Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Comment Procedures Established Regarding The Commission’s Consultative Role In The Broadband Provisions Of The Recovery Act

DA 09-668 - Released: March 24, 2009 - GN Docket No. 09-40 - Comment filing date: April 13, 2009

Through this Public Notice, we establish procedures for parties wishing to provide written or oral comments on the Commission's consultative role in the broadband provisions of the Recovery Act. In the Recovery Act, Congress assigned grant- and loanmaking responsibilities to the Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service (RUS). Specifically, NTIA will administer the Broadband Technologies Opportunities Program (BTOP), which will provide grants for developing and expanding broadband services, and RUS will continue to administer its programs of broadband loans, loan guarantees, and grants with additional funds. The Commission has no funds under the Recovery Act for grant- or loanmaking. The Commission does, however, have an important role to play in providing expert, technical advice to NTIA as it establishes the BTOP, and the Commission may also provide expert, technical advice to RUS as it proceeds with its own programs.

Congress directed NTIA to consult with this Commission on five specific terms and concepts:

1. the definition of "unserved area,"

2. the definition of "underserved area,"

3. the definition of "broadband,"

4. the non-discrimination obligations that will be contractual conditions of BTOP grants, and

5. the network interconnection obligations that will be contractual conditions of BTOP grants.

Commission staff are attending the relevant hearings being held jointly by NTIA and RUS on the implementation of their Recovery Act programs, and will have access to the written filings made in response to those agencies' Joint Request for Information. Some parties may wish to provide comment specifically to this Commission on its consultative role on the five definitions listed above. Because we desire that all comments to the Commission on its consultative role be fully disclosed and accessible to the public, and because the Commission has a unique role with regard to consulting on the five definitions, we establish the following procedures for parties wishing to comment on the advice the Commission should offer on these terms. We do not here seek comment or intend to accept meetings on individual projects or requests for funding, which are within the purview of NTIA and RUS, but rather on the Commission's consultative role with regard to the five points enumerated above.

First, parties wishing to submit written comments may file them on or before April 13, 2009. Comments should reference GN Docket No. 09-40. Parties are encouraged to limit their comments to the five definitional issues named above, and to include an executive summary if their comments exceed ten pages.

. . . . . [filing procedure]

In addition, Commission staff will make themselves available for ex parte meetings with interested parties during the week of March 30 through April 3, 2009. Parties wishing to schedule an ex parte meeting should contact Ginny Kennedy, Wireline Competition Bureau, at (202) 418-2328, or by email at, or Morasha Younger, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, at (202) 418-1203, or by email at Any registered lobbyists requesting meetings should identify themselves as such at the time of requesting meetings. Because of the potential volume of meeting requests, meetings will be scheduled for twenty minutes with Commission staff members. Parties are also strongly encouraged to provide staff a one- to two-page handout summarizing their points. Staff will attempt to accommodate requests for ex parte meetings on other dates but interested parties are strongly encouraged to schedule any meetings for the dates mentioned above.

. . . . . [filing procedure]

It is the intent of the Commission that contacts with the Commission pursuant to this Public Notice also comply with the March 20, 2009 White House Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Agencies: Ensuring Responsible Spending of Recovery Act Funds ("Memorandum"). Under the Memorandum, an executive department or agency official shall not consider the view of a lobbyist registered under the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, 2 U.S.C. 1601 et seq., concerning particular projects, applications, or applicants for funding under the Recovery Act unless such views are in writing. An executive department or agency official may communicate orally with registered lobbyists concerning general Recovery Act policy issues, provided that such oral communications shall not extend to or touch upon particular projects, applications, or applicants for funding, and further that the official must contemporaneously or immediately thereafter document in writing: (i) the date and time of the contact on policy issues; (ii) the names of the registered lobbyists and the official(s) between or among whom the contact took place; and (iii) a short description of the substance of the communication. This written summary will be posted publicly on the Commission's website within 3 business days of the communication.

For further information, contact Ian Dillner or Claude Aiken, Wireline Competition Bureau, (202) 418-1580, Jennifer Salhus, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, (202) 418-1310, Kevin Holmes, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, (202) 418-2487, or Jeff Cohen, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, (202) 418-1300. -FCC-  

3/24/09 Bureaus Establish Procedures Regarding the Commission's Consultative Role in the Broadband Provisions of the Recovery Act.
Public Notice: Word | Acrobat

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