Repeal of Regulations Concerning the Rural Telephone Bank, the Public Television Station Digital Transition Grant Program, and the Local Television Loan Guarantee Program

 
CONTENT
Federal Register, Volume 84 Issue 216 (Thursday, November 7, 2019)
[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 216 (Thursday, November 7, 2019)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 59919-59923]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-24310]
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Rules and Regulations
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________
This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains regulatory documents
having general applicability and legal effect, most of which are keyed
to and codified in the Code of Federal Regulations, which is published
under 50 titles pursuant to 44 U.S.C. 1510.
The Code of Federal Regulations is sold by the Superintendent of Documents.
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Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 216 / Thursday, November 7, 2019 /
Rules and Regulations
[[Page 59919]]
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Rural Utilities Service
7 CFR Parts 1600, 1610, 1700, 1735, 1737, 1740, 1744, 1751, 2003,
2200 and 2201
[Docket No. RUS-19-Telecom-0026]
RIN 0572-AC38
Repeal of Regulations Concerning the Rural Telephone Bank, the
Public Television Station Digital Transition Grant Program, and the
Local Television Loan Guarantee Program
AGENCY: Rural Utilities Service, USDA.
ACTION: Final rule.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
SUMMARY: This final rule informs the public that the Rural Utilities
Service (RUS or Agency) is repealing the Rural Telephone Bank, Public
Television Station Digital Transition Grant Program and the Local
Television Loan Guarantee Program from the Code of Federal Regulations
(CFR). This action removes expired and terminated programs from the CFR
as repealed by the 2018 Agricultural Improvement Act (2018 Farm Bill).
The statutory changes result from the 2018 Farm Bill. Additionally,
conforming changes are being made to other regulations as a result of
the aforementioned statutory changes.
DATES: This final rule will be effective January 6, 2020.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Thomas P. Dickson, Rural Development
Innovation Center--Regulatory Team 2, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue
SW, STOP 1522, South Building, Washington, DC 20250-1522. Telephone:
(202) 690-4492. Email to [email protected].
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
Background
    The purpose of the Rural Telephone Bank (RTB) was to make loans for
telecommunications infrastructure purposes. On October 1, 2005, the RTB
ceased all business operations and began dissolution of equity to its
stockholders, and in November 2007, the RTB was completely liquidated.
For over a decade, the RTB statute remained, although the bank had
ceased to exist. The 2018 Farm Bill repealed the provisions of the
Rural Electrification Act of 1936 that created the RTB.
    The purpose of the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) Public Television
Station Digital Transition Grant Program (Grant Program) was to enable
public television stations serving rural areas to transition from
broadcasting in analog to digital, as required under the Federal
Communications Commission (FCC) rules, by awarding grants through a
competitive process. While stations were required to broadcast their
main transmitter signal in digital, many rural stations had not
completed the transition of all their equipment, especially
translators. In 2011, the FCC adopted a final deadline to convert all
translators by September 1, 2015. The RUS program was expired in 2015.
    The purpose of the Local Television Loan Guarantee Program was to
facilitate access, on a technology neutral basis by December 31, 2006,
to signals of local television stations for households located in non-
served areas and underserved areas. Although regulations and a notice
were published, this program did not receive viable applications. As a
result, the program was never funded.
    The 2018 Farm Bill repealed all programs mentioned above and so RUS
is adjusting the CFR accordingly to remove these programs. Along with
the removal of these programs, several rules needed to be modified as
well, since they mention the repealed programs. These include 7 CFR
parts 1700, 1735, 1737, 1744, 1751, and 2003. Accordingly, the
corresponding provisions in the above-referenced regulations are being
amended to remove any reference to the programs mentioned above.
Executive Order 12866 and 13563
    Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess all
costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if
regulations are necessary, to select regulatory approaches that
maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental,
public health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity).
Executive Order 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both
costs and benefits, reducing costs, harmonizing rules, and promoting
flexibility. This rule has been determined not to be significant for
purposes of Executive Order 13563. Accordingly, the Office of
Management and Budget (OMB) has waived the review process.
Congressional Review Act
    Pursuant to the Congressional Review Act (5 U.S.C. 801 et seq.),
the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs designated this rule
as not a major rule, as defined by 5 U.S.C. 804(2).
Executive Order 12372
    This final rule is excluded from the scope of Executive Order
12372, Intergovernmental Consultation, which may require consultation
with State and local officials. See the final rule related notice
entitled, ``Department Programs and Activities Excluded from Executive
Order 12372'' (50 FR 47034).
Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995
    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C.
chapter 35), it has been determined that this rule will not change the
information collection and recordkeeping requirements previously
approved and will not impose additional reporting or recordkeeping
burden on users.
    The Agency will request the current information collection and
recordkeeping requirements for 7 CFR 1740, approved by OMB under 47
U.S.C. 1101 and assigned OMB Control Number 0572-0134 to be retired
with this final rule.
    The information collection and recordkeeping requirements of 7 CFR
parts 2200 and 2201 were approved by OMB under 47 U.S.C. 1101 and was
assigned OMB Control Number 0572-0135. This information collection was
retired by OMB on December 31, 2006.
Executive Order 12988
    This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil
Justice Reform. This rule is not intended to have retroactive effect.
There are no civil justice implications associated with this direct
final rule.
[[Page 59920]]
Civil Rights Review
    RUS has considered the potential civil rights implications of this
rule on minorities, women, or persons with disabilities to ensure that
no person or group shall be discriminated against on the basis of race,
color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, sexual
orientation, marital or family status, political beliefs, parental
status, or protected genetic information. This rule does not require
affected entities to relocate or alter their operations in ways that
could adversely affect such persons or groups. Further, this rule will
not deny any persons or groups the benefits of a program or subject any
persons or groups to discrimination.
Executive Order 13132, Federalism
    This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 13132,
Federalism, which directs agencies to construe, in regulations and
otherwise, a Federal statue to preempt state law only when the statue
contains an express preemption provision. There are no federalism
implications associated with this rule.
List of Subjects
7 CFR Part 1600
    Sunshine Act.
7 CFR Part 1610
    Loan programs-communications, Rural areas, Telephone.
7 CFR Part 1700
    Administrative practice and procedure, Authority delegations
(Government agencies), Electric power, Grant programs-energy, Loan
programs-energy, Organization and functions (Government agencies).
7 CFR Part 1735
    Loan programs-communications, Reporting and recordkeeping
requirements, Rural areas, Telephone.
7 CFR Part 1737
    Loan programs-communications, Reporting and recordkeeping
requirements, Rural areas, Telephone.
7 CFR Part 1740
    Communications, Grant programs, Rural areas, Television.
7 CFR Part 1744
    Accounting, Loan programs-communications, Reporting and
recordkeeping requirements, Rural areas, Telephone.
7 CFR Part 1751
    Communications equipment, Loan programs-communications, Rural
areas, Telephone.
7 CFR Part 2003
    Organization and functions (Government agencies), Freedom of
information, Rural areas, Volunteers.
7 CFR Parts 2200 and 2201
    Loan programs-communications, Reporting and recordkeeping
requirements, Rural areas, Telecommunications, Television.
    Therefore, chapters XVI, XVII, XVIII, and XX of title 7 of the Code
of Regulations are amended as follows:
Subtitle B--Regulations of the Department of Agriculture
Chapter XVI [Removed and Reserved]
0
1. Under the authority of section 6602, Public Law 115-334, 132 Stat.
4490 7 CFR chapter XVI, consisting of parts 1600 through 1699, is
removed and reserved.
Chapter XVII--Rural Utilities Service, Department of Agriculture
PART 1700--GENERAL INFORMATION
0
2. The authority citation for part 1700 continues to read as follows:
    Authority: 5 U.S.C. 301, 552; 7 U.S.C. 901 et seq., 1921 et
seq., 6941 et seq.; 7 CFR 2.7.
Subpart A--General
0
3. Amend Sec.  1700.1 by revising paragraph (b) and removing paragraph
(c).
    The revision reads as follows:
Sec.  1700.1  General.
* * * * *
    (b) The Secretary of Agriculture (Secretary) established the Rural
Utilities Service (RUS) on October 20, 1994, pursuant to the Department
of Agriculture Reorganization Act of 1994, (7 U.S.C. 6941 et. seq.).
RUS was assigned responsibility for administering electric and
telecommunications loan and loan guarantee programs previously
administered by REA, including water and waste loans and grants
previously administered by the Rural Development Administration, along
with other functions as the Secretary determined appropriate. The
rights, interests, obligations, duties, and contracts previously vested
in REA were transferred to, and vested in RUS.
Subpart B--Agency Organization and Functions
0
4. Amend Sec.  1700.25 by revising the first two sentences to read as
follows:
Sec.  1700.25  Office of the Administrator.
    The Administrator of the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) is appointed
by the President. The Under Secretary, Rural Development delegated to
the Administrator, in 7 CFR part 2, responsibility for administering
the programs and activities of RUS. * * *
0
5. Amend Sec.  1700.29 by revising the introductory text to read as
follows:
Sec.  1700.29  Telecommunications Program.
    RUS, through the Telecommunications Program, make loans and loan
guarantees to furnish and improve telecommunications service in rural
areas.
* * * * *
PART 1735--GENERAL POLICIES, TYPES OF LOANS, LOAN REQUIREMENTS--
TELECOMMUNICATIONS PROGRAM
0
6. The authority citation for part 1735 continues to read as follows:
    Authority: 7 U.S.C. 901 et seq., 1921 et seq., and 6941 et seq.
Subpart A--General
0
7. Amend Sec.  1 735.2 by revising the definitions of ``economic life''
and ``RUS cost-of-money loan'' and removing the definition of ``RTB
loan''.
    The revisions read as follows:
Sec.  1735.2  Definitions
* * * * *
    Economic life as applied to facilities financed by loan funds,
means the number of years resulting from dividing 100 percent by the
depreciation rate (expressed as a percent) approved by the regulatory
body with jurisdiction over the telephone service provided by the
borrower for the class of facility involved or, if no approved rate
exists, by the median depreciation rate expressed as a percent as
published by RUS in its Statistical Report, Rural Telephone Borrowers
for all RUS borrowers for that class of facility.
* * * * *
    RUS cost-of-money loan means a loan made under section 305(d)(2) of
the RE Act bearing an interest rate as determined under Sec.
1735.31(c).
* * * * *
[[Page 59921]]
Subpart B--Loan Purpose and Basic Policy
0
8. Amend Sec.  1735.10 by revising paragraphs (b) and (e) to read as
follows:
Sec.  1735.10  General.
* * * * *
    (b) RUS will not make hardship loans or RUS cost-of-money loans for
any wireline local exchange service or similar fixed-station voice
service that, in RUS' opinion, is inconsistent with the borrower
achieving the requirements stated in the State's telecommunication
modernization plan within the time frame stated in the plan (see 7 CFR
part 1751, subpart B), unless RUS has determined that achieving the
requirements as stated in such plan is not technically or economically
feasible.
* * * * *
    (e) No fees or charges are assessed for any type of loan or
guarantee provided by RUS.
* * * * *
0
9. Amend Sec.  1735.17 by revising paragraph (b) to read as follows:
Sec.  1735.17  Facilities financed.
* * * * *
    (b) RUS makes RUS cost-of-money to finance the improvement,
expansion, construction, and acquisition of systems or facilities
(excluding station apparatus owned by the borrower, headquarters
facilities, and vehicles not used primarily in construction) to furnish
and improve telephone service in rural areas, except as noted under
paragraph (c) of this section.
* * * * *
Subpart C--Types of Loans
0
10. Amend Sec.  1735.30 by revising paragraphs (b)(2), (f), and (g) to
read as follows:
Sec.  1735.30  Hardship loans.
* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (2) Those facilities may, however, be financed with a RUS cost-of-
money loans or a guaranteed loan if the borrower is eligible for such
financing.
* * * * *
    (f) On request of any borrower who is eligible for a hardship loan
for which funds are not available, the borrower shall be considered to
have applied for a RUS cost-of-money loans under sections 305 of the RE
Act.
    (g) Hardship loans may be made simultaneously with a RUS cost-of-
money loans or guaranteed loans.
0
11. Amend Sec.  1735.31 by revising the section heading, paragraphs (a)
introductory text, (b), (c) introductory text, and (d) through (f) to
read as follows:
Sec.  1735.31  RUS cost-of-money.
    (a) RUS makes cost-of-money loans, under section 305(d)(2) of the
RE Act. To qualify for cost-of-money loans, a borrower must meet each
of the following requirements:
* * * * *
    (b) To determine the RUS cost-of-money, the total loan amount will
be multiplied by the ratio of RUS cost-of-money funds appropriated for
the fiscal year to the sum of RUS cost-of-money funds appropriated for
the fiscal year in which the loan is approved. If during the fiscal
year the amount of funds appropriated changes, the ratio will be
adjusted accordingly and applied only to those loans approved
afterwards.
    (c) The RUS cost-of-money loan shall bear interest as described in
paragraphs (c)(1) and (2) of this section.
* * * * *
    (d) Generally, no more than 10 percent of lending authority from
appropriations in any fiscal year for RUS cost-of-money loans may be
loaned to a single borrower. RUS will publish by notice in the Federal
Register the dollar limit that may be loaned to a single borrower in
that particular fiscal year based on approved RUS lending authority.
    (e) On request of any borrower who is eligible for RUS cost-of-
money loans for which funds are not available, the borrower shall be
considered to have applied for a loan guarantee under section 306 of
the RE Act.
    (f) RUS cost-of-money loans may be made simultaneously with
hardship loans or guaranteed loans.
0
12. Amend Sec.  1735.32 by revising paragraph (a) to read as follows:
Sec.  1735.32   Guaranteed loans.
    (a) General. Loan guarantees under this section will be considered
for only those borrowers specifically requesting a guarantee. Borrowers
may also specify that the loan to be guaranteed shall be made by the
Federal Financing Bank (FFB). RUS provides loan guarantees pursuant to
section 306 of the RE Act. Guaranteed loans may be made simultaneously
with hardship loans or RUS cost-of-money loans. No fees or charges are
assessed for any guarantee of a loan provided by RUS. In view of the
Government's guarantee, RUS generally obtains a first lien on all
assets of the borrower (see Sec.  1735.46).
* * * * *
Subpart D--Terms of Loans
0
13. Amend Sec.  1735.43 by revising paragraphs (b) through (e) and
removing paragraph (f).
    The revisions read as follows:
Sec.  1735.43  Payments on Loans.
* * * * *
    (b) Borrowers that have demonstrated to the satisfaction of the
Administrator an inability to maintain the funded reserve or net plant
to secured debt ratio requirements, if any, contained in their
mortgage, may elect to replace notes with an original maturity that
exceeded the composite economic life of the facilities financed with
notes bearing a shorter maturity approximating the expected composite
economic life of the facilities financed, if this will result in a
shorter maturity for the loan. The principal balance of the notes
(hereinafter in this section called the ``refunding notes'') issued to
refund and substitute for the original notes would be the unpaid
principal balance of the original notes. The refunding notes would
mature at a date no later than the remaining economic life of the
facilities financed by the loan, plus three years, as determined by the
original feasibility study prepared in connection with the loan.
Interest on the original note must continue to be paid through the
closing date. All other payment terms, including the rate of interest
on the refunding notes, would remain unchanged. Disposition of funds in
the funded reserve will be determined by RUS at the closing date. RUS
will notify the borrower in writing of the amendment of loan payment
requirements and the terms and conditions thereof.
    (c) A borrower qualifying under paragraph (b) of this section shall
not be required to pay a prepayment premium on such portion of the
payments under its new notes as exceeds the payments required under the
notes being replaced.
    (d) To apply for refunding notes, borrowers must send to the Area
Office the following:
    (1) A certified copy of a board resolution requesting an amendment
of loan payment requirements and that certain notes be replaced;
    (2) If applicable, evidence of approval by the regulatory body with
jurisdiction over the telecommunications service provided by the
borrower to issue refunding notes; and
    (3) Such other documents as may be required by the RUS.
    (e) Principal and interest will be repaid in accordance with the
terms of the notes. Generally, interest is payable each month as it
accrues. Principal
[[Page 59922]]
payments on each note generally are scheduled to begin 2 years after
the date of the note. After this deferral period, interest and
principal payments on all funds advanced during this 2-year period are
scheduled in equal monthly installments. Principal payments on funds
advanced 2 years or more after the date of the note will begin with the
first billing after the advance. The interest and principal payments on
each of these advances will be scheduled in equal monthly installments.
This CFR part supersedes those portions of RUS Bulletin 320-12, ``Loan
Payments and Statements'' with which it is in conflict.
0
14. Revise Sec.  1735.44 to read as follows:
Sec.  1735.44   Prepayment premiums.
    The loan documents normally provide that RUS insured loans may be
repaid in full at any time without prepayment premiums. Depending upon
the lender, there may be prepayment premiums on loans guaranteed by
RUS. See RUS Bulletin 320-12 for additional information. This CFR part
supersedes those portions of RUS Bulletin 320-12, ``Loan Payments and
Statements,'' with which it is in conflict.
0
15. Amend Sec.  1735.46 by revising paragraph (f) to read as follows:
Sec.  1735.46   Loan security documents.
* * * * *
    (f) This section does not limit the rights of any parties to the
mortgage other than RUS.
0
16. Amend Sec.  1735.47 by revising paragraph (a)(2) to read as
follows:
Sec.  1735.47   Rescissions of loans.
    (a) * * *
    (2) Sufficient funds are available from sources other than RUS or
FFB to complete the purposes of the loan being rescinded; or
* * * * *
PART 1737--PRE-LOAN POLICIES AND PROCEDURES COMMON TO INSURED AND
GUARANTEED TELECOMMUNICATIONS LOANS
0
17. The authority citation for part 1737 continues to read as follows:
    Authority:  7 U.S.C. 901 et seq., 1921 et seq.; Pub. L. 103-354,
108 Stat. 3178 (7 U.S.C. 6941 et. seq.).
Subpart A--General
0
18. Amend Sec.  1737.2 by revising the definition of ``RUS cost-of-
money loan'' and removing the definition of ``RTB loan''.
    The revision reads as follows:
Sec.  1737.2  Definitions.
* * * * *
    RUS cost-of-money loan means a loan made under section 305(d)(2) of
the RE Act bearing an interest rate as determined under 7 CFR
1735.31(c).
* * * * *
Subpart B--Preapplication Stage
0
19. Amend Sec.  1737.11 by revising paragraph (i) to read as follows:
Sec.  1737.11   Preapplication determinations.
* * * * *
    (i) Telecommunications modernization plan. A borrower applying for
hardship or concurrent RUS cost-of-money loans should refer to 7 CFR
part 1751, subpart B.
Subpart G--Project Cost Estimation Procedures
0
20. Amend Sec.  1737.60 by revising the last sentence in paragraph (a)
introductory text and paragraphs (a)(1) and (2) to read as follows:
Sec.  1737.60  Telephone loan budget.
    (a) * * * The amount of funds included in any loan shall be limited
for certain items:
    (1) Operating funds for working capital or current operating
deficiencies shall be included only in cases of financial hardship as
determined by the Administrator.
    (2) Contingencies shall not exceed 3 percent of the total amount of
loan funds to be used for construction, engineering, operating
equipment and operating funds.
* * * * *
Subpart H--Feasibility Determination Procedures
0
21. Amend Sec.  1737.71 by revising the first sentence of paragraph (a)
to read as follows:
Sec.  1737.71  Interest rate to be considered for the purpose of
assessing feasibility for loans
    (a) For purposes of determining the creditworthiness of a borrower
for RUS cost-of-money, the Administrator shall assume that the loan, if
made, would bear interest at the Treasury rate on the date of
determination as described in paragraph (b) of this section. * * *
* * * * *
PART 1740--[REMOVED AND RESERVED]
0
22. Under the authority of section 6602, Pub. L. 115-334, 132 Stat.
4490, part 1740 is removed and reserved.
PART 1744--POST-LOAN POLICIES AND PROCEDURES COMMON TO GUARANTEED
AND INSURED TELEPHONE LOANS
0
23. The authority citation for part 1744 continues to read as follows:
    Authority:  7 U.S.C. 901 et seq., 1921 et seq., and 6941 et seq.
Subpart B--Lien Accommodations and Subordination Policy
0
24. Amend Sec.  1744.21 by revising the definitions of
``Administrator'', ``Advance'', ``RE Act (Act)'', and ``RUS'' to read
as follows:
Sec.  1744.21   Definitions.
* * * * *
    Administrator means the Administrator of RUS.
    Advance means transferring funds from RUS or a lender guaranteed by
RUS to the borrower's construction fund.
* * * * *
    RE Act (Act) means the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 (7 U.S.C.
901 et. seq.).
    RUS means the Rural Utilities Service, and includes its
predecessor, the Rural Electrification Administration.
* * * * *
Subpart C--Advance and Disbursement of Funds
0
25. Amend Sec.  1744.67 by revising the paragraph (a)(2) introductory
text to read as follows:
Sec.  1744.67  Temporary excess construction funds.
* * * * *
    (a) * * *
    (2) With RUS cost-of-money or FFB loan funds, the following apply:
* * * * *
0
26. Amend Sec.  1744.68 by revising paragraphs (a) introductory text
and (a)(1), and the first sentence of paragraph (d) to read as follows:
Sec.  1744.68   Order and method of advances of telephone loan funds.
    (a) Borrowers may specify the sequence of advances of funds under
any combination of approved telephone loans from RUS or FFB, except
that for all loans approved on or after November 1, 1993, the borrower
may use loan funds:
    (1) Only for purposes for which that type of loan (i.e. Hardship,
RUS cost-of-money, or FFB) may be made; and
* * * * *
    (d) Borrowers of RUS funds may request advances by wire service
only
[[Page 59923]]
for amounts greater than $500,000 or for advances to borrowers outside
the Continental United States. * * *
* * * * *
Subpart E--Borrower Investments
Sec.  1744.200  [Amended]
0
27. Amend Sec.  1744.200 by removing paragraph (b).
0
28. Amend Sec.  1744.201 by revising the definitions of
``Administrator'' and ``Borrower'' and removing the definition of
``RTB''.
    The revisions read as follows:
Sec.  1744.201   Definitions.
* * * * *
    Administrator means the Administrator of the Rural Utilities
Service (RUS).
* * * * *
    Borrower means any organization which has an outstanding loan made
by RUS or guaranteed by RUS, or which is seeking such financing.
* * * * *
PART 1751--TELECOMMUNICATIONS SYSTEM PLANNING AND DESIGN CRITERIA,
AND PROCEDURES
0
29. The authority citation for part 1751 continues to read as follows:
    Authority:  7 U.S.C. 901 et seq., 1921 et seq.; Pub. L. 103-354,
108 Stat. 3178 (7 U.S.C. 6941 et seq.).
0
30. Amend Sec.  1751.100 by revising the definitions of ``Borrower''
and ``RUS cost-of-money loan'' and removing the definition of ``RTB
loan''.
    The revisions read as follows:
Sec.  1751.100  Definitions.
* * * * *
    Borrower. Any organization that has received a RUS loan designation
number and which has an outstanding telephone loan made by RUS or
guaranteed by RUS, or which has a completed loan application with RUS.
* * * * *
    RUS cost-of-money loan. A loan made under section 305(d)(2) of the
RE Act bearing interest as determined under 7 CFR 1735.31(c).
* * * * *
0
31. Amend Sec.  1751.103 by revising the second sentence in paragraph
(a) introductory text to read as follows:
Sec.  1751.103  Loan and loan advance requirements.
    (a) * * *. In particular, beginning February 13, 1996, RUS will
make RUS hardship and RUS cost-of-money loans for facilities and other
RE Act purposes in a State only if:
* * * * *
    Chapter XVIII--Rural Housing Service, Rural Business-Cooperative
Service, Rural Utilities Service, and Farm Service Agency, Department
of Agriculture
Subchapter I--Administrative Regulations
PART 2003--ORGANIZATION
0
32. The authority citation for part 2003 continues to read as follows:
    Authority:  5 U.S.C. 301; 7 U.S.C. 6941; and 7 CFR 2.17.
Sec.  2003.1  [Amended]
0
33. Amend Sec.  2003.1 by removing the definition of ``RTB''.
0
34. Amend Sec.  2003.22 by revising paragraphs (b) introductory text,
(b)(3) introductory text, and (b)(3)(iii) to read as follows:
Sec.  2003.22  - Functional organization of RUS.
* * * * *
    (b) Office of the Administrator. According to 7 CFR 2.47, the
Administrator has responsibility for managing and administering the
programs and support functions of RUS to provide financial and
technical support for rural infrastructure to include electrification,
clean drinking water, telecommunications, and water disposal systems,
pursuant to the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act, as amended
(7 U.S.C. 1921 et. seq.), and the Rural Electrification Act of 1936, as
amended (7 U.S.C. 901 et. seq.). The office develops and implements
strategic plans concerning the Rural Electrification Act of 1936, as
amended.
* * * * *
    (3) Office of Assistant Administrator--Telecommunications Program.
Headed by the Assistant Administrator--Telecommunications Program, this
office is responsible to the Administrator for directing and
coordinating the National Rural Telecommunications, Distance Learning,
and Telemedicine programs of RUS. The Assistant Administrator,
Telecommunications Program, is responsible for developing, maintaining,
and implementing regulations and program procedures on the processing
and approval of grants, loans, and loan-related activities for all
rural telecommunications borrowers and grant recipients. The office
directs the following three divisions:
* * * * *
    (iii) Telecommunications Area Offices. Headed by area directors,
these four offices are responsible for administering the
Telecommunications, Distance Learning, and Telemedicine programs for
specific geographic areas, and serving as the single point of contact
for all program applicants and borrowers within their respective areas.
The offices provide guidance to applicants and borrowers on RUS loan
policies and procedures and make recommendations to the Administrator
on applications for loans, guarantees, and grants. The offices assure
that borrower systems and facilities are designed and constructed in
accordance with the terms of the loan, acceptable engineering practices
and specifications, and acceptable loan security standards.
* * * * *
Chapter XX--[Removed and Reserved]
0
35. Under the authority of section 6602, Pub. L. 115-334, 132 Stat.
4490, 7 CFR chapter XX, consisting of parts 2200 through 2299, is
removed and reserved.
Chad Rupe,
Administrator, Rural Utilities Service.
[FR Doc. 2019-24310 Filed 11-6-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3410-15-P