[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 49 (Monday, March 14, 2011)]
[Page 13797]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-5611]

                                                Federal Register

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Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 49 / Monday, March 14, 2011 / 

[[Page 13797]]



Rural Utilities Service

Rural Broadband Access Loans and Loan Guarantees Program

AGENCY: Rural Utilities Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of Solicitation of Applications (NOSA).


SUMMARY: This NOSA announces that the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) is 
accepting applications for fiscal year (FY) 2011 for the Rural 
Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee program (the Broadband 
Program), subject to the availability of funding. This notice is being 
issued prior to passage of a final appropriations act to allow 
potential applicants time to submit proposals and give the Agency time 
to process applications within the current fiscal year. RUS will 
publish a subsequent notice identifying the amount received in the 
final appropriations act, if any. At this time, the agency estimates 
that approximately $700 million may be available for loans from prior 
appropriations; however, Congress is presently reviewing budget 
authority across the Federal government in an attempt to reduce 
government debt. As a result, expenses incurred in developing 
applications will be at the applicant's own risk.
    In addition to announcing the application window, RUS announces the 
minimum and maximum amounts for broadband loans for the fiscal year. 
Moreover, the agency is concurrently publishing a interim rule that 
will revise the current Broadband Program regulations at 7 CFR part 
1738, as necessitated by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 
(the 2008 Farm Bill).

DATES: Applications under this NOSA will be accepted immediately, 
subject to the requirements of the interim regulation published 
concurrently with this NOSA.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information contact 
Kenneth Kuchno, Director, Broadband Division, Rural Development, STOP 
1599, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20250-1599, 
Telephone (202) 690-4673, Facsimile (202) 690-4389.


Application Requirements and Addresses

    All requirements and addresses for submission of an application 
under the Broadband Program will be set forth in the interim regulation 
published concurrently with this NOSA.

Application Materials

    Applications for the Broadband Program will be available at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/utp_farmbill.html.

General Information

    The Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program is 
authorized by the Rural Electrification Act (7 U.S.C. 901 et seq.), as 
amended by the 2008 Farm Bill.
    Applications must be submitted in accordance with the interim 
regulation published concurrently with this NOSA. This application 
guide to assist in the preparation of applications is available at: 
http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/utp_farmbill.html. Application guides may 
also be requested from RUS by contacting the agency contact.

Minimum and Maximum Loan Amounts

    Loans under this authority will not be made for less than $100,000. 
The maximum loan amount that will be considered for FY 2011 is $100 

Required Definitions for Broadband Program Regulation

    The interim regulation for the Broadband Program requires that 
certain definitions affecting eligibility be revised and published from 
time to time by the agency in the Federal Register. For the purposes of 
this interim regulation, the agency shall use the following 
    Broadband Service and Broadband Lending Speed. Until otherwise 
revised in the Federal Register, for applications in FY 2011, to 
qualify as broadband service, the minimum rate-of-data transmission 
shall be three megabits per second (download plus upload speeds) for 
both fixed and mobile broadband service and the broadband lending speed 
will be a minimum bandwidth of 5 megabits per second for both fixed and 
mobile service to the customer (download plus upload speeds).
    Incumbent Service Provider. For a service provider to be considered 
an incumbent service provider they must demonstrate that five percent 
of the households in a proposed funded service area are buying 
broadband service from them.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the 
information collection requirements associated with Broadband loans, as 
covered in this NOSA, have been approved by the Office of Management 
and Budget (OMB) under OMB Control Number 0572-0130.

    Dated: March 8, 2011.
Jessica Zufolo,
Acting Administrator, Rural Utilities Service.
[FR Doc. 2011-5611 Filed 3-11-11; 8:45 am]