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Notice

Information Collection Activity; Comment Request

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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 the following information collections for which RUS intends to request approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

DATES:

Comments on this notice must be received by April 17, 2006.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Richard C. Annan, Director, Program Development and Regulatory Analysis, Rural Utilities Service, 1400 Independence Ave., SW., STOP 1522, Room 5818, South Building, Washington, DC 20250-1522. Telephone: (202) 720-0784. Fax: (202) 720-8435.

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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 information collections that RUS is submitting to OMB for extension.

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 Richard C. Annan, 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) 720-0784.

Title: Telecommunications Field Trials.

OMB Control Number: 0572-0133.

Type of Request: Extension of a currently approved collection.

Abstract: To protect the equity of loans it makes, RUS Telecommunications Program establishes the minimum acceptable performance criteria for materials and equipment to be employed on telecommunication systems financed by RUS. These specifications cover a variety of materials and equipment, ranging from multipair cables for direct burial in the earth, to highly sophisticated, computerized central office digital switches. Manufacturers wishing to sell their products to RUS borrowers, request RUS consideration for acceptance of their products and submit data demonstrating their products' compliance with RUS specifications and that the products are otherwise acceptable for use on rural telecommunications systems. The review and determination of product acceptability is made to help assure that the products will perform properly and provide service lives that assure reliable revenue incomes and repayment of RUS loans funds in a manner consistent with the terms and conditions of the RUS loan. Unacceptable products may fail prematurely and interrupt service, require costly replacements, and reduce revenues. Without this collection, RUS has no means of determining the acceptability of advanced technology in a manner that is timely enough for RUS borrowers to take advantage of the improved benefits and promise that such products may provide for rural America.

Estimate of Burden: Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 3 hours per response.

Respondents: Not-for-profit institutions.

Estimated Number of Respondents: 4.

Estimated Number of Responses per Respondent: 6.

Estimated Total Annual Burden on Respondents: 72 hours.

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Dated: February 6, 2006.

James M. Andrew,

Administrator, Rural Utilities Service.

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[FR Doc. E6-2107 Filed 2-14-06; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3410-15-P