Technology Access and Innovation


Increasing Technology Access and Innovation

"In the new century, innovations in science and technology will be key not only to the health of the environment, but to miraculous improvements in the quality of our lives and advances in the economy."

-- President Bill Clinton

January 27, 2000

Bridging the Digital Divide

Closing the Digital Divide. Access to computers and the Internet is becoming increasingly important in American life, but there is a growing "digital divide" between those who have access to information technology and those who do not. To help make access to computers and the Internet as universal as the telephone, the Clinton-Gore Administration is proposing a comprehensive initiative to bridge the digital divide and create new opportunity for all Americans. Their FY 2001 budget includes proposals to: broaden access to technologies such as computers, the Internet, and high-speed networks; provide people with the skilled teachers and the training they need to master the information economy; and promote online content and applications that will help empower all Americans to use new technologies to their fullest potential.

Expanding High-Speed Internet Access. President Clinton's third New Markets tour highlighted the importance of closing the digital divide and bringing the benefits of technology to underserved communities. High-speed Internet access is becoming as important to the economic vitality of a community as roads and bridges are today, allowing people to upgrade skills using distance learning and helping businesses communicate electronically with customers and suppliers. The President's FY 2001 budget includes a new $25 million program at the Departments of Commerce and Agriculture to accelerate private sector deployment of broadband networks in under-served urban and rural communities -- using grants and loan guarantees. [White House Fact Sheet, 2/2/00]

Taking Executive Action to Bridge the Digital Divide. In December 1999, President Clinton directed Cabinet secretaries to take specific actions to close the digital divide, such as expanding Community Technology Centers in low-income neighborhoods, continuing to measure the extent of the digital divide, and helping low-income workers gain the skills needed to compete for high-paying information technology jobs.

Launching the Digital Divide Network. In December 1999, the President also announced the launch of the Digital Divide Network, an Internet-based information clearinghouse on public and private efforts to bring technology to underserved communities; and the formation of the Digital Opportunity Partnership, an alliance between the private sector and civil and human rights organizations to bring high technology to the doorstep of nonprofit organizations. He also announced a commitment by the Congress of National Black Churches to make the digital divide a top civil rights priority.

Providing Start-Up Money for Innovative Telecommunications Technology. The Clinton-Gore Administration's FY 2001 budget includes $45.1 million -- triple last year's funding -- for the Technology Opportunity Program (TOP), which is a major piece of the Digital Divide initiative. TOP helps increase access to technology by providing start-up money for innovative projects using advanced technology in the public and non-profit sectors. [Department of Commerce Fact Sheet, "NTIA Budget Highlights to Help Close Digital Divide," 2/2/00]

Bringing Computers to Public Housing Neighborhoods Across the Country. The Clinton-Gore Administration has created approximately 500 Neighborhood Network learning centers, which are innovative public/private partnerships that bring state of the art technology to public housing across America and help people learn critical computer skills.

Expanding Access to Technology for Native Americans. The Clinton-Gore Administration is proposing a new initiative to encourage Native Americans to pursue information technology and other science and technology fields as areas of study as well as to increase the capacity of Tribal colleges to offer courses in these areas. The FY 2001 budget provides $10 million, to be administered by the National Science Foundation, for grants to Tribal colleges for networking and access; course development; student assistance; and capacity building.

Expanding Access to Education Technology

Increased Investment in Education Technology. With the Vice President's leadership, the Clinton-Gore Administration has made increasing access to technology a top priority. The President and Vice President have increased overall investments in education technology from $23 million in 1993 to $769 million in FY 2000.

Created the Technology Literacy Challenge Fund. The President and Vice President created the Technology Literacy Challenge Fund in 1997 to help states provide software and Internet access for students, increase the number of multimedia computers in the classroom and provide technology training for teachers. The President won $425 million for this program in FY 2000, and his FY 2001 budget includes an additional $25 million.

Connecting Schools and Libraries to the Internet with the E-Rate. The President and Vice President created the E-rate program, which secures low-cost connections to the Internet for schools, libraries, rural health clinics and hospitals. The E-rate is benefiting more than 80 percent of America's public schools and providing Internet access for 30 million children in more than one million classrooms and 47,000 schools and libraries.

Innovative Approaches to Putting Computers in the Classroom. As a part of the Clinton-Gore Administration's effort to make computers available in every American classroom, President Clinton signed an executive order to streamline the transfer of surplus Federal computer equipment to schools and encourage Federal employees to volunteer their time and expertise to assist teachers and wire classrooms. The Administration also proposed tax incentives for companies that donate computers to schools, a $2 billion plan that spans 10 years.

More Classrooms Connected to the Internet. In 1999, 95 percent of public schools were connected to the Internet -- up from 35 percent in 1994. Also in 1999, 63 percent of all public school classrooms were connected to the Internet -- up from just 3 percent in 1994. This is a substantial advancement toward reaching the Clinton-Gore Administration's goal of connecting every classroom to the Internet.

Technology Training for Teachers. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, only 20 percent of teachers report that they are "very well prepared" to integrate technology into classroom. President Clinton's FY 2001 budget calls for $150 million -- double last year's investment of $75 million -- to ensure that all new teachers entering the workforce are computer literate and can integrate technology into the curriculum. Already, grants through the Education Department are training 400,000 new teachers to use computers effectively in the classroom.

Tripled Funding for Community Technology Centers. The Clinton-Gore Administration tripled funding for Community Technology Centers to reach at least 120 low-income communities, helping to close the digital divide by providing computers and Information Age tools to children and adults unable to afford them at home. The Administration also increased investment in education research to ensure all children benefit from educational technology.

Building the New Economy

Removing Barriers to Electronic Commerce. For consumers, e-commerce can mean more choice, greater convenience, customized products, and lower prices. To ensure the continued growth of e-commerce, Vice President Gore announced a new initiative in November 1999, to revise laws and regulations that impose barriers to the growth of electronic commerce. A working group will gather comments from the public, State and Local governments, and Federal agencies, and develop recommendations to facilitate e-commerce while ensuring consumer protection.

Moratorium on Internet Taxes. President Clinton signed into law the Internet Tax Freedom Act, which created a 3-year moratorium on Internet access taxes and taxes that discriminate against e-commerce and established a commission to look at the long-term tax issues raised by e-commerce. The Clinton-Gore Administration also succeeded in making cyberspace a "duty-free zone" by winning an agreement in the World Trade Organization to place a temporary moratorium on duties on electronic transmissions.

Enacted the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. In October 1998, the President signed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act into law, helping to protect America's intellectual property in cyberspace.

Building the Next Generation Internet. Today's Internet is an outgrowth of U.S. government-funded research in the late 1960s (the ARPANET). To maintain America's technological edge, it is critical that the government continues to increase investment in long-term research. That's why President Clinton and Vice President Gore have fought for the Next Generation Internet, which is connecting universities and national labs at speeds that are 1,000 times faster than today's Internet. Scientists are developing new applications such as telemedicine, which allows a doctor to see real-time imagery of a beating heart. Every budget the Clinton-Gore Administration has submitted to Congress has increased investments in research and deployment, helping to develop the ideas that will be reflected in productivity growth for decades to come.

Promoting Competition in a Global Telecommunications Services Market. President Clinton and Vice President Gore opened foreign markets for high-tech goods, cracked down on foreign piracy and liberalized export controls on computers and telecommunications equipment. This includes the Information Technology Agreement, which will eventually eliminate tariffs on $600 billion worth of goods, and the World Trade Organizations Basic Telecommunications Agreement, which will promote competition and privatization in a global telecommunications services market worth $1 trillion.

Extended Tax Credits for Research and Experimentation. The Clinton-Gore Administration extended the Research and Experimentation tax credit for another five years, through 2004, the longest expansion of this policy ever. Extending the tax credit will encourage companies to undertake new multi-year research activities, secure in the knowledge that the 20 percent tax credit will continue to be available.

Enacted Comprehensive Telecommunications Reform. In 1997, President Clinton signed the first comprehensive telecommunications reform legislation in over sixty years, which lowered prices, increased customer choice, and sped the deployment of new technology.

Winning Approval for the High Tech Agenda. Working with Congress on a bipartisan basis, the Clinton-Gore Administration succeeded in winning approval for key components of its 1999 high-tech agenda -- including the extension of the Research and Experimentation Tax Credit, increasing balanced investments in long-term research and development, reforming the patent system for America's new entrepreneurs, and increasing competition between satellite and cable TV companies. This agenda that will foster economic growth, improve America's ability to compete and win in global markets, and help create more high-tech, high-wage jobs.

Strengthening Security and Privacy on the Internet

Strengthening Internet and Computer Network Security. In 1997, President Clinton commissioned the National Plan for Information Systems Protection, which established the first national strategy for protecting the nation's computer networks from deliberate attacks. The President also convened a meeting of Internet and e-commerce companies to announce the formation of the Partnership for Critical Infrastructure Security, which will maximize cooperation between government and private sector initiatives for cyber-security.

Fighting Cyber Terrorism. The Clinton-Gore Administration is providing funding for development of the Federal Intrusion Detection Network, a cyber "burglar alarm" which will alert the federal government to cyber attacks, provide recommended defenses, establish information security readiness levels, and ensure the rapid implementation of system "patches' for known software defects.

Working to Ensure Consumer Protection and Privacy on the Internet. The Clinton-Gore Administration has encouraged consumer protection online through industry self-regulation and the prosecution of fraudulent practices under existing consumer protection laws. The President and Vice President have also encouraged the private sector to protect individual privacy through self-regulation, third-party audits and enforcement mechanisms. In just over a year, the number of commercial Internet sites with privacy policies has increased from 15 percent to 66 percent.

Protecting Children on the Internet. President Clinton signed into law the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, which requires commercial Web sites to get a parent's permission before collecting personal information from minors. In May 1999, Vice President Gore announced the Parents' Protection Page, an important new commitment by Internet companies to give parents the resources to protect their children from inappropriate material on the Internet. The Parents' Protection Page will provide parents with the tools and knowledge to supervise and guide their children's online activities.

Strengthening the Institute for Information Infrastructure Protection. This year, the President has requested $50 million in additional funding for the Institute for Information Infrastructure Protection. He has also requested $4 million in a supplemental appropriation to jump-start the Institute's work.

Promoting Cyber Security Training and Education. The Clinton-Gore Administration has proposed a Federal Cyber Services Training and Education initiative, which includes two programs: an ROTC-like program where the government pays for Information Technology education in exchange for federal service; and a program to establish competencies and certification for the country's existing Information Technology workforce.

Directing Cyber Security in the Federal Government. The Clinton-Gore Administration has directed federal agencies to develop Critical Infrastructure Plans, which have been reviewed by a newly created Expert Review Team of federal computer security experts, to protect their computer systems. And in March 2000, the President issued a directive to federal agencies to renew their efforts to safeguard their computer systems from denial-of-service attacks on the Internet. The President's Chief of Staff will coordinate a review of federal government vulnerabilities in this area.

Preventing Computer Software Piracy. A critical component of our discussions with international trading partners concerns their efforts to combat piracy of computer software and other intellectual property. In order to set an example for the world, President Clinton signed an executive order in September 1998 directing each executive agency to work to prevent and combat computer software piracy. The United States government is the world's largest purchaser of computer-related services and equipment, purchasing more than $20 billion annually.

Fighting Crime on the Internet. In August 1999, the Vice President announced an executive order establishing a working group charged with addressing unlawful conduct carried out over the Internet -- such as the illegal sale of guns, explosives, and controlled substances. The working group will provide a forum to develop creative solutions to the new challenges posed by crime on the Internet.

Science, Health and Space Exploration

Increasing Investment in Science and Technology. Under President Clinton and Vice President Gore, investments in science and technology have increased for five years in a row, and the Administration maintains that commitment in the FY 2001 budget. The National Science Foundation (NSF), which supports much of the research that trains the next generation of America's scientists and engineers, saw a 10 percent ($344 million) budget increase in FY 1999, bringing the NSF budget to $3.8 billion. This is the largest ever increase for NSF, and includes more than a 16 percent boost for computer science research. In addition, a new partnership between the Education Department and the National Science Foundation receives $75 million per year for research aimed at raising student achievement through learning technologies.

Committing to a Strong National Space Program. Issued in 1996, the President's National Space Policy commits the nation to a strong, stable, and balanced space program. The FY 2001 budget request of $14 billion will enable NASA to continue to pursue the Clinton-Gore Administration's priorities in human space flight, earth sciences, advanced space transportation, aviation safety and space science. Through the 21st Century Research Fund for America, the President adds $200 million over the next year to NASA's space science program.

Leading the Way for Global Partnerships in Science and Development. The Clinton-Gore Administration has helped blaze the trail in international science and technology cooperation by supporting the National Science Foundation's partnership with scientists from 45 countries to build the Large Hadron Collider. The LHC project was devised for high-energy physics research in Europe, and is a key milestone for international partnerships in science and technology -- one which will become a standard for our domestic science programs in the future.

Expanding Opportunities for Women and Minorities. The Clinton-Gore Administration has expanded opportunities for women, minorities and people with disabilities to pursue scientific and technical careers through programs like the Alliance for Minority Participation at the National Science Foundation and a new presidential mentoring award.

Promoting Accessible Technologies.The Clinton-Gore Administration has taken important steps to make mainstream information and communications technologies accessible to people with disabilities in order to promote full participation in our society by all Americans. In 1998, the President signed the Assistive Technology Act to support grants to states to improve access to assistive technology devices and services. The Administration also used the federal government's purchasing power and example to promote accessible, universally designed technology. On the 10th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the President announced a new website,, which serves as a "one-stop" electronic link to the enormous range of useful information available throughout the federal government for people with disabilities and their families. The Vice-President also announced a national strategy and investment in accessible technologies and universal design. The Clinton-Gore Administration has also fostered public private collaborations, including commitments by high tech companies, research firms, and non-profit organizations, to enhance the development, accessibility, and affordability of technology for people with disabilities.

Developing Cleaner Energy to Reduce Greenhouse Emissions. In February 2000, the President proposed a $4 billion package of tax incentives over five years to help reduce greenhouse emissions by spurring the purchase of energy efficient products and the use of renewable energy. This includes tax credits for the purchase of an energy efficient home; for the purchase of fuel-efficient cars; and for clean energy, such as the production of electricity from wind and closed-loop biomass. The package also proposes tax credits for businesses that produce electricity from biomass. Biomass refers to trees, crops and agricultural wastes used to produce power, fuels or chemicals.

Unprecedented Investment in Biomedical Research. Two years ago, the President called for an increase of almost 50 percent over five years in the NIH budget as part of his Research for America Fund. Since that time, the NIH budget has increased by over $4.3 billion and with the funding proposed by the President this year the Administration will be one year ahead of schedule in reaching the 50 percent goal. As a result, NIH now supports the highest levels of research ever on nearly all types of disease and health conditions, making new breakthroughs possible in the AIDS vaccine development and use, the treatment of chronic disease, and prevention and treatment of diseases such as diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer, and neurological diseases like Alzheimers and Parkinsons.

Mapping the Human Genome. As a part of overall NIH funding, the Clinton-Gore Administration has strongly supported the efforts of the National Human Genome Research Institute to map the entire human genome. The Human Genome Project expects to have a complete "working draft" of the human genome by the end of this year. The completed map will dramatically change medical care, opening new doors in the effort to learn more about detection, treatment, and prevention of serious diseases.

Ensuring that the Human Genome Project Remains a Global Effort. On March 14, 2000, President Clinton announced that he and British Prime Minister Tony Blair have agreed on a statement of principle to ensure that discoveries from the human genome are used to advance human health. Their joint statement applauds researchers who have made their raw human genome sequence data freely available to the global scientific community and calls upon others to follow their lead.

Increasing Funding for Nanotechnology Research. Nanotechnology research is the new frontier of technology innovation and has the potential for improving the environment, creating lighter and stronger metals, and fighting disease. These developments are likely to change the way almost everything - from vaccines to computers to automobile tires to objects not yet imagined -- is designed and made. President Clinton's FY 2001 budget continues our investment in nanotechnology research and development with a $227 million increase in the National Nanotechnology Initiative.

Using the Internet to Improve the Lives of Americans

Moving the Government Online. President Clinton and Vice President Gore have used the power of the Internet to make government work better for people. Every Cabinet department is online, using web sites to make information and services available to the American people at the touch of a button. Small businesses can get information on loans from the Small Business Administration's web page; parents can find information about financial aid from the Department of Education; and taxpayers can download tax forms and find answers to their questions from the Internal Revenue Service's web site.

Improving Access to Health Information. In April 1997, Vice President Gore and Health and Human Services Secretary Shalala launched healthfinder, a gateway site on the Internet that is making it easier for Americans to find health information on the World Wide Web. The site ( provides links to reliable health information -- from tips on choosing a doctor or a course of treatment, to information on how to stay healthy, to news on the latest biomedical research.

Providing One-Stop Access to Government Services for Seniors. Vice President Gore unveiled Access America for Seniors, an Internet site providing a wide range of services to older Americans on February 23, 1999. The Internet site ( provides information and services offered by virtually every major Federal government agency, civilian and military.

Using the Internet to Increase Adoptions. President Clinton has set a goal of doubling the number of adoptions and other permanent placements from the public child welfare system by 2002. To help reach that goal, in November 1998 the President directed the Department of Health and Human Services to expand the use of the Internet as a tool to link children in foster care more quickly with possible adoptive families. HHS will launch a national web site by September 2001 to break down geographic barriers to adoption.

Presidential Online Firsts. On November 9, 1999, President Clinton took part in the first online chat between a sitting President and citizens of the United States. The online chat lasted for 90 minutes and was moderated by the Democratic Leadership Council and the Internet firm ExiteAtHome. On February 14, 2000, President Clinton participated in the first online chat with a news organization in history. hosted the historic event and allowed ordinary citizens to post messages for the president to answer. President Clinton tackled questions ranging from Internet security to the Middle East peace process in the half-hour chat session. President Clinton also became the first president in history to shop online in December 1999, when he went Christmas shopping from his desk in the Oval Office -- he purchased jewelry and children's books.



June 2000

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