Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program, 10357 [2018-04659]

Download as PDF 10357 Rules and Regulations Federal Register Vol. 83, No. 47 Friday, March 9, 2018 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. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Rural Utilities Service 7 CFR Part 1734 RIN 0572–AC37 Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program Rural Utilities Service, USDA. ACTION: Final rule; affirmation. AGENCY: The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), a Rural Development agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), hereinafter referred to as RUS or the Agency, is confirming the final rule published in the Federal Register on November 27, 2017, which amends its regulation for the Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program. SUMMARY: DATES: Effective March 9, 2018. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kenneth Kuchno, Deputy Assistant Administrator, Policy and Outreach Division, Telecommunications Program, Rural Utilities Program, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, STOP 1599, Room 2870–S, Washington, DC 20250– 1550. Telephone number: (202) 690– 4673. The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), has issued a final rule to streamline, revise, and update the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Grant Program, to minimize the burden of applying for and awarding grants (82 FR 55923; Nov. 27, 2017). The Agency’s goal is to reduce the regulatory burden on grant applicants and to ensure that grant funds are awarded for projects with the most demonstrable need. RUS invited comments regarding the new procedures for implementing the DLT Grant Program and received comments from: The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma; Herzing University; and Ms. Kayla Boylen. These comments and the amozie on DSK30RV082PROD with RULES SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:43 Mar 08, 2018 Jkt 244001 Agency’s responses are summarized as follows: General Support for the Changes to the Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program (DLT) Comment: Respondents commented that they were in support of the Program and that the Program is needed in rural America. Twenty Percent Funding Cap for Broadband Facilities Comment: One respondent commented that they were in support of adding broadband facilities as an eligible project, however, there was concern that twenty percent of the requested grant amount for this purpose was not sufficient. Response: It should be noted that the DLT Program is not intended to provide residential/business broadband service. RUS has other loan and grant programs for this purpose. Broadband facilities have been added to the DLT program to ensure that rural schools and medical facilities that currently do not have broadband service have a means to bring distance learning and telemedicine to those facilities. All broadband facilities funded under this program must be used to deliver distance learning and telemedicine. Fifteen Percent Matching Fund Requirement Comment: One respondent commented that due to the economic nature of areas eligible for the DLT Program that there should be no matching funds requirement. Response: For projects to become successful, it is imperative that all parties involved are both financially and non-financially vested, and that the success of the project is not dependent entirely on the grant funding. Additionally, a matching fund component also allows RUS to leverage the limited grant funding received and to fund more projects. A fifteen percent matching fund requirement is a reasonable amount and demonstrates the sincerity of the applicant to make the proposed project a success. Better Communications Comment: One commenter suggested that outreach efforts be improved to better communicate the changes to the application scoring criteria as well as the program’s eligibility requirements. PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Response: RUS has and continues to be mindful of communicating timely information about its programs. The Agency plans to introduce a series of webinars which will address all of the recent changes to the Program as well as other program requirements, criteria, and issues. The webinars will be scheduled on different days and times to accommodate the varying schedules of potential applicants across the country. The Agency appreciates the interest of the commenters and thanks them for their comment submissions. Dated: February 16, 2018. Christopher McLean, Acting Administrator, Rural Utilities Service. [FR Doc. 2018–04659 Filed 3–8–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION 11 CFR Part 1 [Notice 2018–04] Change of Address; Technical Amendment Federal Election Commission. Final rule; technical amendment. AGENCY: ACTION: The relocation of the Federal Election Commission (‘‘FEC’’ or ‘‘Commission’’) to a new building with a different street address has been delayed by two weeks. The Commission is updating its regulations to reflect the new relocation date. DATES: This rule is effective March 9, 2018. SUMMARY: Mr. Tony Buckley, Attorney, or Mr. Eugene Lynch, Paralegal, (202) 694–1650 or (800) 424–9530. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On December 26, 2017, the Federal Election Commission published a Final Rule (82 FR 60852) announcing its official relocation in 2018 to a new street address, and amending its regulations to reflect the change in location. The Final Rule stated that the Commission would relocate on March 5, 2018 to its new street address: 1050 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20463. The Commission’s relocation has since been delayed, however, and the Commission will now relocate to its new street FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: E:\FR\FM\09MRR1.SGM 09MRR1

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[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 47 (Friday, March 9, 2018)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Page 10357]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-04659]



========================================================================
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. 

========================================================================


Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 47 / Friday, March 9, 2018 / Rules 
and Regulations

[[Page 10357]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Rural Utilities Service

7 CFR Part 1734

RIN 0572-AC37


Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program

AGENCY: Rural Utilities Service, USDA.

ACTION: Final rule; affirmation.

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

SUMMARY: The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), a Rural Development agency 
of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), hereinafter 
referred to as RUS or the Agency, is confirming the final rule 
published in the Federal Register on November 27, 2017, which amends 
its regulation for the Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant 
Program.

DATES: Effective March 9, 2018.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kenneth Kuchno, Deputy Assistant 
Administrator, Policy and Outreach Division, Telecommunications 
Program, Rural Utilities Program, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 
Independence Avenue SW, STOP 1599, Room 2870-S, Washington, DC 20250-
1550. Telephone number: (202) 690-4673.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), has 
issued a final rule to streamline, revise, and update the Distance 
Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Grant Program, to minimize the burden 
of applying for and awarding grants (82 FR 55923; Nov. 27, 2017). The 
Agency's goal is to reduce the regulatory burden on grant applicants 
and to ensure that grant funds are awarded for projects with the most 
demonstrable need.
    RUS invited comments regarding the new procedures for implementing 
the DLT Grant Program and received comments from: The Choctaw Nation of 
Oklahoma; Herzing University; and Ms. Kayla Boylen. These comments and 
the Agency's responses are summarized as follows:

General Support for the Changes to the Distance Learning and 
Telemedicine Program (DLT)

    Comment: Respondents commented that they were in support of the 
Program and that the Program is needed in rural America.

Twenty Percent Funding Cap for Broadband Facilities

    Comment: One respondent commented that they were in support of 
adding broadband facilities as an eligible project, however, there was 
concern that twenty percent of the requested grant amount for this 
purpose was not sufficient.
    Response: It should be noted that the DLT Program is not intended 
to provide residential/business broadband service. RUS has other loan 
and grant programs for this purpose. Broadband facilities have been 
added to the DLT program to ensure that rural schools and medical 
facilities that currently do not have broadband service have a means to 
bring distance learning and telemedicine to those facilities. All 
broadband facilities funded under this program must be used to deliver 
distance learning and telemedicine.

Fifteen Percent Matching Fund Requirement

    Comment: One respondent commented that due to the economic nature 
of areas eligible for the DLT Program that there should be no matching 
funds requirement.
    Response: For projects to become successful, it is imperative that 
all parties involved are both financially and non-financially vested, 
and that the success of the project is not dependent entirely on the 
grant funding. Additionally, a matching fund component also allows RUS 
to leverage the limited grant funding received and to fund more 
projects. A fifteen percent matching fund requirement is a reasonable 
amount and demonstrates the sincerity of the applicant to make the 
proposed project a success.

Better Communications

    Comment: One commenter suggested that outreach efforts be improved 
to better communicate the changes to the application scoring criteria 
as well as the program's eligibility requirements.
    Response: RUS has and continues to be mindful of communicating 
timely information about its programs. The Agency plans to introduce a 
series of webinars which will address all of the recent changes to the 
Program as well as other program requirements, criteria, and issues. 
The webinars will be scheduled on different days and times to 
accommodate the varying schedules of potential applicants across the 
country.
    The Agency appreciates the interest of the commenters and thanks 
them for their comment submissions.

    Dated: February 16, 2018.
Christopher McLean,
Acting Administrator, Rural Utilities Service.
[FR Doc. 2018-04659 Filed 3-8-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE P