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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 February 6, 2004.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Richard C. Annan, Acting Director, Program Development and Regulatory Analysis, Rural Utilities Service, 1400 Independence Ave., SW., STOP 1522, Room 5170 South Building, Washington, DC 20250-1522. Telephone: (202) 720-8818. FAX: (202) 720-4120.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) regulation (5 CFR 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 extension.

Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed 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 proposed 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 those who are to respond, 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: Richard C. Annan, Acting Director, Program Development and Regulatory Analysis, Rural Utilities Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, STOP 1522, Room 5170 South Building, 1400 Independence Ave., SW., Washington, DC 20250-1522. Fax: (202) 720-4120.

Title: Broadband Grant Program.

OMB Control Number: 0572-0127.

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

Abstract: The provision of broadband transmission service is vital to the economic development, education, health, and safety of rural Americans. To further this objective, RUS provides financial assistance in the form of grant to eligible entities that propose, on a “community-oriented connectivity” basis, to provide broadband transmission service that fosters Start Printed Page 68328economic growth and delivers enhanced educational, health care, and public safety services to extremely rural, lower income communities. RUS gives priority to rural areas that it believes have the greatest need for broadband transmission services. Grant authority is utilized to deploy broadband infrastructure to extremely rural, lower income communities on a “community-oriented connectivity” basis. The “community-oriented connectivity” concept integrates the deployment of broadband infrastructure with the practical, everyday uses and applications of the facilities. This broadband access is intended to promote economic development and provide enhanced educational and health care opportunities. RUS provides financial assistance to eligible entities that are proposing to deploy broadband transmission service in rural communities where such service does not currently exist and who will connect the critical community facilities including the local schools, libraries, hospitals, police, fire and rescue services and who will operate a community center that provides free and open access to residents.

Estimate of Burden: Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 154.87 hours per response.

Respondents: Public bodies, commercial companies, cooperatives, nonprofits, Indian tribes, and limited dividend or mutual associations and must be incorporated or a limited liability company.

Estimated Number of Respondents: 300.

Estimated Number of Responses per Respondent: 1.

Estimated Total Annual Burden on Respondents: 48,010.

Copies of this information collection can be obtained from MaryPat Daskal, Program Development and Regulatory Analysis, at (202) 720-7853, 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: November 26, 2003.

Hilda Gay Legg,

Administrator, Rural Utilities Service.

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[FR Doc. 03-30032 Filed 12-5-03; 8:45 am]

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