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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release October 30, 1997
                           NETWORKS FOR PEOPLE:

October 30, 1997

And I challenge the private sector tonight to start by connecting every children's hospital as soon as possible, so that a child in bed can stay in touch with school, family and friends. A sick child need no longer be a child alone.

--President Clinton, State of the Union Address, February 4, 1997

Today, President Clinton and Vice President Gore will unveil and demonstrate Starbright World, an on-line computer network that enables seriously ill children to meet, play and verbally communicate with one another. Starbright World meets the President's State of the Union challenge to the private sector to help connect seriously ill children in hospitals across the country. They will be joined in launching this program by Starbright Chairman Steven Spielberg and Starbright Capital Campaign Chairman General H. Norman Schwarzkopf.

President Clinton and Vice President Gore have made promoting the Internet and other information and communications technologies a top priority. They believe that the Internet is an engine of economic growth and job creation, and a powerful tool for educating our children and expanding access to health care. Below are just a few of their accomplishments:

Created an e-rate for schools, libraries, and rural health clinics: As part of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, President Clinton fought for an e-rate which will provide more than $2.5 billion per year in discounts for schools, libraries, and rural health clinics to connect to the Internet.

Proposed a $2 billion Technology Literacy Challenge Fund: To put the future at the fingertips of our children, President Clinton believes we must connect every classroom to the Internet by the year 2000, increase the number of multimedia computers in the classroom, give teachers the training they need to use technology effectively, and promote the development of high-quality educational software. To help states and local communities meet these goals, President Clinton has proposed a 5-year, $2 billion Technology Literacy Challenge Fund, with more than $400 million in funding in his FY98 budget.

Promoted a family friendly Internet: President Clinton has worked to make cyberspace a safe place for children by cracking down on illegal content on the Internet and encouraging the private sector to develop software that can screen out content that is inappropriate for children.

Supported grassroots efforts to bring technology to our schools: President Clinton and Vice President Gore have been active participants in volunteer efforts like NetDay and U.S. Tech Corps.

Invested in the Next Generation Internet: President Clinton has launched an initiative to connect more than 100 universities at speeds that are 100-1,000 times faster than today's Internet, and to develop the next generation of applications, such as telemedicine. This will ensure that the United States remains at the cutting-edge of Internet technology.

Developed a strategy to foster global electronic commerce: In July 1997, President Clinton unveiled a strategy to eliminate the barriers to global electronic commerce, which will create instant access to global markets for America's small, entrepreneurial firms.