Senate committee approves $1 billion in research grants

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee quickly approved

a bill last week that would authorize about $1 billion over three years

for research grants to develop networking technologies to make the Internet

faster, more reliable and more accessible.

The Next Generation Internet 2000 Act (S-2046), approved by a voice

vote with no debate, authorizes grants to be administered by such agencies

as the National Science Foundation, the Defense Department, The National

Institutes of Health, NASA and others.

NSF will receive the largest amount of funds: $111.2 million in fiscal

2001, $117.3 million in fiscal 2002, and $123.8 million in fiscal 2003.

The bill also designates 10 percent of the funding to reduce Internet

access costs in rural areas, requires that 5 percent of the funding be given

to minority institutions and asks the National Academy of Sciences to study

the impact of geography on Internet access.

The committee also approved an amendment to the bill, the former Research

Investment Act, doubling federal funding for civilian research and development

over the next 11 years.

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