Public Telecommunications Facilities Planning and Construction

To assist in the planning, acquisition, installation, and modernization of public telecommunications facilities, through planning grants and matching construction grants, in order to: (a) extend delivery of public telecommunications services to as many citizens of the United States and territories as
possible by the most efficient and economical means, including the use of broadcast and nonbroadcast technologies; (b) increase public telecommunications services and facilities available to, operated by and owned by minorities and women; and (c) strengthen the capability of existing public television and radio stations to provide public telecommunications service to the public.

Related Programs

Examples of Funded Projects

(1) A project to replace the antenna and STL system as part of digital conversion and improvement of WVPE Public Radio, Elkhart Community Schools' coverage; (2) a project to convert the WHYY-DT production facilities to HD by the purchase of HD cameras and production control room equipment, including switching, audio console, and special effects; and (3) a project in which the Foundation for the California Community Colleges will purchase a video control unit and server for a video-on-demand distance learning system for the California Community Colleges' statewide network.

Agency - Department of Commerce

The Department of Commerce fosters and promotes the nation's economic development and technological advancement through vigilance in international trade policy, domestic business policy and growth, and promoting economic progress at all levels.

Program Accomplishments

During 2007, the program awarded 118 grants for $22.45 million.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Provides grants for the planning and construction of public telecommunications facilities.

Matching grants are given for apparatus necessary for the production, dissemination, interconnection, captioning, broadcast, or other distribution of noncommercial educational, cultural radio and television programs, as well as noncommercial instructional or informational services.

Buildings and renovations of buildings, land, operational expenses, and indirect costs are ineligible.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

A public or noncommercial educational broadcast station; a noncommercial telecommunications entity; a system of public telecommunications entities; a nonprofit foundation, corporation, institution or association organized primarily for educational or cultural purposes; State, local, and Indian Tribal governments (or an agency thereof); or a political or special purpose subdivision of a State.

Special consideration is given to applications which would increase minority and women's ownership of, operation of, and participation in public telecommunications entities.

Beneficiary Eligibility

General public and students.


All applicants must supply proof of eligibility. Applicants must supply proof of their Federal Communications Commission (FCC) license, permit, or application if FCC authorization is required for any aspect of the proposed project. Applicants must provide assurances required under Program Rules and Regulations.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

Program staff members are available to provide technical and other assistance in preparing application forms.

This program is eligible for coverage under E.O.12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs." An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review.

Applicants must coordinate their project plans with the State educational television, radio, or telecommunications agency and must file an application with the FCC if an FCC authorization is required for the proposed project.

Applicants must show evidence of participation in comprehensive planning in the area to be served including an evaluation of alternate technologies.

Application Procedures

The application forms as furnished by the Federal Agency and approved by OMB must be used for this program. The Application Kit can be requested from the Agency or retrieved from the web-site at By the deadline, applicants must file a completed PTFP Application Form, Project Narrative, Project Budget forms, relevant exhibits, CD-511, CD 346, SF 424B, and SF LLL. Where applicable, applicants must notify the State Telecommunications Agency, State Single Point of Contact, and the Federal Communications Commission. Applications postmarked or received after the deadline are returned to applicants.

Award Procedures

Applications are reviewed on the basis of funding criteria for construction and planning applications as set forth in the regulations. The Administrator of NTIA may select an application for funding, in whole or in part, and will notify the applicant, the relevant State agency, the FCC, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.


The Administrator of NTIA shall select and publish in the Federal Register the date by which applications must be filed in order to be considered for funding in the current fiscal year. For fiscal year 2008 consideration, the deadline for filing applications is February 22, 2008.


Communications Act of 1934, Title III, Part IV, 47 U.S.C 390-394, 397-399 (b) as amended, Public Law 87-447, 76 Stat. 64; Science, State, Justice, Commerce, and Related Agency Appropriations Act of 2006; Public Law 109-108.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Awards for the current fiscal year are generally announced in 180 days.




Applications that are not funded may be reactivated upon request of the applicant during the two consecutive years following the applicant's initial receipt by the agency, as provided by program regulations.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

47 U.S.C 392 (b) and (c); 15 CFR 2301.6. The Administrator may provide up to 100 percent of the funds necessary for the planning of a public telecommunications facility. The maximum amount of a federal grant for the construction of a public telecommunication facility is 75 percent of the eligible project costs.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Projects must be completed within a reasonable period of time, generally one to two years as specified in the award document. Prompt completion is expected. Extensions, however, may be requested in writing if circumstances require additional time. Extensions must be approved by the Grants Officer. Financial assistance is generally released as required during the award period.

Post Assistance Requirements


During construction, quarterly progress reports must be submitted.

The Federal Government maintains a ten-year reversionary interest in the use of the facilities from the date of completion.

Annual reports must be submitted before April 1st of each year during such period.


Audits will be conducted in accordance with the terms and conditions of the award and OMB Circular No. A-133, Audits of States, Local Governments, and Nonprofit Organizations. In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133, (Revised, June 27, 2003), "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Nonprofit Organizations," nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $500,000 or more in federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in federal awards are exempt from federal audit requirements for the year, except as noted in Circular No. A-133.


Recipients of construction grants shall keep a complete and itemized inventory of equipment for all public telecommunications facilities under their control. All grantees shall keep complete, current and accessible financial records on all funds associated with the total project. All records of accounts, supporting documents and project records must be retained by the recipient and subrecipient for a period of three years from the date of submission of the final Financial Status Report.

Financial Information

Account Identification



FY 07 $22,450,443; FY 08 est $19,456,872; and FY 09 est not reported.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

$6,787 to $1,189,250. Average: $190,258.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

Public Telecommunications Facilities Program and Policy Statement, Final Rules, 15 CFR 2301 printed in 61 FR 57966 (November 8, 1996). Written request to the Director, Public Telecommunications Facilities Program, will obtain application forms containing regulations, authorizing legislation, and other pertinent materials. Costs will be determined in accordance with OMB Circular Nos. A-21 for institutions of higher education, A-87 for State, Local, and Indian Tribal Governments, and with A-122 for nonprofit organizations. Grants management will be in accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-110 for institutions of higher education and other nonprofit organizations and with 15 CFR Part 24 for State and Local Governments.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office


Headquarters Office

Mr. William Cooperman, Director, Public Telecommunications Facilities Program, Office of Telecommunications and Information Applications/NTIA, Room 4812, Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20230. Telephone: (202) 482- 5802.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

In order to achieve the objectives of Section 393 of the Communications Act, the Administrator, in determining whether to approve a construction grant application in whole or in part and the amount of such grant, will consider the projects conformance with priorities, and funding criteria set forth in the Act and the PTFP Rules and Regulations.

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