The U.S. Department of Commerce to help PBS stations shoulder DTV build out costs

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)has a program called The Public Telecommunications Funding Program (PTPF) which is a competitive grant program to help PBS, state and local governments, Indian tribes, and non-profit organizations produce educational and culture programs via traditional broadcast and non-broadcasting telecommunications technologies.

For fiscal year 2002 the NTIA, which is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, has announced grants totaling $42 million to 116 public telecommunications entities in 44 states and Puerto Rico. The administration has proposed an appropriation of $43.5 million to the PTFP for fiscal year 2003. This proposal is currently before Congress. In most cases PBS stations only need to come up with a quarter of the project's cost. The federal government comes up with the rest. The exception to this rule was a $2,491,650 grant to WNET covering the entire cost of replacing its transmitter facility lost during the WTC collapse last year.

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