[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 178 (Monday, September 14, 2020)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 56528-56529]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-17728]


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FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

47 CFR Part 54

[WC Docket Nos. 19-126, 10-90; FCC 20-5; FRS 16999]


Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, Connect America Fund

AGENCY: Federal Communications Commission.

ACTION: Final rule; announcement of effective date.

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SUMMARY: In this document, the Federal Communications Commission 
(Commission) announces that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) 
has approved, for a period of three years, an information collection 
associated with the rules for the Connect America Fund Phase II and 
Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auctions contained in the Commission's 
Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Order, FCC 20-5. This document is 
consistent with the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Order, which stated 
that the Commission would publish a document in the Federal Register 
announcing the effective date of the new information collection 
requirements.

DATES: The amendments to Sec.  54.804(b) and (c) published at 85 FR 
13773, March 10, 2020 are effective September 14, 2020.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Alexander Minard, Wireline Competition 
Bureau at (202) 418-7400 or TTY (202) 418-0484. For additional 
information concerning the Paperwork Reduction Act information 
collection requirements contact Nicole Ongele at (202) 418-2991 or via 
email at [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Commission submitted revised information 
collection requirements for review and approval by OMB, as required by 
the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995, on June 22, 2020. OMB 
approved the new information collection requirements on August 4, 2020. 
The information collection requirements are contained in the 
Commission's Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Order, FCC 20-5, published 
at 85 FR 13773, March 10, 2020. The OMB Control Number is 3060-1256. 
The Commission publishes this document as an announcement of the 
effective date of the rules published on March 10, 2020. If you have 
any comments on the burden estimates listed in the following, or how 
the Commission can improve the collections and reduce any burdens 
caused thereby, please contact Nicole Ongele, Federal Communications 
Commission, Room 1-A620, 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC 20554. 
Please include the OMB Control Number, 3060-1256, in your 
correspondence. The Commission will also accept your comments via email 
at [email protected]. To request materials in accessible formats for people 
with disabilities (Braille, large print, electronic files, audio 
format), send an email to [email protected] or call the Consumer and 
Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418-0530 (voice), (202) 418-0432 
(TTY).

Synopsis

    As required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 
3507), the Commission is notifying the public that it received OMB 
approval on August 4, 2020, for the information collection requirements 
contained in 47 CFR 54.804(b) and (c) published at 85 FR 13773, March 
10, 2020. Under 5 CFR part 1320, an agency may not conduct or sponsor a 
collection of information unless it displays a current, valid OMB 
Control Number. No person shall be subject to any penalty for failing 
to comply with a collection of information subject to the Paperwork 
Reduction Act that does not display a current, valid OMB Control 
Number. The OMB Control Number is 3060-1256. The foregoing notice is 
required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13, 
October 1, 1995, and 44 U.S.C. 3507.
    The total annual reporting burdens and costs for the respondents 
are as follows:
    OMB Control Number: 3060-1256.
    OMB Approval Date: August 4, 2020.
    OMB Expiration Date: August 31, 2023.
    Title: Application for Connect America Fund Phase II and Rural 
Digital Opportunity Fund Auction Support.

[[Page 56529]]

    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; 1,060 
responses.
    Estimated 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.
    Total Annual Burden: 7,420 hours.
    Total Annual Cost(s): 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

    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 
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 reduces 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, 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 
received approval for the short-form application (FCC Form 183) in a 
separate collection under the OMB control number 3060-1252.
    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 revises this information collection to 
reflect these requirements to determine the recipients of Connect 
America Phase II auction and Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auction 
support.

Federal Communications Commission.
Marlene Dortch,
Secretary, Office of the Secretary.
[FR Doc. 2020-17728 Filed 9-11-20; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6712-01-P