THE NATIONAL INFORMATION INFRASTRUCTURE: AGENDA FOR ACTION
15 Septeember 1993
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Executive Summary Tab A
The NII: Agenda for Action Tab B
Benefits and Application Examples Tab C
Information Infrastructure Task Force Tab D
U.S. Advisory Council on the NII Tab E
NII Accomplishments to Date Tab F
Key Contacts Tab G
THE NATIONAL INFORMATION INFRASTRUCTURE: AGENDA FOR ACTION EXECUTIVE SUMMARY All Americans have a stake in the construction of an
advanced National Information Infrastructure (NII), a seamless web of communications networks, computers, databases, and consumer electronics that will put vast amounts of information at users' fingertips. Development of the NII can help unleash an information revolution that will change forever the way people live, work, and interact with each other:
Private sector firms are already developing and deploying that infrastructure today. Nevertheless, there remain essential roles for government in this process. Carefully crafted government action will complement and enhance the efforts of the private sector and assure the growth of an information infrastructure available to all Americans at reasonable cost. In developing our policy initiatives in this area, the Administration will work in close partnership with business, labor, academia, the public, Congress, and state and local government. Our efforts will be guided by the following principles and objectives:
The time for action is now. Every day brings news of change: new technologies, like hand-held computerized assistants; new ventures and mergers combining businesses that not long ago seemed discrete and insular; new legal decisions that challenge the separation of computer, cable, and telephone companies. These changes promise substantial benefits for the American people, but only if government understands fully their implications and begins working with the private sector and other interested parties to shape the evolution of the communications infrastructure.
The benefits of the NII for the nation are immense. An advanced information infrastructure will enable U.S. firms to compete and win in the global economy, generating good jobs for the American people and economic growth for the nation. As importantly, the NII can transform the lives of the American people -- ameliorating the constraints of geography, disability, and economic status -- giving all Americans a fair opportunity to go as far as their talents and ambitions will take them.
THE NATIONAL INFORMATION INFRASTRUCTURE: THE ADMINISTRATION'S AGENDA FOR ACTION Version 1.0
I. The Promise of the NII
Imagine you had a device that combined a telephone, a TV, a camcorder, and a personal computer. No matter where you went or what time it was, your child could see you and talk to you, you could watch a replay of your team's last game, you could browse the latest additions to the library, or you could find the best prices in town on groceries, furniture, clothes -- whatever you needed.
Imagine further the dramatic changes in your life if:
Information is one of the nation's most critical economic resources, for service industries as well as manufacturing, for economic as well as national security. By one estimate, twothirds of U.S. workers are in information-related jobs, and the rest are in industries that rely heavily on information. In an era of global markets and global competition, the technologies to create, manipulate, manage and use information are of strategic importance for the United States. Those technologies will help U.S. businesses remain competitive and create challenging, highpaying jobs. They also will fuel economic growth which, in turn, will generate a steadily-increasing standard of living for all Americans.
That is why the Administration has launched the National Information Infrastructure initiative. We are committed to working with business, labor, academia, public interest groups, Congress, and state and local government to ensure the development of a national information infrastructure (NII) that enables all Americans to access information and communicate with each other using voice, data, image or video at anytime, anywhere. By encouraging private sector investment in the NII's development, and through government programs to improve access to essential services, we will promote U.S. competitiveness, job creation and solutions to pressing social problems.
II. What Is the NII?
The phrase "information infrastructure" has an expansive meaning. The NII includes more than just the physical facilities used to transmit, store, process, and display voice, data, and images. It encompasses:
The NII will integrate and interconnect these physical components in a technologically neutral manner so that no one industry will be favored over any other. Most importantly, the NII requires building foundations for living in the Information Age and for making these technological advances useful to the public, business, libraries, and other nongovernmental entities. That is why, beyond the physical components of the infrastructure, the value of the National Information Infrastructure to users and the nation will depend in large part on the quality of its other elements:
Every component of the information infrastructure must be developed and integrated if America is to capture the promise of the Information Age.
The Administration's NII initiative will promote and support full development of each component. Regulatory and economic policies will be adopted that encourage private firms to create jobs and invest in the applications and physical facilities that comprise the infrastructure. The Federal government will assist industry, labor, academia, and state and local governments in developing the information resources and applications needed to maximize the potential of those underlying facilities. Moreover, and perhaps most importantly, the NII initiative will help educate and train our people so that they are prepared not only to contribute to the further growth of the NII, but also to understand and enjoy fully the services and capabilities that it will make available.
III. Need for Government Action To Complement Private Sector
The foregoing discussion of the transforming potential of the NII should not obscure a fundamental fact -- the private sector is already developing and deploying such an infrastructure today. The United States communications system -- the conduit through which most information is accessed or distributed -- is second to none in speed, capacity, and reliability. Each year the information resources, both hardware and software, available to most Americans are substantially more extensive and more powerful than the previous year.
The private sector will lead the deployment of the NII. In recent years, U.S. companies have invested more than $50 billion annually in telecommunications infrastructure -- and that figure does not account for the vast investments made by firms in related industries, such as computers. In contrast, the Administration's ambitious agenda for investment in critical NII projects (including computing) amounts to $1-2 billion annually. Nonetheless, while the private sector role in NII development will predominate, the government has an essential role to play. In particular, carefully crafted government action can complement and enhance the benefits of these private sector initiatives. Accordingly, the Administration's NII initiative will be guided by the following nine principles and goals, which are discussed in more detail below:
The time for action is now. Every day brings news of change: new technologies, like hand-held computerized assistants; new ventures and mergers combining businesses that not long ago seemed discrete and insular; new legal decisions that challenge the separation of computer, cable and telephones. These changes promise substantial benefits for the American people, but only if government understands fully the implications of these changes and to work with the private sector and other interested parties to shape the evolution of the communications infrastructure.
IV. Managing Change/ Forging Partnerships
We will help to build a partnership of business, labor, academia, the public, and government that is committed to deployment of an advanced, rapid, powerful infrastructure accessible and accountable to all Americans.
Forging this partnership will require extensive intergovernmental coordination to ensure that Administration, Congressional, state and local government policy regarding the NII is consistent, coherent, and timely. It also requires the development of strong working alliances among industry groups and between government and the businesses responsible for creating and operating the NII. Finally, close cooperation will be needed between government, users, service providers, and public interest groups to ensure that the NII develops in a way that benefits the American people.
Specifically, the Administration will:
(1) Establish an interagency Information Infrastructure Task Force
The President has convened a Federal inter-agency "Information Infrastructure Task Force" (IITF) that will work with Congress and the private sector to propose the policies and initiatives needed to accelerate deployment of a National Information Infrastructure. Activities of the IITF include coordinating government efforts in NII applications, linking government applications to the private sector, resolving outstanding disputes, and implementing Administration policies. Chaired by Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown and composed of highlevel Federal agency representatives, the IITF's three committees focus on telecommunications policy, information policy, and applications.
(2) Establish a private sector Advisory Council on the National Information Infrastructure To facilitate meaningful private sector participation in the
IITF's deliberations, the President will sign an Executive Order creating the "United States Advisory Council on the National Information Infrastructure" to advise the IITF on matters relating to the development of the NII. The Council will consist of 25 members, who will be named by the Secretary of Commerce by December 1993. Nominations will be solicited from a variety of NII constituencies and interested parties. The IITF and its committees also will use other mechanisms to solicit public comment to ensure that it hears the views of all interested parties.
(3) Strengthen and streamline Federal communications and information policy-making agencies In order to implement the ambitious agenda outlined in this
document, the federal agencies most directly responsible for the evolution of the NII (such as NTIA, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at OMB, and the FCC) must be properly structured and adequately staffed to address many new and difficult policy issues. The Administration intends to ensure that these agencies have the intellectual and material resources they need. In addition, in accord with the Vice President's National Performance Review, these agencies will make the organizational and procedural changes needed to most effectively contribute to the NII initiative.
V. Principles and Goals for Government Action
The Task Force currently is undertaking a wide-ranging examination of all issues relevant to the timely development and growth of the National Information Infrastructure. Specific principles and goals in areas where government action is warranted have already been identified and work has begun on the following matters:
One of the most effective ways to promote investments in our nation's information infrastructure is to introduce or further expand competition in communications and information markets. Vibrant competition in these markets will spur economic growth, create new businesses and benefit U.S. consumers.
To realize this vision, however, policy changes will be necessary:
Action: Passage of communications reform legislation. The Administration will work with Congress to pass legislation by the end of 1994 that will increase competition and ensure universal access in communications markets -- particularly those, such as the cable television and local telephone markets, that have been dominated by monopolies. Such legislation will explicitly promote private sector infrastructure investment -- both by companies already in the market and those seeking entry. Action: Revision of tax policies. Tax policies are important determinants of the amount of private sector investment in the NII. The President has signed into law tax incentives for private sector investment in R&D and new business formation, including a three-year extension of the R&D credit and a targeted capital gains reduction for investments in small businesses. Both of these tax incentives will help spur the private sector investment needed to develop the NII. 2. Extend the "Universal Service" Concept to Ensure that Information Resources Are Available to All at Affordable Prices The Communications Act of 1934 articulated in general terms
a national goal of "Universal Service" for telephones -- widespread availability of a basic communications service at affordable rates. A major objective in developing the NII will be to extend the Universal Service concept to the information needs of the American people in the 21st Century. As a matter of fundamental fairness, this nation cannot accept a division of our people among telecommunications or information "haves" and "havenots." The Administration is committed to developing a broad, modern concept of Universal Service -- one that would emphasize giving all Americans who desire it easy, affordable access to advanced communications and information services, regardless of income, disability, or location.
Devising and attaining a new goal for expanded Universal Service is consistent with efforts to spur infrastructure development by increasing competition in communications and information markets. As noted above, competition can make low cost, high quality services and equipment widely available. Policies promoting greater competition in combination with targeted support for disadvantaged users or especially high cost or rural areas would advance both rapid infrastructure modernization and expanded Universal Service.
Action: Develop a New Concept of Universal Service. To gather information on the best characteristics of an expanded concept of Universal Service, the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will hold a series of public hearings on Universal Service and the NII, beginning by December 1993. The Administration will make a special effort to hear from public interest groups. Building on the knowledge gained from these activities, the IITF will work with the Advisory Council on the National Information Infrastructure, as well as with state regulatory commissions, to determine how the Universal Service concept should be applied in the 21st Century. 3. Promote Technological Innovation and New Applications Government regulatory, antitrust, tax, and intellectual
property policies all affect the level and timing of new offerings in services and equipment -- including the technology base that generates innovations for the marketplace. But technological innovations ultimately depend upon purposeful investment in research and development, by both the private sector and government. R&D investment helps firms to create better products and services at lower costs.
As noted in the Administration's February 22, 1993 technology policy statement: "We are moving to accelerate the development of technologies critical for long-term growth but not receiving adequate support from private firms, either because the returns are too distant or because the level of funding required is too great for individual firms to bear." Government research support already has helped create basic information technologies in computing, networking and electronics. We will support further NII-related research and technology development through research partnerships and other mechanisms to accelerate technologies where market mechanisms do not adequately reflect the nation's return on investment. In particular, these government research and funding programs will focus on the development of beneficial public applications in the fields of education, health care, manufacturing, and provision of government services.
Action: Continue the High-Performance Computing and Communications Program. Established by the High-Performance Computing Act of 1991, the HPCC Program funds R&D designed to create more powerful computers, faster computer networks, and more sophisticated software. In addition, the HPCC Program is providing scientists and engineers with the tools and training they need to solve "Grand Challenges," research problems -- like designing new drugs -- that cannot be solved without the most powerful computers. The Administration has requested $1 billion for the HPCC Program in fiscal year 1994, and is in the process of forming a "High-Performance Computing Advisory Committee," to provide private sector input on the Program. We have also requested an additional $96 million in the FY 1994 budget to create a new component of the HPCC Program -- Information Infrastructure Technologies and Applications (IITA). The Administration is working with Congress to obtain authorization to fund this effort, which will develop and apply high-performance computing and high-speed networking technologies for use in the fields of health care, education, libraries, manufacturing, and provision of government information. Action: Implement the NII Pilot Projects Program. In its FY 94 budget, the Administration has requested funding from the Congress for NII networking pilot and demonstration projects. Under NTIA's direction, this pilot program will provide matching grants to state and local governments, health care providers, school districts, libraries, universities, and other non-profit entities. The grants will be awarded after a competitive merit review process and will be used to fund projects to connect institutions to existing networks, enhance communications networks that are currently operational, and permit users to interconnect among different networks. Funded projects will demonstrate the potential of the NII and provide tangible benefits to their communities. Equally important, they will help leverage the resources and creativity of the private sector to devise new applications and uses of the NII. The successes of the these pilot projects will create an iterative process that will generate more innovative approaches each year. Action: Inventory NII Applications Projects. Many insights can be gained by sharing information about how government can effectively use the NII. By the end of January 1994, the IITF will complete an inventory of current and planned government activities and will widely disseminate the results through electronic and printed means. An electronic forum is being established to encourage government and private sector contributions and comments about government applications projects. 4. Promote Seamless, Interactive, User-Driven Operation Because the NII will be a network of networks, information
must be transferable over the disparate networks easily, accurately, and without compromising the content of the messages. Moreover, the NII will be of maximum value to users if it is sufficiently "open" and interactive so that users can develop new services and applications or exchange information among themselves, without waiting for services to be offered by the firms that operate the NII. In this way, users will develop new "electronic communities" and share knowledge and experiences that can improve the way that they learn, work, play, and participate in the American democracy.
To assure interoperability and openness of the many components of an efficient, high-capacity NII, standards for voice, video, data, and multi-media services must be developed. Those standards also must be compatible with the large installed base of communications technologies, and flexible and adaptable enough to meet user needs at affordable costs. The United States has long relied on a consensus-based, voluntary standards-setting process in communications. Particularly in the area of information and communications technology, where product cycles are often measured in months, not years, the standards process is critical and has not always worked to speed technological innovation and serve end-users well. Government can catalyze this industry-driven process by participating more actively in private-sector standards-writing bodies and by working with industry to address strategic technical barriers to interoperability and adoption of new technologies.
To increase the likelihood that the NII will be both interactive and, to a large extent, user-driven, government also must reform regulations and policies that may inadvertently hamper the development of interactive applications. For example, government regulations concerning the lack of reimbursement of health care procedures may deter the growth of distance medicine applications.
Action: Review and clarify the standards process to speed NII applications. By October 15, 1993 the Commerce Department's National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) will establish a panel and work with other appropriate agencies to review the government's involvement in establishing network requirements and standards with domestic and international partners. The panel, with input from the private sector and other levels of government, will consider the role of the government in the standards process and will identify opportunities for accelerating the deployment of the NII. Action: Review and reform government regulations that impede development of interactive services and applications. The Administration will work closely with the private sector, as well as state and local governments, to identify government policies and regulations that may hinder the growth of interactive services and applications. The IITF will determine how those regulations should be changed. 5. Ensure Information Security and Network Reliability The trustworthiness and security of communications channels
and networks are essential to the success of the NII. Users must be assured that information transmitted over the infrastructure will go when and where it is intended to go. Electronic information systems can create new vulnerabilities. For example, electronic files can be broken into and copied from remote locations, and cellular phone conversations can be monitored easily. Yet these same systems, if properly designed, can offer greater security than less advanced communications channels.
Through the use of information systems, gathering, sending, and receiving a wide variety of personal information is now simple, quick, and relatively inexpensive. The use of information technologies to access, modify, revise, repackage, and resell information can benefit individuals, but unauthorized use can encroach on their privacy. While media reports often emphasize the role of modern information technology in invading privacy, technology advances and enhanced management oversight also offer the opportunity for privacy protection. This protection is especially important to businesses that increasingly transmit sensitive proprietary data through electronic means. In a climate of tough global competitiveness to gain market advantage, the confidentiality of this information can spell the difference between business success or failure.
In addition, it is essential that the Federal government work with the communications industry to reduce the vulnerability of the nation's information infrastructure. The NII must be designed and managed in a way that minimizes the impact of accident or sabotage. The system must also continue to function in the event of attack or catastrophic natural disaster.
Action: Review privacy concerns of the NII. The IITF has developed a work plan to investigate what policies are necessary to ensure individual privacy, while recognizing the legitimate societal needs for information, including those of law enforcement. The IITF has also developed a work plan to investigate how the government will ensure that the infrastructure's operations are compatible with the legitimate privacy interests of its users. Action: Review of encryption technology. In April, the President announced a thorough review of Federal policies on encryption technology. In addition, Federal agencies are working with industry to develop new technologies that protect the privacy of citizens, while enabling law enforcement agencies to continue to use court-authorized wiretaps to fight terrorism, drug rings, organized crime, and corruption. Federal agencies are working with industry to develop encryption hardware and software that can be used for this application. Action: Work with industry to increase network reliability. The National Communications System brings together 23 Federal agencies with industry to reduce the vulnerability of the nation's telecommunications systems to accident, sabotage, natural disaster, or military attack. And the Federal Communications Commission has an industry and user Network Reliability Council to advise it on ensuring the reliability of the nation's commercial telecommunications networks. These efforts are increasingly important as the threat posed by terrorism and computing hacking grows. The NCS will continue its work and will coordinate with the IITF. In addition, the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee, which advises the President in coordination with the NCS, as well as the FCC's Network Reliability Council, will coordinate with and complement the work of the Advisory Council on the National Information Infrastructure. 6. Improve Management of the Radio Frequency Spectrum Many of the dramatic changes expected from the development
of the information infrastructure will grow out of advances in wireless technologies. The ability to access the resources of the NII at any time, from anywhere in the country, will be constrained, however, if there is inadequate spectrum available. To ensure that spectrum scarcity does not impede the development of the NII, the Administration places a high priority on streamlining its procedures for the allocation and use of this valuable resource.
Action: Streamline allocation and use of spectrum. The Administration is working with Congress to fully implement the spectrum management provisions of the Omnibus Budget and Reconciliation Act of 1993, to streamline government use of spectrum and to get spectrum to the public efficiently. These provisions will provide greater flexibility in spectrum allocation, including increased sharing of spectrum between private sector and government users, increased flexibility in technical and service standards, and increased choices for licensees in employing their assigned spectrum. Action: Promote market principles in spectrum distribution. Further, the Administration will continue to support policies that place a greater reliance on market principles in distributing spectrum, particularly in the assignment process, as a superior way to apportion this scarce resource among the widely differing wireless services that will be a part of the NII. At the same time, the Administration will develop policies to ensure that entrepreneurs and small, rural, minority- and women-owned businesses are able to participate in spectrum auctions. 7. Protect Intellectual Property Rights Development of an advanced information infrastructure will
create unprecedented market opportunities and new challenges for our world-preeminent media and information industries. The broad public interest in promoting the dissemination of information to our citizens must be balanced with the need to ensure the integrity of intellectual property rights and copyrights in information and entertainment products. This protection is crucial if these products -- whether in the form of text, images, computer programs, databases, video or sound recordings, or multimedia formats -- are to move in commerce using the full capability of the NII.
Action: Examine the adequacy of copyright laws. The IITF will investigate how to strengthen domestic copyright laws and international intellectual property treaties to prevent piracy and to protect the integrity of intellectual property. To ensure broad access to information via the NII, the IITF will study how traditional concepts of fair use should apply with respect to new media and new works. Action: Explore ways to identify and reimburse copyright owners. The IITF will explore the need for standards for the identification of copyright ownership of information products in electronic systems (e.g., electronic headers, labels or signature techniques). The Task Force will also evaluate the need to develop an efficient system for the identification, licensing, and use of work, and for the payment of royalties for copyrighted products delivered or made available over electronic information systems. 8. Coordinate with Other Levels of Governmental and With Other Bodies Domestic: Many of the firms that will likely participate in
the NII are now subject to regulation by Federal, state, and local government agencies. If the information infrastructure is to develop quickly and coherently, there must be close coordination among the various government entities, particularly with respect to regulatory policy. It is crucial that all government bodies -- particularly Congress, the FCC, the Administration, and state and local governments -- work cooperatively to forge regulatory principles that will promote deployment of the NII.
Action: Seek ways to improve coordination with state and local officials. The IITF will meet with state and local officials to discuss policy issues related to development of the NII. The Task Force will also seek input from the private sector and non-federal agencies as it devises proposals for regulatory reform. The Administration is committed to working closely with state and local governments in developing its telecommunications policies. International: The NII also will develop in the context of
evolving global networks. Because customers typically demand that U.S. communications providers offer services on a global basis, it is critical that the infrastructure within this country can meet international, as well as domestic, requirements.
Action: Open up overseas markets. The Administration has shown its willingness to work directly on behalf of U.S. firms to ensure that they have an equal opportunity to export telecommunications-related goods and services to potential overseas customers. For example, the Commerce Department is developing new export control policies governing computers and telecommunications equipment manufactured by U.S. firms. These changes will remove export restrictions on many of these products and permit U.S. manufacturers to enter new markets not previously available to them. The Administration will continue to work to open overseas markets for U.S. services and products. Action: Eliminate barriers caused by incompatible standards. Equally important is the need to avoid trade barriers raised by incompatible U.S. and foreign standards or -- more subtly -- between the methods used to test conformance to standards. Through its participation in international standards committees, the Administration is working to eliminate or avert such barriers. Action: Examine international and U.S. trade regulations. The IITF will coordinate the Administration's examination of policy issues related to the delivery of telecommunications services to and from the U.S., including claims by some U.S. companies that regulatory practices in foreign countries -- including denial of market access for U.S. carriers and the imposition of excessive charges for completing calls from the United States -- are harming the competitiveness of the industry and the costs charged to U.S. customers for service. The IITF also will reexamine U.S. regulation of international telecommunications services. 9. Provide Access to Government Information and Improve Government Procurement Thomas Jefferson said that information is the currency of
democracy. Federal agencies are among the most prolific collectors and generators of information that is useful and valuable to citizens and business. Improvement of the nation's information infrastructure provides a tremendous opportunity to improve the delivery of government information to the taxpayers who paid for its collection; to provide it equitably, at a fair price, as efficiently as possible.
The Federal government is improving every step of the process of information collection, manipulation, and dissemination. The Administration is funding research programs that will improve the software used for browsing, searching, describing, organizing, and managing information. But it is committed as well to applying those tools to the distribution of information that can be useful to the public in their various roles as teachers, researchers, businesspeople, consumers, etc.
The key questions that must be addressed are: What information does the public want? What information is in electronic form? By what means can it be distributed? How can all Americans have access to it? A secondary question is: How can government itself improve through better information management?
Action: Improve the accessibility of government information. IITF working groups will carefully consider the problems associated with making government information broadly accessible to the public electronically. Additionally, several inter-agency efforts have been started to ensure that the right information is stored and available. Finally, to help the public find government information, an inter-agency project has been formed to develop a virtual card catalogue that will indicate the availability of government information in whatever form it takes. Action: Upgrade the infrastructure for the delivery of government information. The Federal government has already taken a number of steps to promote wider distribution of its public reports. Legislation has been enacted to improve electronic dissemination of government documents by the Government Printing Office. A number of Federal agencies have moved aggressively to convert their public information into electronic form and disseminate it over the Internet, where it will be available to many more people than have previously had access to such information. In the future, substantial improvements will be made to "FedWorld," an electronic bulletin board established by the Department of Commerce's National Technical Information Service (NTIS), which links the public with more than 100 Federal bulletin boards and information centers. These improvements will enhance FedWorld's ability to distribute to the public scientific, technical, and business-related information generated by the U.S. Government and other sources. Finally, a conference will be held in the Fall of 1993 to begin teaching Federal employees how they can use these distribution mechanisms. Action: Enhance citizen access to government information. In June 1993, OMB prescribed new polices pertaining to the acquisition, use, and distribution of government information by Federal agencies. Among other things, the policies mandate that, in distributing information to the public, Federal agencies should recoup only those costs associated with the dissemination of that information, not with its creation or collection. Moreover, a number of inter-agency efforts are under way to afford greater public access to government information. One project seeks to turn thousands of local and field offices of various Federal agencies into Interactive Citizen Participation Centers, at which citizens can communicate with the public affairs departments of all Federal agencies. Action: Strengthen inter-agency coordination through the use of electronic mail. To implement the National Performance Review's recommendation on expanded use of electronic mail within the Federal government, an inter- agency coordinating body has been established to incorporate electronic mail into the daily work environment of Federal workers. The group is also sponsoring three pilot projects to expand connectivity that will build a body of experience that other Federal agencies can draw on when they begin to use electronic mail.
Action: Reform the Federal procurement process to make government a leading-edge technology adopter. The Federal government is the largest single buyer of high technology products. The government has played a key role in developing emerging markets for advanced technologies of military significance; it can be similarly effective for civilian technologies. The Administration will implement the procurement policy reforms set forth in the National Performance Review report.
VI. America's Destiny is Linked to our Information Infrastructure
The principles and goals outlined in this document provide a blueprint for government action on the NII. Applying them will ensure that government provides constructive assistance to U.S. industry, labor, academia and private citizens as they develop, deploy and use the infrastructure.
The potential benefits for the nation are immense. The NII will enable U.S. firms to compete and win in the global economy, generating good jobs for the American people and economic growth for the nation. As importantly, the NII promises to transform the lives of the American people. It can ameliorate the constraints of geography and economic status, and give all Americans a fair opportunity to go as far as their talents and ambitions will take them.
i BENEFITS AND APPLICATIONS OF THE NATIONAL INFORMATION INFRASTRUCTURE
The development of the National Information Infrastructure is not an end in itself; it is a means by which the United States can achieve a broad range of economic and social goals. Although the NII is not a "silver bullet" for all of the problems we face, it can make an important contribution to our most pressing economic and social challenges.
This infrastructure can be used by all Americans, not just by scientists and engineers. As entrepreneurs, factory workers, doctors, teachers, federal employees, and citizens, Americans can harness this technology to:
This is not a far-fetched prediction. As shown below, our current information infrastructure is already making a difference in the lives of ordinary Americans, and we have just begun to tap its potential.
The National Information Infrastructure will help create high-wage jobs, stimulate economic growth, enable new products and services, and strengthen America's technological leadership. Whole new industries will be created, and the infrastructure will be used in ways we can only begin to imagine. Below are some of the potential benefits to the U.S. economy:
Although there are no definitive estimates for the total number of U.S. jobs the deployment of the NII will create, it is clear that it has the potential to create hundreds of thousands of jobs. For example:
The NII will serve as the driver for a wide variety of technologies, such as semiconductors, high-speed networking, advanced displays, software, and human/computer interfaces such as speech recognition.
This technology will be used to create exciting new products and services, strengthening U.S. leadership in the electronics and information technology sector. For example, experts envision the production of powerful computers that will be held in the palm of our hand, "as mobile as a watch and as personal as a wallet, ... [they] will recognize speech, navigate streets, take notes, keep schedules, collect mail, manage money, open the door and start the car, among other computer functions we cannot imagine today."
In today's knowledge-based, global economy in which capital and technology are increasingly mobile, the quality of America's information infrastructure will help determine whether companies invest here or overseas. States and regions increasingly recognize that development of their information infrastructure is key to creating jobs and attracting new businesses:
Electronic commerce (e.g., on-line parts catalogues, multimedia mail, electronic payment, brokering services, collaborative engineering) can dramatically reduce the time required to design, manufacture, and market new products. "Time to market" is a critical success factor in today's global marketplace. Electronic commerce will also strengthen the relationships between manufacturer, suppliers, and joint developers. In today's marketplace, it is not unusual to have 12 or more companies collaborating to develop and manufacture new products.
The NII can help solve America's health care crisis. The Clinton Administration is committed to health care reform that will ensure that Americans will never again lose their health care coverage and that controls skyrocketing health care costs. The costs of doing nothing are prohibitive:
These problems will not be solved without comprehensive health care reform. Better use of information technology and the development of health care applications for the NII, however, can make an important contribution to reform. Experts estimate that telecommunications applications could reduce health care costs by $36 to $100 billion each year while improving quality and increasing access. Below are some of the existing and potential applications:
Example: In Texas, over 70 hospitals, primarily in rural areas, have been forced to close since 1984. The Texas Telemedicine Project in Austin, Texas offers interactive video consultation to primary care physicians in rural hospitals as a way of alleviating the shortage of specialists in rural areas. This trial is increasing the quality of care in rural areas and providing at least 14 percent savings by cutting patient transfer costs and provider travel. 2. Unified Electronic Claims: More than 4 billion health care claims are submitted annually from health care providers to reimbursement organizations such as insurance companies, Medicare, Medicaid, and HMOs. Moreover, there are 1500 different insurance companies in the United States using many different claims forms. The administrative costs of the U.S. health care system could be dramatically reduced by moving towards standardized electronic submission and processing of claims. 3. Personal Health Information Systems: The United States can use computers and networks to promote self care and prevention by making health care information available 24 hours a day in a form that aids decision making. Most people do not have the tools necessary to become an active and informed participant in their own health care. As a result, far too many people (estimates range from 50 to 80 percent) entering the health care system do not really need a physician's care. Many improperly use the system by, for example, using the emergency room for a cold or back strain. Many of those who end up with serious health problems enter the health care system too late, and thus require more extensive and costly therapy. Michael McDonald, chairman of the Communications and Computer Applications in Public Health (CCAPH), estimates that even if personal health information systems were used only 25 to 35 percent of the time, $40 to $60 billion could be saved. Example: InterPractice Systems, a joint venture of Harvard Community Health Plan in Boston and Electronic Data Systems, has placed terminals in the homes of heavy users of health care, such as the elderly, pregnant women, and families with young children. Based on a patient's symptoms and their medical history, an electronic advice system makes recommendations to HCHP's members about using self care, talking with a doctor, or scheduling an appointment. In one instance, "an 11-year old who regularly played with the terminal heard his father complain one day of chest pains and turned to the system for help; it diagnosed the symptoms as a probable heart attack. The diagnosis was correct." 4. Computer-Based Patient Records: The Institute of Medicine has concluded that Computer-Based Patient Records are critical to improving the quality and reducing the cost of health care. Currently: o 11 percent of laboratory tests must be re-ordered because of lost results; o 30 percent of the time, the treatment ordered is not documented at all; o 40 percent of the time a diagnosis isn't recorded; and o 30 percent of the time a medical record is completely unavailable during patient visits.
CIVIC NETWORKING TECHNOLOGY IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST
The benefits of the NII extend far beyond economic growth. As the Center for Civic Networking observed,
"A country that works smarter; enjoys efficient, less costly government, guided by a well-informed citizenry; that produces high quality jobs and educated citizens to fill them; that paves a road away from poverty; that promotes life-long learning, public life and the cultural life of our communities. This is the promise of the National Information Infrastructure." The NII could be used to create an "electronic commons" and
promote the public interest in the following ways:
Example: The Heartland FreeNet in Peoria, Illinois provides a wide range of community information to the citizens of Central Illinois 24 hours a day. Topics covered include 113 areas of social services; a year long community calendar; the American Red Cross; current listings from the Illinois Job Service; resources for local businesses; and local government information. Experts in all fields from law to the Red Cross to chemical dependency volunteer their time and expertise to answer questions anonymously asked by the public. Example: The Big Sky Telegraph began operation in 1988 as an electronic bulletin board system linking Montana's 114 one-room schools to each other and to Western Montana College. Today, the Big Sky Telegraph enables the formation of "virtual communities" -- linking schools, libraries, county extension services, women's centers, and hospitals. Montana's high-school students learning Russian can now communicate with Russian students, and science students are participating in a course on "chaos theory" offered by MIT. 2. Dissemination of government information: The free flow of information between the government and the public is essential to a democratic society. Improvements in the National Information Infrastructure provide a tremendous opportunity to improve the delivery of government information to the taxpayers who paid for its collection; to provide it equitably, at a fair price, as equitably as possible. Example: Some of the most powerful examples of the power inherent in information collection and dissemination come from the experience of Federal agencies. For example, the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986 established a Toxic Release Inventory (TRI), which required industries to report their estimated total releases of toxic chemicals to the environment. The Environmental Protection Agency has used a variety of means for making the data available to the public, including a collaborative effort involving the agency, the nonprofit community, and philanthropy. This effort involved making the TRI available through an online service called RTK NET (the Right-to-Know Computer Network), operated by OMB Watch and Unison Institute. As a result of the TRI program, EPA and industry developed the "33/50" program, in which CEOs set a goal of reducing their pollution by 33 percent by 1992 and 50 percent by 1995. Because of RTK NET's success, EPA is seeking to expand the information available on the service. 3. Universal access: The NII must be used to bring Americans together, as opposed to allowing a further polarization between information "haves" and "have nots." Example: As part of a recent cable franchise negotiation, fiber optic cable was deployed in Harlem, where 40 percent of the residents live below the poverty line. New York City is exploring the use of interactive video conferencing between community rooms in housing projects and government offices, schools, and New York corporations. These facilities could be used to teach parenting to teenage mothers, and promote mentoring programs between inner city youth and employees of New York corporations.
One of the central objectives of the High Performance Computing and Communications Initiative (HPCCI) is to increase the productivity of the research community and enable scientists and engineers to tackle "Grand Challenges," such as forecasting the weather, building more energy-efficient cars, designing lifesaving drugs, and understanding how galaxies are formed.
As a result of advances in computing and networking technologies promoted by the HPCCI, America's scientists and engineers (and their colleagues and peers around the world) are able to solve fundamental problems that would have been impossible to solve in the past. U.S. researchers will continue to benefit from the HPCCI and the emerging National Information Infrastructure. Below are just a few of the ways in which this technology is being used by U.S. researchers:
Increasingly, what we earn depends on what we learn. Americans must be well-educated and well-trained if we are compete internationally and enjoy a healthy democracy. The magnitude of the challenge we face is well-known:
The Clinton Administration has set ambitious national goals for lifelong learning. The "Goals 2000: Educate America Act" would make six education goals part of national policy: 90 percent high school graduation rate; U.S. dominance in math and science; total adult literacy; safe and drug-free schools; increased competency in challenging subjects; and having every child enter school "ready to learn." Secretary of Labor Robert Reich also has emphasized the need to move towards "new work." New work requires problem-solving as opposed to rote repetition, upgrading worker skills, and empowering front-line workers to continuously improve products and services. All of the Administration's policy initiatives (national skill standards, school-to-work transition, training for displaced workers) are aimed at promoting the transition towards high-wage, higher-value "new work."
Although technology alone can not fix what is wrong with America's education and training system, the NII can help. Studies have shown that computer-based instruction is costeffective, enabling 30% percent more learning in 40% less time at 30% less cost. Fortune recently reported that:
"From Harlem to Honolulu, electronic networks are sparking the kind of excitement not seen in America's classrooms since the space race ... In scores of programs and pilot projects, networks are changing the way teachers teach and students learn." The United States has just begun to exploit the educational
applications of computers and networks. Students and teachers can use the NII to promote collaborative learning between students, teachers, and experts; access on-line "digital libraries"; and take "virtual" field trips to museums and science exhibits without leaving the classroom.
Example: Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts and funded by the National Science Foundation, the Global Laboratory Project links students from over 101 schools in 27 states and 17 foreign countries, including Japan, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Argentina. All over the world, students establish environmental monitoring stations to study climate change, monitor pollutants such as pesticides and heavy metals, and measure ultraviolet radiation. Students share their data over the Global Lab telecommunications network with each other and with scientists to make comparisons, conduct analyses, and gain a global perspective on environmental problems. Example: In Texas, the Texas Education Network (TENET) now serves over 25,000 educators, and is making the resources of the Internet available to classrooms. One Texas educator from a small school district described the impact it was having on the learning experiences of children: "The smaller districts can now access NASA, leave messages for the astronauts, browse around in libraries larger than ever they will ever be able to visit, discuss the Superconducting Supercollider project with the physicist in charge, discuss world ecology with students in countries around the world, read world and national news that appears in newspapers that are not available in their small towns, work on projects as equals and collaborators with those in urban areas, and change the way they feel about the size of their world. This will create students that we could not create otherwise. This is a new education and instruction." As computers become more powerful and less expensive,
students may eventually carry hand-held, computer-based "intelligent tutors," or learn in elaborate simulated environments. One expert predicted the following educational use of virtual reality:
"Imagine a biology student entering an immersive virtual laboratory environment that includes simulated molecules. The learner can pick up two molecules and attempt to fit them together, exploring docking sites. In addition to the three-dimensional images in the head-mounted display, the gesture gloves on his hands press back to provide feedback to his sense of touch. Alternatively, the student can expand a molecule to the size of a large building and fly around in it, examining the internal structure."
CREATING A GOVERNMENT THAT WORKS BETTER & COSTS LESS The Vice President Gore's National Performance Review (NPR)
provides a bold vision of a federal government which is effective, efficient and responsive. Moving from red tape to results will require sweeping changes: emphasizing accountability for achieving results as opposed to following rules; putting customers first; empowering employees; and reengineering how government agencies do their work. As part of this vision, the NPR emphasizes the importance of information technology as a tool for reinventing government:
"With computers and telecommunications, we need not do things as we have in the past. We can design a customer- driven electronic government that operates in ways that, 10 years ago, the most visionary planner could not have imagined." The NPR has identified a number of ways in which "electronic
government" can improve the quality of government services while cutting costs, some of which are described below:
Example: Info/California is a network of kiosks in places like libraries and shopping malls. Californians can use these touch-screen computers to renew vehicle registration, register for employment openings, and get information on 90 different subjects, such as applying for student loans or resolving tenant-landlord disputes. These kiosks have reduced the cost of job- match services from $150 to $40 per person. 3. Establish a National Law Enforcement/Public Safety Network: Whether responding to natural or technological disasters, or performing search and rescue or interdiction activities, federal, state, and local law enforcement and public safety workers must be able to communicate with each other effectively, efficiently, and securely. Currently, federal, state and local law enforcement agencies have radio systems which can not communicate with each other because they occupy different parts of the spectrum. 4. Demonstrate and Provide Governmentwide Electronic Mail: Government-wide e-mail can provide rapid communications among individuals and groups, break down barriers to information flows between and within agencies, allow better management of complex interagency projects, and permit more communication between government officials and the public.
THE INFORMATION INFRASTRUCTURE TASK FORCE
While the private sector will build and run virtually all of the National Information Infrastructure (NII), the President and the Vice President have stated clearly that the Federal government has a key leadership role to play in its development. Accordingly, the White House formed the Information Infrastructure Task Force (IITF) to articulate and implement the Administration's vision for the NII. The task force consists of high-level representatives of the Federal agencies that play a major role in the development and application of information technologies. Working together with the private sector, the participating agencies will develop comprehensive telecommunications and information policies that best meet the needs of both the agencies and the country. By helping build consensus on thorny policy issues, the IITF will enable agencies to make and implement policy more quickly and effectively.
A high-level Advisory Council on the National Information Infrastructure has been established by Executive Order to provide advice to the IITF. It will consist of representatives of the many different stakeholders in the NII, including industry, labor, academia, public interest groups, and state and local governments. The Secretary of Commerce will appoint the 25 members of the advisory committee.
The IITF is working closely with the High Performance Computing, Communications, and Information Technology (HPCCIT) Subcommittee of the Federal Coordinating Council for Science, Engineering, and Technology (FCCSET), which is chaired by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. The HPCCIT Subcommittee provides technical advice to the IITF and coordinates Federal research activities that support development of the National Information Infrastructure.
All the key agencies involved in telecommunications and information policy are represented on the task force. The task force operates under the aegis of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Economic Council. Ron Brown, the Secretary of Commerce, chairs the IITF, and much of the staff work for the task force will be done by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) of the Department of Commerce.
To date, three committees of the IITF have been established:
(1) Telecommunications Policy Committee, which will formulate a consistent Administration position on key telecommunications issues, is chaired by Larry Irving, head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration of the Department of Commerce. Recently, the Committee created:
The Working Group on Universal Service, which will work to ensure that all Americans have access to and can enjoy the benefits of the National Information Infrastructure.
(2) Information Policy Committee, which is addressing critical information policy issues that must be addressed if the National Information Infrastructure is to be fully deployed and utilized. Sally Katzen, head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), chairs the Committee. The Committee has created three working groups:
The Working Group on Intellectual Property Rights, to develop proposals for protecting copyrights and other IPR in an electronic world. Bruce Lehman, head of the Patent and Trademark Office of the Department of Commerce, chairs this group. The Working Group on Privacy, to design Administration policies to protect individual privacy despite the rapid increase in the collection, storage, and dissemination of personal data in electronic form. It is chaired by Pat Faley, Acting Director of the Office of Consumer Affairs, Department of Health and Human Services. The Working Group on Government Information focuses on ways to promote dissemination of government data in electronic form. Bruce McConnell, OMB's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, chairs this group.
(3) Applications Committee, which coordinates Administration efforts to develop, demonstrate, and promote applications of information technology in manufacturing, education, health care, government services, libraries, and other areas. This group works closely with the High-Performance Computing and Communications Program, which is funding development of new applications technologies, to determine how Administration policies can best promote the deployment of such technologies. Arati Prabhakar, Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, chairs the committee. This committee is responsible for implementing many of the recommendations of the Vice President's National Performance Review that pertain to information technology. So far, the Committee has created one working group:
The Working Group on Government Information Technology Services (GITS) will coordinate efforts to improve the application of information technology by Federal agencies.
UNITED STATES ADVISORY COUNCIL ON THE NATIONAL INFORMATION INFRASTRUCTURE
ADMINISTRATION NII ACCOMPLISHMENTS
During its first seven months, the Clinton-Gore Administration has taken major steps to make its vision of the National Information Infrastructure a reality:
The President's FY 1994 budget includes:
The ARPA-led Technology Reinvestment Project (TRP), funded at $472 million in FY 1993, has generated almost 3,000 proposals from the private sector, requesting a total of $8.5 billion. Many of these proposals are for technology development for the National Information Infrastructure and its applications in health care, manufacturing, electronic commerce, and education and training. The President recently endorsed increasing the funding of the TRP to $600 million for FY 1994.
4. Making government information more available to citizens:
in the National Information Infrastructure:
ADMINISTRATION NII INFORMATION SOURCES
To submit comments on "The National Information Infrastructure: Agenda for Action" or to request additional copies of this package:
Write: NTIA NII Office 15th Street and Constitution Avenue Washington, D.C. 20230 Call: 202-482-1840 Fax: 202-482-1635 Internet: email@example.com
To obtain copies of this package electronically see instructions on next page.
Key Administration Contacts:
Ronald H. Brown, Secretary of Commerce
Chair, Information Infrastructure Task Force 15th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20230
phone: 202-482-3934 fax: 202-482-4576 internet: firstname.lastname@example.org
Larry Irving, Assisant Secretary for Communications and
Information, Director, National Telecommunications and
Information Administration, Chair, IITF Telecommuni-cations
15th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20230
phone: 202-482-1840 fax: 202-482-1635 internet: email@example.com
Arati Prabhakar, Director, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Chair, IITF Applications Committee NIST, Administration Building, Room A1134 Gaithersburg, MD. 20899
phone: 301-975-2300 fax: 301-869-8972 internet: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sally Katzen, Administrator, Office of Information and Regulatory
Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, Chair, IITF
Information Policy Committee
New Executive Office Building, Room 350 Washington, D.C. 20503
phone: 202-395-4852 fax: 202-395-3047
Mike Nelson, Special Assistant, Information Technology, Office of
Science and Technology
Old Executive Office Building, Room 423 Washington, D.C. 20500
phone: 202-395-6175 fax: 202-395-4155 internet: email@example.com
Tom Kalil, Director of Science and Technology
National Economic Council
Old Executive Office Building, Room 233 Washington, D.C. 20500
phone: 202-456-2801 fax: 202-456-2223 internet: firstname.lastname@example.org
Donald Lindberg, Director,
HPCC National Coordination Office
National Library of Medicine
8600 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD. 20894
phone: 301-402-4100 fax: 301-402-4080 internet: email@example.com
Carol Hamilton, Deputy Director, Office of Public Affairs, Department of Commerce
phone: 202-482-6001 fax: 202-482-6027 internet: CHamilton@doc.gov
The package is available in ASCII format from a variety of electronic sources including the following:
FTP: Address: ftp.ntia.doc.gov Login as "anonymous". Use your email address or guest as the password. Change directory to "pub". Address: enh.nist.gov Login as "anonymous" using "guest" as the password. Address: isdres.er.usgs.gov Login as "anonymous". Use your email address or "guest" as the password. Change directory to npr. The package also may be present in a self extracting compressed file named "niiagend.exe". Remember to issue the binary command before "getting" the compressed file. Gopher (server/client): Telnet to: gopher.nist.gov login as "gopher". Choose the menu item "DOC Documents". Choose "niiagenda.asc". Gopher to: ace.esusda.gov, port 70 Select: 6. Americans Communicating Electronically 3. National Technology Information 1. National Information Infrastructure Agenda Email Send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org In the body of the message put: send niiagenda
2. Bulletin Boards The package is available for downloading on the following bulletin boards: Name: NTIA Bulletin Board Phone: (202) 482-1199 Communications parameters should be set to either 2400 or 9600 baud, no parity, 8 data bits and 1 stop bit. The package is available under the "press releases" menu item as "niiagend.asc" (ascii) and "niiagend.exe" (compressed-self extracting). Name: Department of Commerce Economic Bulletin Board Phone: 202-482-1986 (voice instructions for subscription information) This is a "fee for service" bulletin board. Subscribers may download the "niiagenda" document for normal on-line charges. Non-subscribers may subscribe for $35 and download the report for no additional charge. Free telnet access and download services are available through the Internet by using the address: ebb.stat-usa.gov. Use trial as your user id. Name: FedWorld On-line Information Network Phone: (703) 321-8020 Communications parameters should be set to either 2400 or 9600 baud, no parity, 8 data bits and 1 stop bit. To access "niiagend.asc" from the FedWorld menu, enter "<f s w- house>". Telnet access is available through the Internet using the address: fedworld.doc.gov. Further information about FedWorld can be obtained by calling (voice) 703-487- 4648.