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108th Congress                                                   Report
 1st Session                                                     108-34



                                                        Calendar No. 60



                              R E P O R T

                                 OF THE



                                 S. 196


                    April 7, 2003.--Ordered to be printed

                            WASHINGTON : 2003


                      one hundred eighth congress

                             first session

                     JOHN McCAIN, Arizona, Chairman

TED STEVENS, Alaska                  ERNEST F. HOLLINGS, South Carolina
CONRAD BURNS, Montana                DANIEL K. INOUYE, Hawaii
TRENT LOTT, Mississippi              JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER IV, West 
KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON, Texas          Virginia
OLYMPIA J. SNOWE, Maine              JOHN F. KERRY, Massachusetts
SAM BROWNBACK, Kansas                JOHN B. BREAUX, Louisiana
GORDON SMITH, Oregon                 BYRON L. DORGAN, North Dakota
PETER G. FITZGERALD, Illinois        RON WYDEN, Oregon
JOHN ENSIGN, Nevada                  BARBARA BOXER, California
GEORGE ALLEN, Virginia               BILL NELSON, Florida
JOHN E. SUNUNU, New Hampshire        MARIA CANTWELL, Washington
                                     FRANK LAUTENBERG, New Jersey

           Jeanne Bumpus, Staff Director and General Counsel

                   Ann Begeman, Deputy Staff Director

                  Robert W. Chamberlin, Chief Counsel

               Kevin D. Kayes, Democratic Staff Director

                Gregg Elias, Democratic General Counsel


                                                        Calendar No. 60
108th Congress                                                   Report
 1st Session                                                     108-34



                 April 7, 2003.--Ordered to be printed


       Mr. McCain, from the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
                Transportation, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 196]

    The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, to 
which was referred the bill (S. 196), ``To establish a digital 
and wireless network technology program, and for other purposes'', 
having considered the same, reports favorably thereon with 
amendments and recommends that the bill (as amended) do pass.

                          Purpose of the Bill

  The purpose of the bill, as amended, is to establish a $250 
million per year grant program within the National Science 
Foundation (NSF) from fiscal years 2004 through 2008 to 
strengthen the ability of minority-serving institutions (MSIs), 
which include Historically Black Colleges and Universities 
(HBCUs), Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), and tribal 
colleges and universities, to provide instruction in digital 
and wireless network technologies, and enhance the nation's 
digital and wireless infrastructure by increasing the national 
investment in telecommunications and technology infrastructure 
at these institutions.
  The bill is designed to close the ``economic opportunity 
divide'' that exists between the graduates of MSIs and 
graduates of other institutions of higher learning, and thus, 
improve the quality of education for students at MSIs. These 
institutions will continue to play an important role in 
providing the nation with a well educated and talented 

                          Background and Needs


  In October 2000, the National Telecommunications and 
Information Administration (NTIA) released the report, 
Historically Black Colleges and Universities: An Assessment of 
Networking and Connectivity. The report was the product of a 
study to gain an overall perspective of the networking 
capabilities and connectivity of HBCUs, and to obtain data that 
would evaluate the capacity of HBCUs to function as part of the 
national global network. The study was sent to 118 colleges and 
universities. Eighty colleges (68 percent) responded.
  The report found that 88 percent of the respondents had 
access to T-1 lines, which provide a bandwidth of a specific 
speed rate and capacity suitable for basic functions, from 
their local Internet service providers and operating companies. 
Forty-three percent of the respondents have Asynchronous 
Transfer Mode (ATM) technology that allows for greater 
bandwidth and broader Internet technology access. Of the 43 
percent having such access, only 45 percent indicated they use 
the technology. Twenty-nine percent of HBCUs report having 
access to wireless and 43 percent of those with access were 
using it.
  These technology restrictions limit HBCUs' abilities to fully 
utilize existing technology applications and connect with other 
institutions of higher education. For example, many schools do 
not have video streaming capability. Only 17 percent of the 
respondents reported minimal use of collaborative groupware, 
online registration, e-commerce, and other applications. Fewer 
than 15 percent of the respondents offered distance-learning 
programs. HBCU connectivity with libraries, State college 
systems, the Federal government, and other resources remains 
  In addition, the report found limited student computer 
ownership. No HBCU reported requiring computer ownership, and 
only 15 percent recommended that students bring their own 
computers to campus. Of the respondents, 60 of the schools 
estimated that 25 percent of their students owned computers, 
and 13 schools reported that no students owned computers. Over 
75 percent of HBCUs' students rely on the universities to 
provide computers. However, only 50 percent of the respondents 
provide students access to computers in computer laboratories, 
libraries, classrooms, and other locations, while 45 percent 
have dormitory common areas with access to the campus backbone.
  The NTIA report suggested that the following weaknesses must 
be addressed: (1) improvement of high-speed connectivity rates; 
(2) dramatic improvement of student to computer ownership 
ratios; (3) improvement of the strategic planning process; and 
(4) willingness to incorporate innovative technologies into 
campus networks.

                            TRIBAL COLLEGES

  Tribal colleges also have demonstrated a need for improved 
technology infrastructure. For example, only one tribal college 
currently has funding for high bandwidth connectivity. All of 
the tribal colleges have some degree of T-1 access, but most 
only have fractional T-1 access. In addition, tribal colleges 
struggle to hire and maintain computer technicians, offering 
salaries at half of the industry averages. At Dull Knife 
Memorial College in Montana, for example, only two computers 
provide Internet access for 240 students. Little Big Horn 
College in Montana would like to extend its technology classes 
online to students in Pryor, Montana, which is 85 miles away. 
However, the only high-speed Internet connection 
currentlyavailable in Pryor is used by a medical center. High costs 
prevent the installation of a second high-speed Internet line. In 
addition, only two of the 500 students at Little Big Horn College have 
computers at home.
  Physical infrastructure is also a problem at tribal colleges. 
According to the American Indian College Fund, most tribal 
colleges are located on poor, isolated Indian reservations, and 
operate in trailers, converted warehouses, or abandoned 
buildings. Until recently, accommodations at one tribal college 
included a tin shack abandoned by a uranium mining company.
  Despite these bleak examples, there are tribal colleges that 
have crossed the ``digital divide.'' Though far from state-of-
the-art, the Crownpoint Institute of Technology in New Mexico 
has 250 computers linked to the Internet via satellite and a 90 
percent technology job placement rate.


  HSIs are two- and four-year colleges and universities, whose 
Hispanic American student enrollment is 25 percent or greater 
of total enrollment. Hispanics currently represent 14.5 percent 
(3.6 million) of the total traditional college-age population. 
By 2006, Hispanic undergraduates are expected to outnumber 
African-American undergraduates for the first time. Over one 
million Hispanics will be academically prepared to attend 
college by 2015. In 1996, Hispanics composed 4 percent of 
graduate students and had particularly low representation in 
advanced degrees in engineering, mathematics, computer, and 
physical sciences. HSIs suffer technology problems similar to 
those of HBCUs, according to the Hispanic Association of 
Colleges and Universities which represents HSIs.

                          Legislative History

  S. 196 was introduced on January 17, 2003, by Senator Allen. 
Senators McCain, Hollings, Campbell, Cochran, DeWine, 
Fitzgerald, Graham, Grassley, Hutchison, Lott, Miller, 
Santorum, Sessions, Stevens, Warner, Domenici, Talent, and 
Kerry are co-sponsors of the legislation.
  S. 196 was referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, 
and Transportation and a hearing on the legislation was held on 
February 13, 2003. Witnesses included Dr. William DeLauder, 
President, Delaware State University; Dr. Ricardo Fernandez, 
President, Herbert H. Lehman College, City University of New 
York; The Honorable Floyd Flake, President, Wilberforce 
University; Dr. Marie McDemmond, President, Norfolk State 
University; and Dr. Gerald ``Carty'' Monette, President, Turtle 
Mountain Community College. These witnesses discussed the 
technology infrastructure needs at MSIs, and the efforts by 
such institutions to address their technology needs.
  On March 13, 2003, the Committee met in open executive 
session and, by a voice vote, ordered S. 196 reported with 
amendments. The amendments offered by Senator Allen eliminate 
the use of awards under the program to train institutions' 
board members, add remote technical support to the ways in 
which institutions may receive technical assistance under the 
program, and allow for the use of funds for planning grants, 
consistent with other NSF programs, and the development of 
strategic plans for information technology investments.

                            Estimated Costs

  In accordance with paragraph 11(a) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate and section 403 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee provides the 
following cost estimate, prepared by the Congressional Budget 

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                    Washington, DC, March 18, 2003.
Hon. John McCain,
Chairman, Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman. The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 196, the Digital and 
Wireless Network Technology Program Act of 2003.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Kathleen 
                                       Douglas Holtz-Eakin,

S. 196--Digital and Wireless Network Technology Program Act of 2003

    Summary: S. 196 would create a new grant program at the 
National Science Foundation (NSF) for educational institutions 
that serve minority students. Eligible institutions could use 
the funds to improve instructional capabilities and 
infrastructure related to digital and wireless technologies. 
The bill would authorize the appropriation of $250 million for 
each of fiscal years 2004 through 2008 for this program and 
would require grant recipients to provide matching funds under 
certain conditions. A new Office of Digital and Wireless 
Network Technology would administer the program with guidance 
from a special advisory council.
    Assuming appropriation of the authorized amounts, CBO 
estimates that implementing S. 196 would cost $823 million over 
the 2004-2008 period. CBO estimates that enacting this bill 
would have no effect on direct spending or revenues.
    S. 196 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) 
and would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal 
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated 
budgetary impact of S. 196 is shown in the following table. For 
this estimate, CBO assumes that the amounts authorized will be 
appropriated near the start of each fiscal year and that 
outlays will occur at rates similar to other NSF programs. The 
costs of this legislation fall within budget function 250 
(general science, space, and technology).

                                                                   By fiscal year, in million of dollars--
                                                              2003     2004     2005     2006     2007     2008
                                  CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION
Authorization Level.......................................        0      250      250      250      250      250
Estimated Outlays.........................................        0       30      130      200      228      235

    Estimated impact on state, local, and tribal governments: 
S. 196 contains no intergovernmental mandates as defined in 
UMRA and would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal 
governments. The bill would benefit public universities by 
authorizing $250 million per year, for fiscal years 2004 
through 2008, for institutions of higher education, including 
public universities, to strengthen their capacity to provide 
instruction in digital network technologies. Any costs incurred 
by public universities to create annual reports, provide 
requested data to NSF, or to match federal funds, would be 
voluntary. Any costs incurred by state and local education 
agencies that participate in joint ventures with the grantees 
also would be voluntary.
    Estimated impact on the private sector: This bill contains 
no new private-sector mandates as defined in UMRA.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal Costs: Kathleen Gramp; Impact 
on State, Local, and Tribal Governments: Greg Waring; and 
Impact on the Private Sector: Jean Talarico.
    Estimate approved by: Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                  Regulatory Impact Statement

  In accordance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides the 
following evaluation of the regulatory impact of the 
legislation, as reported:

                       NUMBER OF PERSONS COVERED

  The Committee believes that the bill would not subject any 
individuals or businesses affected by the legislation to any 
additional regulation.

                            ECONOMIC IMPACT

  This legislation would not have an adverse impact on the 
nation. It authorizes funding for digital and wireless network 
technologies related awards to MSIs.


  This legislation would not have a negative impact on the 
personal privacy of individuals.


  This legislation would require each award recipient to 
provide to NSF any relevant institutional statistical or 
demographic data as requested by NSF. Each award recipient 
would be required to submit an annual report to the Director of 
NSF detailing its use of funding. The Director would be 
required to submit to Congress a bi-annual report based upon an 
evaluation of the program including a recommendation on the 
need for continued Federal support of the program.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis

Section 1. Short title

  Section 1 provides that the bill, if enacted, would be cited 
as the ``Digital and Wireless Network Technology Program Act of 

Section 2. Establishment of office

  Section 2 would establish an Office of Digital and Wireless 
Network Technology within the NSF to serve the following 
purposes: to strengthen the ability of eligible institutions to 
provide instruction via digital and wireless networks through 
grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements; and to strengthen 
the national digital and wireless infrastructure by increasing 
national investments in eligible institutions. The Committee 
intends that funding for administrative and management support 
for this office will be provided within the funding authorized 
under section 9 of the bill.

Section 3. Activities supported

  Section 3 would allow the Office of Digital and Wireless 
Network Technology to award grants, contracts, or cooperative 
agreements to eligible institutions. Recipients would be 
allowed to use such awards for the following purposes:
           To acquire equipment, instrumentation, 
        networking capability, hardware and software, digital 
        network technology, wireless technology, and 
           To develop and provide educational services 
        for students or faculty seeking an approved degree or 
           To provide teacher education, library and 
        media specialist training, and preschool and teacher 
        aid certification to those individuals who want to 
        acquire or enhance technology skills for use in the 
           To implement joint projects and consortia to 
        provide technology education to a State or State 
        education agency, local education agency, community-
        based organizations, national non-profit organizations, 
        or businesses, including minority businesses;
           To provide professional development to 
        administrators and faculty of institutions with 
        institutional responsibility for technology education;
           To provide eligible institutions with 
        capacity-building technical assistance through remote 
        technical support, workshops, distance learning, new 
        technologies, and other technological applications;
           To foster the use of information 
        communications technology to increase scientific, 
        mathematical, engineering, and technology instruction 
        and research; and
           To develop proposals to be submitted under 
        the Act and to develop strategic plans for information 
        technology investments.
  For any awards to develop proposals to be submitted under the 
Act or for planning grants, the Committee expects that the 
Director will establish a procedure for the awarding of such 
grants, and is expected that such grants will not exceed 

Section 4. Application and review procedure

  Subsection (a) would require that for an institution to be 
eligible to receive a grant, contract, or cooperative 
agreement, it must submit an application to the Director. Such 
an application would be submitted according to requirements 
developed by the Director. The Director, along with the 
Advisory Council established under subsection (b), would 
establish an acceptance procedure, in addition to a 
notification procedure, and a statement regarding the 
availability of funds. The Committee expects the Director to 
work with the Advisory Committee to establish the appropriate 
review and selectioncriteria for evaluation of proposals 
received under the program.
  Subsection (b) would require the Director to establish an 
Advisory Council. The Advisory Council would be responsible for 
advising the Director on the best approaches for involving 
eligible institutions in the activities described in section 3. 
In selecting the members of the Advisory Council, the Director 
may consult with representatives of appropriate organizations, 
including representatives of eligible institutions, to ensure 
that the membership of the advisory council reflects 
participation by technology and telecommunications 
institutions, minority businesses, communities of eligible 
institutions, Federal agency personnel, and other individuals 
who are knowledgeable about eligible institutions and 
technology issues.
  Subsection (c) would require each institution awarded a 
grant, contract, or cooperative agreement under section 2 to 
provide the new Office of Digital and Wireless Technology with 
any relevant institutional statistical or demographic data it 
  Subsection (d) would require the Director to hold an annual 
meeting with those institutions that have received awards. Such 
meetings are expected to foster collaborations and capacity 
building activities among eligible institutions and disseminate 
information and ideas generated as such meetings.

Section 5. Matching requirement

  Section 5 would require that when an institution is awarded a 
grant, contract, or cooperative agreement by the Director, it 
make available non-Federal contributions in an amount of that 
is 25 percent of the award or $500,000, whichever is the lesser 
amount. The Director would be required to waive the matching 
requirement for any institution with no endowment, or an 
endowment worth less than $50,000,000. Based upon testimony 
concerning the financial institutions' financial situations 
given at the February 13 hearing on the bill, the Committee 
expects that a majority of the MSIs would qualify for exemption 
from this matching requirement.

Section 6. Limitations

  Subsection (a) would establish that an institution awarded 
more than $2,500,000 shall not be eligible for another grant, 
contract, or cooperative agreement, until every other eligible 
institution that has applied for an award has received one.
  Subsection (b) would clarify that even when each grant, 
contract, or cooperative agreement has been awarded for the 
implementation of a consortium or joint project, the funding 
shall be made available to, and administered by, an eligible 

Section 7. Annual report and evaluation

  Subsection (a) would require each institution awarded a 
grant, contract, or cooperative agreement, to submit an annual 
report to the Director detailing its use of the funding.
  Subsection (b) would require that the Director, in 
consultation with the Secretary of Education, review the 
reports required under subsection (a) and evaluate the program 
authorized by section 3 on the basis of those reports every 2 
  Subsection (c) would require that the Director, as part of 
the evaluation of subsection (b), describe the activities 
undertaken and assess the short- and long-range impact of 
activities carried out with the use of the awards on the 
students, faculty, and staff of the institutions.
  Subsection (d) would require the Director to submit a report 
to Congress based on the evaluation. The report shall include 
such recommendations, as may be appropriate, including 
recommendations concerning the continuing need for Federal 
support of the program.

Section 8. Definitions

  This section would define the terms ``eligible institution,'' 
``Director,'' and ``minority business.'' The term ``eligible 
institution'' is as defined in the Higher Education Act of 1965 
(20 U.S.C. 1061(2)). The term ``Director'' means the Director 
of the National Science Foundation. The term ``minority 
business'' includes HUBZone small businesses as defined in 
section 3(p) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 632(p).

Section 9. Authorization of appropriations

  Section 9 would authorize $250,000,000 to the Director of the 
NSF for each of fiscal years 2004 through 2008, to carry out 
the Act.

                        Changes in Existing Law

  In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the Standing 
Rules of the Senate, the Committee states that the bill as 
reported would make no change to existing law.