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RUS Specification for Voice Frequency Loading Coils

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Rural Utilities Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) hereby amends its regulations on Telecommunications Standards and Specifications for Materials, Equipment and Construction, by rescinding the current issue of RUS Bulletin 345-22, RUS Specification for Voice Frequency Loading Coils, PE-26. This specification has become outdated because of advancements made in the delivery of telecommunications services to rural subscribers.

DATES:

Effective date: March 21, 2003.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Charlie I. Harper, Jr., Chief, Outside Plant Branch, Telecommunications Standards Division, Rural Utilities Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., STOP 1598, Washington, DC 20250-1598, telephone (202) 720-0667.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Executive Order 12866

This final rule is exempt from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) review for the purposes of Executive Order 12866 and, therefore has not been reviewed by OMB.

Executive Order 12988

This final rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. RUS has determined that this final rule meets the applicable standards provided in section 3 of that Executive Order. In addition, all State and local laws and regulations that are in conflict with this rule will be preempted, no retroactive effect will be given to this rule, and, in accordance with section 212(e) of the Department of Agriculture Reorganization Act of 1994 (7 U.S.C. 6912(e)), administrative appeal procedures, if any, must be exhausted before an action against the Department or its agencies may be initiated.

Regulatory Flexibility Act Certification

RUS has determined that this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, as defined in the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.). Loan documents between RUS and its telecommunications borrowers require borrowers to comply with certain standards and specifications for the construction of telecommunications facilities financed with RUS loan funds. This rule rescinds the requirements that borrowers comply with an outdated RUS Specification for Voice Frequency Loading Coils. This rule relieves borrowers of a requirement that no longer represents best practices in the telecommunications industry and consequently will not have a significant impact on the affected entities.

Information Collection and Recordkeeping Requirements

This final rule contains no information collection or recordkeeping requirements under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35).

National Environmental Policy Act Certification

The Administrator of RUS has determined that this final rule will not significantly affect the quality of the human environment as defined by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.). Therefore, this action does not require an environmental impact statement or assessment.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance

The program described by this final rule is listed in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance programs under No. 10.851, Rural Telephone Loans and Loan Guarantees, and No. 10.852, Rural Telephone Bank Loans. This catalog is available on a subscription basis from the Superintendent of Documents, the United States Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402-9325. Telephone (202) 512-1800.

Executive Order 12372

This final rule is excluded from the scope of Executive Order 12372, Intergovernmental Consultation, which may require consultation with State and local officials. See the final rule related notice entitled, “Department Programs and Activities Excluded from Executive Order 12372,” (50 FR 47034) advising that RUS loans and loan guarantees were not covered by Executive Order 12372.

Unfunded Mandates

This final rule contains no Federal mandates (under the regulatory provision of Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act) for State, local, and tribal governments or the private sector. Thus, this final rule is not subject to the requirements of section 202 and 205 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.

Background

RUS issues publications titled “bulletins” which serve to guide borrowers regarding already codified policy, procedures, and requirements needed to manage loans, loan guarantee programs, and the security instruments which provide for and secure RUS financing. RUS issues standards and specifications for construction of telecommunications facilities financed with RUS loan funds. After review of RUS's bulletin and specification issuances, RUS has decided to rescind the outdated RUS Bulletin 345-22, RUS Specification for Voice Frequency Loading Coils, PE-26, issued January 19, 1989. This bulletin is incorporated by reference at 7 CFR 1755.97.

RUS Bulletin 345-22, RUS Specification for Voice Frequency Loading Coils, PE-26, specifies the technical requirements for voice frequency loading coils that are used in aerial, direct burial, and underground plant installations. Since RUS borrowers are designing and constructing new plant facilities capable of handling both voice and data transmission which require that loop lengths be shorter than 18,000 feet, the installation of voice frequency loading coils in these new transmission facilities using these shorter loop lengths is no longer required.

Therefore RUS is rescinding this bulletin because of obsolescence. Start Printed Page 7898

On January 31, 2002, RUS published a proposed rule (67 FR 4679) to rescind RUS Bulletin 345-22, RUS Specification for Voice Frequency Loading Coils, PE-26, because of obsolescence. Comments on this proposed rule were due by April 1, 2002. One comment was received by this due date. The commenter agreed with RUS that the bulletin should be rescinded because of obsolescence. Since the commenter agreed with RUS, RUS will rescind RUS Bulletin 345-22, RUS Specification for Voice Frequency Loading Coils, PE-26.

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List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 1755

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For reasons set out in the preamble, RUS amends Chapter XVII of title 7 of the Code of Federal Regulations as follows:

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PART 1755—TELECOMMUNICATIONS STANDARDS AND SPECIFICATIONS FOR MATERIALS, EQUIPMENT AND CONSTRUCTION.

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1. The authority citation for part 1755 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 7 U.S.C. 901 et seq., 1921 et seq., 6941 et seq.

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[Amended]
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2. Section 1755.97 is amended by removing the entry “RUS Bulletin No. 345-22” from the table.

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Dated: January 3, 2003.

Hilda Gay Legg,

Administrator, Rural Utilities Service.

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[FR Doc. 03-3746 Filed 2-18-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3410-15-P