicants are 
cautioned not to use older versions of the PTFP Rules which were 
published in 1991.
    Parties interested in applying for financial assistance should 
refer to these rules and to the authorizing legislation (47 U.S.C. 390-
393, 397-399b) for additional information on the program's goals and 
objectives, eligibility criteria, evaluation criteria, and other 

DATES: Pursuant to 15 CFR 2301.8(b), the Administrator of NTIA hereby 
establishes the closing date for the filing of applications for grants 
under the PTFP. The closing date selected for the submission of 
applications for 1998 is February 12, 1998. Applications must be 
received prior to 8 p.m. on or before February 12, 1998. Applicants 
sending an application should submit an original and five copies to the 
place indicated in the Address section below. Applicants sending 
applications by the United States Postal Service or commercial delivery 
services must ensure that the carrier will be able to guarantee 
delivery of the application by the Closing Date and Time. NTIA will not 
accept mail delivery of applications posted on the Closing Date or 
later and received after the above deadline. However, if an application 
is received after the Closing Date due to (1) carrier error, when the 
carrier accepted the package with a guarantee for delivery by the 
Closing Date, or (2) significant weather delays or natural disasters, 
NTIA will, upon receipt of proper documentation, consider the 
application as having been received by the deadline. Applicants 
submitting applications by hand delivery are notified that, due to 
security procedures in the Department of Commerce, all packages must be 
cleared by the Department's security office. Entrance to the Department 
of Commerce Building for security clearance is on the 15th St side of 
the building. Applicants whose applications are not received by the 
deadline are hereby notified that their applications will not be 
considered in the current grant cycle and will be returned to the 
applicant. See 15 CFR 2301.8(c); but see also 15 CFR 2301.26. NTIA will 
also return any application which is substantially incomplete, or when 
the Agency finds that either the applicant or project is ineligible for 
funding under 15 CFR 2301.3 or 2301.4. The Agency will inform the 
applicant of the reason for the return of any application.

ADDRESSES: To obtain an application package, submit completed 
applications, or send any other correspondence, write to: NTIA/PTFP, 
Room H-4625, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution 
Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20230.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dennis R. Connors, Director, Public 
Broadcasting Division, telephone: (202) 482-5802; fax: (202) 482-2156. 
Information about the PTFP can also be obtained electronically via 
Internet (http://www.ntia.doc.gov).


I. Application Forms and Regulations

    To apply for a PTFP grant, an applicant must file an original and 
five copies of a timely and complete application on a current form 
approved by the Agency. The current application form will be provided 
to applicants as part of the application package. This form expires on 
November 30, 2000, and no previous versions of the form may be used. 
(In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act, the current 
application form has been cleared under OMB control no. 0660-0003.) 
Applications submitted by facsimile or electronic means are not 
    All persons and organizations on the PTFP's mailing list will be 
sent a copy of the current application form and the Final Rules. Those 
not on the mailing list may obtain copies by contacting the PTFP at the 
address or telephone, fax or Internet numbers noted above. Prospective 
applicants should read the Final Rules carefully before submitting 
applications. Applicants whose applications were deferred in FY 1997 
will be mailed pertinent PTFP materials and instructions for requesting 
reactivation of their applications.
    Based upon NTIA's experience in implementing the PTFP during the 
1997 grant round, NTIA has determined that it is in the best interests 
of NTIA and applicants to modify or waive certain requirements 
contained in the PTFP regulations at 15 CFR part 2301. These changes, 
which are applicable to the FY 1998 PTFP applications and resulting 
awards only, are indicated in italics below. Dependent upon the 
effectiveness of these changes, amendments may be made to the PTFP 
regulations to implement these changes.

Section 2301.11 Service of Applications

    Section 2301.11 provides that: `On or before the closing date, all 
new or deferred applicants must serve a summary copy of the application 
on the following Agencies:
    (a) In the case of an application for a construction grant for 
which FCC authorization is necessary, the Secretary, Federal 
Communications Commission * * *.
    (b) The state telecommunications agency(-ies) if any, having 
jurisdiction over the development of broadcast and/or non broadcast 
telecommunications in the state(s) and community(-ies) to be served by 
the proposed project * * *.
    (c) The state office established to review applications under 
Executive Order 12372.'
    Section 2301.11(a)--For the FY 1998 PTFP, applicants are not 
required to submit copies of their PTFP applications to the FCC, nor 
will they be required to submit copies of the FCC transmittal cover 
letters as part of their PTFP applications. NTIA routinely notifies the 
FCC of applications submitted for funding which require FCC 

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    Section 2301.11(b)--For the FY 1998 PTFP, applicants for distance 
learning projects are not required to notify every state 
telecommunications agency in a potential service area. NTIA has found 
that state telecommunication agency input has been useful with regard 
to broadcast projects, but has received little input from state 
agencies with regard to distance learning projects. Since many distance 
learning applications propose projects which are nationwide in nature, 
NTIA believes that the requirement to provide a summary copy of the 
application in every state telecommunications agency in a potential 
service area is unduly burdensome to applicants. NTIA, however, does 
expect that distance learning applicants will submit documentation that 
they have coordinated their project with appropriate state 
telecommunications agencies in their service area.

Section 2301.12  Federal Communications Commission Authorizations

    Section 2301.12(a) provides, in part, that `Each applicant whose 
project requires FCC authorization must file an application for that 
authorization on or before the closing date. NTIA recommends that its 
applicants submit PTFP-related FCC applications to the FCC at least 60 
days prior to the PTFP closing date.'
    For the FY 1998 PTFP, applicants may submit applications to the FCC 
after the closing date, but do so at their own risk. Applicants are 
urged to submit their FCC applications with as much time before the 
PTFP closing date as possible. No grant will be awarded for a project 
requiring FCC authorization until confirmation has been received by 
NTIA from the FCC that the necessary authorization will be issued.
    Section 2301.12(b) provides that `In the case of FCC authorizations 
where it is not possible or practical to submit the FCC application 
with the PTFP application, such as C-band satellite uplinks * * * a 
copy of the FCC application as it will be submitted to the FCC, or the 
equivalent engineering data, must be included in the PTFP application.'
    For the FY 1998 PTFP applications, since there is no potential for 
terrestrial interference with Ku-band satellite uplinks, grant 
applicants for Ku-band satellite uplinks may submit FCC applications 
after a PTFP award is made. Grant recipients for Ku-band satellite 
uplinks will be required to document receipt of FCC authorizations to 
operate the uplink prior to the release of Federal funds.
    Section2301.12(d) provides that ``Any FCC authorization required 
for the project must be in the name of the applicant for the PTFP 
    For the FY 1998 PTFP applications, NTIA may accept FCC 
authorizations that are in the name of an organization other than the 
PTFP applicant in certain circumstances. Applicants requiring the use 
of FCC authorizations issued to another organization should discuss in 
the application Program Narrative why the FCC authorization must be in 
the other organization's name. NTIA believes that such circumstances 
will be rare and, in our experience, are usually limited to 
authorizations such as those for microwave interconnections or 
satellite uplinks.
    Section 2301.12(g) provides that ``If the applicant fails to file 
the required FCC application(s) by the closing date * * * the Agency 
may reject or return the application.''
    As noted above, for the FY 1998 PTFP applications, NTIA does not 
require that the FCC applications must be filed by the closing date. 
While NTIA is permitting submission of FCC applications after the 
closing date, applicants are reminded that they must continue to 
provide copies of FCC applications, as they were filed or will be 
filed, or equivalent engineering data, in the PTFP application so NTIA 
can properly evaluate the equipment request. These include applications 
for permits, construction permits and licenses already received for (1) 
construction of broadcast station or translator, (2) microwave 
facilities, (3) ITFS authorizations, (4) SCA authorizations, and (5) 
requests for extensions of time.''
    Applicants should note that they must continue to comply with the 
provisions of Executive Order 12372, ``Intergovernmental Review of 
Federal Programs.'' The Executive Order requires applicants for 
financial assistance under this program to file a copy of their 
application with the Single Points of Contact (SPOC) of all states 
relevant to the project. Applicants are required to provide a copy of 
their completed application to the appropriate SPOC on or before 
February 12, 1998. Applicants are encouraged to contact the appropriate 
SPOC well before the PTFP closing date.
    Indirect costs for construction applications are not supported by 
this program. The total dollar amount of the indirect costs proposed in 
a planning application under this program must not exceed the indirect 
cost rate negotiated and approved by a cognizant Federal agency prior 
to the proposed effective date of the award or 100 percent of the total 
proposed direct costs dollar amount in the application, whichever is 
    You are not required to respond to a collection of information 
sponsored by the Federal government, and the government may not conduct 
or sponsor this collection, unless it displays a currently valid OMB 
control number or if we fail to provide you with this notice.
    All primary applicants must submit a completed Form CD-511, 
``Certifications Regarding Debarment, Suspension, and Other 
Responsibility Matters; Drug-Free Workplace Requirements and 
Lobbying,'' and the following explanations are hereby provided:
    (1) Nonprocurement Debarment and Suspension. Prospective 
participants (as defined at 15 CFR part 26, section 105) are subject to 
15 CFR part 26, ``Nonprocurement Debarment and Suspension'' and the 
related section of the certification form prescribed above applies;
    (2) Drug Free Workplace. Grantees (as defined at 15 CFR part 26, 
section 605) are subject to 15 CFR part 26, subpart F, ``Government-
wide Requirements for Drug-Free Workplace (Grants)'' and the related 
section of the certification form prescribed above applies;
    (3) Anti-lobbying. Persons (as defined at 15 CFR part 28, section 
105) are subject to the lobbying provisions of 31 U.S.C. 1352, 
``Limitation on use of appropriated funds to influence certain Federal 
contracting and financial transactions,'' and the lobbying section of 
the certification form prescribed above applies to applicants/bidders 
for grants, cooperative agreements, and contracts for more than 
$100,000, and loans and loan guarantees for more than $150,000, or the 
single family maximum mortgage limit for affected programs, whichever 
is greater; and
    (4) Anti-lobbying Disclosures. Any applicant that has paid or will 
pay for lobbying using any funds must submit an SF-LLL, ``Disclosure of 
Lobbying Activities,'' (OMB Control Number 0348-0046) as required under 
15 CFR part 28, Appendix B.
    Recipients shall require applicants/bidders for subgrants, 
contracts, subcontracts, or other lower tier covered transactions at 
any tier under the grant award to submit, if applicable, a completed 
Form CD-512, ``Certifications Regarding Debarment, Suspension, 
Ineligibility and Voluntary Exclusion-Lower Tier Covered Transactions 
and Lobbying'' and disclosure form, SF-LLL, ``Disclosure of

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Lobbying Activities.'' Form CD-512 is intended for the use of 
recipients and should not be transmitted to the Department. SF-LLL 
submitted by any tier recipient or subrecipient should be submitted to 
the Department in accordance with the instructions contained in the 
award document.
    If an application is selected for funding, the Department of 
Commerce has no obligation to provide any additional future funding in 
connection with that award. Renewal of an award to increase funding or 
extend the period of performance is at the total discretion of the 
    Recipients and subrecipients are subject to all Federal laws and 
Federal and DOC policies, regulations, and procedures applicable to 
Federal assistance awards. In addition, unsatisfactory performance by 
the applicant under prior Federal awards may result in the application 
not being considered for funding.
    If applicants incur any costs prior to an award being made, they do 
so solely at their own risk of not being reimbursed by the Government. 
Notwithstanding any verbal or written assurance that they have 
received, there is no obligation on the part of the Department to cover 
preaward costs.
    No award of Federal funds shall be made to an applicant who has an 
outstanding delinquent Federal debt until either: (1) The delinquent 
account is paid in full; (2) a negotiated repayment schedule is 
established and at least one payment is received, or (3) other 
arrangements satisfactory to the Department are made.
    Applicants are reminded that a false statement on the application 
may be grounds for denial or termination of funds and grounds for 
possible punishment by a fine or imprisonment as provided in 18 U.S.C. 
    Special Note: NTIA has established a policy which is intended to 
encourage stations to increase from 25 percent to 50 percent the 
matching percentage for those proposals that call for equipment 
replacement, improvement, or augmentation (PTFP Policy Statement, (56 
FR 59168 (1991)). The presumption of 50 percent funding will be the 
general rule for the replacement, improvement or augmentation of 
equipment. Exceptions to this general policy direction are as follows: 
small community-licensee stations will not be subjected to this policy. 
The same is true of a station that is licensed to a large institution 
(e.g., a college or university) documenting that it does not receive 
direct or in-kind support from the larger institution. Also, a showing 
of extraordinary need or an emergency situation will be taken into 
consideration as justification for grants of up to 75% of the project 
cost for such proposals.
    A point of clarification is in order: NTIA expects to continue 
funding projects to activate stations or to extend service at up to 75 
percent of the total project cost. NTIA will do this because applicants 
proposing to provide first service to a geographic area ordinarily 
incur considerable costs that are not eligible for NTIA funding. The 
applicant must cover the ineligible costs including those for 
construction or renovation of buildings and other similar expenses.
    Since NTIA has limited funds for the PTFP program, the PTFP Final 
Rules published November 8, 1996 modified NTIA's policy regarding the 
funding of planning applications. Our policy now includes the general 
presumption to fund planning projects at no more than 75 percent of the 
project costs. NTIA notes that most of the planning grants awarded by 
PTFP in recent years include matching in-kind services and funds 
contributed by the grantee. The new NTIA policy therefore codifies what 
already has become PTFP practice. NTIA, however, is mindful that 
planning grants are sometimes the only resource that emerging community 
groups have with which to initiate the planning of new facilities in 
unserved areas. We therefore will continue to award up to 100 percent 
of total project costs in cases of extraordinary need (e.g. small 
community group proposing to initiate new public telecommunication 
    We wish to take this opportunity to restate the policy published in 
the November 22, 1991, PTFP Policy Statement (56 FR 59168 (1991)), 
regarding applicants' use of funds from the Corporation for Public 
Broadcasting (CPB) to meet the local match requirements of the PTFP 
grant. NTIA continues to believe that the policies and purposes 
underlying the PTFP requirements could be significantly frustrated if 
applicants routinely relied upon another Federally supported grant 
program for local matching funds. Accordingly, NTIA has limited the use 
of CPB funds for the non-Federal share of PTFP projects to 
circumstances of ``clear and compelling need'' (15 CFR 2301.6(c)(2)). 
NTIA intends to maintain that standard and to apply it on a case-by-
case basis.
    The November 22, 1991, PTFP Policy Statement (56 FR 59168 (1991)) 
also discussed a number of issues of particular relevance to applicants 
proposing nonbroadcast educational and instructional projects and 
potential improvement of nonbroadcast facilities. These policies remain 
in effect and will be distributed to all PTFP applicants as part of the 
Guidelines for preparing FY 1998 PTFP applications.

II. Eligible and Ineligible Costs

    Eligible equipment for the 1998 grant round includes apparatus 
necessary for the production, interconnection, captioning, broadcast, 
or other distribution of programming, including but not limited to 
studio equipment; audio and video storage, processing, and switching 
equipment; terminal equipment; towers; antennas; transmitters; remote 
control equipment; transmission line; translators; microwave equipment; 
mobile equipment; satellite communications equipment; instructional 
television fixed service equipment; subsidiary communications 
authorization transmitting and receiving equipment; cable television 
equipment; and optical fiber communications equipment.
    The FCC's adoption of the Fifth Report and Order in April 1997 
requires that all public television stations begin the broadcast of a 
digital signal by May 1, 2003. NTIA believes that it is critical that 
all public television applicants fully consider digital technology in 
any request for equipment replacement submitted to PTFP. Any public 
television applicant must describe whether it has a plan for digital 
conversion to meet the FCC's mandate and whether the requested 
equipment is consistent with that plan. If the applicant is developing 
a plan for digital conversion, the application should address how the 
requested equipment will be consistent with the overall objective of 
converting the facility for digital broadcasting.
    NTIA recognizes that digital technology will be an important means 
for the more efficient creation and distribution of programming in the 
future. Consequently, public broadcasters seeking to replace, upgrade, 
and buy new equipment that employs digital technology will be 
permitted, when appropriate, to use PTFP funds for such purposes.
    The following list provides clarification regarding several 
equipment and other cost areas that will be helpful in preparing 
applications. NTIA also reserves the right to eliminate any costs, 
whether specified here or not, that it determines are not appropriate 
prior to the awarding of a grant.

A. Equipment and Supplies

    (1) Buildings and Modifications to Buildings. (a) Eligible: Small 
equipment shelters that are part of satellite earth stations, 
translators, microwave

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interconnection facilities, and similar facilities. (b) Ineligible: 
Purchase or lease of buildings and modifications to buildings, 
including the renovation of space for studios intended to house 
eligible equipment; costs associated with removing old equipment.
    (2) Land and Land Improvements. (a) Eligible: Site preparation 
necessary to construct towers and guy anchors for transmission and 
interconnection equipment. (b) Ineligible: Purchase or lease of land.
    (3) Moving Costs. (a) Eligible: Shipping and delivery charges for 
equipment acquired within the award. (b) Ineligible: Moving costs 
required by relocation of any facilities.
    (4) Reception Equipment. (a) Eligible: Fixed frequency demodulator, 
as required by good engineering practice for monitoring the off-air 
transmission of signals; subcarrier demodulator; telemetry transmitters 
and receivers; satellite receivers; and subcarrier decoders for the 
handicapped. (b) Ineligible: Consumer-type TV sets and FM receivers.
    (5) Tower Modifications. (a) Eligible: Strengthening or modifying a 
commercial entity's tower to accommodate a public broadcasting entity 
(structural modifications on towers and/or antenna changes must meet 
EIA (Electronic Industries Association) and any required local 
standards). (b) Ineligible: Modifying or strengthening the applicant's 
tower to accommodate a commercial entity.
    (6) Production and Control Room Equipment. (a) Eligible: Standard 
production studio and control room equipment for TV or radio program 
production. (b) Ineligible: Consumer-type mixers, tape recorders, 
turntables, CD players, etc; ancillary production devices such as 
stopwatches and stop-clocks, building lights, sound effects, scenery 
and props, cycloramas, sound insulation devices and materials, 
draperies and related equipment for production use, film and still 
photography processing, film sound synchronization editing.
    (7) Video Equipment. (a) Eligible: Videotape editing and processing 
equipment that conforms to broadcast-standard quality equipment for 
field recording and production editing. (b) Ineligible: Consumer level 
videotape recording formats not accepted in the industry as broadcast-
standard quality.
    (8) Furniture and Office Equipment. (a) Eligible: Consoles required 
to mount equipment such as audio consoles and video switchers. (b) 
Ineligible: Such items as office furniture, office equipment, studio 
clocks and systems, blackboards, office intercoms, equipment inventory 
labels and label-makers, word processors, telephone systems, and 
printing and duplication equipment.
    (9) Expendable Items and Spare Parts. (a) Eligible: A transmitter 
spare parts kit and one set of final and driver tubes for a transmitter 
awarded in the grant; a spare parts kit for video tape recorders 
awarded in the grant. (b) Ineligible: Spare lenses, spare circuit 
components, spare parts kits for studio equipment, except as noted 
above; recording tape, film, reels, cartridge tapes, records, compact 
discs, and record or tape cleaning equipment; art and graphics 
supplies; maintenance supplies, including replacement final and driver 
tubes normally considered in the industry as normal maintenance-budget-
provided items and similar items.
    (10) Backup Equipment. (a) Eligible: Hot standby or backup 
microwave for the main studio-to-transmitter link only; a backup or 
spare exciter for a television transmitter, as required by good 
engineering practice. (b) Ineligible: Redundant equipment, such as 
spare transmitters, or costs associated with them, as well as backup 
microwave equipment (except as noted above).
    (11) Electric Power. (a) Eligible: Generally, all primary power 
costs from the output of the main power meter panel; regulators and 
surge protectors, as required by good engineering practice, to 
stabilize transmitter RF output. Where primary power is not available 
or is unusable for broadcast, then PTFP may provide funding for those 
devices needed to power the facility if the need for that equipment is 
fully documented in the application. (b) Ineligible: Costs of 
installing primary power to the facility, including transformers, power 
lines, gasoline or diesel powered generators, and related equipment.
    (12) Test and Maintenance Equipment. (a) Eligible: Required test 
equipment, as indicated by good engineering practice for the 
maintenance of the project equipment. (b) Ineligible: Maintenance 
equipment such as hand and power tools, storage cabinets, and 
maintenance services.
    (13) Air Conditioning and Ventilation. (a) Eligible: The costs to 
provide ventilation of eligible project equipment, such as ducting for 
transmitters, as required by good engineering practice. Transmitter air 
conditioning can be applied for and will be supported if the need is 
well-documented in the application. (b) Ineligible: Unless 
exceptionally well-documented, air conditioning for transmitters, 
control rooms, or equipment rooms, studios, mobile units, and other 
operational rooms and offices.
    (14) Remote Vans. (a) Eligible: Items to equip a remote van for 
audio/video production. (b) Ineligible: All vehicles.

B. Other Costs

    (1) Construction Applications: NTIA generally will not fund salary 
expenses, including staff installation costs, and pre-application legal 
and engineering fees. Certain ``pre-operational expenses'' are eligible 
for funding. (See 15 CFR 2301.2.) Despite this provision, NTIA regards 
its primary mandate to be funding the acquisition of equipment and only 
secondarily funding of salaries. A discussion of this issue appears in 
the PTFP Final Rules under the heading Support for Salary Expenses in 
the introductory section of the document.
    (2) Planning Applications. (a) Eligible: Salaries are eligible 
expenses for all planning grant applications, but should be fully 
described and justified within the application. Planning grant 
applicants may lease office equipment, furniture and space, and may 
purchase expendable supplies under the terms of Section 392(c) of the 
Act. (b) Ineligible: Planning grant applications cannot include the 
cost of constructing or operating a telecommunications facility.
    (3) Audit Costs. Audits shall be performed in accordance with audit 
requirements contained in Office of Management and Budget Circular A-
133, Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations, 
revised June 30, 1997. OMB Circular A-133 requires that non-profit 
organizations, government agencies, Indian tribes and educational 
institutions expending more than $300,000 in federal funds during a 
one-year period conduct a single audit in accordance with guidelines 
outlined in the circular. Applicants are reminded that other audits may 
be conducted by the Office of Inspector General.
    Federal guidelines allow NTIA to include an amount for audit costs 
as part of a grant award. NTIA policy permits non-profit organizations 
to include up to $5,000 for audit costs in an application. Because 
audit costs may vary depending on the size and scope of an organ 
ization's operations, NTIA recommends that applicants obtain estimates 
from auditors to determine the appropriate amount to include in their 
applications. Construction Grant Applicants should list the amount 
requested for audit costs in Part II, Section B--Other Project Costs, 
p.3 of the PTFP Application Form. Planning Grant Applicants should 
include the amount on line 7, Other, in Part II--

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Budget Information for Planning Grant Applicants, p. 4 of the PTFP 
Application Form.

III. Notice of Applications Received

    In accordance with 15 CFR 2301.13, NTIA will publish a notice in 
the Federal Register listing all applications received by the Agency. 
Listing an application in such a notice merely acknowledges receipt of 
an application to compete for funding with other applications. 
Publication does not preclude subsequent return of the application for 
the reasons discussed under the Dates section above, or disapproval of 
the application, nor does it assure that the application will be 
funded. The notice will also include a request for comments on the 
applications from any interested party.

IV. Evaluation Process

    See 15 CFR 2301.16 for a description of the Technical Evaluation 
and 15 CFR 2301.17 for the Evaluation Criteria.

V. Selection Process

    Based upon the above cited evaluation criteria, the PTFP program 
staff prepares summary recommendations for the PTFP Director. These 
recommendations incorporate outside reviewers rankings and 
recommendations, engineering assessments, and input from the National 
Advisory Panel, State Single Point of Contacts and state 
telecommunications agencies. Staff recommendations also consider 
project impact, the cost/benefit of a project and whether review panels 
have consistently applied the evaluation criteria. The PTFP Director 
will consider the summary recommendations prepared by program staff, 
will recommend the funding order of the applications, and will present 
recommendations to the OTIA (Office of Telecommunications and 
Information Applications) Associate Administrator for review and 
approval. The PTFP Director recommends the funding order for 
applications in three categories: ``Recommended for Funding,'' 
``Recommended for Funding if Funds Available,'' and ``Not Recommended 
for Funding.'' See 15 CFR 2301.18 for a description of the selection 
factors retained by the Director, OTIA Associate Administrator, and the 
Assistant Secretary for Telecommunications and Information.
    Upon review and approval by the OTIA Associate Administrator, the 
Director's recommendations will then be presented to the Selection 
Official, the NTIA Administrator. The NTIA Administrator selects the 
applications to be negotiated for possible grant award taking into 
consideration the Director's recommendations and the degree to which 
the slate of applications, taken as a whole, satisfies the program's 
stated purposes set forth at 15 CFR 2301.1(a) and (c). These 
applications are negotiated between PTFP staff and the applicant. The 
negotiations are intended to resolve whatever differences might exist 
between the applicant's original request and what PTFP proposes to 
fund. During negotiations, some applications may be dropped from the 
proposed slate, due to lack of Federal Communications Commission 
licensing authority, an applicant's inability to make adequate 
assurances or certifications, or other reasons. Negotiation of an 
application does not ensure that a final award will be made. When the 
negotiations are completed, the PTFP Director recommends final 
selections to the NTIA Administrator applying the same factors as 
listed in 15 CFR 2301.18. The Administrator then makes the final award 
selections from the negotiated applications taking into consideration 
the Director's recommendations and the degree to which the slate of 
applications, taken as a whole, satisfies the program's stated purposes 
in 15 CFR 2301.1(a) and (c).

VI. Project Period

    Planning grant award periods customarily do not exceed one year, 
whereas construction grant award periods commonly range from one to two 
years. Although these time frames are generally applied to the award of 
all PTFP grants, variances in project periods may be based on specific 
circumstances of an individual proposal.

    Authority: The Public Telecommunications Financing Act of 1978, 
as amended, 47 U.S.C. Secs. 390-393, 397-399(b) (Act).

(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No. 11.550)
Bernadette McGuire-Rivera,
Associate Administrator, Office of Telecommunications and Information 
[FR Doc. 98-40 Filed 1-2-98; 8:45am]