[Federal Register Volume 66, Number 8 (Thursday, January 11, 2001)]
[Notices]
[Pages 2743-2749]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 01-657]



[[Page 2743]]

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Part V





Department of Commerce





-----------------------------------------------------------------------



National Telecommunications and Information Administration



-----------------------------------------------------------------------



Technology Opportunities Program; Notice

Federal Register / Vol. 66, No. 8 / Thursday, January 11, 2001 / 
Notices

[[Page 2744]]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Telecommunications and Information Administration

[Docket No. 981203295-0355-05]
RIN 0660-ZA06; CFDA 11.552


Technology Opportunities Program

AGENCY: National Telecommunications and Information Administration, 
Commerce.

ACTION: Notice of availability of funds.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The National Telecommunications and Information Administration 
(NTIA) issues this Notice describing the conditions under which 
applications will be received under the Technology Opportunities 
Program (TOP) and how NTIA will determine which applications it will 
fund. TOP promotes the widespread availability and use of digital 
network technologies in the public and non-profit sectors.
    To accomplish this objective, TOP provides matching grants to 
state, local, and tribal governments and non-profit entities for model 
projects that demonstrate innovative uses of digital network 
technologies in underserved communities. TOP projects address specific 
challenges and realize opportunities in such areas as lifelong 
learning, community and economic development, government and public 
services, safety, health, and culture and the arts.

DATES: Complete applications for the Fiscal Year 2001 TOP grant program 
must be mailed or hand-carried to the address indicated below and 
received by NTIA no later than 8:00 P.M. EST, March 22, 2001.

ADDRESSES: Applications must be mailed to: Technology Opportunities 
Program National Telecommunications and Information Administration U.S. 
Department of Commerce 1401 Constitution Avenue, NW. HCHB, Room 4092 
Washington, DC 20230 or hand-delivered to: Technology Opportunities 
Program National Telecommunications and Information Administration U.S. 
Department of Commerce HCHB, Room 1874 1401 Constitution Avenue, NW. 
Washington, DC 20230. Room 1874 is located at entrance #10 on 15th 
Street NW., between Pennsylvania and Constitution Avenues.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT: Stephen J. Downs, Director of the 
Technology Opportunities Program. Telephone: 202-482-2048; fax: 202-
501-5136; e-mail: [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:   

Authority

    Consolidated Appropriations Act for FY2001, Pub. L. 106-553.

Eligible Organizations

    All non-profit entities (including, but not limited to, non-profit 
community-based organizations, non-profit health care providers, public 
health institutions, schools, libraries, museums, colleges, 
universities, public safety providers) and state, local, and tribal 
governments are eligible to apply. Although individuals and for-profit 
organizations are not eligible to apply, they are encouraged to 
participate as project partners.

Funding Availability

    Approximately $42.5 million is available for federal assistance. A 
small amount of funds that have been deobligated from grants awarded in 
previous fiscal years may also be available for Fiscal Year 2001 
grants. Based on past experience, NTIA expects this year's grant round 
to be very competitive. In Fiscal Year 2000, NTIA received over 660 
applications collectively requesting more than $270 million in federal 
funds. From these applications, the Department of Commerce announced 35 
awards totaling $13.9 million in federal funds.

Award Amounts

    An applicant may request up to a total of $900,000 in funds from 
NTIA. TOP expects the federal amounts awarded to range from $200,000 to 
$900,000, with an average of approximately $500,000.

Matching Funds Requirements

    Grant recipients under this program will be required to provide 
matching funds toward the total project cost. Applicants must document 
their capacity to provide matching funds. Matching funds may be in the 
form of cash or in-kind contributions.
    NTIA will provide up to 50 percent of the total project cost, 
unless the applicant can document extraordinary circumstances 
warranting a grant of up to 75 percent. Grant funds under this program 
are usually released in direct proportion to local matching funds 
utilized and documented as having been expended.
    Generally, federal funds may not be used as matching funds, except 
as provided by federal statute. If you plan to use funds from a federal 
agency, you should contact the federal agency that administers the 
funds in question and obtain documentation from that agency's Office of 
General Counsel to support the use of federal funds for matching 
purposes.

Completeness of Application

    TOP will initially review all applications to determine whether all 
required elements are present and clearly identifiable. The required 
elements are listed and described in the Guidelines for Preparing 
Applications--Fiscal Year 2001. Each of the required elements must be 
present and clearly identified. Failure to do so may result in 
rejection of the application.

Application Deadline

    As noted above, complete applications for the Fiscal Year 2001 TOP 
grant program must be received by NTIA no later than 8 p.m. est, March 
22, 2001. A postmark date is not sufficient. Applications which have 
been provided to a delivery service on or before March 21, 2001, with 
``delivery guaranteed'' before 8 p.m. on March 22, 2001, will be 
accepted for review if the applicant can document that the application 
was provided to the delivery service with delivery to the address 
listed above guaranteed prior to the closing date and time. 
Applications will not be accepted via facsimile machine transmission or 
electronic mail. NTIA anticipates that it will take approximately six 
months to complete the review of applications and make final funding 
decisions.

Program Funding Priorities

    While access to computers and the Internet among underserved 
populations is increasing, effective use of digital network 
technologies continues to lag in underserved communities and the 
organizations that serve them.\1\ Across the country, various groups of 
people and geographic communities face technological, economic, 
physical, linguistic, or cultural barriers that limit or prevent their 
use of digital network technologies or vital services. Through TOP, 
NTIA provides underserved communities with opportunities to overcome 
these barriers and explore the benefits that emerging digital network 
technologies offer.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ Recent NTIA-sponsored reports, including Falling Through the 
Net, Toward Digital Inclusion and Historically Black Colleges and 
Universities: An Assessment of Networking and Connectivity, provide 
more details on the levels of access among specific communities. 
These reports are accessible via NTIA's home page at http://www.ntia.doc.gov.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    TOP projects demonstrate creative uses of digital networks to 
address challenges in the public and non-profit sectors. All funded 
projects must be interactive in that they allow end users to share 
information with each other or gain access to information on an on-
demand basis, as opposed to a one-way

[[Page 2745]]

or broadcast basis.\2\ TOP supported projects must also involve 
communication and new partnerships among multiple unaffiliated 
organizations or enable direct, interactive communication between an 
organization and the public it serves.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ An ``end user'' is an individual who directly utilizes the 
network technology.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Fundamental to any TOP project is the applicant's vision of how to 
use networks to address specific challenges and realize opportunities 
in such areas as lifelong learning, community and economic development, 
government and public services, safety, health, and culture and the 
arts. Rather than simply requesting funds to build capacity or upgrade 
existing equipment, each application should describe a project that 
identifies specific problems, proposes creative solutions, and 
postulates measurable outcomes.
    As a national program, TOP emphasizes innovation, learning, and 
diffusion of new ideas and practical knowledge. Each TOP-supported 
project must be innovative in the sense that it represents a departure 
from how other communities and groups across the country are using 
network technology to address pressing challenges. Each TOP project 
should yield new insights into how best to use network technology and 
offer opportunities to learn what works well and what doesn't. Because 
these grants will serve as national models for other communities, NTIA 
expects each project to include provisions for thorough evaluations 
that will provide valid and reliable data as well as valuable lessons 
learned to be shared with others interested in the project.
    For the FY 2001 grant competition, TOP is especially interested in 
projects that involve:
     Broadband technologies that bring very high-speed 
communications directly to end users;
     Mobile wireless communication technologies that offer end 
users greater flexibility in how, where, and when they access 
information;
     Empowering end users to move beyond passive information 
consumption to become valued contributors to the development, 
modification, and expansion of shared information resources; \3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ For example, once isolated communities now use Internet 
technology to collect and express their histories; children have 
become agents of community change as they have used network 
technology to collect information, provide analysis, and contribute 
to the public policy dialogue in their communities; and citizens are 
exploring the creation of databases which enrich the resources made 
available by local and state governments.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

     Emerging data sharing techniques that facilitate the 
seamless and secure exchange of information across organizational 
boundaries; and
     Sustainable strategies to pool community demand to support 
the widespread availability of digital network services.
    As in past years, TOP is also especially interested in projects 
developed by smaller, locally-based organizations that both serve and 
represent underserved communities across the nation. For example, these 
organizations may include but are not limited to: community-based 
organizations; small non-profits; colleges and universities serving 
rural communities; Minority Serving Institutions (Historically Black 
Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and Tribal 
Colleges and Universities); and organizations representing Empowerment 
Zones and Enterprise Communities.
    In previous fiscal years, NTIA supported planning projects whose 
primary goal was to develop strategies for the development of network 
technologies. The emphasis for Fiscal Year 2001 is on projects that 
develop and use network technologies. NTIA will, however, support 
projects that incorporate some planning activities as part of the 
proposed project.

Limitations on Project Scope

    Each TOP project is expected to include a range of activities that 
support project development, implementation, and evaluation. However, 
TOP will not support projects whose primary purpose is to develop 
hardware or software, to provide training on the use of the network 
technologies, or to build voice-based systems. Details on these 
restrictions are discussed below.
    (1) Hardware or Software Development Projects. Some projects may 
require limited software development or the customization or 
modification of existing software or hardware in order to meet 
particular end-user requirements or to enable the exchange of 
information across networks. However, the creation of a software or 
hardware product cannot be a project's primary purpose.
    (2) Training Projects. While TOP does consider training to be an 
essential aspect of most projects, TOP will not support projects whose 
primary purpose is to provide training in the use of software 
applications, Internet use, or other use of network technologies.
    (3) Voice-based Systems. Two-way, interactive voice networks are an 
important element of the existing network systems. Voice as a means for 
conveying information and voice input tools play critical roles in 
ensuring people with disabilities have access to network technology. 
However, TOP will not support projects whose primary purpose is to 
either build or install voice-based communication networks such as call 
centers, two-way radio networks, enhanced-911 and 311 systems, or 800 
MHZ radio systems.

Review Criteria

    Reviewers will review and rate each application using the following 
criteria. The relative weights of each criterion are identified in 
parentheses.

1. Project Purpose (20%)

    Each application should describe a clearly defined project that 
focuses on underserved communities. In this criterion, reviewers will 
judge each application on (1) the overall design of the project and (2) 
the degree to which it provides opportunities for underserved 
communities.
    In assessing the project design, reviewers will examine the degree 
to which the applicant clearly: Defines the problem(s) within the 
community to be served and describes its severity; proposes creative 
and practical means of addressing the community's problem(s) employing 
digital network technologies; and identifies anticipated outcomes and 
that are both realistic and measurable. Reviewers will also assess the 
degree to which an applicant convincingly links the three major 
elements--problem(s), solution(s), and outcome(s).
    Reviewers will assess the degree to which the project targets 
underserved communities and populations, and the degree to which the 
proposed project will address the circumstances and challenges (such as 
poverty, low literacy, disabilities, high unemployment, low educational 
achievement, high crime rate, poor health status, etc.) they face.

2. Innovation (20%)

    Reviewers will assess innovation by examining both the technology 
to be used and the application of technology in a particular setting, 
to serve a particular population, or to solve a particular problem. TOP 
defines innovation broadly. For example, projects that involve 
imaginative partnerships, the introduction of new business processes 
designed to offer more effective services, untested strategies for 
overcoming access barriers, or new techniques that transform inter-
organizational relationships can all be considered innovative. TOP 
encourages applicants to experiment with leading edge technologies. It 
is, however, the creativity behind the application of the

[[Page 2746]]

technology to meet community needs that ultimately determines the level 
of innovation.
    Using their experience in their respective fields, reviewers will 
examine each project in a national context and evaluate (1) how an 
application compares with, complements, and improves on the existing 
base of knowledge and project practices and (2) what insight(s) the 
proposed project could add to what is known about using digital network 
technology as a solution to problems in its particular field.

3. Diffusion Potential (20%)

    The innovations and approaches to be demonstrated in any proposed 
project should contain the potential to be diffused broadly throughout 
the country. NTIA expects that each awarded project will serve as a 
model for other communities to follow.
    To assess this potential for diffusion, reviewers will consider 
four factors:
    (1) The degree to which the problem identified by the applicant is 
common to many communities;
    (2) The relative advantage of the project's innovations over 
established approaches to addressing the specified problems;
    (3) The ease of replication and adaptation, based on considerations 
such as cost and complexity; and
    (4) The applicant's plans and budget resources dedicated to 
disseminate actively the knowledge gained from the project's successes 
and failures.

4. Project Feasibility (15%)

    In assessing the feasibility of each application, reviewers will 
focus on six issues: the technical approach, the qualifications of the 
project staff, the proposed budget, the implementation schedule, plans 
for protecting privacy, and the applicant's plan for sustaining the 
project beyond the grant period.
    (1) In assessing technical approach, reviewers will examine the 
degree to which the proposed system would work and operate with other 
systems; technological alternatives that have been considered; designs 
for system maintenance and periodic upgrades; and plans project 
expansion. Applicants are expected to make use of existing 
infrastructure and commercially available telecommunications services, 
unless extraordinary circumstances require the construction of new 
network facilities.
    (2) In assessing the qualifications of the project team, reviewers 
will assess the applicant and its partners to determine if they have 
the resources, expertise, and experience necessary to undertake, 
evaluate, and complete the project and disseminate results within the 
proposed period.
    (3) Reviewers will analyze the budget in terms of clarity and cost-
effectiveness. The proposed budget should be appropriate to the tasks 
proposed and sufficiently detailed so that reviewers can easily 
understand the relationship of items in the budget to the project 
narrative.
    (4) Reviewers also will assess the degree to which the 
implementation process is comprehensive, reasonable, and can be 
completed in the proposed time frame.
    (5) Reviewers will evaluate the applicant's plans to safeguard the 
privacy of the project's end users and others affected by the project.
    (6) Finally, reviewers will examine the applicant's strategies to 
sustain the project after the completion of the grant.

5. Community Involvement (15%)

    Each application will be rated on the overall level and breadth of 
community involvement in the development and implementation of the 
proposed project. Reviewers will:
    (1) Analyze the applicant's partnerships to ensure that they 
include linkages among unaffiliated organizations (from the public, 
non-profit, or private sectors) as an ongoing and integral part of 
project planning and implementation. TOP considers partners to be 
organizations that supply cash or in-kind resources and/or play an 
active role in the planning and implementation of the project;
    (2) Examine the steps the applicant has taken to include and 
sustain the involvement of a variety of community stakeholders. 
Reviewers will look for evidence of demand, from the community, the end 
users, and the potential beneficiaries, for the services proposed by 
the project; and
    (3) Consider the degree of attention paid to the needs, skills, 
working conditions, and living environments of the targeted end users. 
Reviewers will consider the extent to which applicants involve 
representatives from a broad range of potential users in both the 
design and implementation of the project and consider the varying 
degrees of abilities of all end users, including individuals with 
disabilities. Reviewers will also assess the degree to which the 
project addresses barriers which limit a community's or a group's 
access to digital network technologies. Finally, reviewers will assess 
the applicant's plans for training end users and upgrading their 
skills.

6. Evaluation (10%)

    Each application will be rated on its proposed plans for evaluating 
the project. Reviewers will assess the extent to which the applicant's 
research or evaluation design: (1) Provides for continuous feedback for 
project planning, implementation, review and revision; (2) addresses 
the problems, solutions, and anticipated outcomes described in the 
project purpose and yields valid and reliable findings; (3) captures 
lessons learned and sufficient descriptive data so that others may 
easily adapt and replicate the project; and (4) meets TOP's 
requirements for an independent evaluation as described in the 
``Reporting Requirements'' section of this Notice.
    Reviewers will examine:
    (1) The research design and methodology;
    (2) Evaluation questions, data collection, and data analysis plans;
    (3) The qualifications of any staff or external evaluators working 
on the evaluation; and
    (4) The allocation of resources for implementing the evaluation and 
reporting project findings.

Eligible Costs

    Eligible Costs. Allowable costs incurred under approved projects 
shall be determined in accordance with applicable federal cost 
principles, i.e., OMB Circular A-21, A-87, A-122, or appendix E of 45 
CFR part 74. If included in the approved project budget, TOP will allow 
costs for personnel; fringe benefits; computer hardware, software, and 
other end-user equipment; telecommunication services and related 
equipment; consultants, evaluators, and other contractual services; 
travel; rental of office equipment, furniture, and space; and supplies. 
All costs must be reasonable and directly related to the project.
    Indirect Costs. The total dollar amount of the indirect costs 
proposed in an application under this program must not exceed the 
indirect cost rate negotiated and approved by a cognizant federal 
agency.

Ineligible Costs

    Costs associated with the construction or major renovation of 
buildings are not eligible. While costs for the construction of new 
network facilities are eligible costs, applicants are expected to make 
use of existing infrastructure and commercially available 
telecommunications services. Only under extraordinary circumstances 
will the construction of new network facilities be approved.

[[Page 2747]]

    Costs of the professional services, such as instruction, 
counseling, or medical care, provided via a network supported through 
this program are not eligible.
    Note that costs that are ineligible for TOP support may not be 
included as part of the applicant's matching fund contribution.
    In addition, the Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2001 places 
restrictions on eligible costs for applicants that are recipients of 
Universal Service Fund discounts and applicants receiving assistance 
from the Department of Justice's Regional Information Sharing Systems 
Program as part of the project costs.
    This statute provides:

    That notwithstanding any other provision of law, no entity that 
receives telecommunications services at preferential rates under 
section 254(h) of the Act (47 U.S.C. 254(h)) or receives assistance 
under the regional information sharing systems grant program of the 
Department of Justice under part M of title I of the Omnibus Crime 
Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3796h) may use funds 
under a grant under this heading to cover any costs of the entity 
that would otherwise be covered by such preferential rates or such 
assistance, as the case may be.\4\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \4\ Consolidated Appropriations Act for FY2001, Pub. L. 106-553.

    Accordingly, recipients of the above-described preferential rates 
or assistance are prohibited from including any costs that would be 
covered by such preferential rates or assistance in their proposed TOP 
grant budget. More details on this restriction can be found in the 
Guidelines for Preparing Applications--Fiscal Year 2001.

Award Period

    Successful applicants will have between 12 and 36 months to 
complete their projects. While the completion time will vary depending 
on the complexity of the project, NTIA has found that most grant 
recipients require at least two years to complete and fully evaluate 
their projects. Accordingly, NTIA encourages applicants to propose 
projects that last two to three years.

Selection Process

    The selection process will last approximately six months and 
involves four stages:
    (1) During the first stage, each eligible application will be 
reviewed by a panel of outside readers, who have demonstrated expertise 
in both the programmatic and technological aspects of the application. 
The review panels will evaluate applications according to the review 
criteria provided in this notice and make non-binding written 
recommendations to the program.
    (2) Upon completion of the external review process, program staff 
may analyze applications as necessary. Program staff analysis will be 
based on the degree to which a proposed project meets the program's 
funding scope as described in the section entitled ``Limitations on 
Project Scope''; the eligibility of costs and matching funds included 
in an application's budget; and the extent to which an application 
complements or duplicates projects previously funded or under 
consideration by NTIA or other federal programs.\5\ The analysis of 
program staff will be provided to the TOP Director in writing.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \5\ See discussion of ``Eligible Costs'' and ``Matching Funds 
Requirements'' in this Notice.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The TOP Director then prepares and presents a slate of recommended 
grant awards to the Office of Telecommunications and Information 
Applications' (OTIA) Associate Administrator for review and 
approval.\6\ The Director's recommendations and the Associate 
Administrator's review and approval will take into account the 
following selection factors:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \6\ The Office of Telecommunication and Information Applications 
is the division of the National Telecommunications and Information 
Administration that supervises NTIA's grant awards programs.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    1. The evaluations of the outside reviewers;
    2. The analysis of program staff;
    3. The degree to which the proposed grants meet the program's 
priorities as described in the section entitled ``Program Funding 
Priorities';
    4. The geographic distribution of the proposed grant awards;
    5. The variety of technologies and diversity of uses of the 
technologies employed by the proposed grant awards;
    6. The provision of access to and use of digital network 
technologies by rural communities and other underserved groups;
    7. Avoidance of redundancy and conflicts with the initiatives of 
other federal agencies; and,
    8. The availability of funds.
    (3) Upon approval by the OTIA Associate Administrator, the 
Director's recommendations will then be presented to the Selecting 
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 selection 
factors described above and the program's stated purposes as set forth 
in the section entitled ``Program Purposes.''
    (4) After applications have been selected in this manner, 
negotiations will take place between TOP staff and the applicant. These 
negotiations are intended to resolve any differences that exist between 
the applicant's original request and what TOP proposes to fund, and if 
necessary, to clarify items in the application. Not all applicants who 
are contacted for negotiation will necessarily receive a TOP award. 
Final selections made by the Administrator will be based upon the 
recommendations by the Director and the OTIA Associate Administrator 
and the degree to which the slate of applications, taken as a whole, 
satisfies the program's stated purposes as set forth in the section 
entitled ``Program Purposes,'' upon the conclusion of negotiations.

Use of Program Income

    Applicants are advised that any program income generated by a 
proposed project is subject to special conditions. Anticipated program 
income must be documented appropriately in the project budget. In 
addition, should an application be funded, unanticipated program income 
must be reported to TOP, and the budget for the project must be 
renegotiated to reflect receipt of this program income. Program income 
means gross income earned by the recipient that is either directly 
generated by a supported activity, or earned as a result of the award. 
In addition, federal policy prohibits any recipient or subrecipient 
receiving federal funds from the use of equipment acquired with these 
funds to provide services to non-federal outside organizations for a 
fee that is less than private companies charge for equivalent services. 
This prohibition does not apply to services provided to outside 
organizations at no cost.

Policy on Sectarian Activities

    Applicants are advised that on December 22, 1995, NTIA issued a 
notice in the Federal Register on its policy with regard to sectarian 
activities. Under NTIA's policy, while religious activities cannot be 
the essential thrust of a grant, an application will not be ineligible 
where sectarian activities are only incidental or attenuated to the 
overall project purpose for which funding is requested. Applicants for 
whom this policy may be relevant should read the policy that was 
published in the Federal Register at 60 FR 66491, Dec. 22, 1995.

[[Page 2748]]

Reporting Requirements

    To ensure compliance with federal regulations and collect systemic 
evaluation data on each project, successful TOP applicants have a 
number of basic reporting requirements once they are awarded a grant. 
At project outset, TOP grantees provide detailed baseline information 
on the project objectives, goals, partners, and populations served. 
Each quarter, grantees provide financial reports and updates on project 
activities. At project completion, TOP grantees must also provide a 
closeout report. Finally, because evaluation results play such a 
critical role in helping other organizations learn about what works 
well and what does not, each TOP-supported project will provide NTIA a 
final evaluation report. To ensure the validity of the findings, the 
final evaluation report must be completed by an independent evaluator 
or team of evaluators who are not in a direct reporting relationship 
with the applicant.\7\ TOP will make copies of the final evaluation 
report available to the public.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \7\ In large institutions, such as universities, colleges, and 
foundations, an independent evaluator can include a representative 
from departments not associated with the applicant. In addition, 
TOP's requirement for having a grantee have an independent evaluator 
develop the final evaluation report does not preclude an applicant 
from conducting the evaluation in conjunction with an independent 
evaluator.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Waiver Authority

    It is the general intent of NTIA not to waive any of the provisions 
set forth in this Notice. However, under extraordinary circumstances 
and when it is in the best interest of the federal government, NTIA, 
upon its own initiative or when requested, may waive the provisions in 
this Notice. Waivers may only be granted for requirements that are 
discretionary and not mandated by statute. Any request for a waiver 
must set forth the extraordinary circumstances for the request and be 
included in the application or sent to the address provided in the 
ADDRESSES section above. NTIA will not consider a request to waive the 
application deadline for an application until the application has been 
received.

Other Information

    Electronic Information. Information about NTIA and TOP, including 
this document and the Guidelines for Preparing Applications--Fiscal 
Year 2001, can be retrieved electronically via the Internet using the 
World Wide Web at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/otiahome/top/. This document 
can be provided in alternate formats, including braille. If you need 
assistance please contact TOP at 202-482-2048 or [email protected].
    In order to facilitate the diffusion of ideas generated by the 
grant round and opportunities for other potential funders to identify 
promising projects, TOP will provide a copy of each application's 
executive summary and contact information on its home page.
    Application Forms. Standard Forms 424 (OMB Approval Number 0348-
0044), Application for Federal Assistance; 424A (OMB Approval Number 
0348-0043), Budget Information--Non-Construction Programs; and 424B 
(OMB Approval Number 0348-0040), Assurances--Non-Construction Programs, 
(Rev 4-92), and other Department of Commerce forms shall be used in 
applying for financial assistance. These forms are included in the 
Guidelines for Preparing Applications--Fiscal Year 2001. TOP requests 
one original and five copies of the application. Applicants for whom 
the submission of five copies presents financial hardship may submit 
one original and two copies of the application. Notwithstanding any 
other provision of law, no person is required to respond to nor shall a 
person be subject to a penalty for failure to comply with a collection 
of information subject to the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction 
Act unless that collection of information displays a currently valid 
OMB control number. In addition, all applicants are required to submit 
a copy of their application to their state Single Point of Contact 
(SPOC) offices, if they have one. For information on contacting state 
SPOC offices, refer to the Guidelines for Preparing Applications--
Fiscal Year 2001.
    Because of the high level of public interest in projects supported 
by TOP, the program anticipates receiving requests for copies of 
successful applications. Applicants are hereby notified that the 
applications they submit are subject to the Freedom of Information Act. 
To assist NTIA in making disclosure determinations, applicants may 
identify sensitive information and label it ``confidential.''
    Type of Funding Instrument. The funding instrument for awards under 
this program shall be a grant.
    Federal Policies and Procedures. Recipients and subrecipients are 
subject to all applicable federal laws and federal and Department of 
Commerce policies, regulations, and procedures applicable to federal 
financial assistance awards. Information on Department of Commerce 
Policies can be found on the Internet through the Department of 
Commerce's Office of Executive Assistance Management (OEAM).
    Pre-Award Activities. If an applicant incurs any project costs 
prior to the project start date negotiated at the time the award is 
made, it does so solely at its own risk of not being reimbursed by the 
government. Applicants are hereby notified that, notwithstanding any 
oral or written assurance that they may have received, there is no 
obligation on the part of the Department of Commerce to cover pre-award 
costs.
    No Obligation for Future Funding. 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 Department of Commerce.
    Past Performance. Unsatisfactory performance of an applicant under 
prior federal financial assistance awards may result in that 
applicant's proposal not being considered for funding.
    Delinquent Federal Debts. No award of federal funds shall be made 
to an applicant who has an outstanding delinquent federal debt until:
    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 of Commerce 
are made.
    Purchase of American Made Products. Applicants are hereby notified 
that any equipment or products authorized to be purchased with funding 
provided under this program must be American-made to the maximum extent 
feasible.
    Name Check Review. All non-profit applicants are subject to a name 
check review process. Name checks are intended to reveal if any key 
individuals associated with the applicant have been convicted of or are 
presently facing criminal charges such as fraud, theft, perjury, or 
other matters that significantly reflect on the applicant's management, 
honesty, or financial integrity.
    Primary Applicant Certifications. 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

[[Page 2749]]

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 applications/bids 
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 Disclosure--Any applicant that has paid or will 
pay for lobbying in connection with a covered federal action, such as 
the awarding of any federal contract, the making of any federal grant, 
the making of any federal loan, the entering into of any cooperative 
agreement, or the extension, continuation, renewal, amendment, or 
modification of any federal contract, grant, loan, or cooperative 
agreement 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.
    Lower Tier Certifications. Recipients shall require applicants/
bidders for subgrants, contracts, subcontracts, or other lower tier 
covered transactions at any tier under the 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 Lobbying Activities.'' Form CD-512 is intended for the 
use of recipients and should not be transmitted to DOC. SF-LLL 
submitted by any tier recipient or subrecipient should be submitted to 
DOC in accordance with the instructions contained in the award 
document.
    False Statements. A false statement on an application is grounds 
for denial or termination of funds and grounds for possible punishment 
by a fine or imprisonment as provided in 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1001.
    Intergovernmental Review. Applications under this program are 
subject to Executive Order 12372, ``Intergovernmental Review of Federal 
Programs.'' It has been determined that this notice is a ``not 
significant'' rule under Executive Order 12866.

Gregory L. Rohde,
Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information.
[FR Doc. 01-657 Filed 1-10-01; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-60-U