The American Library Association (ALA) Washington Office filed comments (pdf) to the U.S. Department of Commerce yesterday, regarding requirements for information collection under the first-round Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP). The ALA applauds NTIA for the creation of BTOP in only several months after passage of the ARRA. However, the compressed time frame resulted in an application process that needs improvement.
The comments outline how the application process restricts the opportunity to describe the substantive aspects of a proposed project while also mandating excessive, often redundant requirements for information collection. The Washington Office’s comments set forth recommendations for changes to the next NOFA to address these matters as well as other issues, such as improvements needed for the online application process.