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Notice

Information Collection Being Submitted for Review and Approval to Office of Management and Budget

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AGENCY:

Federal Communications Commission.

ACTION:

Notice and request for comments.

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SUMMARY:

As part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or the Commission) invites the general public and other Federal Agencies to take this opportunity to comment on the following information collection. Pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, the FCC seeks specific comment on how it might “further reduce the information collection burden for small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees.”

The Commission may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control number. No person shall be subject to any penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information subject to the PRA that does not display a valid OMB control number.

DATES:

Written comments and recommendations for the proposed information collection should be submitted on or before July 22, 2020.

ADDRESSES:

Comments should be sent to www.reginfo.gov/​public/​do/​PRAMain. Find this particular information collection by selecting “Currently under 30-day Review—Open for Public Comments” or by using the search function. Your comment must be submitted into www.reginfo.gov per the above instructions for it to be considered. In addition to submitting in www.reginfo.gov also send a copy of your comment on the proposed information collection to Nicole Ongele, FCC, via email to PRA@fcc.gov and to Nicole.Ongele@fcc.gov. Include in the comments the OMB control number as shown in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION below.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

For additional information or copies of the information collection, contact Nicole Ongele at (202) 418-2991. To view a copy of this information collection request (ICR) submitted to OMB: (1) Go to the web page http://www.reginfo.gov/​public/​do/​PRAMain, (2) look for the section of the web page called “Currently Under Review,” (3) click on the downward-pointing arrow in the “Select Agency” box below the “Currently Under Review” heading, (4) select “Federal Communications Commission” from the list of agencies presented in the “Select Agency” box, (5) click the “Submit” button to the right of the “Select Agency” box, (6) when the list of FCC ICRs currently under review appears, look for the Title of this ICR and then click on the ICR Reference Number. A copy of the FCC submission to OMB will be displayed.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

As part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), the FCC invited the general public and other Federal Agencies to take this opportunity to comment on the following information collection. Comments are requested concerning: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Commission, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the Commission's burden estimates; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 107-198, see 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(4), the FCC seeks specific comment on how it might “further reduce the information collection burden for small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees.”

OMB Control Number: 3060-1256.

Title: Application for Connect America Fund Phase II and Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Auction Support.

Form Number: FCC Form 683.

Type of Review: Revision of a currently approved collection.

Respondents: Business or other for-profit entities, Not-for-profit institutions, and State, Local or Tribal governments.

Number of Respondents and Responses: 530 respondents and 1,060 responses.

Time per Response: 2-12 hours (on average).

Frequency of Response: Annual reporting requirements, on occasion reporting requirement.

Obligation to Respond: Required to obtain or retain benefits. Statutory authority for this information collection 47 U.S.C. 154, 214, 254 and 303(r) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended.

Estimated Total Annual Burden: 7,420 hours.

Total Annual Cost: No Cost.

Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: Although most information collected in FCC Form 683 will be made available for public inspection, the Commission will withhold certain information collected in FCC Form 683 from routine public inspection. Specifically, the Commission will treat certain financial and technical information submitted in FCC Form 683 as confidential. In addition, an applicant may use the abbreviated process under 47 CFR 0.459(a)(4) to request confidential treatment of the audited financial statements that are submitted during the post-selection review process. However, if a request for public inspection for this technical or financial information is made under 47 CFR 0.461, and the applicant has any objections to disclosure, the applicant will be notified and will be required to justify continued confidential treatment. To the extent that an applicant seeks to have other information collected in FCC Form 683 or during the post-selection review process withheld from public inspection, the applicant may request confidential treatment pursuant to 47 CFR 0.459.

Privacy Act Impact Assessment: No impact(s).

Needs and Uses

Connect America Fund Phase II Auction

The Commission is requesting the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval for this revised information collection. On November 18, 2011, the Commission released the USF/ICC Transformation Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, WC Docket No. 10-90 et al., FCC 11-161 (USF/ICC Transformation Order and/or FNPRM), which comprehensively reformed and modernized the high-cost program within the universal service fund to focus support on networks capable of providing voice and broadband services. Among other things, the Commission created the Connect America Fund (CAF) and concluded that support in price cap areas would be provided through a combination of “a new forward-looking model of the cost of constructing modern multi-purpose networks” and a competitive bidding process (CAF Phase II auction or Auction 903). The Commission also sought comment in the accompanying USF/ICC Transformation FNPRM on proposed rules governing the CAF Phase II auction, including basic auction design and the application process.

In the CAF Phase II auction, service providers competed to receive support of up to $1.98 billion over 10 years to offer voice and broadband service in unserved high-cost areas. The information collection requirements reported under this collection are the result of several Commission decisions to implement the reform adopted in the Start Printed Page 37452 USF/ICC Transformation Order and move forward with conducting the CAF Phase II auction. In the April 2014 Connect America Order, WC Docket No. 10-90 et al., FCC 14-54, the Commission adopted various rules regarding participation in the CAF Phase II auction, the term of support, and the eligible telecommunications carrier (ETC) designation process. In the Phase II Auction Order, WC Docket No. 10-90 et al., FCC 16-64, the Commission adopted rules to govern the CAF Phase II auction, including the adoption of a two-stage application process, which includes a pre-auction short-form application to be submitted by parties interested in bidding in the CAF Phase II auction and a post-auction long-form application that must be submitted by winning bidders seeking to become authorized to receive CAF Phase II auction support. The Commission concluded, based on its experience with auctions and consistent with the record, that this two-stage application process balances the need to collect information essential to conducting a successful auction and authorizing CAF Phase II support with administrative efficiency.

On January 30, 2018, the Commission adopted a public notice that established the final procedures for the CAF Phase II auction, including the long-form application disclosure and certification requirements for winning bidders seeking to become authorized to receive CAF Phase II auction support. See Phase II Auction Procedures Public Notice, WC Docket No. 17-182 et al., FCC 18-6. The Commission also adopted the Phase II Auction Order on Reconsideration, WC Docket No. 10-90 et al., FCC 18-5, which modified the Commission's letter of credit rules to provide some additional relief for CAF Phase II auction support recipients by reducing the costs of maintaining a letter of credit.

The Commission proposes to reduce the number of respondents that are subject to this collection now that the CAF Phase II auction winning bidders have been announced.

Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Auction

On February 7, 2020 the Commission released the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Order, WC Docket Nos. 19-126, 10-90, FCC 20-5 which will commit up to $20.4 billion over the next decade to support up to gigabit speed broadband networks in rural America. The funding will be allocated through a multi-round, reverse, descending clock auction that favors faster services with lower latency and encourages intermodal competition in order to ensure that the greatest possible number of Americans will be connected to the best possible networks, all at a competitive cost.

To implement the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auction (or Auction 904), the Commission adopted new rules for the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auction, including the adoption of a two-stage application process. Like with the CAF Phase II auction, this process includes a pre-auction short-form application to be submitted by parties interested in bidding in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auction (FCC Form 183) and a post-auction long-form application that must be submitted by winning bidders (or their designees) seeking to become authorized to receive Rural Digital Opportunity Fund support (FCC Form 683). The Commission is seeking approval for the short-form application (FCC Form 183) in a separate collection under the OMB control number 3060-1252.

This proposed revision seeks approval of the disclosures and certifications adopted by the Commission that must be made by winning bidders seeking to become authorized for Rural Digital Opportunity Fund support. The Commission plans to submit at a later date additional revisions or new collections for OMB review to address other reforms adopted in the above-referenced Order.

The Commission therefore proposes to revise this information collection to reflect these requirements to determine the recipients of Connect America Phase II auction and Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auction support.

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Federal Communications Commission.

Cecilia Sigmund,

Federal Register Liaison Officer.

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[FR Doc. 2020-13306 Filed 6-19-20; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6712-01-P