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Notice

Information Collection Activity; Comment Request

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Rural Utilities Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Notice and request for comments.

SUMMARY:

In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. chapter 35, as amended), the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) invites comments on this information collection for which RUS intends to request approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

DATES:

Comments on this notice must be received by July 21, 2003.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

F. Lamont Heppe, Jr., Director, Program Development and Regulatory Analysis, Rural Utilities Service, 1400 Independence Ave., SW., STOP 1522, Room 4036, South Building, Washington, DC 20250-1522. Telephone: (202) 720-9550. Fax: (202) 720-4120.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) regulation (5 CFR part 1320) implementing provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-13) requires that interested members of the public and affected agencies have an opportunity to comment on information collection and recordkeeping activities (see 5 CFR 1320.8(d)). This notice identifies an information collection that RUS is submitting to OMB for reinstatement.

Comments are invited on: (a) Whether this collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the collection of information including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Comments may be sent to F. Lamont Heppe, Jr., Director, Program Development and Regulatory Analysis, Rural Utilities Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, STOP 1522, 1400 Independence Ave., SW., Washington, DC 20250-1522. Fax: (202) 720-4120.

Title: 7 CFR Part 1738, Rural Broadband Loan and Loan Guarantee

Type of Request: Revision of a currently approved information collection.

Abstract: The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) amended its regulations in order to establish the Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program as authorized by the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (Pub. L. 101-171) (2002 Act). Section 6103 of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 amended the Rural Electrification Act of 1936, as amended (RE Act), to add Title VI, Rural Broadband Access, to provide loans and loan guarantees to fund the cost of construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment for the provision of broadband service in eligible rural communities. The rule prescribes the types of loans available, facilities financed, and eligible applicants, as well as minimum credit support requirements to be considered for a loan. In addition, the rule prescribes the process through which RUS will consider applicants under the priority consideration and the state allocations required in Title VI.Start Printed Page 27985

This information collection is being revised to include only those hours associated with the pre-loan procedures.

Estimate of Burden: Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 98 hour per response.

Respondents: Businesses, not-for-profit institutions and others.

Estimated Number of Respondents: 300.

Estimated Number of Responses per Respondent: 11.

Estimated Total Annual Burden on Respondents: 28,475 hours.

Copies of this information collection can be obtained from Dawn Wolfgang, Program Development and Regulatory Analysis, at (202) 720-0812. Fax: (202) 720-4120.

All responses to this notice will be summarized and included in the request for OMB approval. All comments will also become a matter of public record.

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Dated: May 15, 2003.

Hilda Gay Legg,

Administrator, Rural Utilities Service.

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[FR Doc. 03-12855 Filed 5-21-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3410-15-U