Estimated Expenditures for Internet Increased Significantly While BBS Expenditures Remained Relatively Constant
Federal organizations responding to our data collection efforts estimated spending about $349 million during fiscal years 1994 through 1996 for Internet and BBS activities. Of this amount an estimated $325 million was for Internet activities, and an estimated $23 million was for BBS activities. As shown in table 1, expenditures for Internet activities increased significantly over this period, while BBS expenditures remained relatively constant. Appendixes III and IV provide estimated Internet and BBS expenditures for each of the 42 federal organizations.
All 42 federal organizations reported increases in Internet expenditures from fiscal year 1994 to fiscal year 1996. Within federal organizations, Internet expenditures of some major components increased while those of others decreased.
BBS expenditures, however, showed more variations. Of the 29 federal organizations that reported BBS expenditures, 15 estimated spending less in fiscal year 1996 than in fiscal year 1994, and 14 estimated spending more. For example, SSA reported that BBS expenditures increased primarily as a result of system improvements to its Online Wage Reporting BBS. In contrast, the Environmental Protection Agency reported that BBS expenditures were decreasing because of increased use of the WWW as a means of disseminating information.
The expenditure data provided by federal organizations were largely based on estimates. Some reporting officials told us that they do not typically account for Internet and BBS expenditures separately from other information technology expenditures, and they had difficulty making reasonable estimates. For example, expenditures for the portion of personnel time and for connections associated with the Internet were difficult to estimate.
Furthermore, some federal organizations told us that they did not
report all expenditures. For example, the information reported by
the Executive Office of the President did not include personnel
expenditures for White House and OMB Internet activities. The
organization reported that personnel expenditures for Internet
activities were not tracked, and there was no reasonable basis upon
which to make an estimate. Furthermore, the Department of Health and
Human Services (HHS) did not provide information for three of its
components--the Administration for Children and Families, the Agency
for Health Care Policy and Research, and the Health Research and
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