Announcement of Grant Application Deadlines, 29405-29409 [2014-11704]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 99 / Thursday, May 22, 2014 / Notices 3. Most DLT grant projects contain numerous project sites. The Agency requires that site information be consistent throughout an application. Sites must be referred to by the same designation throughout all parts of an application. The Agency has provided a site worksheet that requests the necessary information, and can be used as a guide by applicants. RUS strongly recommends that applicants complete the site worksheet, listing all requested information for each site. Applications without consistent site information will be returned as ineligible. 4. As stated above, DLT grant applications which have non-fixed enduser sites, such as ambulance and home health care services, are scored according to the applicant’s entire service area. See the FY 2014 Application Guide for specific guidance on preparing an application with nonfixed end users. D. Selection Process. Grants applications are ranked by final score. RUS selects applications based on those rankings, subject to the availability of funds. In addition, the Agency has the authority to limit the number of applications selected in any one state, or for one project, during a fiscal year. See 7 CFR 1703.127. VI. Award Administration Information A. Award Notices RUS generally notifies by mail applicants whose projects are selected for awards. The Agency follows the award letter with an agreement that contains all the terms and conditions for the grant. A copy of the standard agreement is posted on the RUS Web site at https://www.rurdev.usda.gov/ UTP_DLTResources.html. An applicant must execute and return the agreement, accompanied by any additional items required by the agreement, within the number of days shown in the selection notice letter. B. Administrative and National Policy Requirements mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES The items listed in Section V of this notice, the DLT Program regulation, FY 2014 Application Guide and accompanying materials implement the appropriate administrative and national policy requirements. C. Reporting 1. Performance reporting. All recipients of DLT financial assistance must provide annual performance activity reports to RUS until the project is complete and the funds are expended. A final performance report is also required; the final report may serve as VerDate Mar<15>2010 19:36 May 21, 2014 Jkt 232001 the last annual report. The final report must include an evaluation of the success of the project in meeting DLT Program objectives. See 7 CFR 1703.107. 2. Financial reporting. All recipients of DLT financial assistance must provide an annual audit, beginning with the first year in which a portion of the financial assistance is expended. Audits are governed by United States Department of Agriculture audit regulations. Please see 7 CFR 1703.108. 3. Recipient and Subrecipient Reporting. The applicant must have the necessary processes and systems in place to comply with the reporting requirements for first-tier sub-awards and executive compensation under the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 in the event the applicant receives funding unless such applicant is exempt from such reporting requirements pursuant to 2 CFR part 170, § 170.110(b). The reporting requirements under the Transparency Act pursuant to 2 CFR part 170 are as follows: a. First Tier Sub-Awards of $25,000 or more in non-Recovery Act funds (unless they are exempt under 2 CFR part 170) must be reported by the Recipient to https://www.fsrs.gov no later than the end of the month following the month the obligation was made. Please note that currently underway is a consolidation of eight Federal procurement systems, including the Sub-award Reporting System (FSRS), into one system, the System for Award Management (SAM). As a result the FSRS will soon be consolidated into and accessed through https://www.sam.gov/ portal/public/SAM/. b. The Total Compensation of the Recipient’s Executives (5 most highly compensated executives) must be reported by the Recipient (if the Recipient meets the criteria under 2 CFR part 170) to https://www.sam.gov/ portal/public/SAM/ by the end of the month following the month in which the award was made. c. The Total Compensation of the Subrecipient’s Executives (5 most highly compensated executives) must be reported by the Subrecipient (if the Subrecipient meets the criteria under 2 CFR part 170) to the Recipient by the end of the month following the month in which the subaward was made. 4. Record Keeping and Accounting. The grant contract will contain provisions relating to record keeping and accounting requirements. VII. Agency Contacts A. Web site: https:// www.rurdev.usda.gov/UTP_DLT.html. The DLT Web site maintains up-to-date PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 29405 resources and contact information for DLT programs. B. Telephone: 202–720–0665. C. Fax: 202–720–1051. D. Email: dltinfo@wdc.usda.gov. E. Main point of contact: Norberto Esteves, Acting Director, Advanced Services Division, Telecommunications Program, Rural Utilities Service. Dated: April 29, 2014. John Charles Padalino, Administrator, Rural Utilities Service. [FR Doc. 2014–11700 Filed 5–21–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–15–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Rural Utilities Service Announcement of Grant Application Deadlines Rural Utilities Service, USDA. Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA). AGENCY: ACTION: The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Utilities Service (RUS) announces its Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 Community Connect Grant Program application window and notice of funds availability. The NOFA announces $13 million for grants from FY 2014 and prior year appropriations. In addition, RUS announces the minimum and maximum amounts for Community Connect grants applicable for the fiscal year. The Community Connect Grant Program regulations can be found at 7 CFR part 1739, subpart A. DATES: You may submit completed applications for grants on paper or electronically according to the following deadlines: • Paper copies must carry proof of shipping no later than July 7, 2014 to be eligible for FY 2014 grant funding. Late applications are not eligible for FY 2014 grant funding. • Electronic copies must be received by July 7, 2014 to be eligible for FY 2014 grant funding. Late applications are not eligible for FY 2014 grant funding. ADDRESSES: You may obtain application guides and materials for the Community Connect Grant Program via the Internet at the following Web site: https:// www.rurdev.usda.gov/utp_ commconnect.html. You may also request application guides and materials from RUS by contacting the appropriate individual listed in section VII of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this notice. Submit completed paper applications for grants to the Rural Utilities Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Ave. SW., Room 2868, SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\22MYN1.SGM 22MYN1 29406 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 99 / Thursday, May 22, 2014 / Notices STOP 1599, Washington, DC 20250– 1599. Applications should be marked ‘‘Attention: Director, Broadband Division, Rural Utilities Service.’’ Submit electronic grant applications at https://www.grants.gov (Grants.gov), following the instructions you find on that Web site. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kenneth Kuchno, Director, Broadband Division, Rural Utilities Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, telephone: (202) 690–4673, fax: (202) 690–4389. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Overview Federal Agency: Rural Utilities Service (RUS). Funding Opportunity Title: Community Connect Grant Program. Announcement Type: Initial announcement. Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 10.863. Dates: You may submit completed applications for grants on paper or electronically according to the following deadlines: • Paper copies must carry proof of shipping no later than July 7, 2014, to be eligible for FY 2014 grant funding. Late applications are not eligible for FY 2014 grant funding. • Electronic copies must be received by July 7, 2014, to be eligible for FY 2014 grant funding. Late applications are not eligible for FY 2014 grant funding. Items in Supplementary Information mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES I. Funding Opportunity: Brief introduction to the Community Connect Grant Program. II. Award Information: Available funds and minimum and maximum amounts. III. Eligibility Information: Who is eligible, what kinds of projects are eligible, what criteria determine basic eligibility. IV. Application and Submission Information: Where to get application materials, what constitutes a completed application, how and where to submit applications, deadlines, items that are eligible. V. Application Review Information: Considerations and preferences, scoring criteria, review standards, selection information. VI. Award Administration Information: Award notice information, award recipient reporting requirements. VII. Agency Contacts: Web, phone, fax, email, contact name. I. Funding Opportunity The provision of broadband service is vital to the economic development, education, health, and safety of rural Americans. The purpose of the Community Connect Grant Program is to provide financial assistance in the form of grants to eligible applicants that will VerDate Mar<15>2010 19:36 May 21, 2014 Jkt 232001 provide currently unserved areas, on a ‘‘community-oriented connectivity’’ basis, with broadband service that fosters economic growth and delivers enhanced educational, health care, and public safety services. Rural Utilities Service will give priority to rural areas that have the greatest need for broadband services, based on the criteria contained herein. Grant authority will be used for the deployment of broadband service to extremely rural, lower-income communities on a ‘‘community-oriented connectivity’’ basis. The ‘‘communityoriented connectivity’’ concept will stimulate practical, everyday uses and applications of broadband facilities by cultivating the deployment of new broadband services that improve economic development and provide enhanced educational and health care opportunities in rural areas. Such an approach will also give rural communities the opportunity to benefit from the advanced technologies that are necessary to achieve these goals. Please see 7 CFR part 1739, subpart A for specifics. This notice has been formatted to conform to a policy directive issued by the Office of Federal Financial Management (OFFM) of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), published in the Federal Register on June 23, 2003. This Notice does not change the Community Connect Grant Program regulation (7 CFR part 1739, subpart A). The definitions applicable to this Notice are published at 7 CFR 1739.3. The Agency will review, evaluate, and score applications received in response to this Notice based on the provisions found in 7 CFR part 1739, subpart A, and as indicated in this notice. II. Award Information A. Available Funds 1. General. The Administrator has determined that the following amounts are available for grants in FY 2014 under 7 CFR 1739.2(a) 2. Grants a. $13 million is available for grants from FY 2014 and prior year appropriations. Under 7 CFR 1739.2, the Administrator has established a minimum grant amount of $100,000 and a maximum grant amount of $3,000,000 for FY 2014. b. Assistance instrument: RUS will execute grant documents appropriate to the project prior to any advance of funds with successful applicants. B. Community Connect grants cannot be renewed. Award documents specify the term of each award. PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 III. Eligibility Information A. Who is eligible for grants? (See 7 CFR 1739.10.) 1. Only entities legally organized as one of the following are eligible for Community Connect Grant Program financial assistance: a. An incorporated organization, b. An Indian tribe or tribal organization, as defined in 25 U.S.C. 450b(e), c. A state or local unit of government, d. A cooperative, private corporation or limited liability company organized on a for-profit or not-for-profit basis. 2. Individuals are not eligible for Community Connect Grant Program financial assistance directly. 3. Applicants must have the legal capacity and authority to own and operate the broadband facilities as proposed in its application, to enter into contracts and to otherwise comply with applicable federal statutes and regulations. 4. Applicants must have an active registration with current information in the System for Award Management (SAM) (previously the Central Contractor Registry (CCR)) at https:// www.sam.gov and have a Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number. B. What are the basic eligibility requirements for a project? 1. General. The regulation for the Community Connect Grant Program requires that certain definitions affecting eligibility be revised and published from time-to-time by the Agency in the Federal Register. For the purpose of this regulation, the agency shall use the following definitions: ‘‘Broadband service’’ and ‘‘Broadband Grant Speed.’’ Until otherwise revised in the Federal Register, for applications in FY 2014, 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 service and the Broadband Grant Speed will be a minimum bandwidth of five megabits per second (download plus upload speeds) for both fixed and mobile service to the customer. 2. Required matching contributions. Please see 7 CFR 1739.14 for the requirement. Grant applicants must demonstrate a matching contribution, in cash, of at least fifteen (15) percent of the total amount of financial assistance requested. Matching contributions must be used to support the broadband operations funded under the Community Connect Grant Program. E:\FR\FM\22MYN1.SGM 22MYN1 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 99 / Thursday, May 22, 2014 / Notices 3. To be eligible for a grant, the Project must (see 7 CFR 1739.11): a. Serve a Proposed Funded Service Area where Broadband Service does not currently exist, to be verified by RUS prior to the award of the grant; b. Offer service at the Broadband Grant Speed, free of all charges for at least 2 years, to all Critical Community Facilities located within the proposed Service Area; c. Offer service at the Broadband Grant Speed to all residential and business customers within the Proposed Funded Service Area; and d. Provide a Community Center with at least two (2) Computer Access Points and wireless access at the Broadband Grant Speed available, free of charge, to all users for at least 2 years. e. Not overlap with the Service area of current RUS borrowers and grantees. 4. Other requirements: a. DUNS numbers and SAM registration: Applicants must have a Dun and Bradstreet DUNS number and be registered in System Awards Management (SAM) at https:// www.sam.gov prior to submitting an electronic or paper application. The DUNS number and SAM requirements are contained in 2 CFR part 25. SAM is the repository for standard information about applicants and recipients. b. DUNS Number: As required by the OMB, all applicants for grants must supply a Dun and Bradstreet DUNS number when applying. The Standard Form 424 (SF–424) contains a field for you to use when supplying your DUNS number. Obtaining a DUNS number costs nothing and requires a short telephone call to Dun and Bradstreet. Please see https://www.grants.gov/ applicants/org_step1.jsp for more information on how to obtain a DUNS number or how to verify your organization’s number. c. System for Award Management (SAM): In accordance with 2 CFR part 25, applicants, whether applying electronically or by paper must be registered in SAM prior to submitting an application. Applicants may register for the SAM at https://www.sam.gov. The SAM registration must remain active, with current information, at all times during which an entity has an application under consideration by an agency or has an active Federal Award. To remain registered in the SAM database after the initial registration, the applicant is required to review and update on an annual basis from the date of initial registration or subsequent updates of its information in the SAM database to ensure it is current, accurate and complete. VerDate Mar<15>2010 19:36 May 21, 2014 Jkt 232001 C. Discussion of Completed Application Items See paragraph IV. B of this notice for a discussion of the items that make up a completed application. You may also refer to 7 CFR 1739.15 for completed grant application items. IV. Application and Submission Information A. Where To Get Application Information The application guide, copies of necessary forms and samples, and the Community Connect Grant Program regulation are available from these sources: 1. The Internet: https:// www.rurdev.usda.gov/utp_ commconnect.html. 2. The Rural Utilities Service Broadband Division, for paper copies of these materials: (202) 690–4673. B. What constitutes a completed application? 1. Detailed information on each item required can be found in the Community Connect Grant Program regulation and the Community Connect Grant Program application guide. Applicants are strongly encouraged to read and apply both the regulation and the application guide. This Notice does not change the requirements for a completed application for any form of Community Connect Grant Program financial assistance specified in the Community Connect Grant Program regulation. The Community Connect Grant Program regulation and the application guide provide specific guidance on each of the items listed and the Community Connect Grant Program application guide provides all necessary forms and sample worksheets. 2. Applications should be prepared in conformance with the provisions in 7 CFR 1739, subpart A, and applicable USDA regulations including 7 CFR parts 3015, 3016, and 3019. Applicants must use the RUS Application Guide for this program containing instructions and all necessary forms, as well as other important information, in preparing their application. Completed applications must include the following: a. An Application for Federal Assistance. A completed Standard Form (SF) 424. b. An executive summary of the Project. The applicant must provide RUS with a general project overview. c. Scoring criteria documentation. Each grant applicant must address and provide documentation on how it meets each of the scoring criteria detailed in 7 CFR 1739.17. PO 00000 Frm 00011 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 29407 d. System design. The applicant must submit a system design, including, narrative specifics of the proposal, associated costs, maps, engineering design studies, technical specifications and system capabilities, etc. e. Service area demographics. The applicant must provide a map of the Proposed Funded Service Area using the RUS Mapping Tool. f. Scope of work. The scope of work must include specific activities and services to be performed under the proposal, who will carry out the activities and services, specific timeframes for completion, and a budget for all capital and administrative expenditures reflecting the line item costs for all grant purposes, the matching contribution, and other sources of funds necessary to complete the project. g. Community-Oriented Connectivity Plan. The applicant must provide a detailed Community-Oriented Connectivity Plan. h. Financial information and sustainability. The applicant must provide financial statements and information and a narrative description demonstrating the sustainability of the Project. i. A statement of experience. The applicant must provide a written narrative describing its demonstrated capability and experience, if any, in operating a broadband telecommunications system. j. Evidence of legal authority and existence. The applicant must provide evidence of its legal existence and authority to enter into a grant agreement with RUS and to perform the activities proposed under the grant application. k. Additional Funding. If the Project requires additional funding from other sources in addition to the RUS grant, the applicant must provide evidence that funding agreements have been obtained to ensure completion of the Project. l. Federal Compliance. The applicant must provide evidence of compliance with other federal statutes and regulations, including, but not limited to the following: (i) 7 CFR part 15, subpart A— Nondiscrimination in Federally Assisted Programs of the Department of Agriculture—Effectuation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. (ii) 7 CFR part 3015—Uniform Federal Assistance Regulations. (iii) 2 CFR part 417—Governmentwide Debarment and Suspension (Nonprocurement). (iv) 7 CFR part 3018—New Restrictions on Lobbying. E:\FR\FM\22MYN1.SGM 22MYN1 29408 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 99 / Thursday, May 22, 2014 / Notices (v) 2 CFR part 421—Government-wide Requirements for Drug-Free Workplace (Financial Assistance). (vi) Certification regarding Architectural Barriers. (vii) Certification regarding Flood Hazard Precautions. (viii) An environmental report/ questionnaire, in accordance with 7 CFR 1794. (ix) A certification that grant funds will not be used to duplicate lines, facilities, or systems providing Broadband Service. (x) Federal Obligation Certification on Delinquent Debt. (xi) Assurance Regarding Felony Conviction or Tax Delinquent Status for Corporate Applicants. C. How many copies of an application are required? 1. Applications submitted on paper: Submit the original paper application and a copy in electronic format to RUS. 2. Applications submitted through Grants.gov: The additional paper copies are not necessary if you submit the application electronically through Grants.gov. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES D. How and where to submit an application Grant applications may be submitted on paper or through Grants.gov. 1. Submitting applications on paper. a. Address paper applications for grants to the Rural Utilities Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Ave. SW., Room 2868, STOP 1599, Washington, DC 20250– 1599. Applications should be marked ‘‘Attention: Director, Broadband Division, Rural Utilities Service.’’ b. Paper applications must show proof of mailing or shipping consisting of one of the following: (i) A legibly dated U.S. Postal Service (USPS) postmark; (ii) A legible mail receipt with the date of mailing stamped by the USPS; or (iii) A dated shipping label, invoice, or receipt from a commercial carrier. c. Due to screening procedures at the Department of Agriculture, packages arriving via the USPS are irradiated, which can damage the contents. RUS encourages applicants to consider the impact of this procedure in selecting their application delivery method. 2. Applications submitted through Grants.gov. (a) Applicant may file an electronic application at https://www.grants.gov. Applications will not be accepted via facsimile machine transmission or electronic mail. Grants.gov contains full instructions on all required passwords, credentialing, and software. Follow the VerDate Mar<15>2010 19:36 May 21, 2014 Jkt 232001 instructions at Grants.gov for registering and submitting an electronic application. If a system problem or technical difficulty occurs with an electronic application, please use the customer support resources available at the Grants.gov Web site. (b) First time Grants.gov users should go to the ‘‘Get Started’’ tab on the Grants.gov site and carefully read and follow the steps listed. These steps need to be initiated early in the application process to avoid delays in submitting your application online. E. Deadlines 1. Paper applications must be postmarked and mailed, shipped, or sent overnight no later than July 7, 2014 to be eligible for FY 2014 grant funding. Late applications are not eligible for FY 2014 grant funding. 2. Grant applications submitted through Grants.gov must be received by July 7, 2014 to be eligible for FY 2014 funding. Late applications are not eligible for FY 2014 grant funding. F. Funding Purposes 1. Eligible grant purposes. Grant funds may be used to finance: a. The construction, acquisition, or leasing of facilities, including spectrum, land or buildings to deploy service at the Broadband Grant Speed to all participating Critical Community Facilities and all required facilities needed to offer such service to all residential and business customers located within the Proposed Funded Service Area; b. The improvement, expansion, construction, or acquisition of a Community Center that furnishes free internet access at the Broadband Grant Speed and provision of Computer Access Points. Grant funds provided for such costs shall not exceed the lesser of ten percent (10%) of the grant amount requested or $150,000; and c. The cost of bandwidth to provide service free of charge at the Broadband Grant Speed to Critical Community Facilities for the first 2 years of operation. 2. Ineligible grant purposes. a. Grant funds may not be used to finance the duplication of any existing Broadband Service provided by another entity. b. Operating expenses other than the cost of bandwidth for 2 years to provide service at the Broadband Grant Speed to Critical Community Facilities. 3. Please see 7 CFR 1739.3 for definitions, 7 CFR 1739.12 for eligible grant purposes, and 7 CFR 1739.13 for ineligible grant purposes. PO 00000 Frm 00012 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 V. Application Review Information A. Criteria 1. Grant applications are scored competitively and subject to the criteria listed below. 2. Grant application scoring criteria (total possible points: 100). See 7 CFR 1739.17 for the items that will be reviewed during scoring and for scoring criteria. a. An analysis of the challenges of the following criteria, laid out on a community-wide basis, and how the project proposes to address these issues (up to 50 points): 1. The economic characteristics; 2. Educational Challenges; 3. Health care needs; 4. Public safety issues; and 5. Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (applications that according to the 2010 census show that at least 20 percent of the population of the counties included in core coverage areas is living in poverty) will receive the maximum score in this category. This emphasis will support Rural Development’s goal of providing 20 percent of its funding by 2016 to these areas of need. b. The extent of the Project’s planning, development, and support by local residents, institutions, and Critical Community Facilities (up to 40 points); c. The level of experience and past success of operating broadband systems for the management team (up to 10 points); and d. In making a final selection among and between applications with comparable rankings and geographic distribution, the Administrator may take into consideration the characteristics of the Proposed Funded Service Area (PFSA) B. Special Consideration Areas RUS will offer special consideration to applications that propose to provide broadband service within a trust area or a tribal jurisdictional area. Such applications will be awarded 15 points. The applicant will need to submit evidence indicating that the proposed service area is located in a trust area or a tribal jurisdictional area. RUS will use one or more of the following resources in determining whether a proposed service area is located in a trust area or tribal jurisdictional area: (a) Official maps of Federal Indian Reservations based on information compiled by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs and made available to the public; (b) Title Status Reports issued by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs showing that title to such land is held in trust or is subject E:\FR\FM\22MYN1.SGM 22MYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 99 / Thursday, May 22, 2014 / Notices to restrictions imposed by the United States; (c) Trust Asset and Accounting Management System data, maintained by the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs; (d) Official maps of the Department of Hawaiian Homelands of the State of Hawaii identifying land that has been given the status of Hawaiian home lands under the provisions of section 204 of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, 1920; (e) Official records of the U.S. Department of the Interior, the State of Alaska, or such other documentation of ownership as the RUS may determine to be satisfactory, showing that title is owned by a Regional Corporation or a Village Corporation as such terms are defined in the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (43 U.S.C. 1451 et seq.); and (f) Any other evidence submitted by the applicant that is satisfactory to RUS to establish that area where the end-user site is located is a trust area or a tribal jurisdictional area within the meaning of 38 U.S.C. 3765(1). mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES C. Review Standards 1. All applications for grants must be delivered to Rural Utilities Service at the address and by the date specified in this notice or electronically submitted by the deadline (see also 7 CFR 1739.2) to be eligible for funding. Rural Utilities Service will review each application for conformance with the provisions of this part. Rural Utilities Service may contact the applicant for additional information or clarification. 2. Incomplete applications as of the deadline for submission will not be considered. If an application is determined to be incomplete, the applicant will be notified in writing and the application will be returned with no further action. 3. Applications conforming with this part will then be evaluated competitively by a panel of Rural Utilities Service employees selected by the Administrator of Rural Utilities Service, and will be awarded points as described in the scoring criteria in 7 CFR 1739.17. Applications will be ranked and grants awarded in rank order until all grant funds are expended. D. Selection Process Grant applications are ranked by final score. Rural Utilities Service selects applications based on those rankings, subject to the availability of funds and consistent with 7 CFR 1739.17. VerDate Mar<15>2010 19:36 May 21, 2014 Jkt 232001 VI. Award Administration Information A. Award Notices Rural Utilities Service recognizes that each funded project is unique, and therefore may attach conditions to different projects’ award documents. Rural Utilities Service generally notifies applicants whose projects are selected for awards by emailing a scanned copy of an award letter. Rural Utilities Service follows the award letter with a grant agreement that contains all the terms and conditions for the grant. An applicant must execute and return the grant agreement, accompanied by any additional items required by the grant agreement. B. Administrative and National Policy Requirements The items listed in paragraph IV.B.2.l. of this notice, and the Community Connect Grant Program regulation, application guide and accompanying materials implement the appropriate administrative and national policy requirements. C. Reporting 1. Performance reporting. All recipients of Community Connect Grant Program financial assistance must provide annual performance activity reports to RUS until the project is complete and the funds are expended. A final performance report is also required; the final report may serve as the last annual report. The final report must include an evaluation of the success of the project. See 7 CFR 1739.19. 2. Financial reporting. All recipients of Community Connect Grant Program financial assistance must provide an annual audit, beginning with the first year a portion of the financial assistance is expended. Audits are governed by United States Department of Agriculture audit regulations. See 7 CFR 1739.20. 3. Recipient and Subrecipient Reporting. The applicant must have the necessary processes and systems in place to comply with the reporting requirements for first-tier sub-awards and executive compensation under the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 in the event the applicant receives funding unless such applicant is exempt from such reporting requirements pursuant to 2 CFR part 170, § 170.110(b). The reporting requirements under the Transparency Act pursuant to 2 CFR part 170 are as follows: a. First Tier Sub-Awards of $25,000 or more (unless they are exempt under 2 CFR Part 170) must be reported by the Recipient to https://www.fsrs.gov no later PO 00000 Frm 00013 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 29409 than the end of the month following the month the obligation was made. b. The Total Compensation of the Recipient’s Executives (5 most highly compensated executives) must be reported by the Recipient (if the Recipient meets the criteria under 2 CFR Part 170) to https://www.sam.gov by the end of the month following the month in which the award was made. c. The Total Compensation of the Subrecipient’s Executives (5 most highly compensated executives) must be reported by the Subrecipient (if the Subrecipient meets the criteria under 2 CFR Part 170) to the Recipient by the end of the month following the month in which the subaward was made. VII. Agency Contacts A. Web site: https://www.rurdev.usda. gov/utp_commconnect.html. This Web site maintains up-to-date resources and contact information for the Community Connect Grant Program. B. Phone: (202) 690–4673. C. Fax: (202) 690–4389. D. Main point of contact: Kenneth Kuchno, Director, Broadband Division, Rural Utilities Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dated: May 5, 2014. John Charles Padalino, Administrator, Rural Utilities Service. [FR Doc. 2014–11704 Filed 5–21–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Rural Utilities Service Announcement of Grant Application Deadlines; Deadlines and Funding Levels Rural Utilities Service, USDA. Notice of Funds Availability. AGENCY: ACTION: The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), announces its Public Television Station Digital Transition Grant Program application window for fiscal year (FY) 2014. The FY 2014 funding for the Public Television Station Digital Transition Grant Program is $2,000,000. DATES: You may submit completed applications for grants on paper or electronically according to the following deadlines: • Paper copies must carry proof of shipping no later than July 7, 2014 to be eligible for FY 2014 grant funding. Late applications are not eligible for FY 2014 grant funding. • Electronic copies must be received by July 7, 2014 to be eligible for FY 2014 SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\22MYN1.SGM 22MYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 99 (Thursday, May 22, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 29405-29409]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-11704]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Rural Utilities Service


Announcement of Grant Application Deadlines

AGENCY: Rural Utilities Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA).

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Rural 
Utilities Service (RUS) announces its Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 Community 
Connect Grant Program application window and notice of funds 
availability. The NOFA announces $13 million for grants from FY 2014 
and prior year appropriations. In addition, RUS announces the minimum 
and maximum amounts for Community Connect grants applicable for the 
fiscal year. The Community Connect Grant Program regulations can be 
found at 7 CFR part 1739, subpart A.

DATES: You may submit completed applications for grants on paper or 
electronically according to the following deadlines:
     Paper copies must carry proof of shipping no later than 
July 7, 2014 to be eligible for FY 2014 grant funding. Late 
applications are not eligible for FY 2014 grant funding.
     Electronic copies must be received by July 7, 2014 to be 
eligible for FY 2014 grant funding. Late applications are not eligible 
for FY 2014 grant funding.

ADDRESSES: You may obtain application guides and materials for the 
Community Connect Grant Program via the Internet at the following Web 
site: https://www.rurdev.usda.gov/utp_commconnect.html. You may also 
request application guides and materials from RUS by contacting the 
appropriate individual listed in section VII of the SUPPLEMENTARY 
INFORMATION section of this notice.
    Submit completed paper applications for grants to the Rural 
Utilities Service,
    U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Ave. SW., Room 
2868,

[[Page 29406]]

STOP 1599, Washington, DC 20250-1599. Applications should be marked 
``Attention: Director, Broadband Division, Rural Utilities Service.''
    Submit electronic grant applications at https://www.grants.gov 
(Grants.gov), following the instructions you find on that Web site.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kenneth Kuchno, Director, Broadband 
Division, Rural Utilities Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 
telephone: (202) 690-4673, fax: (202) 690-4389.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Overview

    Federal Agency: Rural Utilities Service (RUS).
    Funding Opportunity Title: Community Connect Grant Program.
    Announcement Type: Initial announcement.
    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 10.863.
    Dates: You may submit completed applications for grants on paper or 
electronically according to the following deadlines:
     Paper copies must carry proof of shipping no later than 
July 7, 2014, to be eligible for FY 2014 grant funding. Late 
applications are not eligible for FY 2014 grant funding.
     Electronic copies must be received by July 7, 2014, to be 
eligible for FY 2014 grant funding. Late applications are not eligible 
for FY 2014 grant funding.

Items in Supplementary Information

    I. Funding Opportunity: Brief introduction to the Community 
Connect Grant Program.
    II. Award Information: Available funds and minimum and maximum 
amounts.
    III. Eligibility Information: Who is eligible, what kinds of 
projects are eligible, what criteria determine basic eligibility.
    IV. Application and Submission Information: Where to get 
application materials, what constitutes a completed application, how 
and where to submit applications, deadlines, items that are 
eligible.
    V. Application Review Information: Considerations and 
preferences, scoring criteria, review standards, selection 
information.
    VI. Award Administration Information: Award notice information, 
award recipient reporting requirements.
    VII. Agency Contacts: Web, phone, fax, email, contact name.

I. Funding Opportunity

    The provision of broadband service is vital to the economic 
development, education, health, and safety of rural Americans. The 
purpose of the Community Connect Grant Program is to provide financial 
assistance in the form of grants to eligible applicants that will 
provide currently unserved areas, on a ``community-oriented 
connectivity'' basis, with broadband service that fosters economic 
growth and delivers enhanced educational, health care, and public 
safety services. Rural Utilities Service will give priority to rural 
areas that have the greatest need for broadband services, based on the 
criteria contained herein.
    Grant authority will be used for the deployment of broadband 
service to extremely rural, lower-income communities on a ``community-
oriented connectivity'' basis. The ``community-oriented connectivity'' 
concept will stimulate practical, everyday uses and applications of 
broadband facilities by cultivating the deployment of new broadband 
services that improve economic development and provide enhanced 
educational and health care opportunities in rural areas. Such an 
approach will also give rural communities the opportunity to benefit 
from the advanced technologies that are necessary to achieve these 
goals. Please see 7 CFR part 1739, subpart A for specifics.
    This notice has been formatted to conform to a policy directive 
issued by the Office of Federal Financial Management (OFFM) of the 
Office of Management and Budget (OMB), published in the Federal 
Register on June 23, 2003. This Notice does not change the Community 
Connect Grant Program regulation (7 CFR part 1739, subpart A).
    The definitions applicable to this Notice are published at 7 CFR 
1739.3.
    The Agency will review, evaluate, and score applications received 
in response to this Notice based on the provisions found in 7 CFR part 
1739, subpart A, and as indicated in this notice.

II. Award Information

A. Available Funds

    1. General. The Administrator has determined that the following 
amounts are available for grants in FY 2014 under 7 CFR 1739.2(a)
    2. Grants
    a. $13 million is available for grants from FY 2014 and prior year 
appropriations. Under 7 CFR 1739.2, the Administrator has established a 
minimum grant amount of $100,000 and a maximum grant amount of 
$3,000,000 for FY 2014.
    b. Assistance instrument: RUS will execute grant documents 
appropriate to the project prior to any advance of funds with 
successful applicants.
    B. Community Connect grants cannot be renewed. Award documents 
specify the term of each award.

III. Eligibility Information

A. Who is eligible for grants? (See 7 CFR 1739.10.)

    1. Only entities legally organized as one of the following are 
eligible for Community Connect Grant Program financial assistance:
    a. An incorporated organization,
    b. An Indian tribe or tribal organization, as defined in 25 U.S.C. 
450b(e),
    c. A state or local unit of government,
    d. A cooperative, private corporation or limited liability company 
organized on a for-profit or not-for-profit basis.
    2. Individuals are not eligible for Community Connect Grant Program 
financial assistance directly.
    3. Applicants must have the legal capacity and authority to own and 
operate the broadband facilities as proposed in its application, to 
enter into contracts and to otherwise comply with applicable federal 
statutes and regulations.
    4. Applicants must have an active registration with current 
information in the System for Award Management (SAM) (previously the 
Central Contractor Registry (CCR)) at https://www.sam.gov and have a 
Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number.

B. What are the basic eligibility requirements for a project?

    1. General. The regulation for the Community Connect Grant Program 
requires that certain definitions affecting eligibility be revised and 
published from time-to-time by the Agency in the Federal Register. For 
the purpose of this regulation, the agency shall use the following 
definitions: ``Broadband service'' and ``Broadband Grant Speed.'' Until 
otherwise revised in the Federal Register, for applications in FY 2014, 
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 service and the Broadband Grant Speed will be a 
minimum bandwidth of five megabits per second (download plus upload 
speeds) for both fixed and mobile service to the customer.
    2. Required matching contributions. Please see 7 CFR 1739.14 for 
the requirement. Grant applicants must demonstrate a matching 
contribution, in cash, of at least fifteen (15) percent of the total 
amount of financial assistance requested. Matching contributions must 
be used to support the broadband operations funded under the Community 
Connect Grant Program.

[[Page 29407]]

    3. To be eligible for a grant, the Project must (see 7 CFR 
1739.11):
    a. Serve a Proposed Funded Service Area where Broadband Service 
does not currently exist, to be verified by RUS prior to the award of 
the grant;
    b. Offer service at the Broadband Grant Speed, free of all charges 
for at least 2 years, to all Critical Community Facilities located 
within the proposed Service Area;
    c. Offer service at the Broadband Grant Speed to all residential 
and business customers within the Proposed Funded Service Area; and
    d. Provide a Community Center with at least two (2) Computer Access 
Points and wireless access at the Broadband Grant Speed available, free 
of charge, to all users for at least 2 years.
    e. Not overlap with the Service area of current RUS borrowers and 
grantees.
    4. Other requirements:
    a. DUNS numbers and SAM registration: Applicants must have a Dun 
and Bradstreet DUNS number and be registered in System Awards 
Management (SAM) at https://www.sam.gov prior to submitting an 
electronic or paper application. The DUNS number and SAM requirements 
are contained in 2 CFR part 25. SAM is the repository for standard 
information about applicants and recipients.
    b. DUNS Number: As required by the OMB, all applicants for grants 
must supply a Dun and Bradstreet DUNS number when applying. The 
Standard Form 424 (SF-424) contains a field for you to use when 
supplying your DUNS number. Obtaining a DUNS number costs nothing and 
requires a short telephone call to Dun and Bradstreet. Please see 
https://www.grants.gov/applicants/org_step1.jsp for more information on 
how to obtain a DUNS number or how to verify your organization's 
number.
    c. System for Award Management (SAM): In accordance with 2 CFR part 
25, applicants, whether applying electronically or by paper must be 
registered in SAM prior to submitting an application. Applicants may 
register for the SAM at https://www.sam.gov. The SAM registration must 
remain active, with current information, at all times during which an 
entity has an application under consideration by an agency or has an 
active Federal Award. To remain registered in the SAM database after 
the initial registration, the applicant is required to review and 
update on an annual basis from the date of initial registration or 
subsequent updates of its information in the SAM database to ensure it 
is current, accurate and complete.

C. Discussion of Completed Application Items

    See paragraph IV. B of this notice for a discussion of the items 
that make up a completed application. You may also refer to 7 CFR 
1739.15 for completed grant application items.

IV. Application and Submission Information

A. Where To Get Application Information

    The application guide, copies of necessary forms and samples, and 
the Community Connect Grant Program regulation are available from these 
sources:
    1. The Internet: https://www.rurdev.usda.gov/utp_commconnect.html.
    2. The Rural Utilities Service Broadband Division, for paper copies 
of these materials: (202) 690-4673.

B. What constitutes a completed application?

    1. Detailed information on each item required can be found in the 
Community Connect Grant Program regulation and the Community Connect 
Grant Program application guide. Applicants are strongly encouraged to 
read and apply both the regulation and the application guide. This 
Notice does not change the requirements for a completed application for 
any form of Community Connect Grant Program financial assistance 
specified in the Community Connect Grant Program regulation. The 
Community Connect Grant Program regulation and the application guide 
provide specific guidance on each of the items listed and the Community 
Connect Grant Program application guide provides all necessary forms 
and sample worksheets.
    2. Applications should be prepared in conformance with the 
provisions in 7 CFR 1739, subpart A, and applicable USDA regulations 
including 7 CFR parts 3015, 3016, and 3019. Applicants must use the RUS 
Application Guide for this program containing instructions and all 
necessary forms, as well as other important information, in preparing 
their application. Completed applications must include the following:
    a. An Application for Federal Assistance. A completed Standard Form 
(SF) 424.
    b. An executive summary of the Project. The applicant must provide 
RUS with a general project overview.
    c. Scoring criteria documentation. Each grant applicant must 
address and provide documentation on how it meets each of the scoring 
criteria detailed in 7 CFR 1739.17.
    d. System design. The applicant must submit a system design, 
including, narrative specifics of the proposal, associated costs, maps, 
engineering design studies, technical specifications and system 
capabilities, etc.
    e. Service area demographics. The applicant must provide a map of 
the Proposed Funded Service Area using the RUS Mapping Tool.
    f. Scope of work. The scope of work must include specific 
activities and services to be performed under the proposal, who will 
carry out the activities and services, specific time-frames for 
completion, and a budget for all capital and administrative 
expenditures reflecting the line item costs for all grant purposes, the 
matching contribution, and other sources of funds necessary to complete 
the project.
    g. Community-Oriented Connectivity Plan. The applicant must provide 
a detailed Community-Oriented Connectivity Plan.
    h. Financial information and sustainability. The applicant must 
provide financial statements and information and a narrative 
description demonstrating the sustainability of the Project.
    i. A statement of experience. The applicant must provide a written 
narrative describing its demonstrated capability and experience, if 
any, in operating a broadband telecommunications system.
    j. Evidence of legal authority and existence. The applicant must 
provide evidence of its legal existence and authority to enter into a 
grant agreement with RUS and to perform the activities proposed under 
the grant application.
    k. Additional Funding. If the Project requires additional funding 
from other sources in addition to the RUS grant, the applicant must 
provide evidence that funding agreements have been obtained to ensure 
completion of the Project.
    l. Federal Compliance. The applicant must provide evidence of 
compliance with other federal statutes and regulations, including, but 
not limited to the following:
    (i) 7 CFR part 15, subpart A--Nondiscrimination in Federally 
Assisted Programs of the Department of Agriculture--Effectuation of 
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
    (ii) 7 CFR part 3015--Uniform Federal Assistance Regulations.
    (iii) 2 CFR part 417--Government-wide Debarment and Suspension 
(Non-procurement).
    (iv) 7 CFR part 3018--New Restrictions on Lobbying.

[[Page 29408]]

    (v) 2 CFR part 421--Government-wide Requirements for Drug-Free 
Workplace (Financial Assistance).
    (vi) Certification regarding Architectural Barriers.
    (vii) Certification regarding Flood Hazard Precautions.
    (viii) An environmental report/questionnaire, in accordance with 7 
CFR 1794.
    (ix) A certification that grant funds will not be used to duplicate 
lines, facilities, or systems providing Broadband Service.
    (x) Federal Obligation Certification on Delinquent Debt.
    (xi) Assurance Regarding Felony Conviction or Tax Delinquent Status 
for Corporate Applicants.

C. How many copies of an application are required?

    1. Applications submitted on paper: Submit the original paper 
application and a copy in electronic format to RUS.
    2. Applications submitted through Grants.gov: The additional paper 
copies are not necessary if you submit the application electronically 
through Grants.gov.

D. How and where to submit an application

    Grant applications may be submitted on paper or through Grants.gov.
    1. Submitting applications on paper.
    a. Address paper applications for grants to the Rural Utilities 
Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Ave. SW., 
Room 2868, STOP 1599, Washington, DC 20250-1599. Applications should be 
marked ``Attention: Director, Broadband Division, Rural Utilities 
Service.''
    b. Paper applications must show proof of mailing or shipping 
consisting of one of the following:
    (i) A legibly dated U.S. Postal Service (USPS) postmark;
    (ii) A legible mail receipt with the date of mailing stamped by the 
USPS; or
    (iii) A dated shipping label, invoice, or receipt from a commercial 
carrier.
    c. Due to screening procedures at the Department of Agriculture, 
packages arriving via the USPS are irradiated, which can damage the 
contents. RUS encourages applicants to consider the impact of this 
procedure in selecting their application delivery method.
    2. Applications submitted through Grants.gov.
    (a) Applicant may file an electronic application at https://www.grants.gov. Applications will not be accepted via facsimile machine 
transmission or electronic mail. Grants.gov contains full instructions 
on all required passwords, credentialing, and software. Follow the 
instructions at Grants.gov for registering and submitting an electronic 
application. If a system problem or technical difficulty occurs with an 
electronic application, please use the customer support resources 
available at the Grants.gov Web site.
    (b) First time Grants.gov users should go to the ``Get Started'' 
tab on the Grants.gov site and carefully read and follow the steps 
listed. These steps need to be initiated early in the application 
process to avoid delays in submitting your application online.

E. Deadlines

    1. Paper applications must be postmarked and mailed, shipped, or 
sent overnight no later than July 7, 2014 to be eligible for FY 2014 
grant funding. Late applications are not eligible for FY 2014 grant 
funding.
    2. Grant applications submitted through Grants.gov must be received 
by July 7, 2014 to be eligible for FY 2014 funding. Late applications 
are not eligible for FY 2014 grant funding.

F. Funding Purposes

    1. Eligible grant purposes. Grant funds may be used to finance:
    a. The construction, acquisition, or leasing of facilities, 
including spectrum, land or buildings to deploy service at the 
Broadband Grant Speed to all participating Critical Community 
Facilities and all required facilities needed to offer such service to 
all residential and business customers located within the Proposed 
Funded Service Area;
    b. The improvement, expansion, construction, or acquisition of a 
Community Center that furnishes free internet access at the Broadband 
Grant Speed and provision of Computer Access Points. Grant funds 
provided for such costs shall not exceed the lesser of ten percent 
(10%) of the grant amount requested or $150,000; and
    c. The cost of bandwidth to provide service free of charge at the 
Broadband Grant Speed to Critical Community Facilities for the first 2 
years of operation.
    2. Ineligible grant purposes.
    a. Grant funds may not be used to finance the duplication of any 
existing Broadband Service provided by another entity.
    b. Operating expenses other than the cost of bandwidth for 2 years 
to provide service at the Broadband Grant Speed to Critical Community 
Facilities.
    3. Please see 7 CFR 1739.3 for definitions, 7 CFR 1739.12 for 
eligible grant purposes, and 7 CFR 1739.13 for ineligible grant 
purposes.

V. Application Review Information

A. Criteria

    1. Grant applications are scored competitively and subject to the 
criteria listed below.
    2. Grant application scoring criteria (total possible points: 100). 
See 7 CFR 1739.17 for the items that will be reviewed during scoring 
and for scoring criteria.
    a. An analysis of the challenges of the following criteria, laid 
out on a community-wide basis, and how the project proposes to address 
these issues (up to 50 points): 1. The economic characteristics; 2. 
Educational Challenges; 3. Health care needs; 4. Public safety issues; 
and 5. Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (applications that 
according to the 2010 census show that at least 20 percent of the 
population of the counties included in core coverage areas is living in 
poverty) will receive the maximum score in this category. This emphasis 
will support Rural Development's goal of providing 20 percent of its 
funding by 2016 to these areas of need.
    b. The extent of the Project's planning, development, and support 
by local residents, institutions, and Critical Community Facilities (up 
to 40 points);
    c. The level of experience and past success of operating broadband 
systems for the management team (up to 10 points); and
    d. In making a final selection among and between applications with 
comparable rankings and geographic distribution, the Administrator may 
take into consideration the characteristics of the Proposed Funded 
Service Area (PFSA)

B. Special Consideration Areas

    RUS will offer special consideration to applications that propose 
to provide broadband service within a trust area or a tribal 
jurisdictional area. Such applications will be awarded 15 points. The 
applicant will need to submit evidence indicating that the proposed 
service area is located in a trust area or a tribal jurisdictional 
area.
    RUS will use one or more of the following resources in determining 
whether a proposed service area is located in a trust area or tribal 
jurisdictional area:
    (a) Official maps of Federal Indian Reservations based on 
information compiled by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of 
Indian Affairs and made available to the public;
    (b) Title Status Reports issued by the U.S. Department of the 
Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs showing that title to such land is 
held in trust or is subject

[[Page 29409]]

to restrictions imposed by the United States;
    (c) Trust Asset and Accounting Management System data, maintained 
by the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs;
    (d) Official maps of the Department of Hawaiian Homelands of the 
State of Hawaii identifying land that has been given the status of 
Hawaiian home lands under the provisions of section 204 of the Hawaiian 
Homes Commission Act, 1920;
    (e) Official records of the U.S. Department of the Interior, the 
State of Alaska, or such other documentation of ownership as the RUS 
may determine to be satisfactory, showing that title is owned by a 
Regional Corporation or a Village Corporation as such terms are defined 
in the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (43 U.S.C. 1451 et seq.); 
and
    (f) Any other evidence submitted by the applicant that is 
satisfactory to RUS to establish that area where the end-user site is 
located is a trust area or a tribal jurisdictional area within the 
meaning of 38 U.S.C. 3765(1).

C. Review Standards

    1. All applications for grants must be delivered to Rural Utilities 
Service at the address and by the date specified in this notice or 
electronically submitted by the deadline (see also 7 CFR 1739.2) to be 
eligible for funding. Rural Utilities Service will review each 
application for conformance with the provisions of this part. Rural 
Utilities Service may contact the applicant for additional information 
or clarification.
    2. Incomplete applications as of the deadline for submission will 
not be considered. If an application is determined to be incomplete, 
the applicant will be notified in writing and the application will be 
returned with no further action.
    3. Applications conforming with this part will then be evaluated 
competitively by a panel of Rural Utilities Service employees selected 
by the Administrator of Rural Utilities Service, and will be awarded 
points as described in the scoring criteria in 7 CFR 1739.17. 
Applications will be ranked and grants awarded in rank order until all 
grant funds are expended.

D. Selection Process

    Grant applications are ranked by final score. Rural Utilities 
Service selects applications based on those rankings, subject to the 
availability of funds and consistent with 7 CFR 1739.17.

VI. Award Administration Information

A. Award Notices

    Rural Utilities Service recognizes that each funded project is 
unique, and therefore may attach conditions to different projects' 
award documents. Rural Utilities Service generally notifies applicants 
whose projects are selected for awards by emailing a scanned copy of an 
award letter. Rural Utilities Service follows the award letter with a 
grant agreement that contains all the terms and conditions for the 
grant. An applicant must execute and return the grant agreement, 
accompanied by any additional items required by the grant agreement.

B. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

    The items listed in paragraph IV.B.2.l. of this notice, and the 
Community Connect Grant Program regulation, application guide and 
accompanying materials implement the appropriate administrative and 
national policy requirements.

C. Reporting

    1. Performance reporting. All recipients of Community Connect Grant 
Program financial assistance must provide annual performance activity 
reports to RUS until the project is complete and the funds are 
expended. A final performance report is also required; the final report 
may serve as the last annual report. The final report must include an 
evaluation of the success of the project. See 7 CFR 1739.19.
    2. Financial reporting. All recipients of Community Connect Grant 
Program financial assistance must provide an annual audit, beginning 
with the first year a portion of the financial assistance is expended. 
Audits are governed by United States Department of Agriculture audit 
regulations. See 7 CFR 1739.20.
    3. Recipient and Subrecipient Reporting. The applicant must have 
the necessary processes and systems in place to comply with the 
reporting requirements for first-tier sub-awards and executive 
compensation under the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency 
Act of 2006 in the event the applicant receives funding unless such 
applicant is exempt from such reporting requirements pursuant to 2 CFR 
part 170, Sec.  170.110(b). The reporting requirements under the 
Transparency Act pursuant to 2 CFR part 170 are as follows:
    a. First Tier Sub-Awards of $25,000 or more (unless they are exempt 
under 2 CFR Part 170) must be reported by the Recipient to https://www.fsrs.gov no later than the end of the month following the month the 
obligation was made.
    b. The Total Compensation of the Recipient's Executives (5 most 
highly compensated executives) must be reported by the Recipient (if 
the Recipient meets the criteria under 2 CFR Part 170) to https://www.sam.gov by the end of the month following the month in which the 
award was made.
    c. The Total Compensation of the Subrecipient's Executives (5 most 
highly compensated executives) must be reported by the Subrecipient (if 
the Subrecipient meets the criteria under 2 CFR Part 170) to the 
Recipient by the end of the month following the month in which the 
subaward was made.

VII. Agency Contacts

    A. Web site: https://www.rurdev.usda.gov/utp_commconnect.html. This 
Web site maintains up-to-date resources and contact information for the 
Community Connect Grant Program.
    B. Phone: (202) 690-4673.
    C. Fax: (202) 690-4389.
    D. Main point of contact: Kenneth Kuchno, Director, Broadband 
Division, Rural Utilities Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

    Dated: May 5, 2014.
John Charles Padalino,
Administrator, Rural Utilities Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-11704 Filed 5-21-14; 8:45 am]
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