[Federal Register Volume 67, Number 113 (Wednesday, June 12, 2002)]
[Pages 40268-40269]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 02-14682]



Rural Utilities Service

Notice of Public Meeting on Rural Broadband Access

AGENCY: Rural Utilities Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of public meeting.


SUMMARY: This is to notify telecommunications systems financed by the 
Rural Utilities Service (RUS), lenders, and other interested persons 
that RUS is holding a public meeting in order for interested persons to 
express their views on the challenges of deploying broadband services 
to rural America, the successes, the role of competition in providing 
access to rural areas.

DATES: The public meeting will be held on June 27, 2002, starting at 9 
a.m. eastern time, with registration at 8 a.m. The public meeting will 
end at 4:30 p.m. unless concluded earlier.

ADDRESSES: The public meeting will be held in room 0348, South 
Building, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue, 
SW., Washington, DC. Persons interested in making a presentation at the 
meeting should send a written request to Roberta D. Purcell, Assistant 
Administrator, Telecommunications Program, Rural Utilities Service, 
room 4056-S, Stop 1590, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 

Administrator, Telecommunications Program, Rural Utilities Service, 
room 4056-S, Stop 1590, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 
20250-1500, Telephone: (202) 720-9554.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The meeting will be conducted by 
representatives of the Department of Agriculture. The proceedings of 
the meeting will be transcribed and considered in implementing 
provisions of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (Pub. 
L. 107-171) concerning the Rural Broadband Access loan and loan 
guarantee program. The purpose of the meeting is to provide background 
information for consideration in the implementation and administration 
of its telecommunications broadband loan program. The Agency will 
retain a summary of the meeting.
    RUS is particularly interest in receiving presentations on the 
following specific issues as they relate to rural broadband access:
    1. The demand for rural broadband access--What is driving the 
demand? What is limiting demand? Who are the players and what are their 
roles--federal, state, and local governments, service providers, 
equipment manufacturers, private lenders, educational and health care 
organizations, public safety agencies, etc. What services are in 
demand, which are not?
    2. The deployment of broadband access--Where is broadband access 
available today in rural America--schools, hospitals, law enforcement, 
businesses, residences? Is there an abundance of dark fiber and if, so, 
how can that best be used in serving rural America? What technologies 
are available--which are succeeding, what are their limitations, and at 
what cost?
    3. The rural landscape--Who serves rural America? What inhibits 
rural investment?
    4. Universal service--Who will protect/finance the carriers of last 
resort? Will broadband service be a supported service?
    5. Competition--What role does competition play? Can a rural area 
support competing broadband providers? What impact will a competitor 
have on local exchange service?
    6. The benefits--What are the success stories--to local residents 
and national interest?
    To schedule oral testimony for the public meeting, notify Ms. 
Purcell, in writing, at the above address. Requests may be sent by 
facsimile transfer to (202) 702-0810 or e-mail to: 
[email protected]. Persons who wish to make oral presentations must 
restrict presentations to 10 minutes and are also encouraged to have 
written copies of their complete comments, including exhibits, for 
inclusion in the official record. Written copies should also be sent to 
Ms. Purcell in advance of the meeting. Persons who register their 
attendance at the public meeting, but who have not been scheduled in 
advance to present oral testimony, will be given an opportunity to do 
so if time permits. Otherwise, such persons will be allowed the 
opportunity to submit their views in writing by June 27, 2002, for 
inclusion in the official record.

[[Page 40269]]

    Subject to the limitations described in the preceding paragraph, 
any interested person will be given the opportunity to appear and be 
heard with respect to matters relevant and material to the subject. 
However, presiding officials may limit the number of times that any one 
person may be heard and limit or exclude material that is irrelevant, 
immaterial, or unduly repetitious. Such action is intended to focus the 
discussion on the relevant issues, to ensure that all interested 
persons have an opportunity to participate to the extent time permits, 
and to prevent undue prolongation of the meeting. Presiding officials 
may ask questions at the meeting of persons making presentations. The 
questions and responses will become a part of the official record.
    Copies of the transcript of the meeting will not be available for 
distribution from the Department. However, the transcript of the 
meeting will be available for public inspection in room 4040 at RUS, 
1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC, during regular business 
hours (7 CFR 1.27(b)). Anyone wishing to purchase a copy of the 
transcript should make arrangements with the court reporter at the 

    Dated: June 6, 2002.
Hilda Gay Legg,
Administrator, Rural Utilities Service.
[FR Doc. 02-14682 Filed 6-11-02; 8:45 am]