Federal Register Vol. 80, No.209,

Federal Register Volume 80, Issue 209 (October 29, 2015)

Page Range66413-66779
FR Document

80_FR_209
Current View
Page and SubjectPDF
80 FR 66524 - Notice of Public Hearing and Business Meeting November 10 and December 9, 2015PDF
80 FR 66591 - Sunshine Act MeetingPDF
80 FR 66610 - Sunshine Act Meetings; Unified Carrier Registration Plan Board of DirectorsPDF
80 FR 66583 - Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc.; Indian Point Nuclear Generating Unit Nos. 1, 2, and 3PDF
80 FR 66584 - Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc.; James A. FitzPatrick Nuclear Power PlantPDF
80 FR 66586 - Exelon Generation Company, LLC; R.E. Ginna Nuclear Power PlantPDF
80 FR 66588 - Exelon Generation Company, LLC; Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station Units 1 and 2PDF
80 FR 66581 - Advisory Board on Toxic Substances and Worker HealthPDF
80 FR 66547 - NIH Pathways to Prevention Workshop: Total Worker Health®-What's Work Got To Do With It?PDF
80 FR 66549 - Notice of Opportunity for Public Comment on the Dietary Supplement Label DatabasePDF
80 FR 66429 - Application Procedures for Broadcast Incentive Auction Scheduled To Begin on March 29, 2016; Technical Formulas for Competitive BiddingPDF
80 FR 66489 - Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) 102-St. Louis, Missouri; Notification of Proposed Production Activity; H-J Enterprises, Inc./H-J International, Inc. (Electrical Transformer Bushing Assemblies); High Ridge, MissouriPDF
80 FR 66609 - 30-Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection: Contact Information and Work History for Nonimmigrant Visa ApplicantPDF
80 FR 66609 - U.S. National Commission for UNESCO; Notice of MeetingPDF
80 FR 66567 - Notice of Receipt of Complaint; Solicitation of Comments Relating to the Public InterestPDF
80 FR 66614 - Tireco, Inc., Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential NoncompliancePDF
80 FR 66612 - Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential NoncompliancePDF
80 FR 66613 - Continental Tire the Americas, LLC, Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential NoncompliancePDF
80 FR 66485 - Allocable Cash Basis and Tiered Partnership Items; CorrectionPDF
80 FR 66486 - Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area; Amendment 111PDF
80 FR 66616 - National Freight Advisory Committee; Notice of Public MeetingPDF
80 FR 66578 - National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NACOSH)PDF
80 FR 66416 - United States Property Held by Controlled Foreign Corporations in Transactions Involving Partnerships; Rents and Royalties Derived in the Active Conduct of a Trade or Business; CorrectionPDF
80 FR 66415 - United States Property Held by Controlled Foreign Corporations in Transactions Involving Partnerships; Rents and Royalties Derived in the Active Conduct of a Trade or Business; CorrectionPDF
80 FR 66488 - Information Collection Activity; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 66485 - United States Property Held by Controlled Foreign Corporations in Transactions Involving Partnerships; Rents and Royalties Derived in the Active Conduct of a Trade or Business; CorrectionPDF
80 FR 66582 - Advisory Committee for Education and Human Resources; Notice of MeetingPDF
80 FR 66725 - Medicare Program; Final Waivers in Connection With the Shared Savings ProgramPDF
80 FR 66493 - New England Fishery Management Council; Public MeetingPDF
80 FR 66569 - Notice of Lodging of Proposed Consent Decree Under the Clean Water ActPDF
80 FR 66574 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Foreign Currency Transactions, Prohibited Transaction Class Exemption 1994-20PDF
80 FR 66551 - Privacy Act of 1974, as Amended; Notice To Amend an Existing System of RecordsPDF
80 FR 66545 - Statement of Organization, Functions and Delegations of AuthorityPDF
80 FR 66490 - Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public MeetingPDF
80 FR 66529 - Formations of, Acquisitions by, and Mergers of Bank Holding CompaniesPDF
80 FR 66539 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for Office of Management and Budget Review; Comment Request; Labeling of Certain Beers Subject to the Labeling Jurisdiction of the Food and Drug AdministrationPDF
80 FR 66546 - Findings of Research MisconductPDF
80 FR 66548 - Submission for OMB Review; 30-Day Comment Request; A Multi-Center International Hospital-Based Case-Control Study of Lymphoma in Asia (AsiaLymph) (NCI)PDF
80 FR 66529 - Notice to All Interested Parties of the Termination of the Receivership of 10362, First National Bank of Central Florida, Winter Park, FLPDF
80 FR 66547 - Center For Scientific Review; Amended Notice of MeetingPDF
80 FR 66548 - Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
80 FR 66549 - National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
80 FR 66543 - Using Technologies and Innovative Methods To Conduct Food and Drug Administration-Regulated Clinical Investigations of Investigational Drugs; Establishment of a Public DocketPDF
80 FR 66572 - Proposed Renewal of Information Collection Requirements; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 66489 - Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Business Directory SurveyPDF
80 FR 66528 - Notice of Renewal of FASAB CharterPDF
80 FR 66615 - Proposed Agency Information Collection Request; Vendor Invoice Submission PilotPDF
80 FR 66495 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 66525 - Liberty University Inc.; Notice of Intent To File License Application, Filing of Pre-Application Document, Approving Use of the Traditional Licensing ProcessPDF
80 FR 66526 - Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assessment for the Proposed SM-80 MAOP Restoration Project and Request for Comments on Environmental IssuesPDF
80 FR 66524 - Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, L.L.C.; Notice of Availability of the Environmental Assessment for the Proposed Connecticut Expansion ProjectPDF
80 FR 66525 - Duke Energy Progress, Inc., Duke Energy Progress, LLC; Notice of Transfer of ExemptionPDF
80 FR 66482 - Airworthiness Directives; B-N Group Ltd. AirplanesPDF
80 FR 66492 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 66490 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 66573 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Agricultural Recruitment System Forms Affecting Migratory Farm WorkersPDF
80 FR 66575 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; H-2B Foreign Labor Certification ProgramPDF
80 FR 66577 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Employer-Provided Survey Attestations To Accompany H-2B Prevailing Wage Determination Request Based on a Non-OES SurveyPDF
80 FR 66566 - Notice of Filing of Plats of Survey; ColoradoPDF
80 FR 66621 - List of Countries Requiring Cooperation With an International BoycottPDF
80 FR 66537 - Disease, Disability, and Injury Prevention and Control Special Emphasis Panel (SEP): Initial ReviewPDF
80 FR 66537 - Board of Scientific Counselors, National Center for Environmental Health/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (BSC, NCEH/ATSDR)PDF
80 FR 66536 - Subcommittee for Dose Reconstruction Reviews (SDRR), Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health (ABRWH or the Advisory Board), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)PDF
80 FR 66566 - Notice of Public Meeting for the Coastal Oregon Resource Advisory CouncilPDF
80 FR 66542 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for Office of Management and Budget Review; Comment Request; Financial Disclosure by Clinical InvestigatorsPDF
80 FR 66543 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Announcement of Office of Management and Budget Approval; Guidance for Industry on Formal Meetings Between the Food and Drug Administration and Biosimilar Biological Product Sponsors or ApplicantsPDF
80 FR 66545 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Announcement of Office of Management and Budget Approval; Guidance for Industry on Adverse Event Reporting for Outsourcing FacilitiesPDF
80 FR 66541 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Announcement of Office of Management and Budget Approval; Survey on Occurrence of Foodborne Illness Risk Factors in Selected Institutional Foodservice and Retail Food Stores Facility TypesPDF
80 FR 66481 - Airworthiness Directives; Honeywell International Inc. (Type Certificate Previously Held by AlliedSignal Inc., Garrett Turbine Engine Company) Turbofan EnginesPDF
80 FR 66533 - Submission for OMB Review; Identification of PredecessorsPDF
80 FR 66532 - Submission for OMB Review; Summary Subcontract ReportPDF
80 FR 66568 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed eCollection eComments Requested; Extension of a Currently Approved Collection: Census of Juveniles in Residential PlacementPDF
80 FR 66528 - Notice of Debarment; Federal Lifeline Universal Service Support MechanismPDF
80 FR 66493 - Fees for Reviews of the Rule Enforcement Programs of Designated Contract Markets and Registered Futures AssociationsPDF
80 FR 66550 - Revision of Agency Information Collection for Loan Guarantee, Insurance and Interest Subsidy ProgramPDF
80 FR 66582 - Notice of Permits Issued Under the Antarctic Conservation Act of 1978PDF
80 FR 66583 - Notice of Permits Issued Under the Antarctic Conservation Act of 1978PDF
80 FR 66576 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 Research Exception NoticePDF
80 FR 66511 - Privacy Act of 1974; System of RecordsPDF
80 FR 66510 - Privacy Act of 1974; System of RecordsPDF
80 FR 66523 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 66589 - New Postal ProductPDF
80 FR 66579 - Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and HealthPDF
80 FR 66590 - New Postal ProductPDF
80 FR 66417 - Special Regulations, Areas of the National Park System, Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, Horse ManagementPDF
80 FR 66609 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Chicago Board Options Exchange, Incorporated; Notice of Withdrawal of Proposed Rule Change, as Modified by Amendment No. 1, Relating to Rule 6.53C and Complex Orders on the Hybrid SystemPDF
80 FR 66608 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Chicago Board Options Exchange, Incorporated; Notice of Withdrawal of a Proposed Rule Change Relating to Rules 6.74A and 6.74BPDF
80 FR 66600 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Chicago Stock Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change To Amend the Fee Schedule To Adopt CHX SNAP Execution FeesPDF
80 FR 66591 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NYSE MKT LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Extending the Pilot Period Applicable to Rule 953.1NY(c), Which Addresses How the Exchange Treats Obvious and Catastrophic Errors During Periods of Extreme Market Volatility to Coincide with the Pilot Period for the Plan To Address Extraordinary Market Volatility Pursuant to Rule 608 of Regulation NMSPDF
80 FR 66605 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Chicago Board Options Exchange, Incorporated; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change Relating To Qualification and Registration of Trading Permit Holders and Associated PersonsPDF
80 FR 66603 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NYSE Arca, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Extending the Pilot Period Applicable to Rule 6.65A(c), Which Addresses How the Exchange Treats Obvious and Catastrophic Errors During Periods of Extreme Market Volatility To Coincide With the Pilot Period for the Plan To Address Extraordinary Market Volatility Pursuant to Rule 608 of Regulation NMSPDF
80 FR 66594 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC; Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change Relating to the Listing and Trading of the Shares of the Active Alts Contrarian ETF of ETFis Series Trust IPDF
80 FR 66523 - Privacy Act of 1974; System of RecordsPDF
80 FR 66515 - Privacy Act of 1974; System of RecordsPDF
80 FR 66538 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Small Business Innovation Research Program-Phase IIPDF
80 FR 66538 - Proposed Information Collection Activity; Comment Request; State Developmental Disabilities Council-Annual Program Performance Report (PPR)PDF
80 FR 66530 - Submission for OMB Review; Utilization of Small Business SubcontractorsPDF
80 FR 66530 - Submission for OMB Review; Subcontracting Plans/Individual Subcontract Report, SF 294 and ISRSPDF
80 FR 66499 - Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 66520 - National Security Education Board; Notice of Federal Advisory Committee MeetingPDF
80 FR 66499 - Revised Non-Foreign Overseas Per Diem RatesPDF
80 FR 66515 - 36(b)(1) Arms Sales NotificationPDF
80 FR 66521 - 36(b)(1) Arms Sales NotificationPDF
80 FR 66496 - 36(b)(1) Arms Sales NotificationPDF
80 FR 66513 - 36(b)(1) Arms Sales NotificationPDF
80 FR 66591 - Product Change-Priority Mail Negotiated Service AgreementPDF
80 FR 66534 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 66591 - Product Change-Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail, & First-Class Package Service Negotiated Service AgreementPDF
80 FR 66619 - Proposed Collection; Comment Request for Form 1066 and Schedule Q (Form 1066)PDF
80 FR 66618 - Internal Revenue ServicePDF
80 FR 66617 - Proposed Collection; Comment Request for Revenue ProcedurePDF
80 FR 66617 - Proposed Collection; Comment Request for Revenue Procedure 2003-37PDF
80 FR 66619 - Proposed Collection; Comment Request for Information Collection ToolsPDF
80 FR 66621 - Proposed Collection; Comment Request for Form 1041-TPDF
80 FR 66616 - Proposed Collection; Comment Request for Form 2438PDF
80 FR 66620 - Proposed Collection; Comment Request for Form 13285-APDF
80 FR 66620 - Proposed Collection; Comment Request for Form 706-CEPDF
80 FR 66622 - Suspension of Coin Exchange by United States MintPDF
80 FR 66622 - Senior Executive Service; Departmental Offices Performance Review BoardPDF
80 FR 66622 - Senior Executive Service; Departmental Performance Review BoardPDF
80 FR 66419 - Expanded Access to Non-VA Care Through the Veterans Choice ProgramPDF
80 FR 66610 - Reports, Forms, and Recordkeeping Requirements: Agency Information Collection ActivityPDF
80 FR 66550 - South Carolina; Amendment No. 7 to Notice of a Major Disaster DeclarationPDF
80 FR 66413 - Airworthiness Directives; GA 8 Airvan (Pty) Ltd AirplanesPDF
80 FR 66488 - Notice of Petitions by Firms for Determination of Eligibility To Apply for Trade Adjustment AssistancePDF
80 FR 66415 - Listing of Color Additives Exempt From Certification; Spirulina Extract; Confirmation of Effective DatePDF
80 FR 66747 - User Fees for Agricultural Quarantine and Inspection ServicesPDF
80 FR 66554 - National Environmental Policy Act: Implementing Procedures; Addition to Categorical Exclusions for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (516 DM 8)PDF
80 FR 66417 - Technical ConferencePDF
80 FR 66625 - Risk-Based CapitalPDF
80 FR 66454 - Numbering Policies for Modern Communications, IP-Enabled Services, Telephone Number Requirements for IP-Enabled, Services Providers, Telephone Number Portability et al.PDF

Issue

80 209 Thursday, October 29, 2015 Contents Agency Health Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 66534-66536 2015-27499 Agriculture Agriculture Department See

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

See

Rural Utilities Service

Animal Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service RULES User Fees for Agricultural Quarantine and Inspection Services, 66748-66779 2015-27363 Consumer Financial Protection Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 66495-66496 2015-27576 Centers Disease Centers for Disease Control and Prevention NOTICES Meetings: Board of Scientific Counselors, National Center for Environmental Health/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 66537 2015-27562 Disease, Disability, and Injury Prevention and Control Special Emphasis Panel, 66537-66538 2015-27563 Subcommittee for Dose Reconstruction Reviews, Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 66536-66537 2015-27561 Centers Medicare Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services RULES Medicare Program: Final Waivers in Connection with the Shared Savings Program, 66726-66745 2015-27599 Commerce Commerce Department See

Economic Development Administration

See

Foreign-Trade Zones Board

See

International Trade Administration

See

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Commodity Futures Commodity Futures Trading Commission NOTICES Fees for Reviews of the Rule Enforcement Programs of Designated Contract Markets and Registered Futures Associations, 66493-66495 2015-27535 Community Living Administration Community Living Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Small Business Innovation Research Program Phase II, 66538-66539 2015-27512 State Developmental Disabilities Council Annual Program Performance Report, 66538 2015-27511 Defense Department Defense Department See

Navy Department

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 66499 2015-27508 Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Identification of Predecessors, 66533-66534 2015-27554 Subcontracting Plans/Individual Subcontract Report, 66530-66532 2015-27509 Summary Subcontract Report, 66532-66533 2015-27553 Utilization of Small Business Subcontractors, 66530 2015-27510 Arms Sales, 66496-66499, 66513-66523 2015-27502 2015-27503 2015-27504 2015-27505 Meetings: National Security Education Board, 66520 2015-27507 Privacy Act; Systems of Records, 66510-66513, 66515, 66523 2015-27513 2015-27514 2015-27528 2015-27529 Revised Non-Foreign Overseas Per Diem Rates, 66499-66510 2015-27506
Delaware Delaware River Basin Commission NOTICES Meetings, 66524 C1--2015--26837 Economic Development Economic Development Administration NOTICES Trade Adjustment Assistance; Petitions, 66488-66489 2015-27423 Energy Department Energy Department See

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

Federal Accounting Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board NOTICES Charter Renewals: Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board; Renewal, 66528 2015-27578 Federal Aviation Federal Aviation Administration RULES Airworthiness Directives: GA 8 Airvan (Pty) Ltd Airplanes, 66413-66415 2015-27438 PROPOSED RULES Airworthiness Directives: B-N Group Ltd. Airplanes, 66482-66485 2015-27571 Honeywell International Inc. (Type Certificate previously held by AlliedSignal Inc., Garrett Turbine Engine Company) Turbofan Engines, 66481-66482 2015-27555 Federal Communications Federal Communications Commission RULES Application Procedures for Broadcast Incentive Auction Scheduled to Begin on March 29, 2016: Technical Formulas for Competitive Bidding, 66429-66454 2015-27621 Numbering Policies for Modern Communications, IP-Enabled Services, Telephone Number Requirements for IP-Enabled, Services Providers, Telephone Number Portability et al., 66454-66480 2015-20900 NOTICES Debarments: Federal Lifeline Universal Service Support Mechanism, 66528-66529 2015-27550 Federal Contract Federal Contract Compliance Programs Office NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 66572-66573 2015-27580 Federal Deposit Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation NOTICES Terminations of Receivership: First National Bank of Central Florida, Winter Park, FL, 66529 2015-27585 Federal Emergency Federal Emergency Management Agency NOTICES Disaster Declarations: South Carolina; Amendment No. 7, 66550 2015-27464 Federal Energy Federal Energy Regulatory Commission NOTICES Environmental Assessments; Availability, etc.: Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC; SM-80 MAOP Restoration Project, 66526-66528 2015-27574 Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co., LLC; Connecticut Expansion Project, 66524-66525 2015-27573 Exemption Transfers: Duke Energy Progress, Inc. to Duke Energy Progress, LLC, 66525 2015-27572 License Applications: Liberty University Inc., 66525-66526 2015-27575 Federal Motor Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 66610 2015-27667 Federal Reserve Federal Reserve System NOTICES Formations of, Acquisitions by, and Mergers of Bank Holding Companies, 66529 2015-27590 Food and Drug Food and Drug Administration RULES Listing of Color Additives Exempt From Certification; Spirulina Extract, 66415 2015-27369 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Financial Disclosure by Clinical Investigators, 66542-66543 2015-27559 Guidance for Industry on Adverse Event Reporting for Outsourcing Facilities, 66545 2015-27557 Guidance for Industry on Formal Meetings Between the Food and Drug Administration and Biosimilar Biological Product Sponsors or Applicants, 66543 2015-27558 Labeling of Certain Beers Subject to the Labeling Jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration, 66539-66541 2015-27588 Survey on Occurrence of Foodborne Illness Risk Factors in Selected Institutional Foodservice and Retail Food Stores Facility Types, 66541 2015-27556 Public Docket Establishments: Using Technologies and Innovative Methods to Conduct Food and Drug Administration-Regulated Clinical Investigations of Investigational Drugs, 66543-66545 2015-27581 Foreign Trade Foreign-Trade Zones Board NOTICES Proposed Production Activities: Foreign-Trade Zone 102, St. Louis, MO; H-J Enterprises, Inc./H-J International, Inc. (Electrical Transformer Bushing Assemblies) High Ridge, MO, 66489 2015-27620 General Services General Services Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Identification of Predecessors, 66533-66534 2015-27554 Subcontracting Plans/Individual Subcontract Report, 66530-66532 2015-27509 Summary Subcontract Report, 66532-66533 2015-27553 Utilization of Small Business Subcontractors, 66530 2015-27510 Health and Human Health and Human Services Department See

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

See

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

See

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

See

Community Living Administration

See

Food and Drug Administration

See

Health Resources and Services Administration

See

Inspector General Office, Health and Human Services Department

See

National Institutes of Health

NOTICES Findings of Research Misconduct, 66546 2015-27587
Health Resources Health Resources and Services Administration NOTICES Statements of Organization, Functions and Delegations of Authority, 66545-66546 2015-27592 Homeland Homeland Security Department See

Federal Emergency Management Agency

Indian Affairs Indian Affairs Bureau NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Loan Guarantee, Insurance and Interest Subsidy Program, 66550-66551 2015-27534 Inspector General Health Inspector General Office, Health and Human Services Department RULES Medicare Program: Final Waivers in Connection with the Shared Savings Program, 66726-66745 2015-27599 Interior Interior Department See

Indian Affairs Bureau

See

Land Management Bureau

See

National Park Service

See

Office of Natural Resources Revenue

NOTICES National Environmental Policy Act; Implementing Procedures: Addition to Categorical Exclusions for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 66554-66566 2015-27360 Privacy Act; Systems of Records, 66551-66554 2015-27595
Internal Revenue Internal Revenue Service RULES United States Property Held by Controlled Foreign Corporations in Transactions Involving Partnerships: Rents and Royalties Derived in the Active Conduct of a Trade or Business; Correction, 66415-66417 2015-27603 2015-27604 PROPOSED RULES Allocable Cash Basis and Tiered Partnership Items; Correction, 66485 2015-27609 United States Property Held by Controlled Foreign Corporations in Transactions Involving Partnerships: Rents and Royalties Derived in the Active Conduct of a Trade or Business; Correction, 66485-66486 2015-27601 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 66616-66621 2015-27489 2015-27490 2015-27491 2015-27492 2015-27493 2015-27496 2015-27497 Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Revenue Procedure, 66617-66618 2015-27494 2015-27495 International Trade Adm International Trade Administration NOTICES Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Business Directory Survey, 66489-66490 2015-27579 International Trade Com International Trade Commission NOTICES Complaints: Certain Vehicular Smartwatch Systems, Related Software, Components Thereof, and Products Containing the Same, 66567-66568 2015-27613 Justice Department Justice Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement, 66568-66569 2015-27552 Proposed Consent Decrees under the Clean Water Act, 66569-66572 2015-27597 Labor Department Labor Department See

Federal Contract Compliance Programs Office

See

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

See

Workers Compensation Programs Office

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Agricultural Recruitment System Forms Affecting Migratory Farm Workers, 66573-66574 2015-27568 Employer-Provided Survey Attestations to Accompany H-2B Prevailing Wage Determination Request Based on a Non-OES Survey, 66577 2015-27566 Foreign Currency Transactions, Prohibited Transaction Class Exemption 1994-20, 66574-66575 2015-27596 Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 Research Exception, 66576-66577 2015-27530 H-2B Foreign Labor Certification Program, 66575-66576 2015-27567
Land Land Management Bureau NOTICES Meetings: Coastal Oregon Resource Advisory Council, 66566-66567 2015-27560 Plats of Surveys: Colorado, 66566 2015-27565 NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Identification of Predecessors, 66533-66534 2015-27554 Subcontracting Plans/Individual Subcontract Report, 66530-66532 2015-27509 Summary Subcontract Report, 66532-66533 2015-27553 Utilization of Small Business Subcontractors, 66530 2015-27510 National Credit National Credit Union Administration RULES Risk-Based Capital, 66626-66723 2015-26790 National Highway National Highway Traffic Safety Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 66610-66612 2015-27480 Petitions for Inconsequential Noncompliance: Continental Tire the Americas, LLC, 66613-66614 2015-27610 Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., 66612-66613 2015-27611 Tireco, Inc., 66614-66615 2015-27612 National Institute National Institutes of Health NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Multi-Center International Hospital-Based Case-Control Study of Lymphoma in Asia, 66548-66549 2015-27586 Dietary Supplement Label Database, 66549 2015-27625 Meetings: Center for Scientific Review, 66547-66548 2015-27583 2015-27584 National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, 66549-66550 2015-27582 Pathways to Prevention Workshop: Total Worker Health; What's Work Got to Do with It?, 66547-66548 2015-27627 National Oceanic National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration PROPOSED RULES Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska: Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area; Amendment 111, 66486-66487 2015-27608 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 66490, 66492-66493 2015-27569 2015-27570 Meetings: New England Fishery Management Council, 66493 2015-27598 Pacific Fishery Management Council, 66490-66492 2015-27591 National Park National Park Service RULES Areas of the National Park System, Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, Horse Management; Special Regulations, 66417-66419 2015-27522 National Science National Science Foundation NOTICES Antarctic Conservation Act Permit Applications, 66582-66583 2015-27531 2015-27532 2015-27533 Meetings: Advisory Committee for Education and Human Resources, 66582-66583 2015-27600 Navy Navy Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 66523-66524 2015-27527 Nuclear Regulatory Nuclear Regulatory Commission NOTICES Environmental Assessments; Availability, etc.: Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc.; Indian Point Nuclear Generating Unit Nos. 1, 2, and 3, 66583-66584 2015-27648 Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc; James A. FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant, 66584-66586 2015-27647 Exelon Generation Co., LLC; Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station Units 1 and 2, 66588-66589 2015-27644 Exelon Generation Co., LLC; R.E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant, 66586-66587 2015-27646 Occupational Safety Health Adm Occupational Safety and Health Administration NOTICES Meetings: Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health, 66579-66581 2015-27525 National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health, 66578-66579 2015-27605 Natural Resources Office of Natural Resources Revenue RULES Meetings: North and South Fort Berthold Designated Areas Boundary Line; Adding Counties to the Uintah and Ouray-Uintah and Grand Counties or Uintah and Ouray-Duchesne County Designated Areas; Technical Conference, 66417 2015-27250 Postal Regulatory Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products, 66589-66591 2015-27523 2015-27524 2015-27526 Postal Service Postal Service NOTICES Product Changes: Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail, and First-Class Package Service Negotiated Service Agreement, 66591 2015-27498 Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreement, 66591 2015-27500 Rural Utilities Rural Utilities Service NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 66488 2015-27602 Securities Securities and Exchange Commission NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 66591 2015-27695 Self-Regulatory Organizations; Proposed Rule Changes: Chicago Board Options Exchange, Inc., 66605-66609 2015-27517 2015-27520 2015-27521 Chicago Stock Exchange, Inc., 66600-66603 2015-27519 NASDAQ Stock Market, LLC, 66594-66600 2015-27515 NYSE Arca, Inc., 66603-66605 2015-27516 NYSE MKT, LLC, 66591-66594 2015-27518 State Department State Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Contact Information and Work History for Nonimmigrant Visa Applicant, 66609-66610 2015-27616 Meetings: U.S. National Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, 66609 2015-27614 Transportation Department Transportation Department See

Federal Aviation Administration

See

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

See

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Vendor Invoice Submission Pilot, 66615-66616 2015-27577 Meetings: National Freight Advisory Committee, 66616 2015-27607
Treasury Treasury Department See

Internal Revenue Service

See

United States Mint

NOTICES Lists of Countries Requiring Cooperation with an International Boycott, 66621-66622 2015-27564 Senior Executive Service Departmental Performance Review Board; Member Appointments, 66622 2015-27485 Senior Executive Service; Departmental Performance Review Board Member Appointments, 66622 2015-27486
U.S. Mint United States Mint NOTICES Coin Exchange; Suspension, 66622-66623 2015-27487 Veteran Affairs Veterans Affairs Department RULES Expanded Access to Non-VA Care through the Veterans Choice Program, 66419-66429 2015-27481 Workers' Workers Compensation Programs Office NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Advisory Board on Toxic Substances and Worker Health; Comment Extension, 66581-66582 2015-27641 Separate Parts In This Issue Part II National Credit Union Administration, 66626-66723 2015-26790 Part III Health and Human Services Department, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, 66726-66745 2015-27599 Health and Human Services Department, Inspector General Office, Health and Human Services Department, 66726-66745 2015-27599 Part IV Agriculture Department, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, 66748-66779 2015-27363 Reader Aids

Consult the Reader Aids section at the end of this issue for phone numbers, online resources, finding aids, and notice of recently enacted public laws.

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80 209 Thursday, October 29, 2015 Rules and Regulations DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2014-1123; Directorate Identifier 2014-CE-037-AD; Amendment; 39-18308; AD 2015-06-02 R2] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; GA 8 Airvan (Pty) Ltd Airplanes AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Final rule; request for comments

SUMMARY:

We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for GA 8 Airvan (Pty) Ltd Model GA8-TC320 airplanes. This AD revises AD 2015-06-02 R1, which required inspection to detect and correct the omission of steel washers at each isolator mount location. This AD retains the actions of AD 2014-06-02 R1 but corrects the AD number in the parenthetical of the compliance time in paragraph (f)(1) of the AD. This AD was prompted by reports of missing required engine mount fire seal washers, which could reduce the engine retention capability in the event of a fire. We are issuing this AD to require actions to address the unsafe condition on these products.

DATES:

This AD is effective December 3, 2015.

The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of a certain publication listed in this AD as of April 24, 2015 (80 FR 14810, March 20, 2015).

We must receive comments on this AD by December 14, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

You may send comments by any of the following methods:

Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

Fax: (202) 493-2251.

Mail: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.

Hand Delivery: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

For service information identified in this AD, contact GA 8 Airvan (Pty) Ltd, c/o GippsAero Pty Ltd, Attn: Technical Services, P.O. Box 881, Morwell Victoria 3840, Australia; telephone: + 61 03 5172 1200; fax: +61 03 5172 1201; email: [email protected]; Internet: http://www.gippsaero.com/customer-support/technical-publications.aspx. You may view this referenced service information at the FAA, Small Airplane Directorate, 901 Locust, Kansas City, Missouri 64106. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call (816) 329-4148. It is also available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for locating Docket No. FAA-2014-1123.

Examining the AD Docket

You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2014-1123; or in person at the Docket Management Facility between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket Office (telephone (800) 647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Doug Rudolph, Aerospace Engineer, FAA, Small Airplane Directorate, 901 Locust, Room 301, Kansas City, Missouri 64106; telephone: (816) 329-4059; fax: (816) 329-4090; email: [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Discussion

On July 7, 2015, we issued AD 2015-06-02 R1, Amendment 39-18209 (80 FR 42010; July 16, 2015). That AD required actions intended to address an unsafe condition on GA 8 Airvan (Pty) Ltd Model GA8-TC320 airplanes and was based on mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI) originated by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), which is the aviation authority for Australia. The MCAI (AD No. AD/GA8/8, Amdt 1, dated March 26, 2015) states:

A recent review of the engine mount installation on the GA8-TC 320 aircraft has highlighted the omission of engine mount fire seal washers during the assembly process.

The current engine mount configuration does not meet the certification basis for the aircraft, specifically regulation 23.865 of the Federal Aviation Regulations of the United States of America, where engine mounts located in designated fire zones are required to be suitably shielded so that they are capable of withstanding the effects of a fire.

The Gippsland Aeronautics GA8-TC 320 aircraft require the installation of an approved steel washer at each of the engine mount locations to address a potential risk of reduced engine retention capability in the event of a fire.

You may examine the MCAI on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2011-0127.

Since we issued AD 2015-06-02 R1, it was determined that the incorrect retained AD number was referenced in the parenthetical of the compliance time in paragraph (f)(1) of the AD. To avoid any confusion, this AD revises AD 2015-06-02 R1 to correct this reference.

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

We reviewed GippsAero Mandatory Service Bulletin SB-GA8-2014-115, Issue 1, dated October 6, 2014. The service bulletin describes procedures for inspecting the orientation of the engine isolator mounts to verify proper installation, re-installing if necessary, and installing steel washers on the forward side of each side of the engine isolator mounts. This service information is reasonably available because the interested parties have access to it through their normal course of business or by the means identified in the ADDRESSES section of this AD.

FAA's Determination and Requirements of the AD

This product has been approved by the aviation authority of another country, and is approved for operation in the United States. Pursuant to our bilateral agreement with this State of Design Authority, they have notified us of the unsafe condition described in the MCAI and service information referenced above. We are issuing this AD because we evaluated all information provided by the State of Design Authority and determined the unsafe condition exists and is likely to exist or develop on other products of the same type design.

FAA's Determination of the Effective Date

An unsafe condition exists that allows for the immediate adoption of this AD. The FAA has found that the risk to the flying public justifies waiving notice and comment prior to adoption of this rule because the change does not affect compliance and the actions have already been proposed in prior rulemaking actions. Therefore, we determine that notice and opportunity for public comment before issuing this AD are impraticable.

Comments Invited

This AD is a final rule that involves requirements affecting flight safety, and we did not precede it by notice and opportunity for public comment. We invite you to send any written relevant data, views, or arguments about this AD. Send your comments to an address listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include “Docket No. FAA-2014-1123; Directorate Identifier 2014-CE-037-AD” at the beginning of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this AD. We will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this AD because of those comments.

We will post all comments we receive, without change, to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information you provide. We will also post a report summarizing each substantive verbal contact we receive about this AD.

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this AD will affect 13 products of U.S. registry. We also estimate that it would take about 5 work-hours per product to comply with the basic requirements of this AD. The average labor rate is $85 per work-hour. Required parts would cost about $10 per product.

Authority for This Rulemaking

Title 49 of the United States Code specifies the FAA's authority to issue rules on aviation safety. Subtitle I, section 106, describes the authority of the FAA Administrator. “Subtitle VII: Aviation Programs,” describes in more detail the scope of the Agency's authority.

We are issuing this rulemaking under the authority described in “Subtitle VII, Part A, Subpart III, Section 44701: General requirements.” Under that section, Congress charges the FAA with promoting safe flight of civil aircraft in air commerce by prescribing regulations for practices, methods, and procedures the Administrator finds necessary for safety in air commerce. This regulation is within the scope of that authority because it addresses an unsafe condition that is likely to exist or develop on products identified in this rulemaking action.

Regulatory Findings

We determined that this AD will not have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132. This AD will not have a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government.

For the reasons discussed above, I certify that this AD:

(1) Is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866,

(2) Is not a “significant rule” under the DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures (44 FR 11034, February 26, 1979),

(3) Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska, and

(4) Will not have a significant economic impact, positive or negative, on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

Air transportation, Aircraft, Aviation safety, Incorporation by reference, Safety.

Adoption of the Amendment

Accordingly, under the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the FAA amends 14 CFR part 39 as follows:

PART 39—AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES 1. The authority citation for part 39 continues to read as follows: Authority:

49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701.

§ 39.13 [Amended]
2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by removing airworthiness directive (AD) 2015-06-02 R1 (80 FR 42010, July 16, 2015) and adding the following new AD: 2015-06-02 R2 GA 8 Airvan (Pty) Ltd: Amendment 39-18308; Docket No. FAA-2014-1123; Directorate Identifier 2014-CE-037-AD. (a) Effective Date

This airworthiness directive (AD) becomes effective December 3, 2015.

(b) Affected ADs

This AD replaces AD 2015-06-02 R1, Amendment 39-18209 (80 FR 42010, July 16, 2015) (“AD 2015-06-02 R1”).

(c) Applicability

This AD applies to GA 8 Airvan (Pty) Ltd GA8-TC320 airplanes, all serial numbers up to and including GA8-TC 320-14-205, certificated in any category.

(d) Subject

Air Transport Association of America (ATA) Code 71: Power Plant.

(e) Reason

AD 2015-06-02, Amendment 39-18120 (80 FR 14810, March 20, 2015) (“AD 2015-06-02”) was prompted by mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI) originated by an aviation authority of another country to identify and correct an unsafe condition on an aviation product. The MCAI describes the unsafe condition as missing required engine mount fire seal washers, which could reduce the engine retention capability in the event of a fire. We issued AD 2015-06-02 R1, Amendment 39-18209 to retain the actions of AD 2015-06-02 and to revise the applicable airplane serial numbers. We are issuing this AD to correct the AD number in the parenthetical of the compliance time in paragraph (f)(1) of the AD and to detect and correct the omission of steel washers at each isolator mount location, which, if not corrected, could result in reduced engine retention capability in the event of a fire.

(f) Actions and Compliance

Unless already done, comply with this AD within the compliance times specified in paragraphs (f)(1) through (f)(3) of this AD:

(1) Within the next 300 hours time-in-service after April 24, 2015 (the effective date retained from AD 2015-06-02 and AD 2015-06-02 R1) or within the next 12 months after April 24, 2015 (the effective date retained from AD 2015-06-02 and AD 2015-06-02 R1), whichever occurs first, inspect the orientation of the engine isolator mounts to verify that the mounts have been installed properly following the Accomplishment Instructions in GippsAero Mandatory Service Bulletin SB-GA8-2014-115, Issue 1, dated October 6, 2014.

(2) Before reinstalling the engine isolator mounts following the inspection required in paragraph (f)(1) of this AD, before further flight, install a part number J-2218-61 steel washer on the forward side of each of the four engine isolator mounts, following the Accomplishment Instructions in GippsAero Mandatory Service Bulletin SB-GA8-2014-115, Issue 1, dated October 6, 2014.

(3) If during the inspection required in paragraph (f)(1) of this AD, any of the engine isolator mounts are found to not comply with the specifications found in the Accomplishment Instructions of GippsAero Mandatory Service Bulletin SB-GA8-2014-115, Issue 1, dated October 6, 2014, before further flight, re-install the isolators to the correct orientation, or if damage is found, replace with airworthy parts.

(g) Other FAA AD Provisions

The following provisions also apply to this AD:

(1) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs): The Manager, Standards Office, FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. Send information to ATTN: Doug Rudolph, Aerospace Engineer, FAA, Small Airplane Directorate, 901 Locust, Room 301, Kansas City, Missouri 64106; telephone: (816) 329-4059; fax: (816) 329-4090; email: [email protected] Before using any approved AMOC on any airplane to which the AMOC applies, notify your appropriate principal inspector (PI) in the FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), or lacking a PI, your local FSDO.

(2) Airworthy Product: For any requirement in this AD to obtain corrective actions from a manufacturer or other source, use these actions if they are FAA-approved. Corrective actions are considered FAA-approved if they are approved by the State of Design Authority (or their delegated agent). You are required to assure the product is airworthy before it is returned to service.

(h) Related Information

Refer to MCAI Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) AD No. AD/GA8/8, Amdt 1, dated March 26, 2015. The MCAI can be found in the AD docket on the Internet at: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FAA-2014-1123-0007.

(i) Material Incorporated by Reference

(1) The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference (IBR) of the service information listed in this paragraph under 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51.

(2) You must use this service information as applicable to do the actions required by this AD, unless the AD specifies otherwise.

(3) The following service information was approved for IBR on April 24, 2015 (80 FR 14810, March 20, 2015).

(i) GippsAero Mandatory Service Bulletin SB-GA8-2014-115, Issue 1, dated October 6, 2014.

(ii) Reserved.

(4) For GippsAero service information identified in this AD, contact GA 8 Airvan (Pty) Ltd, c/o GippsAero Pty Ltd, Attn: Technical Services, P.O. Box 881, Morwell Victoria 3840, Australia; telephone: + 61 03 5172 1200; fax: +61 03 5172 1201; email: [email protected]; Internet: http://www.gippsaero.com/customer-support/technical-publications.aspx.

(5) You may view this service information at the FAA, Small Airplane Directorate, 901 Locust, Kansas City, Missouri 64106. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call (816) 329-4148. In addition, you can access this service information on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2014-1123.

(6) You may view this service information that is incorporated by reference at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this material at NARA, call 202-741-6030, or go to: http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/cfr/ibr-locations.html.

Issued in Kansas City, Missouri, on October 22, 2015. Melvin Johnson, Acting Manager, Small Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 2015-27438 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration 21 CFR Part 73 [Docket No. FDA-2014-C-1552] Listing of Color Additives Exempt From Certification; Spirulina Extract; Confirmation of Effective Date AGENCY:

Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

ACTION:

Final rule; confirmation of effective date.

SUMMARY:

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or we) is confirming the effective date of September 22, 2015, for the final rule that appeared in the Federal Register of August 21, 2015, and that amended the color additive regulations to expand the permitted use of spirulina extract as a color additive to include use in coating formulations applied to dietary supplement and drug tablets and capsules.

DATES:

Effective date of final rule published in the Federal Register of August 21, 2015 (80 FR 50762), confirmed: September 22, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Molly A. Harry, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (HFS-265), Food and Drug Administration, 5100 Paint Branch Pkwy., College Park, MD 20740-3835, 240-402-1075.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

In the Federal Register of August 21, 2015 (80 FR 50762), we amended the color additive regulations in § 73.530 Spirulina extract (21 CFR 73.530) to expand the permitted use of spirulina extract as a color additive to include use in coating formulations applied to dietary supplement tablets and capsules. We also amended the color additive regulations to add § 73.1530 Spirulina extract (21 CFR 73.1530) to provide for the safe use of spirulina extract as a color additive in coating formulations applied to drug tablets and capsules.

We gave interested persons until September 21, 2015, to file objections or requests for a hearing. We received no objections or requests for a hearing on the final rule. Therefore, we find that the effective date of the final rule that published in the Federal Register of August 21, 2015, should be confirmed.

List of Subjects in 21 CFR Part 73

Color additives, Cosmetics, Drugs, Foods, Medical devices.

Therefore, under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 321, 341, 342, 343, 348, 351, 352, 355, 361, 362, 371, 379e) and under authority delegated to the Commissioner of Food and Drugs, and redelegated to the Director, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, we are giving notice that no objections or requests for a hearing were filed in response to the August 21, 2015, final rule. Accordingly, the amendments issued thereby became effective September 22, 2015.

Dated: October 21, 2015. Susan Bernard, Director, Office of Regulations, Policy and Social Sciences, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.
[FR Doc. 2015-27369 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Internal Revenue Service 26 CFR Part 1 [TD 9733] RIN 1545-BJ49 United States Property Held by Controlled Foreign Corporations in Transactions Involving Partnerships; Rents and Royalties Derived in the Active Conduct of a Trade or Business; Correction AGENCY:

Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Treasury.

ACTION:

Final and temporary regulations; correcting amendment.

SUMMARY:

This document contains corrections to final and temporary regulations (TD 9733) that were published in the Federal Register on September 2, 2015 (80 FR 52976). The temporary regulations are regarding the treatment as United States property of property held by a controlled foreign corporation in connection with certain transactions involving partnerships.

DATES:

This correction is effective on October 29, 2015 and applicable beginning September 2, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Rose E. Jenkins at (202) 317-6934 (not a toll free number).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

The final and temporary regulations (TD 9733) that are the subject of this correction are under sections 954 and 956 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Need for Correction

As published, the final and temporary regulations (TD 9733) contain errors that may prove to be misleading and are in need of clarification.

List of Subjects in 26 CFR Part 1

Income taxes, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

Correction of Publication

Accordingly, 26 CFR part 1 is corrected by making the following correcting amendments:

PART 1—INCOME TAXES Paragraph 1. The authority citation for part 1 continues to read in part as follows: Authority:

26 U.S.C. 7805 * * *

Par. 2. Section 1.954-2T is amended by revising paragraph (a)(1) through (c)(1) introductory text, paragraph (c)(2)(iii) introductory text through (c)(2)(iii)(D), paragraph (c)(3) and (d)(1) introductory text, (d)(2)(iii) introductory text through (d)(2)(iii)(D), and the last sentence of paragraph (j) to read as follows:
§ 1.954-3T Foreign personal holding company income (temporary).

(a)(1) through (c)(1) introductory text [Reserved]. For further guidance, see § 1.954-2(a)(1) through (c)(1) introductory text.

(c)(2)(iii) introductory text through (c)(2)(iii)(D) [Reserved]. For further guidance, see § 1.954-2(c)(2)(iii) introductory text through (c)(2)(iii)(D).

(c)(3) and (d)(1) introductory text [Reserved]. For further guidance, see § 1.954-2(c)(3) and (d)(1) introductory text.

(d)(2)(iii) introductory text through (d)(2)(iii)(D) [Reserved]. For further guidance, see § 1.954-2(d)(2)(iii) introductory text through (d)(2)(iii)(D).

(j) * * * See § 1.954-2(c)(1)(i), (c)(1)(iv), (c)(2)(ii), (c)(2)(iii), (d)(1)(i), (d)(1)(ii), (d)(2)(ii), and (d)(2)(iii), as contained in 26 CFR part 1 revised as of April 1, 2015, for rules applicable to rents or royalties, as applicable, received or accrued before September 1, 2015.

Par. 3. Section 1.956-1 is amended by revising paragraph (g) introductory text through (g)(3) to read as follows:
§ 1.956-1 Shareholder's pro rata share of a controlled foreign corporation's increase in earnings invested in United States property.

(g) introductory text through (g)(3) [Reserved]. For further guidance, see § 1.956-1T(g) introductory text through (g)(3).

Par. 4. Section 1.956-1T is amended by revising paragraph (b)(4)(ii), the third sentence of paragraph (b)(4)(iv) Example 1. (i), the first sentence of paragraph (b)(4)(iv) Example 3. (i), and paragraph (g)(1) to read as follows:
§ 1.956-1T Shareholder's pro rata share of a controlled foreign corporation's increase in earnings invested in United States property (temporary).

(b) * * *

(4) * * *

(ii) Control. For purposes of paragraphs (b)(4)(i)(B) and (C) of this section, a controlled foreign corporation controls a foreign corporation or partnership if the controlled foreign corporation and the other foreign corporation or partnership are related within the meaning of section 267(b) or section 707(b). For this purpose, in determining whether two corporations are members of the same controlled group under section 267(b)(3), a person is considered to own stock owned directly by such person, stock owned for the purposes of section 1563(e)(1), and stock owned with the application of section 267(c).

(iv) * * *

Example 1.

(i) * * * FS2 has no earnings and profits, and FS1 has substantial accumulated earnings and profits. * * *

Example 3.

(i) * * * FS1 has $100x of post-1986 undisturbed earnings and profits and $100x post-1986 foreign income taxes, but does not have any cash. * * *

(g) * * * (1) Paragraph (b)(4) of this section applies to taxable years of controlled foreign corporations ending on or after September 1, 2015, and to taxable years of United States shareholders in which or with which such taxable years end, with respect to property acquired on or after September 1, 2015. See paragraph (b)(4) of § 1.956-1T, as contained in 26 CFR part 1 revised as of April 1, 2015, for the rules applicable to taxable years of controlled foreign corporations ending before September 1, 2015, and property acquired before September 1, 2015. For purposes of this paragraph (g)(1), a deemed exchange of property pursuant to section 1001 on or after September 1, 2015, constitutes an acquisition of the property on or after that date.

Martin V. Franks, Chief, Publications and Regulations Branch, Legal Processing Division, Associate Chief Counsel (Procedure and Administration).
[FR Doc. 2015-27603 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4830-01-P
DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Internal Revenue Service 26 CFR Part 1 [TD 9733] RIN 1545-BJ49 United States Property Held by Controlled Foreign Corporations in Transactions Involving Partnerships; Rents and Royalties Derived in the Active Conduct of a Trade or Business; Correction AGENCY:

Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Treasury.

ACTION:

Final and temporary regulations; correction.

SUMMARY:

This document contains corrections to final and temporary regulations (TD 9733) that were published in the Federal Register on September 2, 2015 (80 FR 52976). The temporary regulations are regarding the treatment as United States property of property held by a controlled foreign corporation in connection with certain transactions involving partnerships.

DATES:

This correction is effective on October 29, 2015 and applicable beginning September 2, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Rose E. Jenkins at (202) 317-6934 (not a toll free number).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

The final and temporary regulations (TD 9733) that are the subject of this correction are under sections 954 and 956 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Need for Correction

As published, the final and temporary regulations (TD 9733) contain errors that may prove to be misleading and are in need of clarification.

Correction of Publication

Accordingly, the final and temporary regulations (TD 9733), that are the subject of FR Doc. 2015-21574, are corrected as follows:

1. On page 52977, in the preamble, the first column, under the paragraph heading “Background”, the second line of the paragraph, the language “to 26 CFR part 1 under of the Internal” is corrected to read “to 26 CFR part 1 under section 956 of the Internal”.

2. On page 52979, in the preamble, the second column, the first line of the column, the language “the active development test in §§ 1.954-” is corrected to read “the active development test in § 1.954-”.

3. On page 52979, in the preamble, the second column, the twentieth line of the column, the language “§§ 1.954-2T(c)(2)(iii)(E), (c)(2)(viii),” is corrected to read “§ 1.954-2T(c)(2)(iii)(E), (c)(2)(viii),”.

4. On page 52979, in the preamble, the second column, the twelfth line from the bottom of the column, the language “that such rents or royalties that are” is corrected to read that such rents or royalties are”.

Martin V. Franks, Chief, Publications and Regulations Branch, Legal Processing Division, Associate Chief Counsel (Procedure and Administration).
[FR Doc. 2015-27604 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4830-01-P
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Office of Natural Resources Revenue 30 CFR Parts 1206 and 1210 [Docket No. ONRR-2015-0002; DS63610000 DR2PS0000.CH7000 156D0102R2] Technical Conference AGENCY:

Office of Natural Resources Revenue (ONRR), Interior.

ACTION:

Notification of technical conference.

SUMMARY:

ONRR will convene a technical conference on November 20, 2015, to discuss two issues: (1) The appropriate boundary line between the North Fort Berthold and South Fort Berthold Designated Areas and adding additional counties to one or both of the two Designated Areas in the Uintah and Ouray Reservation.

Date And Address: ONRR will hold two sessions for the technical conference. The first session will be held in person on November 20, 2015, at 9:00 a.m. Mountain Time in Denver, Colorado. The location will be at the Office of Natural Resources Revenue, Denver Federal Center, 6th Avenue and Kipling Street, Building 85, Auditoriums A-D, Denver, Colorado 80226.

The second session will be a teleconference on November 20, 2015, at 2:00 p.m. Mountain Time. To call into the second session please call 1-866-778-1299, and use participant code 5826518.

To RSVP for either one of these two sessions, please email Elizabeth Dawson at [email protected] or call (303) 231-3653.

If you cannot participate in either session and would like to provide comments, please email us at [email protected] by November 30, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Elizabeth Dawson, ONRR, telephone (303) 231-3653, or email at [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Under the new Indian oil valuation amendments (80 FR 24794—May 1, 2015), ONRR uses designated areas to calculate index-based major portion prices for lessees to comply with the major portion provisions in their leases. Designated areas are those areas ONRR identifies as unique based on their location and crude type produced from Indian lands. When ONRR proposed the new Indian oil valuation amendments (79 FR 35102—June 19, 2014), we proposed sixteen initial Designated Areas. Generally, these Designated Areas were the Indian reservation boundaries. However, there are five Designated Areas that are not the reservation boundaries: Oklahoma; North Fort Berthold; South Fort Berthold; Uintah & Ouray: Uintah and Grand Counties; and Uintah and Ouray: Duschene County.

Under the new Indian Oil Valuation Amendments—and in order to modify or change an existing Designated Area—ONRR must convene a technical conference. See 30 CFR 1206.51. In implementing the rule, ONRR discovered two potential issues: (1) The preamble describes the dividing line between the North Fort Berthold Designated Area and the South Fort Berthold Designated Area as the “Little Missouri River;” at the technical conference, ONRR would like to discuss whether the Little Missouri River or the county lines that follow the Missouri River is the appropriate boundary between the North Fort Berthold and South Fort Berthold Designated Areas. (2) ONRR found at least one Indian lease that is in Wasatch County in the Uintah and Ouray Reservation. In addition, ONRR identified two other counties in the Uintah and Ouray Reservation that do not currently have Indian leases: Carbon and Emery Counties. However these Counties could have Indian leases in the future. Because the current designated areas list only includes Uintah, Duchesne, and Grand Counties on the Uintah and Ouray Reservation, ONRR would like to discuss adding Wasatch County to the Uintah and Ouray—Duchesne County Designated Area. ONRR would also like to discuss whether to include Carbon and Emery Counties in either the Uintah and Ouray—Uintah and Grand Counties or Uintah and Ouray—Duchesne County Designated Areas.

ONRR will not consider or discuss other issues associated with these or other designated areas at the technical conference.

We encourage stakeholders and members of the public to participate in one of the two conference sessions. The conference sessions will be open to the public without advance registration. However, attendance may be limited to the space available. Each attendee will be required to present a valid picture ID in order to gain entry into the Denver Federal Center and Building 85.

Dated: October 14, 2015. Gregory J. Gould, Director, Office of Natural Resources Revenue.
[FR Doc. 2015-27250 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4335-30-P
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR National Park Service 36 CFR Part 13 [NPS-KLGO-19374; PPAKKLGOL0, PPMPRLE1Z.L00000] RIN 1024-AE27 Special Regulations, Areas of the National Park System, Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, Horse Management AGENCY:

National Park Service, Interior.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The National Park Service is revising the special regulations for Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park to close the core Dyea Historic Townsite to the use of horses except by special use permit issued by the superintendent.

DATES:

This rule is effective November 30, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Andee Sears, Regional Law Enforcement Specialist, Alaska Regional Office, 240 West 5th Ave., Anchorage, AK 99501. Phone (907) 644-3410. Email: [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background and Significance of Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park

Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park (KLGO or park) was established in 1976. The park includes 13,191 acres and is the only NPS area authorized and established solely to commemorate an American gold rush. The purpose of the park is to preserve for the benefit and inspiration of the people of the United States, the historic structures, trails, artifacts and landscapes and stories associated with the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898.

Part of the park is the Dyea Historic Townsite, which served as the gateway community to the Chilkoot Trail. At the time of the Gold Rush, approximately 10,000 people lived in Dyea. Dyea is rich in surface artifacts and other remnants from the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898. Horses were a very important and visible component of the 1898 Klondike Gold Rush and the Dyea Historic Townsite from 1897 and for several decades afterward. Thousands of unique and irreplaceable cultural landscape features and artifacts remain within and above the top layers of soil, and as such are highly susceptible to damage from ground disturbance, including disturbance caused by unregulated horseback traffic.

Authority To Promulgate Regulations

The National Park Service (NPS) manages KLGO under a statute commonly known as the NPS Organic Act of 1916 (Organic Act) (54 U.S.C. 100101 et seq.), which gives the NPS broad authority to regulate the use of the park areas under its jurisdiction. The Organic Act authorizes the Secretary of the Interior, acting through NPS, to “prescribe such regulations as the Secretary considers necessary or proper for the use and management of [National Park] System units.” 54 U.S.C. 100751(a).

Management of the park is also governed by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA). Horses at KLGO are a form of non-motorized surface transportation for traditional activities which is subject to Section 1110(a) of ANILCA. Under this section of ANILCA, such use is subject to reasonable regulations to protect the natural and other values of KLGO. Under the Department's regulations implementing this statutory provision at 43 CFR 36.11(h), NPS may permanently close an area to this form of transportation by regulation upon a finding by the NPS that the activity would be detrimental to the resource values of the area. Based upon the analysis in the Dyea Area Plan and Environmental Assessment (EA) and the associated Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), NPS finds that unregulated horse traffic in the Dyea Historic Townsite would be detrimental to the resource values of the area, namely the thousands of unique and irreplaceable cultural landscape features and artifacts that remain within and above the top layers of soil in the area.

Dyea Area Plan and Environmental Assessment and Final Rule

In January 2014, the NPS completed the EA after providing an opportunity for public comment. The proposed action in the EA calls for eliminating horse traffic from the Dyea Historic Townsite except for limited and infrequent use on an established route by private, non-commercial parties pursuant to a special use permit issued by the superintendent. In March 2014, the NPS held a public hearing in Skagway, AK for the proposed restrictions on horse use in the Dyea Historic Townsite in compliance with regulations at 43 CFR 36.11(h)(3). In September 2014, the Regional Director for the Alaska Region signed the FONSI identifying the proposed action in the EA as the selected action. The rule implements the selected action by closing the Dyea Historic Townsite to the use of horses except under a special use permit issued by the superintendent under 36 CFR 1.6 (Permits), the provisions of which apply to the permits issued by the superintendent. If, after observation, the superintendent determines that the desired condition, as defined in the EA, has deteriorated, the superintendent may include permit conditions to protect natural and cultural resources and, if necessary, cease issuing permits until impacts from prior uses of horses are mitigated. The superintendent may also adopt permit conditions to limit impacts from the use of horses on other user experiences.

The closure area is a small 80 acre parcel encompassing the core Dyea Historic Townsite. Alternate routes have already been designated for commercial horse use outside the core Dyea Historic Townsite and noncommercial horse use will continue to be unrestricted outside the Historic Townsite.

Summary of Public Comments

The NPS published the proposed rule at 80 FR 39988 (July 13, 2015). The NPS accepted comments through the mail, hand delivery, and through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. The comment period was open through September 11, 2015. The NPS did not receive any comments on the proposed rule. The NPS did not make any substantive changes to the proposed rule, although the final rule clarifies that the superintendent will issue permits under 36 CFR 1.6.

Compliance With Other Laws, Executive Orders, and Department Policy Regulatory Planning and Review (Executive Order 12866)

Executive Order 12866 provides that the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) in the Office of Management and Budget will review all significant rules. OIRA has determined that this rule is not significant.

Executive Order 13563 reaffirms the principles of Executive Order 12866 while calling for improvements in the nation's regulatory system to promote predictability, to reduce uncertainty, and to use the best, most innovative, and least burdensome tools for achieving regulatory ends. The executive order directs agencies to consider regulatory approaches that reduce burdens and maintain flexibility and freedom of choice for the public where these approaches are relevant, feasible, and consistent with regulatory objectives. Executive Order 13563 emphasizes further that regulations must be based on the best available science and that the rulemaking process must allow for public participation and an open exchange of ideas. We have developed this rule in a manner consistent with these requirements.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

This rule will not have a significant economic effect on a substantial number of small entities under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.). This certification is based on the cost-benefit and regulatory flexibility analyses found in the reports entitled “Regulatory Flexibility Threshold Analysis: Special Regulations for Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park” and “Preliminary Cost/Benefit Analysis: Special Regulations for Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park in Alaska which can be viewed online at http://www.nps.gov/klgo/learn/management/documents.htm.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804(2), the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act. This rule:

a. Does not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more.

b. Will not cause a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual industries, federal, state, or local government agencies, or geographic regions

c. Does not have significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of U.S. based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

This rule does not impose an unfunded mandate on State, local, or tribal governments or the private sector of more than $100 million per year. The rule does not have a significant or unique effect on State, local or tribal governments or the private sector. A statement containing the information required by the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) is therefore not required.

Takings (Executive Order 12630)

This rule does not effect a taking of private property or otherwise have taking implications under Executive Order 12630. A takings implication assessment is not required.

Federalism (Executive Order 13132)

Under the criteria in section 1 of Executive Order 13132, this rule does not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a Federalism summary impact statement. The rule is limited in effect to federal lands managed by the NPS in Alaska and will not have a substantial direct effect on state and local government in Alaska. A federalism summary impact statement is not required.

Civil Justice Reform (Executive Order 12988)

This rule complies with the requirements of Executive Order 12988. Specifically, this rule:

1. Meets the criteria of section 3(a) requiring that all regulations be reviewed to eliminate errors and ambiguity and be written to minimize litigation; and

2. Meets the criteria of section 3(b)(2) requiring that all regulations be written in clear language and contain clear legal standards.

Consultation With Indian tribes (E.O. 13175 and Department Policy) and ANCSA Corporations.

The Department of the Interior strives to strengthen its government-to-government relationship with Indian Tribes through a commitment to consultation with Indian tribes and recognition of their right to self-governance and tribal sovereignty. We have evaluated this rule under the criteria in Executive Order 13175 and under the Department's tribal consultation policy and Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) Corporations policy and have determined that tribal consultation is not required because the rulemaking will have no substantial direct effect on federally recognized Indian tribes or ANCSA Native Corporation lands, water areas, or resources. Nevertheless, the NPS sent copies of the draft plan and letters requesting government-to-government consultation to four nearby Native tribal governments, one of which is the Carcross/Tagish First Nations tribe in Carcross, Canada. Several meetings were held between 2012 and 2013 with tribal governments in Skagway and Haines to discuss key components of the Dyea Area Plan and EA that were of interest to the local federally recognized tribes.

Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.)

This rule does not contain any new collections of information that require approval by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act. OMB has approved the information collection requirements associated with NPS Special Park Use Permits and has assigned OMB Control Number 1024-0026 (expires 08/31/16). An agency may not conduct or sponsor and a person is not required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

National Environmental Policy Act

This rule does not constitute a major Federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. A detailed statement under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 is not required because we reached a Finding of No Significant Impact. The EA and FONSI are available online at http://www.nps.gov/klgo/learn/management/documents.htm.

Effects on the Energy Supply (Executive Order 13211)

This rule is not a significant energy action under the definition in Executive Order 13211. A Statement of Energy Effects is not required.

Drafting Information

The primary authors of this regulation are Jay Calhoun, Regulations Program Specialist, National Park Service, Jenna Giddens of Kenai Fjords National Park, Andee Sears of the Alaska Regional Office, National Park Service, and Tim Steidel of Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park.

List of Subjects in 36 CFR Part 13

Alaska, National parks, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

In consideration of the foregoing, the National Park Service amends 36 CFR part 13 as set forth below:

PART 13—NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM UNITS IN ALASKA 1. The authority citation for part 13 continues to read as follows: Authority:

16 U.S.C. 3124; 54 U.S.C. 100101, 100751, 320102; Sec. 13.1204 also issued under Sec. 1035, Pub. L. 104-333, 110 Stat. 4240.

2. Add § 13.1408 to subpart Q to read as follows:
§ 13.1408 Dyea.

The Dyea Historic Townsite is closed to the use of horses by members of the public except by special use permit issued by the Superintendent under § 1.6 of this chapter. A map showing the boundaries of the Dyea Historic Townsite is available on the park Web site and at the park visitor center.

Dated: October 21, 2015. Michael Bean, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 2015-27522 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310-EJ-P
DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS 38 CFR Part 17 RIN 2900-AP24 Expanded Access to Non-VA Care Through the Veterans Choice Program AGENCY:

Department of Veterans Affairs.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

This document amends the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical regulations implementing section 101 of the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014, which directed VA to establish a program to furnish hospital care and medical services through eligible non-VA health care providers to eligible veterans who either cannot be seen within the wait-time goals of the Veterans Health Administration or who qualify based on their place of residence (hereafter referred to as the “Veterans Choice Program”, or the “Program”). VA published an interim final rule implementing the Veterans Choice Program on November 5, 2014, and published a subsequent interim final rule making further amendments on April 24, 2015. This final rule responds to public comments received from both interim final rules and amends the regulations to modify payment rates under the Program.

DATES:

Effective Date: This rule is effective on October 29, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Kristin Cunningham, Director, Business Policy, Chief Business Office (10NB), Veterans Health Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20420, (202) 382-2508. (This is not a toll-free number.)

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

On August 7, 2014, the President signed into law the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 (“the Act,” Pub. L. 113-146, 128 Stat. 1754). Further technical revisions to the Act were made on September 26, 2014, when the President signed into law the Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2014 (Pub. L. 113-175, 128 Stat. 1901, 1906), on December 16, 2014, when the President signed into law the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015 (Pub. L. 113-235, 128 Stat. 2130, 2568), on May 22, 2015, when the President signed into law the Construction Authorization and Choice Improvement Act (Pub. L. 114-19, 129 Stat. 215), and on July 31, 2015, when the President signed into law the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act (Pub. L. 114-41, 129 Stat. 443). Section 101 of the Act creates the Veterans Choice Program and requires the Secretary to enter into agreements with identified eligible non-Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) entities or providers to furnish hospital care and medical services to eligible veterans who elect to receive care under the Program. Sec. 101(a)(1)(A), Public Law 113-146, 128 Stat. 1754. Congress directed VA to publish interim final regulations concerning this Program within 90 days of enactment. Sec. 101(n), Public Law 113-146, 128 Stat. 1754. On November 5, 2014, VA published an interim final rulemaking implementing the Program by creating new regulations at 38 CFR 17.1500-17.1540. 79 FR 65571 (hereinafter referred to as “the November interim final rule”). VA published another interim final rulemaking on April 24, 2015, modifying § 17.1510(e) to revise the methodology for calculating distances under that section from geodesic (or “straight-line”) distance to the actual driving distance. 80 FR 22906 (hereinafter referred to as “the April interim final rule”).

In response to the November interim final rule, VA received 39 comments, and in response to the April interim final rule, VA received 12 comments. Several commenters expressed support for the Program, in whole or in part, and we appreciate their support. This final rule amends 38 CFR part 17 as discussed below.

VA Copayments

The November interim final rule modified 38 CFR 17.108, 17.110, and 17.111 to establish a VA copayment of $0 at the time of service for veterans receiving non-VA care under the Program who would have been required to make a copayment for the receipt of hospital care or medical services at a VA medical facility. We received several comments recommending that VA require veterans to make their VA copayment at the time services are rendered.

As we explained in detail in the November interim final rule, there are administrative difficulties in determining the proper copayment amount for a visit scheduled through the Program that make it inefficient to attempt to charge a copayment amount at the time of visit. In addition, not charging a copayment at the time of the visit was intended to ensure that veterans' experiences under the Program would be as similar as possible to their experiences when provided with non-VA care through other VA programs, where copayments are not due at the time of appointment. These reasons have not changed since November. Therefore, in the interests of administrative efficiency and to avoid the appearance of inconsistency between non-VA care provided through the Program and under other authorities, we are not making a change as a result of these comments.

Duration and Scope of the Program

The Program is funded with $10 billion in appropriated resources in the Veterans Choice Fund through section 802 of the Act. The Program is authorized to continue until the date the Veterans Choice Fund is exhausted or August 7, 2017, whichever occurs first. Sec. 101(p), Public Law 113-146, 128 Stat. 1754. One commenter asked what happens when the Program ends. Section 101 of the Act only authorizes the Program to operate within the parameters described above, so when VA has exhausted the Veterans Choice Fund or on August 7, 2017 (whichever occurs first), the Program will end absent further appropriations, if funds are exhausted, or statutory authority. VA will still be able to refer veterans to community providers under other non-VA care authorities, but such referrals will be subject to the provisions of those statutes and contingent upon the availability of resources. VA is not making a change based on this comment.

VA received several comments suggesting that non-VA providers under the Program should be able to make referrals back to VA for specific care, services, or tests. The Act authorizes VA to furnish hospital care and medical services for eligible veterans through agreements with eligible entities, including any health care provider participating in the Medicare program, any Federally-qualified health center, the Department of Defense, and the Indian Health Service. Sec. 101(a)(1), Public Law 113-146, 128 Stat. 1754. As we explained in the November interim final rule, the Act specifically envisions that care under the Program is provided by non-VA resources, as demonstrated by section 101(a)(3) of the Act, which requires VA to coordinate through the Non-VA Care Coordination Program the furnishing of care and services under this Program. For these reasons, we are not making any changes to the rule as a result of this comment. However, we note that veterans who receive non-VA care through the Program are still in the VA health care system, and can at any time return to VA for care. A veteran's election to participate in the Program does not foreclose returning to VA for care.

We received comments indicating that the Program should be used to provide unscheduled or emergency care, particularly under extraordinarily dangerous circumstances. We note that under the contract VA has signed with the vendors administering the Program, VA will cover the cost of emergency care in limited circumstances, namely when the vendor notifies VA within 72 hours of the veteran presenting to an emergency department for care. We believe this is consistent with the position taken in the November interim final rule, as VA can currently furnish emergency services under 38 CFR 17.54. This regulation permits VA to consider emergency care pre-authorized when VA is notified within 72 hours of admission to an emergency care facility. 38 CFR 17.54(a)(1). For veterans residing in Alaska, Hawaii, and the U.S. territories other than Puerto Rico, if there are no means of communicating with VA at the time of admission, the 72 hour period begins when such means of communication become available. 38 CFR 17.54(a)(2). We are not making a change based on these comments.

VA received comments that the Program was implemented too quickly, that staff were not adequately trained, and that there are operational issues that need to be resolved. The Act directed VA to begin the Program and publish implementing regulations within 90 days of enactment (August 7, 2014). Sec. 101(n), Public Law 113-146, 128 Stat. 1754. We continue to refine the Program and improve the quality of services we offer through the Program, but we are not making any changes to the rule as a result of this comment.

VA received a comment stating that we should not have sent Choice Cards to veterans who are not eligible to participate in the Program. While this comment is somewhat outside the scope of this rulemaking, which did not address the distribution of Choice Cards because it was not necessary to do so to establish the Program, VA was directed by law to send a Choice Card to every enrolled veteran and every separating servicemember. Sec. 101(f), Public Law 113-146, 128 Stat. 1754. Additionally, just because a veteran was not eligible at the time he or she received the Choice Card does not mean the veteran would never be eligible to participate in the Program. For example, if the veteran was unable to schedule an appointment within the wait-time goals of the Veterans Health Administration, he or she would be eligible under § 17.1510(b)(1), or if the veteran moved to a new residence that qualified him or her under § 17.1510(b)(2)-(4), the veteran could be eligible as well. VA is not making a change to the rule as a result of this comment.

Definition of Episode of Care

VA received several comments recommending we adopt different definitions for terms in the rule. Some commenters recommended that VA authorize an episode of care for a period beyond 60 days. As we explained in the November interim final rule, section 101(h) of the Act at that time stated that VA must ensure that an eligible veteran receives hospital care or medical services, including follow up care, “for a period not exceeding 60 days.” Based on this provision of law, we defined the term “episode of care” to mean a necessary course of treatment, including follow-up appointments and ancillary and specialty services, that lasts no longer than 60 days from the date of the first appointment with a non-VA health care provider under the Program. Since the close of the comment periods for both the November 2014 and April 2015 interim final rules, section 4005(a) of Public Law 114-41 amended section 101(h) of the Choice Act by removing the 60-day limitation on an “episode of care.” Sec. 4005(a), Public Law 114-41, 129 Stat. 443. As a result of this amendment to the Choice Act, VA will be publishing a separate rulemaking announcing the removal of the 60-day limitation.

Section 17.1510 Eligible Veterans

We received a number of comments regarding the eligibility criteria for the Program. At the time that the comment periods for both the November and April interim final rules closed, to be eligible to participate in the Program, the veteran must have enrolled in the VA health care system under 38 CFR 17.36 on or before August 1, 2014, or the veteran must have been eligible for hospital care and medical services under 38 U.S.C. 1710(e)(1)(D) and be a veteran described in 38 U.S.C. 1710(e)(3), and the veteran must also have then met at least one of the criteria described in § 17.1510(b). These criteria can be summarized broadly as follows: Wait-time eligibility; eligibility based on distance from a VA medical facility; and travel burden eligibility. Since the close of the comment periods for both the November and April interim final rules, section 4005(b) of Public Law 114-41 amended section 101(b)(1)(A) of the Choice Act to cover all enrolled veterans. Sec. 4005(b), Public Law 114-41, 129 Stat. 443. As a result of this amendment to the Choice Act, VA will be publishing a separate rulemaking announcing this expanded eligibility. We will now address the comments received on the other eligibility factors described in § 17.1510(b).

Wait-Time Eligibility

Under § 17.1510(b)(1), a veteran is eligible if the veteran attempts, or has attempted, to schedule an appointment with a VA health care provider, but VA has been unable to schedule an appointment for the veteran within the wait-time goals of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). VA received comments that the rule does not describe what is or is not a reasonable amount of time, or who decides whether such a period of time is reasonable; however, the wait-time determination is set forth clearly in § 17.1510(b)(1), which defines the wait-time eligibility criterion as meaning that VA is unable to schedule an appointment within 30 days after the date that the appointment was deemed clinically necessary by a VA health care provider, or, if no such clinical determination has been made, the date that a veteran prefers to be seen by a health care provider capable of furnishing the hospital care or medical services required by the veteran. At the time that the November interim final rule published, this was consistent with the requirements in the Act at section 101(b)(2)(A). Since the close of the comment periods for both the November and April interim final rules, section 4005(d) of Public Law 114-41 amended section 101(b)(2)(A) of the Choice Act to create eligibility for veterans that are unable to be scheduled for an appointment within, “with respect to such care or services that are clinically necessary, the period determined necessary for such care or services if such period is shorter than” VHA's wait-time goals. Sec. 4005(d), Public Law 114-41, 129 Stat. 443. This new criterion creates eligibility when VA clinically determines that a veteran requires care within a period of time that is shorter than 30 days from the date an appointment is deemed clinically necessary by a VA health care provider, or shorter than 30 days from the date that a veteran prefers to be seen. As a result of this amendment to the Choice Act, VA will be publishing a separate rulemaking announcing this additional eligibility criterion. We continue to address other comments related to wait times below.

A commenter suggested that the term “wait-time goals of the Veterans Health Administration” should provide greater flexibility, as there are some times when a patient cannot wait 30 days for an appointment. VA agrees with this commenter that some care is urgent and should be furnished as soon as possible, or at least sooner than 30 days from the veteran's preferred date. We will make changes to the regulation to address the new wait-time criterion that is shorter than 30 days in the Choice Act as amended in a separate rulemaking. To address this comment more generally, the Program and its underlying authorities were established specifically to address situations in which veterans could not get scheduled appointments in a timely manner. As noted above, the Program is not designed to take the place of VA's existing authority to provide emergent care through non-VA providers—such care, and other non-VA care, is available under other authorities than the Act. In short, our goal is to furnish timely care to all veterans, whether within a VA medical facility or through a non-VA provider, and Choice is not the only mechanism available to furnish this care. If a veteran requires care sooner and VA is unable to furnish this care, while the veteran would not be eligible for the Program, VA may and does use another statutory authority to furnish non-VA care.

We also received a comment recommending that VA streamline the eligibility process for veterans who qualify under the wait-time criterion. The commenter stated that there can be up to a 72-hour delay before a veteran is added to the Veterans Choice List, the record system VA uses to identify veterans who are eligible for the Program. The commenter further stated that there can be a 2-3 day delay between placement on the Veterans Choice List and when the vendors administering the program are able to verify the veteran's eligibility. The commenter expressed concern that these administrative steps are delaying care for veterans. While this comment is outside the scope of the rulemaking, which only needs to define the eligibility criteria and not the specific procedures VA follows to execute the Program, we are working to streamline eligibility determinations and have learned a great deal about how to operate the Program more effectively during the first several months of operation. For example, VA is now sending the updated Veterans Choice List to the vendors administering the Program on a daily basis. The list includes all veterans who are eligible based on the wait time criterion as well as those veterans who elect to be placed on an electronic waiting list to receive services from VA. We are not making a change as a result of this comment.

Eligibility Based on Distance From a VA Medical Facility

Under § 17.1510(b)(2), a veteran is eligible if the veteran resides more than 40 miles from the VA medical facility that is closest to the veteran's residence. This standard considers the distance between a veteran's residence, as defined in § 17.1505, and any VA medical facility, even if that facility cannot provide the care that the veteran requires. We received several comments suggesting that the 40 mile criterion in general should be removed or eased so that more veterans can participate in the Program. In April, VA published an interim final rule modifying this standard in accordance with the comments we received, to change the methodology for calculating distances from geodesic (or “straight-line”) distance to driving distance. 80 FR 22906. In response to the interim final rule published in April changing this methodology, VA received 12 comments. Many of these comments supported this change. Several commenters raised issues beyond the scope of that rulemaking but in response to the larger Program. For example, some comments noted that traffic conditions or the veteran's health make even a 40 mile driving distance too much for some veterans to bear. We understand this concern and believe that the discussion later in this final rule related to the “excessive or unusual burden on travel” standard under § 17.1510(b)(4) may help address these concerns. VA is not making a change to the driving distance provision as a result of these comments.

The April interim final rule greatly expanded veteran eligibility based on this criterion, representing liberalization similar to what had been suggested by many commenters. However, to the extent that commenters believe that 40-miles driving distance is still an unreasonable calculation, we do not believe that the Act gives us authority to depart from that standard.

VA received a large number of comments recommending that VA measure distance from the closest VA medical facility that can provide the care a veteran needs. As we explained in detail in the November interim final rule, the plain language of the Act refers only to “the medical facility of the Department that is closest to the residence of the veteran,” without allowing VA to consider whether the facility can actually provide the care needed by the veteran. Sec. 101(b)(2)(B), Public Law 113-146, 128 Stat. 1754. Additionally, the Conference Report accompanying the legislation states that veterans are eligible if they live “within 40 miles of a medical facility,” again without regard to such facility's ability to provide the required care. H. Rpt. 113-564, p. 55. The use of the general article “a” demonstrates that Congress intended for this to refer to any facility, rather than to a specific facility. The Act also specifically included community-based outpatient clinics (CBOC) among VA medical facilities, and Congress was aware that CBOCs offer a more limited set of services than VA medical centers and hospitals. We do not believe we have authority under the Act to modify this standard, and as a result, we are not making a change in response to these comments.

VA also received a comment recommending that we modify the definition of “VA medical facility” to exclude health care centers. We defined the term “VA medical facility” to mean a VA hospital, a VA community-based outpatient clinic (CBOC), or a VA health care center. “VA health care center” is a term we use to describe a facility that offers services between what is available at a CBOC and a VA hospital. The phrase “medical facility of the Department,” as used in the Act in section 101(b)(2)(B) and elsewhere, specifically includes CBOCs, so we conclude that any facility that offers more services than those available at a CBOC should be included within the definition of a VA medical facility. As a result, we are not making a change based on this comment.

Under § 17.1510(b)(3), a veteran is eligible if the veteran's residence is in a state without a full-service VA medical facility and the veteran lives more than 20 miles from such a facility. A full-service VA medical facility is one that provides—on its own and not through a joint venture—hospital care, emergency medical services, and surgical care having a surgical complexity of standard. VA received one comment about the applicability of this provision to veterans residing in New Hampshire. The commenter stated that veterans living in New Hampshire near the Manchester VA Medical Center were not eligible to participate in the Program based on their proximity to this facility. That reading of the law and regulations is incorrect and does not reflect VA's practice in implementing the Program. Section 101(b)(2)(C) of the Act, and § 17.1510(b)(3) of the regulations, state that a veteran may be eligible if he or she resides in a State without a full-service VA medical facility and lives more than 20 miles from such a facility. The Manchester VA Medical Center is not a full-service VA medical facility because it does not have a surgical complexity of standard, and because no other facility in New Hampshire has such a designation, veterans in New Hampshire may be eligible if they reside more than 20 miles from a full-service VA medical facility. The only full-service VA medical facility within 20 miles of New Hampshire's borders is the White River Junction VA Medical Center in Vermont. Veterans residing in New Hampshire and within 20 miles of this facility are not eligible to participate in the Program under the § 17.1510(b)(3) criterion, but all other veterans in New Hampshire are eligible to participate based on this criterion. The Manchester, NH area is more than 20 miles from White River Junction, VT. Therefore, as long as a veteran residing in Manchester meets the initial eligibility criteria in § 17.1510(a), he or she will be eligible to participate in the Program. VA is not making any changes to the rule as a result of this comment.

One commenter asked what system VA will use, and how VA will ensure that it is properly measuring distances from newly constructed housing. VA uses the Esri Geographic Information System to identify locations for purposes of determining mileage under the Program. In the vast majority of situations, VA is able to locate a new address. In those cases where VA is unable to locate the new address, our staff work with the veteran to correct the issue.

On May 22, 2015, the Construction Authorization and Choice Improvement Act was signed into law (Pub. L. 114-19); section 3(a)(1) of this law amended section 101(b)(2)(B) of the Act to clarify that the 40 miles is to be “calculated based on distance traveled”. VA is interpreting this revision as support for the use of driving distance, which reflects the distance traveled, rather than the straight-line or geodesic distance standard VA previously adopted. VA is not making a further change to § 17.1510(e) as a result of the statutory revision enacted in Public Law 114-19.

Eligibility Based on Burden in Traveling

Under the November interim final rule, § 17.1510(b)(4), a veteran may be eligible if she or he lives 40 miles or less from a VA medical facility but faces an unusual or excessive burden in traveling to such medical facility based on the presence of a body of water or a geologic formation that cannot be crossed by road. We received several comments recommending that this standard be loosened to provide greater flexibility to allow veterans to participate in the Program. The commenters did not recommend a specific alternative interpretation, but on May 22, 2015, the Construction Authorization and Choice Improvement Act was signed into law modifying this standard. Public Law 114-19. Specifically, section 3(a)(2) of Public Law 114-19 revised section 101(b)(2)(D)(ii) of the Act by changing the standards that could be the basis for an unusual or excessive burden. Specifically, the Act now allows VA to determine that there is an unusual or excessive burden in traveling to a VA medical facility based on geographical challenges; environmental factors, such as roads that are not accessible to the general public, traffic, or hazardous weather; a medical condition that impacts the ability to travel; or other factors, as determined by the Secretary. We appreciate Congress' assistance with modifying this provision of law and allowing VA to consider other factors that may create a burden on veterans traveling to a VA medical facility. As a result of the change in law, VA will be publishing a separate rulemaking announcing the criteria VA will use to determine veteran eligibility based on this new law.

Section 17.1515 Authorizing Non-VA Care

Section 17.1515 describes the process and requirements for authorizing non-VA care under the Program. We received several comments on different aspects of the authorization process. Although some of these comments addressed issues beyond the immediate scope of the November interim final rule, VA is responding to the comments here nonetheless.

First, we received a comment asking why a patient would be required to travel to a different VA facility farther from home, when seeking advanced authorization would not have been reasonable, sound, wise, or practicable. The commenter cited to VA's regulations at 38 CFR 17.120(c), which uses some of this terminology. That regulation, however, deals with reimbursing veterans for emergency treatment when Federal facilities are unavailable. As explained in the interim final rule published in November, the Program generally does not cover emergency care, which is covered instead by other statutes and regulations. Any veteran requiring emergency care should not contact VA to use the Program but should seek such emergency services as are necessary. Furthermore, under the Program, VA would not require a veteran to travel to another VA facility; a veteran's eligibility is determined based upon the veteran's residence or whether the veteran can be seen by VA within the wait-time goals of the Veterans Health Administration. VA is not making a change to its regulations based on this comment.

Another comment stated that requiring advanced authorization may prevent veterans from receiving timely care. VA also received several comments that non-VA providers should be able to be reimbursed for care furnished for conditions present that were not identified during the initial authorization. The Act requires VA to furnish hospital care and medical services through the completion of the episode of care deemed necessary as part of the recommended treatment. Sec. 101(h), Public Law 113-146, 128 Stat. 1754. If a non-VA health care provider believes that a veteran needs additional care outside the scope of the authorized course of treatment, the health care provider must contact VA prior to administering such care to ensure that this care is authorized. There is no indication in the law that it was intended to authorize unscheduled or unauthorized non-VA care. Indeed, the preauthorization requirement is important to ensure that VA is not subject to an open ended commitment, and so that veterans are not subjected to unnecessary procedures and tests but only receive care that is necessary. VA is not making a change based on these comments.

Several commenters recommended that VA simplify and standardize the authorization and claims processes in order to reduce the administrative burdens on participating eligible providers. VA also received a comment stating that VA should reduce or eliminate the preauthorization requirement for treatment from approved non-VA providers who have an established record of effective and efficient care within the Program. The Program's regulations do not identify any requirement for providers beyond what is included in the Act, and the authorization of care is also required for the reasons stated above. We believe that continued experience with the Program will help VA and eligible, participating providers streamline this process to facilitate faster access to care. We are not making a change to the rule as a result of these comments.

VA also received comments offering recommendations for a simpler method for authorizing care. For example, some comments stated that there should be a unique call-in number for providers, and that VA and the vendors administering the Program should have a better records system so that a veteran does not have to provide the same information multiple times. Most of these comments are beyond the scope of the rulemaking because they deal with purely administrative or operational issues, like the use of a dedicated phone line for providers or recordkeeping, which are not mandated by regulation. We appreciate this feedback and will consider it as part of our ongoing effort to more efficiently execute the Program. One goal of VA and the vendors administering the Program is to record information accurately so that others can have access to the same information, and as we have more experience with the Program, we are improving the customer service experience as well. We are not making a change to the rule as a result of these comments because these matters are not covered by regulation, nor is it necessary to address them through regulation.

Commenters also suggested that authorizations or contracts should be retroactive to the date of an eligible request because this would result in fewer non-health-center providers refusing to care for unauthorized veterans, and fewer uncompensated care costs for health centers. It is unclear how this change would produce that result. Moreover, VA is concerned that imposing a retroactive date could create confusion as to when the 60 day authorization period begins, and in such a case, a retroactive date would limit a veteran's ability to receive care. Consequently, VA is not making a change to the rule.

Several comments stated that veterans and providers should be notified if care will not be continued past 60 days and that authorizations for care for patients with chronic conditions should cover emergency primary care needs. As we stated in the November interim final rule, we will be working with providers and veterans to notify them in advance if the 60 day authorization period is coming to an end, particularly if such care will not be re-authorized because the veteran or provider is no longer eligible to participate in the Program. For patients with chronic conditions, VA may authorize care to address related issues that could develop, such as respiratory infections or other complications, if VA has a basis to determine that this care is necessary. For veterans who have never been seen by a VA health care provider, such a determination would be more difficult because we would not know the type of treatment a veteran has previously received, what other conditions the veteran may have, or the medications the veteran is taking. Another comment suggested that veterans should be able to make their own appointments once care has been authorized. In our experience, many veterans prefer to have VA schedule their appointments, but a veteran may opt to schedule his or her own appointment once care has been authorized. We do require through the contract with the vendors administering the program, though, that such vendors request that the veteran provide information about the appointment and the vendors then report this information to VA so we can ensure that appointments are timely. VA is not making a change based on these comments.

Some commenters asserted that requiring authorization for each and every treatment is time consuming and does not produce any benefits, and that VA should find ways to facilitate quicker appointments. As we explained in the November interim final rule, VA has an obligation to ensure that care furnished under the Program is necessary, and we will continue to abide by this requirement. However, VA can issue a broad authorization in some circumstances for care that is determined at the outset to likely be necessary. For example, if we know that a patient is being treated for a condition that has several common comorbidities, or if we know that a treatment approach that will be administered has common side effects or complications, we could authorize treatment for these services in advance to include ancillary or specialty services. We are not making a change to the rule based on these comments.

We received several comments raising additional issues concerning authorizations for care. The comments stated that it was sometimes unclear which services were being authorized and who is making the determination, and asked VA to explain what criteria VA is using to determine what care is necessary. The authorization the eligible provider receives from VA should clearly identify what services are covered—if the provider is unsure, he or she should contact VA to ensure that only those services covered by the authorization are performed. The commenter also suggested VA provide more details on the authorization process, including timeframes for authorizations. These timelines and other operational details are case-specific, and as such, VA does not believe they can or should be placed in regulation. If providers have any questions about the process or a specific authorization, they should feel free to contact VA for clarification. We are not making changes to the regulations based on these comments because they concern administrative matters beyond the scope of the regulations.

Finally, one commenter suggested that veterans should not have to contact the vendors administering the Program to verify their eligibility prior to care being authorized. This is not an express requirement in the regulation, and as such is outside the scope of this rulemaking. As a result, we are not making a change based on this comment. However, as a practical matter, VA believes the step of the veteran contacting the vendors administering the Program is important to ensure that necessary care is authorized for the right veteran with the right provider.

Section 17.1530 Eligible Entities and Providers

Section 17.1530 defines requirements for non-VA entities and health care providers to be eligible to be reimbursed for furnishing hospital care and medical services to eligible veterans under the Program. VA received a number of comments on this section.

VA received several comments recommending that other entities, such as rural health clinics, community health centers, women's health centers, essential community providers, and Medicaid providers, be included among eligible entities. At the time that the comment periods for both the November and April interim final rules closed, section 101(a)(1)(B) of the Act identified only four categories of eligible entities or providers: any health care provider that is participating in the Medicare program under title XVIII of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395 et seq.), including any physician furnishing services under such program; any Federally-qualified health center (as defined in section 1905(l)(2)(B) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396d(l)(2)(B)); the Department of Defense; or the Indian Health Service. Since the close of the comment periods for both the November and April interim final rules, section 4005(c) of Public Law 114-41 amended sections 101(a)(1)(B) and 101(d) of the Act to permit VA to expand provider eligibility beyond those providers expressly listed in section 101(a)(1)(B) of the Act, in accordance with eligibility criteria as established by VA. Sec. 4005(c), Public Law 114-41, 129 Stat. 443. As a result of this amendment to the Act, VA will be publishing a separate rulemaking announcing the additional eligible providers. We will now address other comments related to eligible entities and providers.

One commenter recommended that VA publish a list of eligible providers under the Program on a Web site to help veterans elect to receive care closer to home. This is an administrative recommendation outside the scope of the rulemaking, but we do note that VA maintains a list of all eligible providers that can be found on the Choice Program Web site at www.va.gov/opa/choiceact/. VA updates this list regularly to ensure accuracy of information. Veterans also can request a specific provider that is not on the list but meets the eligibility criteria under this section and who is willing to enter into an agreement with VA. VA is not making a change to the rule as a result of this comment.

Under § 17.1530(b), an entity or provider must enter into an agreement with VA to provide non-VA hospital care or medical services under the Program. VA received several comments on the process for entering into agreements. Several comments suggested that local facilities should be able to enter into contracts to provide services through the Program. The rulemaking is silent on this point, and we do not believe the regulation needs to be specific on this issue. Nothing in the regulations governing the program would prevent a local VA facility from entering into a contract with a local provider, although the Program is presently administered only under national contracts. If VA determines that the national contracts cannot provide all of the care needed and available in the Program, VA can use the provider agreement authority established by the Act to obtain the needed care. We note that VA has not yet implemented this provider agreement authority, but is developing a provider agreement template that can be used by local facilities. VA therefore is not making a change as a result of these comments.

Several comments also stated that existing agreements, including agreements with Tribal and urban health programs among others, should be used to furnish care. Existing contracts and agreements with eligible providers can be used to furnish care, and VA is promoting their use, particularly prior to the implementation of the provider agreement authority established by the Act. VA is not making a change as a result of these comments.

Under § 17.1530(d), a non-VA provider must maintain at least the same or similar credentials and licenses as required by VA of its own providers. We received several comments on this provision. We received comments that the process for submitting and reviewing credentials and privileging information should not be overly burdensome. Administratively, we have tried to make this process as simple as possible, while still adhering to the requirements of the Act in section 101(i), by making the credentialing and privileging process part of the provider's approval process with the vendors administering the program. The regulations do not address the system for this specifically, and we do not think such detail is needed in case we need to modify the system at a later time. We are not making a change to the rule as a result of these comments.

We also received a recommendation to broaden the language about credentialing and licensing to ensure qualified non-physician practitioners qualify to participate in the Program. Another commenter suggested that VA include osteopathic and allopathic credentials for physicians. VA is limited by section 101(i) of the Act to accepting non-VA providers who meet the same or similar standards as VA providers; to the extent non-physician practitioners or physicians with osteopathic or allopathic credentials in VA could perform functions or procedures, those in the community could do so as well under the Program if they have the same qualifications. VA is not making a change to the rule based on these comments.

Although not addressed in the regulation, VA stated in the November interim final rule notice that eligible entities and providers furnishing hospital care and medical services to eligible veterans through the Program, to the extent possible, should submit medical records back to VA in an electronic format. The agreements VA reaches with eligible entities and providers clarify this requirement. We received several comments on the exchange of information under the Program, which are outside the scope of the rulemaking but will be addressed here nonetheless. Several commenters suggested that VA should ensure that participating providers have timely access to the necessary patient information to help them make informed clinical decisions regarding treatment. VA's Non-VA Care Coordination (NVCC) program is intended to help facilitate care by sharing information, to the extent authorized by law and regulation, with non-VA providers prior to a patient's appointment. However, some veterans who have never received health care from VA are eligible to participate in the Program, and for these veterans, VA cannot furnish information in advance of an appointment. We are working to standardize the transmission of information, both to and from VA, to improve the delivery of health care for veterans receiving treatment in VA and the community. Other comments suggested that electronic submission of medical records back to VA should be streamlined and simple so that providers do not have to struggle to comply with this requirement. VA has set up a secure Web site where providers can submit this information, and we believe it is simple and easy to use. VA is not making a change to the rule as a result of these comments.

Section 17.1535 Payment Rates and Methodologies

Section 17.1535 addresses payment rates and payment methodologies. VA received a number of comments on this section.

Several commenters stated that VA should be paying Medicare rates under the Program. Section 17.1535(a)(1) establishes the payment rule that most reimbursement rates under the Program will not exceed the Medicare rate, consistent with section 101(d)(2)(B)(i) of the Act. There are only two exceptions to this rule in the Act. First, § 17.1535(a)(2) authorizes VA to pay a rate higher to an eligible entity or provider in a highly rural area, so long as such rate is still determined by VA to be fair and reasonable. Second, § 17.1535(a)(3) authorizes VA to pay a higher rate when no Medicare rate is available. We explain in the discussion below that we are adding two additional exceptions to § 17.1530.

The vendors administering the Program also operate the Patient-Centered Community Care (PC3) contract, which can pay rates lower than the Medicare rate, and it is possible that there is some confusion among providers regarding whether they are providing care under the Program or the PC3 contract. Indeed, we received some comments stating that providers did not always know under which authority they were furnishing care. We shared these comments with the vendors administering the Program and are working to improve communication so that providers understand what care is furnished under the Program and what is performed pursuant to PC3. Providers who signed contracts to furnish care under PC3 at a set rate may also be subject to receiving that negotiated rate when furnishing care under the Program as well, but VA is not a party to those agreements between vendors and providers and cannot interfere with the terms of those agreements. We are not making any changes based on these comments.

However, we are adding two additional exceptions to § 17.1535(a). First, we are adding a new paragraph (a)(3) authorizing VA to pay eligible providers or entities in the State of Alaska using rates set forth in 38 CFR 17.55(j) and 17.56(b). The rates in §§ 17.55(j) and 17.56(b) are currently used to establish special rates to pay for non-VA care in Alaska under authorities other than the Program, and the new paragraph would simply make the Program comparable. We are also adding a new § 17.1535(a)(4) authorizing VA to use the rate set forth in a State with an All-Payer Model Agreement under the Social Security Act that became effective on January 1, 2014. These two new exceptions were authorized by section 242 of Division I of Public Law 113-235. 128 Stat. 2568. We are redesignating current § 17.1535(a)(3) as § 17.1535(a)(5).

One commenter suggested that VA should ensure Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) are reimbursed for their reasonable costs under Medicare and refer to Medicare Part B for pharmaceutical rates. VA is permitted to pay up to the Medicare rate under section 101(d)(2)(B) of the Act, and this includes special rates available for FQHCs under 42 U.S.C. 1395 et seq. Another commenter urged VA to allow medication prescriptions from non-VA providers to be filled at VA pharmacies. We clarify that VA is not making payments to providers for medications under the Program; as explained in the November interim final rule, VA will fill prescriptions, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, and medical and surgical supplies prescribed by eligible non-VA entities and providers. VA has been filling these prescriptions through its own Pharmacy Benefits Management program or at VA expense and will continue to do so to ensure participating veterans have access to the medications they need. We are not making a change as a result of these comments.

Section 17.1535(b) details payment responsibilities. One comment stated that VA should explicitly reference in its regulations section 101(e)(2) of the Act to clearly communicate that VA is responsible for care, the responsibilities of any other parties (e.g., insurance companies), and whether such care is for a non-service connected disability. This comment also suggested that VA supply to non-VA providers the necessary documentation so those providers may pursue payment from any other parties. We do not believe it is necessary to be this specific in our regulations, but VA will certainly comply with any statutory requirement in the Act, including the requirements of section 101(e)(2). The agreements entered into under the Program contain greater specificity on some of these issues, and the authorizations for care provide additional information. VA is not making a change as a result of this comment.

Section 17.1540 Claims Processing System

Section 17.1540 provides general requirements for a VA claims processing system. We received a number of comments on this system. Most of the comments urged VA to pay promptly, and to pay interest on claims that are overdue. Some comments recommended specific timelines for reviewing claims, and others urged VA to reference the Prompt Payment Act, 31 U.S.C. 3901 et seq., in § 17.1540. VA is working to pay claims under the Program as quickly as possible, and is bound to adhere to the Prompt Payment Act under section 105 of the Act. The Prompt Payment Act, and its implementing regulations at 5 CFR part 1315, define the parameters within which Federal agency payments are considered timely, requirements for reviewing claims, and the penalties for late payments. We do not believe modifications to the Program's regulations are necessary.

We received comments stating the processing system should be simple, and that it should be easy for providers and entities to submit information. We also received comments suggesting that VA provide further information on the new claims processing system, in particular how it will be restructured to facilitate the appropriate reimbursement of claims and how it will ensure prompt payments. Some of these comments indicated that the new system has not improved the efficiency of the payment system. We are working to ensure all aspects of the Program are as simple as possible, and welcome recommendations for how to improve our administrative operations. However, it is not appropriate to include such operational details in our regulations, as such specificity could serve to restrict our ability to innovate and adapt the system to become more efficient and easy to use. We are not making any changes to the regulation as a result of these comments.

Miscellaneous Comments

In addition to the areas above, VA also received comments on other matters. For example, several comments requested case management assistance with their own particular health care situations and/or claims under the Program, and we reached out to these veterans to help them; however, we are not making any changes to the regulation based on these comments.

Several comments asked about other non-VA care programs. Some stated that eligible veterans were unsure whether to use the Program or another non-VA authority. Other comments stated that the staff at their facilities were not sufficiently trained to explain the differences between the Program and other non-VA care programs. We recognize that the number and different types of non-VA care programs and authorities can be confusing to veterans, our stakeholders, and our employees, and we are currently reexamining these various programs as part of a greater effort to streamline VA's use of non-VA care. As we stated in the November interim final rule and above, we have attempted to administer the Program similarly to other non-VA health care programs in an effort to reduce confusion. For some veterans, particularly those with their own health insurance, there may be some differences under the Program, because while VA will attempt to cover the veteran's financial obligations under his or her insurance plan, VA cannot pay more than the Medicare rate (with limited exceptions) for the services provided, meaning the veteran may owe some copayment, cost share, or deductible amount from their other health insurance to the provider. VA is unable to completely eliminate any potential copayment liability because under the Program, VA is a secondary payer, while under other non-VA care, we are the primary payer, and our payment to the non-VA health care provider is payment in full. Consequently, there may be some differences in a veteran's experience between the Program and other non-VA care, and we are available to assist eligible veterans with any questions they may have. We are not making any changes to the rule as a result of these comments. Other comments were that VA should use its existing legal authority to furnish non-VA care for veterans who do not qualify for the Program. Specifically, some comments stated that VA should permit veterans to access non-VA health care providers if they need services that no VA medical facility that is accessible (by geography or timeliness) can provide. We are unsure whether these specific comments referenced care under the Choice Program or care under other non-VA care programs. We reiterate that the 40-mile distance criterion in the Choice Program considers the distance between a veteran's residence and any VA medical facility, even if that facility cannot provide the care that the veteran requires. However, we note that over the past 12 to 18 months VA has been using non-VA authorities other than the Act with much greater frequency than in prior years; in fiscal year 2014, VA completed 16.2 million appointments in the community, an average of more than 1.3 million appointments per month. We will continue to use these authorities when available and appropriate. We are not making a change to the rule based on these comments.

VA received comments that it should address late payment claims for care authorized under other authorities so that community providers would be more likely to participate in the Program. This is outside the scope of the rulemaking, but we are working to pay promptly claims under any authority, including the Program, and if there are specific claims that are late, we encourage the providers to contact us so we can rectify the situation. We are not making any changes as a result of these comments.

We also received a number of comments about other issues. One comment stated that VA should not be using funds appropriated by the Act to expand the number of residency positions in VA. This is outside the scope of the rulemaking, which only implements section 101 of the Act, while provisions regarding residency programs were addressed in section 302 of the Act. However, VA is complying with the requirements of that section as directed by Congress, and we believe that increasing our own capacity to furnish care will allow us to better meet the needs of all enrolled veterans. VA is not making a change to the rule based on this comment.

Another comment stated that VA should not be authorized to define the Program or eligibility criteria for it. VA was expressly required to do this through section 101(n) of the Act, which directed VA to publish interpretive regulations for the Program within 90 days of enactment. Therefore, VA is not making a change to the rule based on this comment.

Several comments recommended better communication with the public about the Program. For example, some suggested outreach to medical societies and physician associations to increase awareness, some suggested better education materials for eligible veterans and providers, and some recommended better coordination and consistency with the vendors administering the Program to clarify the requirements of the Program. Although these comments are outside the scope of the rulemaking, we appreciate this feedback and are working with all of these populations to increase awareness of the Program. For example, when we initially launched the Program, we mailed explanatory letters to over eight million veterans, and we completed an outbound call campaign to those veterans who were initially eligible under the wait-time criterion. We have prepared and updated fact sheets for veterans that can be accessed online or at a facility, and we have worked with provider groups and Veterans Service Organizations to support further outreach. Earlier this year, VA launched a public service announcement for eligible veterans, and we began hosting town halls related to the Program at VA medical facilities. We have also increased staff education and training and appointed more than 900 “Choice Champions” to assist veterans and the public with questions about the Program. One comment suggested the vendors administering the Program should inform providers if they are signing up for the Program or another non-VA health care program, and that VA should clarify which vendor is responsible for patients who live in states served by both vendors. We are also in close and constant communication with the vendors to ensure we are sharing a clear and consistent message with the public and our stakeholders. We forwarded applicable comments like these to the vendors to ensure they were aware of some of the feedback we were receiving, and we will continue to work together so that patients and providers understand the Program better. We are not making a change to the rule based on these comments.

One comment recommended that non-VA providers that participate in the Program be permitted to provide primary care services to Veterans. We clarify that VA does permit non-VA providers to furnish primary care services, as primary care services are part of the hospital care and medical services that may be provided under section 101(a)(1)(a) of the Choice Act, as well as under § 17.1500(b). We therefore do not make any changes to the rule based on this comment.

One comment recommended that VA should permit non-VA providers that participate in the Program to be covered by the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). The FTCA only covers Federal agencies and agency employees acting within the scope of their employment. See 28 U.S.C. 2671 et al. However, non-VA providers that participate in the Program cannot be VA employees, or, if they are VA employees, such providers must not be acting within the scope of their VA employment when they provide services under the Program. See 38 CFR 17.1530(a)(1)-(2). We reiterate from the November interim final rule that § 17.1530(a)(1)-(2) was promulgated because the Act specifically envisions that care under the Program is provided by non-VA resources, as demonstrated by section 101(a)(3) of the Act, which requires VA to coordinate through the Non-VA Care Coordination Program the furnishing of care and services under this Program. The title of section 101 of the Act, “Expanded availability of hospital care and medical services for veterans through use of agreements with non-Department of Veterans Affairs entities,” also clearly demonstrates Congress's intent that any entity or provider that is a VA resource should not be eligible to participate in the Program. We therefore do not make any changes to the rule based on this comment.

We also received several comments that Tribes and Tribal organizations can contribute to the Program. As we stated in the November interim final rule, outpatient health programs or facilities operated by a Tribe or Tribal organization under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act or by an urban Indian organization receiving funds under title V of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act are defined as Federally-qualified health centers in section 1905(l)(2)(B) of the Social Security Act and can be eligible providers under section 101(a)(1)(B) of the Act. The comments urged VA to establish direct communication with these programs and include them at the table with the Indian Health Service when considering new model language or agreements and when identifying and developing performance metrics, and recommended that VA use and expand where possible current agreements to furnish care. These comments touch on issues beyond the scope of the rulemaking, principally how VA works with the Indian Health Service, Tribes, and Tribal organizations generally, but we are committed to using existing agreements and partnerships where possible. We are not making a change to the rule based on these comments.

Administrative Procedure Act

In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) and (d)(3), the Secretary of Veterans Affairs concluded that there was good cause to publish this rule without prior opportunity for public comment and to publish this rule with an immediate effective date. The Secretary found that it was impracticable and contrary to law and the public interest to delay this rule for the purpose of soliciting advance public comment or to have a delayed effective date, and therefore issued two interim final rules published at 79 FR 65571 (November 5, 2014) and 80 FR 22906 (April 24, 2015). This rulemaking amends § 17.1535(a) to establish two alternative rates of payments. These provisions were mandated by Congress in a public law that was enacted subsequent to the November interim final rule. See Public Law 113-235 (discussed above). These regulatory changes reflect these new provisions, and notice and public comment could not therefore result in any change to these provisions. Further, since the public laws became effective on their respective dates of enactment, VA believes it is impracticable and contrary to law and the public interest to delay this rule for the purpose of soliciting advance public comment or to have a delayed effective date.

Effect of Rulemaking

Title 38 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as revised by this final rule, represents VA's implementation of its legal authority on this subject. Other than future amendments to this regulation or governing statutes, no contrary guidance or procedures are authorized. All existing or subsequent VA guidance must be read to conform with this rulemaking if possible or, if not possible, such guidance is superseded by this rulemaking.

Paperwork Reduction Act

The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3507) requires that VA consider the impact of paperwork and other information collection burdens imposed on the public. Under 44 U.S.C. 3507(a), an agency may not collect or sponsor the collection of information, nor may it impose an information collection requirement, unless it displays a currently valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control number. See also 5 CFR 1320.8(b)(3)(vi).

This final rule will impose the following new information collection requirements. Section 17.1515 requires eligible veterans to notify VA whether the veteran elects to receive authorized non-VA care through the Veterans Choice Program, be placed on an electronic waiting list, or be scheduled for an appointment with a VA health care provider. Section 17.1515(b)(1) also allows eligible veterans to specify a particular non-VA entity or health care provider, if that entity or provider meets certain requirements. Section 17.1510(d) requires eligible veterans to submit to VA information about their health-care plan to participate in the Veterans Choice Program. Participating eligible entities and providers are required to submit a copy of any medical record related to hospital care or medical services furnished under this Program to an eligible veteran. Section 17.1530 requires eligible entities and providers to submit verification that the entity or provider maintains at least the same or similar credentials and licenses as those required of VA's health care providers, as determined by the Secretary.

As required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (at 44 U.S.C. 3507(d)), VA has submitted these information collections to OMB for its review. OMB approved these new information collection requirements associated with the final rule and assigned OMB control number 2900-0823. We have added the approved OMB control number to the relevant parentheticals.

Executive Orders 12866 and 13563

Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess the costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, when regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety effects, and other advantages; distributive impacts; and equity). Executive Order 13563 (Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review) emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, reducing costs, harmonizing rules, and promoting flexibility. Executive Order 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review) defines a “significant regulatory action,” requiring review by OMB, unless OMB waives such review, as “any regulatory action that is likely to result in a rule that may: (1) Have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or adversely affect in a material way the economy, a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local, or tribal governments or communities; (2) Create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an action taken or planned by another agency; (3) Materially alter the budgetary impact of entitlements, grants, user fees, or loan programs or the rights and obligations of recipients thereof; or (4) Raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal mandates, the President's priorities, or the principles set forth in this Executive Order.”

The economic, interagency, budgetary, legal, and policy implications of this regulatory action have been examined, and it has been determined that this is an economically significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866. VA's regulatory impact analysis can be found as a supporting document at http://www.regulations.gov, usually within 48 hours after the rulemaking document is published. Additionally, a copy of the rulemaking and its regulatory impact analysis are available on VA's Web site at http://www.va.gov/orpm/, by following the link for “VA Regulations Published From FY 2004 Through Fiscal Year to Date.”

Congressional Review Act

This regulatory action is a major rule under the Congressional Review Act, 5 U.S.C. 801-08, because it may result in an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more. Although this regulatory action constitutes a major rule within the meaning of the Congressional Review Act, 5 U.S.C. 804(2), it is not subject to the 60-day delay in effective date applicable to major rules under 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(3) because the Secretary finds that good cause exists under 5 U.S.C. 808(2) to make this regulatory action effective on the date of publication, consistent with the reasons given for the publication of this final rule. Delay in expanding access to non-VA care for eligible veterans could result in the deterioration of their health. In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(1), VA will submit to the Comptroller General and to Congress a copy of this regulatory action and VA's Regulatory Impact Analysis.

Unfunded Mandates

The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 requires, at 2 U.S.C. 1532, that agencies prepare an assessment of anticipated costs and benefits before issuing any rule that may result in the expenditure by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more (adjusted annually for inflation) in any 1 year. This final rule will have no such effect on State, local, and tribal governments, or on the private sector.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Secretary hereby certifies that this final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities as they are defined in the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601-612. This final rule will not have a significant economic impact on participating eligible entities and providers who enter into agreements with VA. To the extent there is any such impact, it will result in increased business and revenue for them. We also do not believe there will be a significant economic impact on insurance companies, as claims will only be submitted for care that will otherwise have been received whether such care was authorized under this Program or not. Therefore, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 605(b), this rulemaking is exempt from the initial and final regulatory flexibility analysis requirements of 5 U.S.C. 603 and 604.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance

The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance numbers and titles for the programs affected by this document are as follows: 64.007, Blind Rehabilitation Centers; 64.008, Veterans Domiciliary Care; 64.009, Veterans Medical Care Benefits; 64.010, Veterans Nursing Home Care; 64.011, Veterans Dental Care; 64.012, Veterans Prescription Service; 64.013, Veterans Prosthetic Appliances; 64.014, Veterans State Domiciliary Care; 64.015, Veterans State Nursing Home Care; 64.016, Veterans State Hospital Care; 64.018, Sharing Specialized Medical Resources; 64.019, Veterans Rehabilitation Alcohol and Drug Dependence; 64.022, Veterans Home Based Primary Care; and 64.024, VA Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem Program.

Signing Authority

The Secretary of Veterans Affairs, or designee, approved this document and authorized the undersigned to sign and submit the document to the Office of the Federal Register for publication electronically as an official document of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Robert L. Nabors II, Chief of Staff, Department of Veterans Affairs, approved this document on October 6, 2015, for publication.

List of Subjects in 38 CFR Part 17

Administrative practice and procedure, Alcohol abuse, Alcoholism, Claims, Day care, Dental health, Drug abuse, Government contracts, Grant programs-health, Grant programs-veterans, Health care, Health facilities, Health professions, Health records, Homeless, Mental health programs, Nursing homes, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Travel and transportation expenses, Veterans.

Dated: October 22, 2015. Michael Shores, Chief Impact Analyst, Office of Regulation Policy & Management, Office of the General Counsel, Department of Veterans Affairs.

For the reasons stated in the preamble, VA amends 38 CFR part 17 as follows:

PART 17—MEDICAL 1. The authority citation for part 17 continues to read as follows: Authority:

38 U.S.C. 501, and as noted in specific sections.

2. In § 17.1535, redesignate paragraph (a)(3) as paragraph (a)(5) and add paragraphs (a)(3) and (4) to read as follows:
§ 17.1535 Payment rates and methodologies.

(a) * * *

(3) For eligible entities or providers in Alaska, the Secretary may enter into agreements at rates established under §§ 17.55(j) and 17.56(b).

(4) For eligible entities or providers in a State with an All-Payer Model Agreement under the Social Security Act that became effective on January 1, 2014, payment rates will be calculated based on the payment rates under such agreement.

[FR Doc. 2015-27481 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8320-01-P
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION 47 CFR Parts 1, 20, 27, and 73 [AU Docket No. 14-252; GN Docket No. 12-268; WT Docket No. 12-269; DA 15-1183] Application Procedures for Broadcast Incentive Auction Scheduled To Begin on March 29, 2016; Technical Formulas for Competitive Bidding AGENCY:

Federal Communications Commission.

ACTION:

Final rule; requirements and procedures.

SUMMARY:

This document announces the final application procedures for the broadcast television spectrum incentive auction (Auction 1000), including the forward and reverse auctions (Auctions 1001 and 1002 respectively). This document also summarizes detailed information, instructions, and deadlines for filing applications, as well as certain post-auction procedures established by the Commission's prior orders.

DATES:

Reverse Auction (Auction 1001) applications must be filed prior to 6 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) on December 18, 2015; Forward Auction (Auction 1002) applications must be filed prior to 6 p.m. ET on January 28, 2016.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, Auctions and Spectrum Access Division: For general auction questions: Linda Sanderson at (717) 338-2868; for reverse auction legal questions: Erin Griffith or Kathryn Hinton at (202) 418-0660; for forward auction legal questions: Valerie Barrish or Leslie Barnes at (202) 418-0660. Media Bureau, Video Division: For broadcaster questions: Dorann Bunkin at (202) 418-1636.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

This is a summary of the Auction 1000 Application Procedures Public Notice (Auction 1000 Application Procedures PN or Public Notice), AU Docket No. 14-252, GN Docket No. 12-268, WT Docket No. 12-269, and DA 15-1183, released on October 15, 2015. The complete text of the Auction 1000 Application Procedures PN, including all attachments and associated appendices, is available for public inspection and copying from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET Monday through Thursday or from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET on Fridays in the FCC Reference Information Center, 445 12th Street SW., Room CY-A257, Washington, DC 20554. The complete text is also available on the Commission's Web site at http://wireless.fcc.gov, or by using the search function on the ECFS Web page at http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/ecfs/. Alternative formats are available to persons with disabilities by sending an email to [email protected] or by calling the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418-0530 (voice), (202) 418-0432 (TTY).

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended (RFA), the Commission has prepared a Supplemental Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (SFRFA) of the possible significant economic impact on small entities by the procedures and instructions described in Attachment 4 of the Auction 1000 Application Procedures PN.

Report to Small Business Administration

The Commission's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Reference Information Center will send a copy of the Auction 1000 Application Procedures PN, including the Supplemental Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (SFRFA), to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration (SBA).

Paperwork Reduction Act

This document contains new or modified information collection requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), Public Law 104-13.

Congressional Review Act

The Commission will send a copy of the Auction 1000 Application Procedures PN, including the SFRFA, in a report to be sent to Congress and the Government Accountability Office pursuant to the Congressional Review Act.

I. General Information A. Introduction

1. In the Auction 1000 Bidding Procedures PN, 80 FR 61918, October 14, 2015, the Commission established the bidding procedures for both the reverse auction and the forward auction. Pursuant to the Commission's direction, the Auction 1000 Application Procedures PN establishes final application procedures for the reverse and forward auctions, provides detailed information, instructions, and deadlines for filing applications, and finalizes certain post-auction procedures established by the Commission's prior orders.

2. The Auction 1000 Application Procedures PN includes an attachment with the final appendices providing the technical details implementing the Commission's decisions in the Auction 1000 Bidding Procedures PN regarding the clearing target determination procedure, the final television channel assignment plan, and the assignment of frequency-specific licenses to forward auction clock-phase winning bidders, as well as algorithms for reverse and forward auction bid processing. These final technical appendices reflect modifications made to the detailed proposals contained in the appendices of the Auction 1000 Comment PN, 80 FR 4816, January 29, 2015, as a result of the Commission's decisions in the Auction 1000 Bidding Procedures PN. An additional attachment to the Auction 1000 Bidding Procedures PN provides information relating to the determination of opening prices for each bid option available to each eligible broadcast television licensee in the reverse auction, including the process for identifying “not-needed” stations. Finally, the Auction 1000 Application Procedures PN includes as an attachment information on the PEA-by-PEA spectrum reserve eligibility of nationwide providers. Opening prices for each bid option available to each eligible broadcast television licensee in the reverse auction will be released in a separate public notice in the near future. Additional data and information related to the broadcast incentive auction, including the final constraints and the associated supporting files, is being made available on the Auction 1000 Web site (http://www.fcc.gov/auctions/1000) contemporaneously with the release of the Auction 1000 Application Procedures PN.

B. Background of Proceeding

3. Auction 1000 (including Auctions 1001 and 1002) will be conducted pursuant to Title VI of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (Spectrum Act), which authorizes incentive auctions to help meet the Nation's accelerating spectrum needs and requires the Commission to conduct a broadcast television spectrum incentive auction. The Incentive Auction R&O, 79 FR 48411, August 15, 2014, established the framework for Auction 1000, including the 600 MHz Band Plan, the repacking of the broadcast television bands, the incentive auction process, and the post-incentive auction transition. The Commission established final procedures for determining the spectrum clearing target and bidding in the reverse and forward auctions in the Auction 1000 Bidding Procedures PN. The Auction 1000 Application Procedures PN, the Prohibited Communications PN, 80 FR 63125, October 19, 2015, and the Auction 1000 Bidding Procedures PN, together establish the final auction procedures for the incentive auction. In addition to the Incentive Auction R&O and these procedures public notices, the Commission has released a number of other decisions in this proceeding regarding the incentive auction and the repacking process.

4. The information and deadlines the Bureau announced in the Auction 1000 Application Procedures PN also implement the Commission's general competitive bidding rules in part 1, subpart Q of the Code of Federal Regulations. The Commission made significant changes to the rules applicable to the forward auction in the Part 1 R&O, 80 FR 56764, September 18, 2015. Potential bidders in Auction 1000, particularly those interested in Auction 1002, also should make themselves familiar with the decisions in the Part 1 R&O.

II. Applying To Participate in the Reverse Auction

5. Licensees of commercial and noncommercial educational (NCE) full power and Class A television stations (eligible broadcast licensees) identified in the attached Final Baseline (Appendix I of Attachment 2 in the Public Notice) may apply to participate in the reverse auction. On its application, an eligible broadcast licensee will have up to three bid options depending on its pre-auction band: (1) Go off-air (available to all stations); (2) move to a Low-VHF channel (available to UHF or High-VHF stations); and (3) move to a High-VHF channel (available only to UHF stations). An applicant that intends to relinquish its spectrum usage rights in order to share a channel with a station that will remain on the air following the auction will bid to go off-air.

A. Applicable Rules and Disclaimers i. Relevant Authority

6. Section 6403(a) of the Spectrum Act, codified at 47 U.S.C. 1452(a), authorizes the reverse auction to determine the amount of compensation that each eligible broadcast licensee would accept in return for voluntarily relinquishing some or all of its broadcast television spectrum usage rights. In the Incentive Auction R&O, the Commission adopted rules and policies for the reverse auction. More recently, the Commission developed detailed bidding procedures necessary to govern the reverse auction process in the Auction 1000 Bidding Procedures PN.

7. Prospective applicants must familiarize themselves thoroughly with the Commission's competitive bidding rules for the reverse auction. As many of the reverse auction pre-auction procedures and application requirements are substantially similar to the Commission's procedures and requirements for typical spectrum license auctions, prospective reverse auction applicants should also familiarize themselves with the Commission's decisions in proceedings regarding its general competitive bidding procedures and application requirements. Prospective bidders should also familiarize themselves with the Commission's rules relating to channel sharing, media ownership, post-incentive auction licensing and operation, and rules relating to applications, environmental review, practice and procedure. All bidders must also be thoroughly familiar with the procedures, terms and conditions contained in the Incentive Auction R&O, the Auction 1000 Bidding Procedures PN, the Prohibited Communications PN, the Auction 1000 Application Procedures PN, other public notices and/or decisions in this proceeding, and any future public notices and/or decisions that may be issued in this proceeding, as well as any other relevant public notices and/or decisions issued by the Commission relating to the incentive auction.

8. The terms contained in the Commission's rules, relevant orders, and public notices are not negotiable. The Commission may amend or supplement the information contained in its public notices at any time, and will issue public notices to convey new or supplemental information to applicants. It is the responsibility of all applicants to remain current with all Commission rules and with all public notices pertaining to this auction. Copies of incentive auction-related Commission documents, including public notices, can be retrieved from the Auction 1000 Web site at http://www.fcc.gov/auctions/1000. Additionally, documents are available at the FCC's headquarters located at 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554 during normal business hours.

ii. Due Diligence

9. The Bureau reminds each potential bidder that it is solely responsible for investigating and evaluating all technical and marketplace factors that may have a bearing on the bid(s) it submits in the reverse auction. An applicant should perform its due diligence research and analysis before applying to participate in the reverse auction, as it would with any business decision. Each reverse auction bidder in Auction 1001 should continue its research and analysis throughout the auction. In particular, the Bureau strongly encourages each potential bidder to review all Commission orders and public notices establishing rules and policies for the incentive auction. Additionally, each potential bidder should perform technical analyses to assure itself that, should the Commission accept its bid to relinquish spectrum usage rights, the bidder will be able to relocate, build, and operate its facilities, if applicable, in compliance with all applicable technical and regulatory requirements. The Bureau also strongly encourages each applicant to keep apprised of pending administrative or judicial proceedings, including enforcement proceedings and non-final license validity proceedings or downgrade orders that might affect its decision to offer a particular station in the auction. In addition, applicants should be aware that future administrative or judicial proceedings may affect broadcast television stations generally or individually.

10. The due diligence considerations mentioned in the Auction 1000 Application Procedures PN does not comprise an exhaustive list of steps that should be undertaken prior to participating in this auction. As in past spectrum license auctions, the burden is on the potential bidder to determine how much research to undertake, depending upon specific facts and circumstances related to its interests, and to undertake its own assessment of the relevance and importance of information gathered as part of its due diligence efforts. In addition, each reverse auction applicant will be required to acknowledge that it accepts responsibility for its bids and will not attempt to place responsibility for its bids on either the Commission or the information provided by third parties as part of the Commission's extensive outreach and education efforts. An auction applicant's failure to include these or any other required certifications in its auction application by the applicable filing deadline would render its application unacceptable for filing, and its application would be dismissed with prejudice.

iii. Red Light Rule

11. The Commission's rules, including a provision referred to as the “red light rule,” implement the Commission's obligation under the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996 to aggressively collect debts owed to the Commission. Under the red light rule, the Commission will not process applications and other requests for benefits by parties that owe non-tax debt to the Commission. Absent payment or waiver of the red light rule, eligible broadcast licensees that owe debt to the Commission would not be permitted to participate in the reverse auction.

12. Robust broadcaster participation is critical to the success of the incentive auction. Recognizing that, the Commission expressly committed to removing barriers to encourage broadcasters to participate in the reverse auction. Consistent with that commitment, in order to encourage broadcaster participation in the reverse auction, the Bureau waives the red light rule for the limited purpose of permitting any eligible broadcast licensee that is red lighted for debt owed to the Commission at the time it submits a reverse auction application to participate in the reverse auction, subject to certain conditions. Additionally, the Bureau recognizes that a reverse auction applicant may incur debt to the Commission after submission of its application, and may fail to pay the debt when due. Accordingly, in order to participate in the auction, each reverse auction applicant will be required to certify in its application that it (1) acknowledges its liability to the Commission for any debt owed to the Commission that the applicant incurred before, or that it may incur after, the reverse auction application deadline, including all accrued interest, penalties and costs, and that the debt will continue to accrue interest, penalties and costs until paid; and (2) agrees that the Commission may pay all debt owed by the applicant to the Commission from the applicant's share of auction proceeds. As noted by the Bureau, this waiver is limited. It does not waive or otherwise affect the Commission's right or obligation to collect any debt owed to the Commission by an eligible broadcast licensee by any means available to the Commission, including set off, referral of debt to the United States Treasury for collection and/or red lighting other applications or requests for benefits filed by an eligible broadcast licensee.

13. The Bureau will also require each reverse auction applicant to certify its agreement that if an appeal of, or request for waiver or compromise of, any debt owed by the applicant to the Commission is pending at the conclusion of the incentive auction, the Commission may withhold so much of the applicant's share of the auction proceeds as is necessary to pay the debt in full, including accrued interest, penalties and costs, until issuance of a final non-appealable decision regarding the debt or waiver or compromise request, and may then pay the debt from the applicant's withheld share. Auction funds held to pay such debt will be held in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 48 of the Auction 1000 Application Procedures PN.

14. The Bureau advises potential applicants to review their own records as well as the Commission's Red Light Display system to determine whether they owe non-tax debt to the Commission, and to do so periodically during the incentive auction. The Bureau also encourages eligible broadcast licensees to resolve and pay all outstanding debts to the Commission as soon as possible to avoid the accrual of interest, penalties and costs on unpaid debt.

iv. Use of Auction System

15. Bidders will be able to participate in Auction 1001 over the Internet using the Commission's bidding system (Auction System). The Commission makes no warranty whatsoever with respect to the Auction System. In no event shall the Commission, or any of its officers, employees, or agents, be liable for any damages whatsoever (including, but not limited to, loss of business profits, business interruption, loss of business information, or any other loss) arising out of or relating to the existence, furnishing, functioning, or use of the Auction System. Moreover, no obligation or liability will arise out of the Commission's technical, programming, or other advice or service provided in connection with the Auction System.

v. Fraud Alert

16. As is the case with many business opportunities, some unscrupulous parties may attempt to use Auction 1001 to deceive and defraud unsuspecting eligible broadcast licensees. Every eligible broadcast licensee is responsible for monitoring whether any applications have been filed for its license(s) in order to assure that only authorized applications are filed. All licensees of eligible facilities recently completed a Form 2100 Schedule 381 Pre-Auction Technical Certification for each eligible facility using the Commission's new Licensing and Management System (LMS). At that time, if that licensee had more than one FCC Registration Number (FRN) associated with the eligible facility, LMS required the licensee to choose one FRN and one related password to associate with that facility. Individuals in possession of this FRN and the related password will be able to file an application to participate in the reverse auction on behalf of the licensee. Therefore, the Bureau urges all licensees to maintain the integrity of their FRN and related password by regularly changing their password, and to monitor the auction filing system to assure that no unauthorized filings are made. Because the Bureau will keep the identity of all reverse auction participants confidential, the licensee must review the auction filing system to become aware of fraudulent or unauthorized reverse auction filings rather than relying on review of a publicly released list of participants. Licensees that become aware of an unauthorized filing should notify the Commission immediately in writing by email to [email protected].

B. Auction Specifics i. Auction Title and Start Date

17. The reverse portion of the incentive auction will be referred to as “Auction 1001—Broadcast Television Spectrum Incentive Reverse Auction.” The incentive auction will begin on March 29, 2016, with the deadline for reverse auction applicants to commit to an initial bid option in Auction 1001.

18. Reverse auction bidders will be informed of the initial schedule of bidding rounds, including the time each round will start and finish and the number of rounds per day, when they are informed that they are qualified to bid.

ii. Auction 1001 Dates and Deadlines

19. The following dates and deadlines apply: (1) The pre-auction process tutorial will be available (via Internet) on November 17, 2015; (2) the reverse auction application (FCC Form 177) filing window opens on December 1, 2015 (12:00 noon ET); (3) the reverse auction application (FCC Form 177) filing window deadline is on December 18, 2015 (6:00 p.m. ET); (4) the bidding and post-auction process tutorial will be available (via Internet) on February 29, 2016; (5) the initial commitment deadline is on March 29, 2016 (6:00 p.m. ET); (6) the initial clearing target and band plan will be announced three to four weeks after the initial commitment deadline; (7) the specific date for the mock auction(s) will be provided to each applicant that is qualified to bid by confidential status letter after the initial clearing target is announced; and (8) the specific date for which bidding in the clock round will begin will be provided to each applicant that is qualified to bid by confidential status letter after the initial clearing target is announced.

iii. Requirements for Qualifying To Bid

20. Eligible broadcast licensees wishing to qualify to bid in the clock rounds of Auction 1000 must: (1) Submit an auction application (FCC Form 177) electronically prior to 6:00 p.m. ET, on December 18, 2015, following the electronic filing instructions that will be provided in a separate public notice to be released in the near future (FCC Form 177 Instructions); (2) Make an initial commitment prior to 6:00 p.m. ET, on March 29, 2016, following the procedures and instructions that will be set forth in the FCC Form 177 Instructions; and (3) Comply with all provisions outlined in the Auction 1000 Application Procedures PN, the Auction 1000 Bidding Procedures PN, the Incentive Auction R&O, and other applicable Commission rules and policies.

iv. Auction Delay, Suspension, or Cancellation

21. By public notice or by announcement during the reverse auction, the auction may be delayed, suspended, or cancelled in the event of a natural disaster, technical obstacle, network disruption, evidence of an auction security breach or unlawful bidding activity, administrative or weather necessity, or for any other reason that affects the fair and efficient conduct of the competitive bidding. In such cases, the Bureau, in its sole discretion, may elect to resume the competitive bidding starting from the beginning of the current or from some previous round or cancel the competitive bidding in its entirety. The Bureau emphasizes that it will exercise this authority solely at its discretion.

C. Reverse Auction Application (FCC Form 177)

22. The applicant to participate in the reverse auction (Auction 1001) must be the broadcast television licensee that holds the spectrum usage rights being offered for relinquishment. A licensee that holds licenses for multiple eligible stations that it wishes to offer in the auction may include all of its eligible stations in a single application, as long as it identifies each such station and provides the required information for each. The application to participate in Auction 1001 is referred to as FCC Form 177 and provides information used to determine whether the applicant is legally qualified to participate in the reverse auction to relinquish some or all of its spectrum usage rights in exchange for a portion of the incentive auction proceeds. Submitting an FCC Form 177 is the first of two steps in the Commission's process to qualify to bid in the reverse auction.

23. Each licensee seeking to relinquish spectrum usage rights in Auction 1001 must file an auction application electronically via the Auction System prior to 6:00 p.m. ET on December 18, 2015, following the procedures that will be provided in the FCC Form 177 Instructions. All eligible broadcast licensees, including reverse auction applicants, are subject to the Commission's rules prohibiting certain communications beginning at the deadline for filing.

24. Applicants bear full responsibility for submitting accurate, complete and timely reverse auction applications. Each applicant must make a series of certifications under penalty of perjury on its FCC Form 177 related to the information provided in its application and its participation in the auction, and must confirm that it is in compliance with all statutory and regulatory requirements for participation in the reverse auction, including any requirements with respect to stations identified in the auction application.

25. An applicant submitting an application in Auction 1001 to relinquish spectrum usage rights for a Class A or NCE television station must submit additional information about the relevant license. Specifically, if the license is for a Class A television station, the applicant must certify under penalty of perjury that it is and will remain in compliance with the ongoing statutory eligibility requirements to remain a Class A station. If the license is for an NCE station, the applicant must specify whether it operates on a reserved or non-reserved channel.

26. The submission of an FCC Form 177 (and any amendments thereto) constitutes a representation by the individual certifying the application that he or she is authorized to do so on behalf of the applicant, that he or she has read the form's instructions and certifications, and that the contents of the application, its certifications, and any attachments are true and correct. If the individual certifying the FCC Form 177 is not an officer, director, board member, or controlling interest holder of the applicant, the applicant must be able to provide evidence that such individual has the authority to bind the applicant. Submission of any false certification(s) to the Commission may result in penalties, including monetary forfeitures, license forfeitures, denial or dismissal of applications with respect to Auction 1001, ineligibility to participate in future auctions, and/or criminal prosecution.

27. In the following sections, the Bureau discusses additional details regarding certain information required to be submitted in the FCC Form 177. However, each applicant should read carefully the forthcoming FCC Form 177 Instructions and consult the Commission's rules to ensure that, in addition to the materials discussed in the Public Notice, all the information required to be submitted in an auction application is included within its application.

i. Authorized Bidders

28. As part of the auction application, the applicant must identify at least one, but no more than three, person(s) authorized to place bids in the auction. There may be circumstances in which reverse auction applicants might share the same authorized bidder. The individual submitting the application must certify that the applicant agrees that any bid submitted is an irrevocable, binding offer by the applicant to relinquish the relevant spectrum usage rights at the offered price.

ii. Identifying Relinquishment Bid Option(s) for Each Eligible Facility

29. Background. Eligible broadcast licensees may bid to voluntarily relinquish the spectrum usage rights associated with station facilities identified in the attached Final Baseline. A station may be included in the Final Baseline notwithstanding that its license has been cancelled, has expired, is subject to a revocation order (collectively, a license validity proceeding) or, for a Class A station, is subject to a downgrade order. Such a station will no longer be eligible to be offered for relinquishment in the reverse auction, however, if that license validity proceeding or downgrade becomes final and non-reviewable by December 18, 2015. An eligible broadcast licensee may offer to relinquish the spectrum usage rights associated with a station subject to a license validity proceeding or Class A downgrade order that has not become final and non-reviewable by that deadline subject to certain conditions.

30. Application Procedures. For each station that the applicant includes on its application, the applicant must identify one or more bid options, corresponding to the relinquishment options that the applicant wishes to be able to consider for that station in the reverse auction. The bid options are described in the preceding section and in more detail in the Auction 1000 Bidding Procedures PN.

31. An applicant has no obligation to bid for the options it identifies in its application; if the applicant plans to bid in the clock rounds, it will need to commit to one of its identified bid options prior to the deadline to submit an initial commitment. However, an applicant should take care when selecting bid options in its auction application. As determined in the Auction 1000 Bidding Procedures PN, if an applicant does not identify a particular bid option for a specific station on its auction application, that applicant will not be able to bid for that option for that station, either in making its initial commitment or in the clock bidding rounds. An applicant wishing to preserve flexibility to bid for all options in the auction should select all options available to each station.

iii. Ownership Disclosure Requirements

32. Each applicant must comply with the applicable Part 1 ownership disclosure standards and provide information required by 47 CFR 1.2204 and 1.2112(a). Specifically, in completing the FCC Form 177, an applicant will be required to fully disclose information on the real party- or parties-in-interest and the ownership structure of the applicant, including both direct and indirect ownership interests of 10 percent or more, as prescribed in 47 CFR 1.2112. Each applicant is responsible for ensuring that information submitted in its application is complete and accurate.

33. In certain circumstances, an applicant's most current ownership information on file with the Commission, if in an electronic format compatible with the FCC Form 177 (such as information submitted in an FCC Form 175 filed from a previous auction) will automatically be entered into the applicant's auction application. Each applicant must carefully review any information automatically entered in its FCC Form 177 to confirm that all information supplied on the application is complete and accurate as of the application filing deadline. The FCC Form 323 is not compatible with the FCC Form 177; therefore, information provided to the Commission on that form will not be automatically entered into an applicant's auction application.

34. Among other information, applicants must supply identifying information about the applicant, including the applicant's name and address, if the applicant is an individual; the name and address of the corporate office and the name and title of an officer or director if the applicant is a corporation; the name, citizenship, and address of all general partners, and, if a general partner is not a natural person, then the name and title of a responsible person for that partner, if the applicant is a partnership; the name and address of the trustee, if the applicant is a trust; and if the applicant is none of the above, it must identify and describe itself and its principals or other responsible persons. Additionally, for non-profit entities, applicants must list the name, address, and citizenship of each member of the governing board and of any educational institution or governmental entity with a controlling interest in the applicant, if applicable.

iv. National Security Certification

35. Section 6004 of the Spectrum Act, codified at 47 U.S.C. 1404, prohibits a person who has been, for reasons of national security, barred by any agency of the Federal Government from bidding on a contract, participating in an auction, or receiving a grant from participating in any auction that is required or authorized to be conducted pursuant to the Spectrum Act. In the Incentive Auction R&O, the Commission adopted a rule to implement this mandate by adding a certification to the various other certifications that a reverse auction applicant must make in its application. Pursuant to this rule, any applicant seeking to participate in Auction 1001 must certify in its FCC Form 177, under penalty of perjury, that the applicant and all of the related individuals and entities required to be disclosed on its application are not person(s) who have been, for reasons of national security, barred by any agency of the Federal Government from bidding on a contract, participating in an auction, or receiving a grant, and who are thus statutorily prohibited from participating in such a Commission auction.

v. Additional Information and Certifications Required From Applicants Intending to Channel Share

36. Background. The Commission adopted rules and procedures concerning channel sharing arrangements in the Channel Sharing R&O, the Incentive Auction R&O, and the First Order on Reconsideration. An eligible broadcast licensee interested in entering into a channel sharing arrangement should familiarize itself with those orders and the requirements adopted therein, as well as any future orders or public notices concerning channel sharing.

37. Under the Commission's rules, a reverse auction bidder that is interested in relinquishing its spectrum usage rights on its current channel in order to share another licensee's channel following the auction, and that has entered into a channel sharing agreement (CSA) before the reverse auction application filing deadline (pre-auction CSA), must submit an executed copy of the CSA with its auction application. Applicants who have entered into a pre-auction CSA must also make several certifications under penalty of perjury. The rules also provide that an applicant that executes a pre-auction CSA and submits a copy of the executed agreement with its auction application will be covered under a limited exception to the rule prohibiting communications regarding bids and bidding strategies during the period defined by the rule. This exception will allow the applicant to discuss bids and bidding strategies with the other party or parties to the pre-auction CSA to the extent covered by this exception, subject to the limitations outlined in the Prohibited Communications PN. As discussed in the Prohibited Communications PN, applicants may choose not to avail themselves of the exception in order to protect against rule violations. Applicants will be able to provide information with their applications regarding relevant firewalls or other safeguards established to protect against rule violations, although there is no requirement that they do so.

38. Additionally the Commission's rules allow winning reverse auction bidders that relinquish their spectrum usage rights in the reverse auction to enter into CSAs after the completion of the incentive auction (post-auction CSAs), provided that they (1) Indicate in their pre-auction applications that they have a present intent to find a channel sharing partner after the auction (the expression of present intent will not bind an applicant to seek out a channel sharing partner or enter into a post-auction CSA); and (2) execute and implement their post-auction CSAs by the date on which they would otherwise be required to relinquish their licenses. The channel sharing exception to the rule prohibiting certain communications will not cover applicants that indicate their present intent to enter into a post-auction CSA and do not submit a pre-auction CSA.

39. Application Requirements. A channel “sharee” applicant that intends to relinquish spectrum usage rights in order to share another station's channel post-auction will be required to indicate on its auction application whether it has entered into a CSA prior to the reverse auction application filing deadline, and/or has a present intent to enter into a CSA after the conclusion of the incentive auction and release of the Channel Reassignment PN. An applicant that indicates it has entered into a pre-auction CSA must identify on its auction application the parties to the CSA, including the sharer or host station, any other sharee(s), and the television channel the applicant has agreed to share. An applicant that submits an executed CSA may also express an intention to enter into a CSA after the conclusion of the incentive auction. Doing so could allow the licensee to seek a different channel sharing partner following the auction.

40. An applicant submitting a copy of an executed CSA with its auction application should not redact any portion of the agreement. Unless required by law, the Commission will keep the copy of the executed CSA submitted with the auction application from being made public, even if such an applicant becomes a winning bidder. Winning reverse auction channel sharing bidders will be required to include a copy of their CSA with their post-auction construction permit application (LMS Form 2100—Schedules A and E), which will be publicly available, and the Bureau will allow applicants to redact confidential or proprietary terms for the purposes of that submission.

a. Channel Sharing Certifications

41. An applicant with a pre-auction CSA will be required to certify under penalty of perjury that: (1) The CSA is consistent with all Commission rules and policies, and that the applicant accepts any risk that the implementation of the CSA may not be feasible for any reason, including any conflict with requirements for operation on the shared channel; (2) the proposed channel sharing arrangement will not trigger a new combination that violates the multiple ownership rules, set forth in 47 CFR 73.3555 based on facts at the time the application is submitted; (3) its operation from the shared channel facilities will not result in a change to its Designated Market Area; and (4) it can meet the community of license coverage requirement set forth in 47 CFR 73.625(a) from the shared channel facilities or, if not, that the new community of license for its shared channel facilities either meets the same or a higher allotment priority as its current community; or, if no community meets the same or higher allotment priority, provides the next highest priority. With respect to certification (2), a sharee must include a showing of compliance with the multiple ownership rules in its construction permit application if operation from the shared site triggers a new multiple ownership combination that is subject to those rules regardless of whether an arrangement is entered into pre- or post-auction. For pre-auction arrangements, the showing must be based on the facts at the time the sharee filed its application to participate in the reverse auction. For post-auction arrangements, the showing must be based on the facts as of the filing of the construction permit application.

42. A prospective sharer station under a pre-auction CSA need not submit an application to participate in the reverse auction unless it intends to participate in bidding to offer some or all of its spectrum usage rights for relinquishment. Examples of this would be where a sharer with a UHF channel bids to move to the VHF band, or a CSA in which the sharee is defined as the party that becomes the provisionally winning station first during the bidding rounds. However, it must make the first two certifications listed in the immediately preceding paragraph. Additionally, if the sharer is a Class A station it must certify under penalty of perjury that it is and will remain in compliance with the ongoing statutory eligibility requirements to remain a Class A station. Also, a sharer station must certify that the CSA submitted by the reverse auction applicant is a true, correct, and complete copy of the CSA between the parties. The FCC Form 177 Instructions will provide a form with the required certifications that a sharer must sign and give to the sharee(s) to upload into the sharee(s)'s auction application.

43. The channel sharing certifications must be made by persons authorized to bind the sharee and sharer, respectively. The Bureau notes that the person who makes the channel sharing certifications for the sharee may be a different person than the person who makes all other required certifications in the sharee's reverse auction application.

vi. Provisions Regarding Pending Proceedings

44. Background. The Commission determined that eligible broadcast licensees with pending enforcement matters or license renewal applications that raise enforcement issues whose bids may result in their holding no broadcast licenses, as well as eligible broadcast licensees of facilities subject to a non-final license validity proceeding or downgrade order, may participate in the reverse auction subject to any incentive payment being held until the pending proceedings are finally resolved. This section describes the additional information that such licensees must provide on their reverse auction applications and the process by which the Commission will hold their incentive payments pending resolution of these types of proceedings.

45. Application Procedures. Each applicant that selects going off-air as a bidding option for a station must indicate on its auction application whether or not it will hold any other broadcast licenses in the event that all of the bids that it might place to go off-air are accepted. If it will hold another broadcast license in such an event, then the applicant must certify that the applicant will remain subject to any license renewal, as well as any enforcement action, pending at the time of the auction application deadline against the station that may go off-air as a result of the auction. If it will not hold any other broadcast licenses in such an event, then the applicant must certify its agreement (1) That pursuant to the Commission's announced procedures for resolving such matters in connection with this auction, the Commission may withhold a portion of the share of auction proceeds for the station, if any, pending final determination of any FCC liabilities with respect to the station and such portion may be applied towards the satisfaction of such liabilities; and (2) that the applicant remains subject to the Commission's jurisdiction and authority to impose enforcement or other FCC liabilities with respect to the station, notwithstanding the surrender of its license for the station.

46. Each applicant must also indicate for each license identified in its application whether the license is subject: (1) To a non-final revocation order; or (2) has expired or been cancelled and is subject to a non-final license cancellation order. If such an order becomes final and non-reviewable before the deadline for filing, the former licensee is not eligible to participate. Likewise, an applicant that includes a Class A television station in its application must indicate whether that station is subject to a non-final downgrade order. If such a downgrade order becomes final before the deadline for filing, the licensee is no longer eligible to participate. An applicant that indicates that a license in its application is subject to any of the foregoing revocation, cancellation, or downgrade proceedings must certify in its application that it agrees with the Commission's announced procedures to withhold all of any incentive payment for the station pending the final outcome of the proceeding.

47. In the confidential letter informing an applicant of the initial status of its auction application, the Wireless Telecommunications and Media Bureaus (collectively, the Bureaus) will inform the applicant of any potential FCC liabilities with respect to a particular station that cannot be resolved before the initial commitment deadline. In addition, the Bureaus will indicate the amount of auction proceeds that the Commission will withhold should the applicant relinquish its license(s) as a result of the auction and therefore otherwise no longer be subject to the Commission's jurisdiction. The amount withheld will represent the maximum necessary to cover a potential forfeiture based on enforcement matters existing at that time. This process ensures that the applicant will be aware of any withholding before making an initial commitment to relinquish its spectrum usage rights. The applicant's certifications ensure that an applicant whose stations may go off-air as a result of the auction will not thereby avoid any liability to the public and owed to the Commission.

48. All auction proceeds held (1) To cover potential enforcement liabilities, (2) because of an ongoing license validity or downgrade proceeding, or (3) until final resolution of an appeal of a debt determination or a compromise or waiver request will be held by the Commission in the U.S. Treasury. As determined by the Commission in the Incentive Auction R&O, amounts held following the auction will be released to the broadcaster or applied towards any forfeiture costs and other debt the broadcaster owes to the Commission, as appropriate in light of the final resolution of the relevant issues. This procedure is consistent with the Commission's reverse auction competitive bidding rules and with its proposal in the Auction 1000 Comment PN that auction proceeds be held in the U.S. Treasury pending resolution of outstanding enforcement proceedings, license renewal proceedings, or other potential eligibility impediments.

vii. Modifications to FCC Form 177 a. Only Minor Modifications Allowed

49. After the initial FCC Form 177 filing deadline, an Auction 1001 applicant will be permitted to make only minor changes to its application. Examples of minor changes include the deletion or addition of authorized bidders (to a maximum of three), revision of addresses and telephone numbers of the applicant, its responsible party, and its contact person, and change in the applicant's selected bidding preference (electronic or telephonic). Major modification to an FCC Form 177 (e.g., add or remove a license identified for relinquishment, change of relinquishment option for a particular license, certain changes in ownership that would constitute an assignment or transfer of control of the applicant, change any of the required certifications, change the certifying official, add a new CSA or change a party to a CSA, change in applicant's legal classification that results in a change in control) will not be permitted after the initial FCC Form 177 filing deadline. If an amendment reporting changes is a “major amendment,” as defined in 47 CFR 1.2204(d)(3), the major amendment will not be accepted and may result in the dismissal of the application.

b. Duty To Maintain Accuracy and Completeness of FCC Form 177

50. Pursuant to 47 CFR 1.65 and 1.2204(d)(5) each applicant has a continuing obligation to maintain the accuracy and completeness of information furnished in a pending application, including a pending application to participate in the reverse auction. An Auction 1001 applicant must furnish additional or corrected information to the Commission within five days after a significant occurrence, or amend its FCC Form 177 no more than five days after the applicant becomes aware of the need for the amendment. An applicant's obligation to make modifications to a pending application in order to provide additional or corrected information continues in accordance with the Commission's rules. An applicant is obligated to amend its pending application even if a reported change is considered to be a major modification that may result in the dismissal of the application.

c. Submitting Modifications to FCC Form 177

51. If an applicant needs to make permissible minor changes to its FCC Form 177, or must make changes in order to maintain the accuracy and completeness of its application pursuant to 47 CFR 1.65 and 1.2204(d)(5), during a time when the system is available to the applicant for purposes of making the type of change(s) required, such changes should be made electronically to its FCC Form 177 using the Auction System. For the change to be submitted and considered by the Commission, an applicant must click on the SUBMIT button. After the revised application has been submitted, a confirmation page will be displayed stating the submission time, submission date, and a unique file number.

52. An applicant cannot use the Auction System outside of the initial and resubmission filing windows to make changes to its FCC Form 177 for other than administrative changes (e.g., changing responsible party or contact person name and related information, adding or deleting an authorized bidder). If other permissible minor changes need to be made, or if changes are required pursuant to 47 CFR 1.65 and 1.2204(d)(5), outside of these windows, the applicant must submit a letter briefly summarizing the changes to its FCC Form 177 by email to [email protected]. The email summarizing the changes must include a subject or caption referring to Auction 1001 and the name of the applicant, for example, “Re: Changes to Auction 1001 Auction Application of XYZ Corp.” Any attachments to email must be formatted as Adobe® Acrobat® (PDF) or Microsoft® Word documents. Questions about FCC Form 177 amendments should be directed to the Auctions and Spectrum Access Division at (202) 418-0660. An applicant that submits its changes in this manner must subsequently update its FCC Form 177 in the Auction System once it is open and available to applicants. Moreover, after the initial filing window has closed, the Auction System will not permit an applicant to make certain permissible changes itself (e.g., correcting a misstatement of the applicant's legal classification). This is the case because certain fields on the FCC Form 177 will no longer be available to, or changeable by, the applicant after the initial application filing window closes. If an applicant needs to make a permissible minor change that cannot be made using the Auction System, it must submit a written request by email to [email protected] requesting that the Commission manually make the change on the applicant's behalf. The applicant must then recertify its application by clicking on the SUBMIT button to confirm the change.

53. As with the FCC Form 177, any application amendment and related statements of fact must be certified by an authorized representative of the applicant with authority to bind the applicant. Applicants should note that submission of any such amendment or related statement of fact constitutes a representation by the person certifying that he or she is an authorized representative with such authority, and that the contents of the amendment or statement of fact are true and correct.

54. Applicants must not submit application-specific material through the Commission's Electronic Comment Filing System. Further, as discussed in the Auction 1000 Prohibited Communications PN, parties submitting information related to their applications should use caution to ensure that their submissions do not contain confidential information or communicate information that would violate 47 CFR 1.2205. A party seeking to submit, outside of the Auction System, information that might reflect non-public information, such as a party's decision to submit an application, any applicant's name, or any other information identifying a reverse auction applicant, should consider submitting any such information along with a request that the filing or portions of the filing be withheld from public inspection until the end of the prohibition of certain communications pursuant to 47 CFR 1.2205.

D. Auction 1001 Process i. Online Auction Tutorials and Training

55. Prior to the deadline to apply to participate in the reverse auction, the Commission will provide, in various formats, detailed educational information to would-be participants and channel sharers. Among other things, the Commission will hold workshops/webinars addressing the reverse auction application and bidding processes. In addition, Commission staff will provide two auction tutorials for prospective bidders to walk through the auction process and the application and bidding screens. The first auction tutorial will focus on the application process and the second tutorial will focus on the bidding process. These online tutorials will provide information about pre-auction procedures, completing reverse auction applications, auction conduct, the auction bidding system, and auction rules. The application tutorial will be available on the Auction 1001 Web page no later than November 17, 2015, and the bidding process tutorial will be available no later than February 29, 2016.

56. Based on the Bureau's experience with past auctions, parties interested in participating in this auction will find the interactive, online tutorials an efficient and effective way to further their understanding of the auction process. The tutorials will allow viewers to navigate the presentation outline, review written notes, listen to audio recordings of the notes, and search for topics using a text search function. Additional features of this web-based tool include links to auction-specific Commission releases, email links for contacting Commission licensing and auctions staff, and screen shots of the online application and bidding system. The tutorials will be accessible through a web browser with Adobe Flash Player.

57. The auction tutorials will be accessible from the Commission's Auction 1001 Web page at http://www.fcc.gov/auctions/1001 through an “Auction Tutorial” link under the “Education” tab. Once posted, these tutorials will remain available and accessible anytime for reference in connection with the procedures outlined in Auction 1000 Application Procedures PN.

ii. FCC Form 177—Due Prior to 6:00 p.m. ET on December 18, 2015

58. As the first step to qualify to bid in the clock rounds of the reverse auction, an applicant must follow the procedures provided in the forthcoming FCC Form 177 Instructions to submit an application to participate in the reverse auction (FCC Form 177) electronically via the Auction System.

59. An applicant may file its application to participate in Auction 1001 during the filing window that will open at noon ET on December 1, 2015, and close at 6:00 p.m. ET on December 18, 2015. The application must be submitted prior to the closing of the filing window. Late applications will not be accepted. No application fee is required. The Bureau strongly encourages applicants to file early. Potential applicants are responsible for allowing adequate time for filing their applications. There are no limits or restrictions on the number of times an application can be updated or amended until the filing deadline on December 18, 2015.

60. An applicant must always click on the SUBMIT button on the “Certify & Submit” screen to successfully submit its FCC Form 177 and any modifications; otherwise the application or changes to the application will not be received or reviewed by Commission staff. Additional information about accessing, completing, and viewing the FCC Form 177 will be included in the FCC Form 177 Instructions. FCC Auctions Technical Support is available at (877) 480-3201, option nine; (202) 414-1250; or (202) 414-1255 (text telephone (TTY)); hours of service are Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET. In order to provide better service to the public, all calls to Technical Support are recorded.

iii. Application Processing

61. After the deadline for filing reverse auction applications to participate, Commission staff will process all timely submitted applications to determine whether the application is complete as to each station the applicant identified to relinquish spectrum usage rights. Subsequently, the Bureau will send confidential letters to the contact person listed on the applicant's FCC Form 177 identifying as to each station whether the application (1) Is complete, (2) has been rejected, or (3) is incomplete or deficient because of minor defects that may be corrected. The letter will include the deadline for resubmitting corrected applications and will inform the applicant of any potential FCC liabilities with respect to a particular station that cannot be resolved before the reverse auction. Applicants that fail to correct defects in their applications to participate by the deadline will have their applications dismissed with no opportunity for resubmission.

62. Applicants will be provided a limited opportunity to cure specified defects and to resubmit a corrected application. The Bureau cautions, however, that any application to participate that does not contain all of the certifications required pursuant to the Commission's rules cannot be corrected subsequent to the initial application filing deadline, and will be dismissed. During the resubmission period for curing defects, an auction application may be amended or modified to cure identified defects or to make minor amendments or modifications.

63. After the resubmission filing deadline, Commission staff will determine whether an applicant's resubmitted application is complete as to each station the applicant included in the application. The staff will send a confidential letter to the contact person listed in the FCC Form 177 notifying him or her of the final status of its application to participate in the reverse auction with respect to each station in the application. If the application is complete for one or more stations, the letter will contain information about how to submit an initial commitment for those complete stations which is the second step in qualifying to bid in the clock rounds of the reverse auction. If the application is deemed not complete as to any particular station the applicant will be not be able to make an initial commitment for that station.

64. Commission staff will communicate only with an applicant's contact person or certifying official, as designated on the auction application, unless the applicant's certifying official or contact person notifies the Commission in writing that the applicant's counsel or other representative is authorized to speak on its behalf. In no event, however, will the FCC send auction registration materials to anyone other than the contact person listed on the FCC Form 177 or respond to a request for replacement registration materials from anyone other than the authorized bidder, contact person, or certifying official listed on the applicant's FCC Form 177. Authorizations may be sent by email to [email protected].

iv. Initial Commitment

65. As the second step to qualify to bid in the clock rounds of the reverse auction, an applicant that has submitted a timely and complete application must commit, at the opening price, to a preferred relinquishment option for each station that it intends to bid for in the reverse auction prior to 6:00 p.m. ET on March 29, 2016. For each station deemed complete, an applicant may only commit to a relinquishment option(s) that it identified for that station when initially submitting its auction application. An applicant will receive instructions on how to submit an initial commitment for such stations in the confidential letter that informs the applicant whether the station has been deemed complete.

66. An applicant's initial commitment to a relinquishment option constitutes an initial bid, and as such, is an irrevocable offer by the applicant to relinquish the relevant spectrum usage rights in exchange for the opening price offer for that bid option if that station is selected to be a winning station. An applicant that fails to commit to an initial relinquishment option for a given station by the deadline will not be qualified to bid in the clock rounds of the auction for that station. Applicants should carefully review the Auction 1000 Bidding Procedures PN for further details concerning how the selection of a preferred option and a fallback option may affect its bidding options in the clock rounds.

67. Based on the initial commitments, the Auction System will determine an initial clearing target for the incentive auction. Once the initial clearing target has been determined, the Bureau will send a confidential letter to each reverse auction applicant to inform it of its status with respect to the clock rounds of the reverse auction. The letters will notify the applicant at the contact address provided in the Form 177, for each station included in the application, either that (1) The station is qualified to participate in the clock rounds of the reverse auction; (2) the station is not qualified because no initial commitment was made, and therefore, that station will be designated to be repacked in its pre-auction band; (3) the commitment(s) made by the applicant for the station could not be accommodated, and therefore, that station is not qualified and will be designated to be repacked in its pre-auction band; or (4) the Auction System determined that the station is not needed to meet the initial or any subsequent clearing target, and therefore, the station is not qualified and will be designated to be repacked in its pre-auction band.

v. Qualified Bidder Registration Materials

68. All qualified bidders in the reverse auction are automatically registered for the auction. The materials needed to participate in the clock rounds of the reverse auction will be distributed by overnight mail. The mailing will be sent to the contact person at the contact address listed in the FCC Form 177 and will include the SecurID® tokens that each authorized bidder will need to place bids, the auction system bidder's guide, and the Auction Bidder Line phone number.

69. Bidders qualified to bid in the reverse auction clock rounds that do not receive this registration mailing will not be able to submit bids. Therefore, if this mailing is not received by noon on five days prior to the mock auction, call the Auctions Hotline at (717) 338-2868. Receipt of this registration mailing is critical to participating in the auction, and each applicant is responsible for ensuring it has received all of the registration materials.

70. In the event that SecurID® tokens are lost or damaged, only a person who has been designated as an authorized bidder, the contact person, or the certifying official on the applicant's application to participate in the reverse auction may request replacements. To request replacement of these items, call Technical Support at (877) 480-3201, option nine; (202) 414-1250; or (202) 414-1255 (TTY).

vi. Remote Electronic Bidding

71. The Commission will conduct this auction over the Internet, and telephonic bidding will be available as well. All telephone calls are recorded. Only qualified bidders are permitted to bid. Each applicant should indicate its bidding preference—electronic or telephonic—on its FCC Form 177 application. In either case, each authorized bidder must have its own designated SecurID® token, which the Commission will provide at no charge. Each authorized bidder will be issued a unique SecurID® token. For security purposes, the SecurID® tokens, the telephonic bidding telephone number, and the “Reverse Auction System Bidder's Guide” are only mailed to the contact person at the contact address listed on the FCC Form 177. Each SecurID® token is tailored to a specific auction and designated authorized bidder. SecurID® tokens issued for other auctions or obtained from a source other than the Commission will not work for Auction 1001.

vii. Mock Auction

72. All bidders qualified to bid in the clock rounds will be able to participate in a mock reverse auction prior to the start of the bidding, which will enable bidders to obtain hands-on experience with the Auction System. The mock auction will enable bidders to become familiar with the Auction System prior to the auction. The Bureau strongly recommends that all bidders participate in the mock auction.

73. The Bureau anticipates that it will need to conduct at least two mock auctions to accommodate the large number of broadcasters that it expects will qualify to bid in the reverse auction. In the final confidential status letter, each qualified bidder will be notified of the date of the mock auction to which it has been assigned.

III. Applying To Participate in the Forward Auction

74. Auction 1002 will offer new, flexible-use licenses suitable for providing mobile broadband services, which will be licensed on a geographic area basis according to Partial Economic Areas (PEAs). As more fully explained in the Auction 1000 Bidding Procedures PN, Auction 1002 will consist of two phases—an ascending clock phase and an assignment phase.

A. Applicable Rules and Disclaimers i. Relevant Authority

75. As more fully explained in the Auction 1000 Bidding Procedures PN, the Commission will conduct Auction 1002 pursuant to Title VI of the Spectrum Act. Prospective applicants for Auction 1002 must familiarize themselves thoroughly with the specific rules and policies adopted by the Commission to provide the necessary framework for the forward auction, including service rules relating to the 600 MHz Band, potential impairments and transition periods affecting the licenses offered in the auction, and rules relating to applications, environmental review requirements, practice and procedure. Prospective applicants must also familiarize themselves with the Spectrum Act, as well as the Commission's general competitive bidding rules in part 1, subpart Q of the Code of Federal Regulations, Commission decisions in proceedings regarding competitive bidding procedures and obligations of Commission licensees—particularly the Commission's recent Part 1 R&O—and with the procedures, terms, and conditions contained in the Auction 1000 Application Procedures PN, the Auction 1000 Bidding Procedures PN, the Auction 1000 Prohibited Communications PN, and any other public notices related to Auction 1000, including Auction 1002.

76. The terms contained in the Commission's rules, relevant orders, and public notices are not negotiable. The Commission may amend or supplement the information contained in its public notices at any time, and will issue public notices to convey any new or supplemental information to applicants. It is the responsibility of all applicants to remain current with all Commission rules and with all public notices pertaining to this auction. Copies of most auction-related Commission documents, including public notices, can be retrieved from the FCC Auctions Web site at http://wireless.fcc.gov/auctions. Additionally, documents are available for public inspection and copying at the FCC's headquarters located at 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554 during normal business hours.

ii. International Coordination

77. Potential bidders seeking licenses for geographic areas adjacent to the Canadian and Mexican borders should be aware that the use of some or all of the 600 MHz Band frequencies they acquire in the forward auction are subject to international agreements with Canada and Mexico. Potential bidders should be aware that, until such time as any new agreements between the United States, Mexico, and/or Canada can be made, wireless operations in the 600 MHz Band must not cause harmful interference to, and must accept harmful interference from, television broadcast operations in Mexico and Canada. As the Commission noted in the Incentive Auction R&O, it routinely works with the United States Department of State and Canadian and Mexican government officials to ensure the efficient use of the spectrum as well as interference-free operations in the border areas near Canada and Mexico. The Commission has finalized arrangements with Industry Canada (IC) and the Instituto Federal de Telecomunicaciones (IFT) that set forth a framework and common guidelines for repurposing TV spectrum for mobile broadband on both sides of the borders. These arrangements significantly reduce potential interference to future wireless operations in the border regions and provide assurance that mobile broadband services in the border markets will face less potential interference from Canadian or Mexican television broadcast stations. Pursuant to joint planning between the Commission and Industry Canada, and in light of Industry Canada's decision to repurpose the 600 MHz Band, the 138 and 144 megahertz clearing targets will not be considered in order to better harmonize the 600 MHz Band Plan between the two countries.

iii. Quiet Zones

78. Licensees that intend to operate base and fixed stations in the downlink portion of the 600 MHz Band in close proximity to Radio Astronomy Observatories must follow the procedures set forth in the Commission's rules.

iv. Due Diligence

79. A Commission spectrum auction represents an opportunity to become a Commission licensee, subject to certain conditions and regulations. A Commission auction does not constitute an endorsement by the Commission of any particular service, technology, or product, and the Commission makes no representations or warranties about the use of the spectrum offered in Auction 1002 for particular services. A Commission license does not constitute a guarantee of business success, and each applicant should therefore perform its due diligence research and analysis before proceeding, as it would with any new business venture, to ensure that any licenses won in this auction will be suitable for its business plans and needs.

80. Each potential bidder is solely responsible for investigating and evaluating all legal, technical, and marketplace factors and risks associated with the licenses that it is seeking in Auction 1002, evaluating the degree to which those factors and risks may have a bearing on the value of the licenses and/or affect the bidder's ability to bid on, otherwise acquire, or make use of such licenses, and conducting any technical analyses necessary to assure itself that, if it wins any license(s), it will be able to build and operate facilities in accordance with the Commission's rules. Each potential bidder's due diligence efforts should include, among other things: (1) Reviewing all Commission orders and public notices establishing rules and policies for the 600 MHz Band, including but not limited to spectrum use during the Post-Auction Transition Period and potential impairments affecting certain licenses; (2) conducting research to determine the existence of any pending administrative or judicial proceedings, including pending allocation rulemaking proceedings, that might affect its decision to participate in the auction; (3) performing (or refreshing previous) technical analyses; and (4) inspecting any prospective transmitter sites located in, or near, the service area for which it plans to bid and confirming the availability of such sites and their conformance with applicable federal, state, and local land use requirements. Each potential bidder must undertake its own assessment of the relevance and importance of information gathered as part of its due diligence efforts.

81. Applicants should bear in mind that the due diligence considerations mentioned in the Auction 1000 Application Procedures PN do not comprise of an exhaustive list of steps that should be undertaken prior to participating in this auction. As always, the burden is on the potential bidder to determine how much research to undertake, depending upon specific facts and circumstances related to its interests.

82. The Commission's statutory authority under the Communications Act to add, modify and eliminate rules governing spectrum use, as the public interest warrants, applies equally to all licenses, whether acquired through the competitive bidding process or otherwise. The Bureau strongly encourages each participant in Auction 1002 to continue such research throughout the auction. Pending and future Commission and judicial proceedings—including applications, applications for modification, rulemaking proceedings, requests for special temporary authority, waiver requests, petitions to deny, petitions for reconsideration, informal objections, and applications for review—may relate to particular applicants or the licenses available in Auction 1002 (or the terms and conditions thereof, including all applicable Commission rules and regulations), and each prospective applicant is responsible for assessing the likelihood of the various possible outcomes and for considering the potential impact on licenses available in this auction.

v. Use of Auction System

83. Bidders will be able to participate in Auction 1002 over the Internet using the Commission's bidding system (Auction System). The Commission makes no warranty whatsoever with respect to the Auction System. In no event shall the Commission, or any of its officers, employees, or agents, be liable for any damages whatsoever (including, but not limited to, loss of business profits, business interruption, loss of business information, or any other loss) arising out of or relating to the existence, furnishing, functioning, or use of the Auction System that is accessible to qualified bidders in connection with this auction. Moreover, no obligation or liability will arise out of the Commission's technical, programming, or other advice or service provided in connection with the Auction System.

vi. Environmental Review Requirements

84. Licensees must comply with the Commission's rules regarding implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act and other federal environmental statutes. The construction of a wireless antenna facility is a federal action, and the licensee must comply with the Commission's environmental rules for each such facility. These environmental rules require, among other things, that the licensee consult with expert agencies having environmental responsibilities, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the State Historic Preservation Office, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (through the local authority with jurisdiction over floodplains). In assessing the effect of facility construction on historic properties, the licensee must follow the provisions of the Commission's Nationwide Programmatic Agreement Regarding the Section 106 National Historic Preservation Act Review Process. The licensee must prepare an environmental assessment for any facility that may have a significant impact in or on wilderness areas, wildlife preserves, threatened or endangered species, designated critical habitats, historical or archaeological sites, Native American religious sites, floodplains, surface features, or migratory birds. In addition, the licensee must prepare an environmental assessment for any facility that includes high intensity white lights in residential neighborhoods or excessive radio frequency emission.

B. Auction Specifics i. Auction Title and Start Date

85. The forward portion of the Incentive Auction will be referred to as “Auction 1002—Broadcast Television Spectrum Incentive Forward Auction.” The clock phase of the initial stage of Auction 1002 will begin on the second business day after the close of bidding in the reverse auction (Auction 1001), but no sooner than 15 business days after the release of a public notice announcing all qualified bidders for the forward auction. Unless otherwise announced, bidding on all generic spectrum blocks in all PEAs will be conducted on each business day until bidding has stopped on all spectrum blocks in all PEAs. Following the conclusion of the clock phase in the final stage, the Auction System will make available more detailed information about the assignment phase (including scheduling information and bidding options) to the winning clock phase bidders five business days before starting the assignment phase.

ii. Auction 1002 Dates and Deadlines

86. The following dates and deadlines apply: (1) The pre-auction process tutorial will be available (via Internet) on January 7, 2016; (2) the forward auction application (FCC Form 175) filing window opens on January 14, 2016 (12:00 noon ET); (3) the forward auction application (FCC Form 175) filing window deadline is on January 28, 2016 (6:00 p.m. ET); (4) the bidding and post-auction process tutorial will be available (via Internet) on February 29, 2016; (6) the practice auction will occur in the spring of 2016; (7) the initial commitment deadline is on March 29, 2016 (6:00 p.m. ET); (8) the initial clearing target and band plan will be announced three to four weeks after the initial commitment deadline; (9) upfront payments (via wire transfer) will be due by the deadline announced in the Upfront Payments PN (6:00 p.m. ET); (10) the clock and assignment phase mock auction will be announced in the Auction 1002 Qualified Bidders PN; and (11) the clock-phase auction will be begin on the date announced in the Auction 1002 Qualified Bidders PN.

iii. Requirements for Participation

87. Those wishing to participate in Auction 1002 must: (1) Submit a forward auction application (FCC Form 175) electronically prior to 6:00 p.m. ET, on January 28, 2016 following the electronic filing instructions that will be provided in a separate public notice to be released in the near future (FCC Form 175 Instructions); (2) submit a sufficient upfront payment by 6:00 p.m. ET, on the deadline to be announced in a separate public notice to be released after the initial clearing target and associated band plan scenario has been determined (Upfront Payment PN); and (3) comply with all provisions outlined in the Auction 1000 Bidding Procedures PN and the Auction 1000 Application Procedures PN as well as applicable Commission rules and policies.

iv. Auction Delay, Suspension, or Cancellation

88. By public notice or by announcement during the forward auction, the auction may be delayed, suspended, or cancelled in the event of natural disaster, technical obstacle, network disruption, evidence of an auction security breach or unlawful bidding activity, administrative or weather necessity, or for any other reason that affects the fair and efficient conduct of the competitive bidding. In such cases, the Bureau, in its sole discretion, may elect to resume the competitive bidding starting from the beginning of the current round or from some previous round or cancel the auction in its entirety. The Bureau emphasizes that it will exercise this authority solely at its discretion.

C. Forward Auction Application (FCC Form 175)

89. An application to participate in the forward auction (FCC Form 175) is the first part of the Commission's two-part auction application process for Auction 1002. The FCC Form 175 is a streamlined application filed by parties seeking to participate in an auction that provides information used by Commission staff to determine whether the applicant is legally, technically, and financially qualified to participate in Commission auctions for licenses or permits. An applicant's eligibility to bid in Auction 1002 is based on the information provided in its FCC Form 175 and required certifications as to the applicant's qualifications, and on the applicant's submission of a sufficient upfront payment. In the second part of the application process for Auction 1002, each winning bidder must file a more comprehensive post-auction application (FCC Form 601) and must have a complete and accurate ownership disclosure information report (FCC Form 602) on file with the Commission.

90. Every entity and individual seeking to bid on a license available in Auction 1002 must file an FCC Form 175 electronically via the Auction System prior to 6:00 p.m. ET on January 28, 2016, following the procedures prescribed in the FCC Form 175 Instructions. If an applicant claims eligibility for a bidding credit, the information provided in its FCC Form 175 will be used to determine whether the applicant may request the claimed bidding credit. As more fully explained in the Prohibited Communications PN, an applicant that files an FCC Form 175 to participate in Auction 1002 will be subject to the Commission's prohibited communications rules beginning effective as of the application filing deadline.

91. Applicants bear full responsibility for submitting accurate, complete, and timely auction applications. Each applicant must make a series of certifications under penalty of perjury on its FCC Form 175 related to the information provided in its application and its participation in the auction, and must confirm that it is legally, technically, financially, and otherwise qualified to hold a license. If an Auction 1002 applicant fails to make the required certifications in its FCC Form 175 by the application filing deadline, its application will be unacceptable for filing and cannot be corrected subsequent to the filing deadline.

92. The submission of an FCC Form 175 (and any amendments thereto) constitutes a representation by the person certifying the application that he or she is an authorized representative of the applicant with authority to bind the applicant, that he or she has read the form's instructions and certifications, and that the contents of the application, its certifications, and any attachments are true and correct. Submission of any false certification(s) to the Commission may result in penalties, including monetary forfeitures, license forfeitures, ineligibility to participate in future auctions, and/or criminal prosecution.

93. The Commission's rules prohibit the filing of more than one auction application by the same individual or entity. An individual or entity may therefore not submit more than one application for a single auction. If a party submits multiple applications for any license(s) in a particular auction, only one of its applications can be found to be complete when reviewed for completeness and compliance with the Commission's rules. Similarly, and consistent with the Commission's general prohibition on joint bidding agreements, an entity is generally permitted to participate in a Commission auction only through a single bidding entity. Accordingly, the filing of applications by entities controlled by the same individual or set of individuals will generally not be permitted. This restriction applies across all applications in a particular auction, without regard to the licenses or geographic areas selected. Section 1.2105(a)(3) provides a limited exception to the general prohibition on the filing of multiple applications by commonly-controlled entities for qualified rural wireless partnerships and individual members of such partnerships pursuant to which each qualifying rural wireless partnership and its individual members will be permitted to participate separately in an auction. 47 CFR 1.2105(a)(3).

94. The Bureau discusses additional details regarding certain information required to be submitted in the FCC Form 175. However, each applicant should read carefully the Auction 1002 application instructions and consult the Commission's rules to ensure that all of the information required to be submitted in an auction application is included within its application.

i. Authorized Bidders

95. An applicant must designate at least one authorized bidder, and no more than three, in its FCC Form 175. The Commission's rules prohibit an individual from serving as an authorized bidder for more than one auction applicant. Accordingly, the same individual may not be listed as an authorized bidder in more than one FCC Form 175.

ii. License Area Selection

96. An applicant must select all of the PEA(s) on which it may want to bid from the list of available PEAs on its FCC Form 175. The application will not ask an applicant to select a number of generic blocks on which it may wish to bid since the number of blocks available in each PEA will not be known at the time applications are due. The applicant must carefully review and verify its PEA selections before the FCC Form 175 filing deadline because PEA selections cannot be changed after the auction application filing deadline. The Auction System will not accept bids on PEA(s) that were not selected on the applicant's FCC Form 175.

iii. Qualification To Bid on Market-Based Spectrum Reserve

97. An entity can qualify to bid on reserved spectrum by either (1) holding an attributable interest in less than 45 megahertz of below-1-GHz spectrum in a given PEA; or (2) being a non-nationwide provider. The attribution criteria set forth in 47 CFR 20.22 govern qualification to bid on the spectrum reserve under either of the two prongs. To qualify to bid on reserved licenses in a PEA under the first prong, an entity must not have an attributable interest on a population-weighted basis of 45 megahertz or more of below-1-GHz spectrum that is suitable and available for the provision of mobile telephony/mobile broadband services in that PEA, at the deadline for filing an FCC Form 175 to participate in Auction 1002. A total of 134 megahertz of below-1-GHz spectrum is currently considered to be “suitable” and “available,” as follows: 50 megahertz of 800 MHz cellular spectrum, 70 megahertz of 700 MHz spectrum, and 14 megahertz of SMR spectrum.

98. Here, the Bureau addresses additional implementation issues related to qualification to bid on the spectrum reserve: (1) An element of the methodology for calculating below-1-GHz spectrum holdings in a PEA, related to cellular license areas; (2) guidance regarding how certain types of rural partnerships, or members thereof, can request status as non-nationwide providers; and (3) logistical details regarding the required certification by applicants of their reserve-eligible qualification in particular PEAs. In addition, Attachment 3 to the Auction 1000 Application Procedures PN contains a list, for each PEA, of the nationwide providers that are reserve-eligible in that PEA based on application of the Bureau's current records of the methodology for calculating below-1-GHz spectrum holdings.

a. Accounting for Cellular License Areas in Calculating Below-1-GHz Spectrum Holdings in a PEA

99. As set forth in the Mobile Spectrum Holdings R&O, for purposes of determining reserve-eligibility, the Bureau will calculate an entity's below-1-GHz spectrum holdings in a PEA by summing the product of county spectrum holdings and county population within the PEA (using U.S. Census 2010 population data), and then dividing that sum by the total population of the PEA. In those PEAs where there are existing long-term commercial leases, as the Bureau attributes the leased spectrum to both the lessee and lessor, it increases the total below-1-GHz spectrum amount included by the population-weighted amount of the lease—and accordingly increase the threshold for reserve-eligibility in those markets to approximately one-third of the total—so that service providers' holdings are not overstated in those markets. The Bureau notes that 800 MHz cellular service license areas (Cellular Geographic Service Areas or CGSAs), which are relevant to determining an entity's below-1-GHz holdings, do not generally follow county lines. As a result, the Bureau will take additional steps to calculate an entity's cellular holdings at the PEA level. Specifically, it will first overlay map files of each service provider's CGSAs as of May 2015 onto map files of census blocks. The CGSA map files are available at: https://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/cgsa. Census block map files are available at: https://www.census.gov/cgi-bin/geo/shapefiles2010/main. Next, it will attribute cellular spectrum in each census block to each entity whose CGSA boundary overlaps the geometric center of the block, referred to as the centroid. The “centroid” refers to the internal point latitude/longitude of a census block polygon. The Commission has used this methodology, which relies on publicly available information and is an administratively simple and efficient approach to apply, for determining in other contexts how to categorize individual census blocks. Once the Bureau calculates an entity's holdings in each census block within the PEA, the standard population-weighted methodology is used to aggregate spectrum holdings to the PEA level. Census block cellular spectrum holdings are multiplied by the population of the census block for all census blocks in the PEA. The sum is then divided by the population of the PEA to yield the population-weighted megahertz cellular spectrum holdings at the PEA level. The Bureau notes that this methodology produces the same results, and is administratively easier, than a methodology that first aggregates census blocks up to the county level and then aggregates counties up to the PEA level.

100. In order to provide an opportunity for potential applicants in Auction 1002 to review the Bureau's current assessment of which of the nationwide providers would qualify to bid on reserve spectrum in each PEA, and to inform applicants of how to determine where they may certify eligibility for bidding on such spectrum, Attachment 3 to the Auction 1000 Application Procedures PN includes a list of qualified nationwide providers for each PEA, based on the methodology and in the Mobile Spectrum Holdings R&O. The Bureau notes that non-nationwide providers can qualify to bid on reserve spectrum irrespective of their below-1-GHz spectrum holdings for the reasons set out in the Mobile Spectrum Holdings R&O, and the Auction 1000 Bidding Procedures PN. If an interested party would like to raise potential corrections to this list, it may do so by making a filing in AU Docket No. 14-252, GN Docket No. 12-268, and WT Docket No. 12-269, and sending the filing by electronic mail to [email protected] and [email protected] by November 16, 2015. An updated list of all nationwide applicants qualified to bid on reserved spectrum in each PEA will be issued prior to the FCC Form 175 filing deadline. The Bureau notes that spectrum holdings that are the subject of an application for assignment or transfer of control that has been approved as of the date of the Auction 1000 Application Procedures PN will be attributed to the assignee or transferee for purposes of the determinations in Attachment 3 to the Public Notice. The updated list that will be released prior to the FCC Form 175 filing deadline similarly will reflect such attributions as of the date of that updated list.

b. Required Certification of Eligibility for Reserved Spectrum

101. In the Auction 1000 Comment PN, the Commission proposed to require an applicant seeking to participate in the forward auction as a reserve-eligible entity to certify in its application that it is a reserve-eligible entity with respect to each PEA in which it wishes to be able to bid for reserved blocks. The Commission further proposed that an applicant must make this certification in its application and that it shall not be able to revise its certification thereafter. The Commission stated that this approach will enable potentially reserve-eligible applicants to forego reserve-eligible status on a PEA-by-PEA basis, and that requiring applicants intending to bid for reserved spectrum blocks to affirmatively declare their eligibility to do so will avoid any subsequent ambiguity or uncertainty by each applicant regarding its reserve-eligible status. The Commission received no comment on these proposals, and the Bureau therefore adopts a spectrum reserve eligibility certification for Auction 1002.

102. Under this certification requirement, an applicant that is eligible to bid on reserved spectrum blocks in a given PEA, and that included the PEA in its license area selection(s), must certify its eligibility to bid for reserved blocks in the PEA. An applicant is not required to bid on, or certify its eligibility for, reserved spectrum blocks in any or all areas in which it is eligible. However, an applicant that does not certify its eligibility with respect to a particular license area because it is not eligible or it declines to do so will not be able to bid for reserved spectrum blocks in that PEA during the auction. Accordingly, any demand by that applicant in that license area will not be counted as demand for reserved spectrum blocks when determining the actual number of blocks that will be reserved in a PEA.

c. Effect of Relationships Between a Non-Nationwide Provider and a Nationwide Provider

103. In the Auction 1000 Bidding Procedures PN, the Commission recognized a concern that it would be inconsistent with the intent of the reserve, in certain unique circumstances involving limited equity interests by nationwide providers in long-standing rural partnerships, to apply the attribution rule in 47 CFR 20.22 so as to prevent non-nationwide providers from bidding for reserved spectrum. In particular, the Commission identified specific circumstances in which certain rural partnerships can secure status as non-nationwide providers for purposes of qualifying to bid on the spectrum reserve. These circumstances are where the nationwide provider is not the managing partner of the rural partnership, has not and will not provide funding for the purchase of the licenses in spectrum auctions by the rural partnership, including the incentive auction, the rural partnership is of long standing, the nationwide provider's interest in the rural partnership is non-controlling and is less than 33 percent, and the partnership's retail service is not branded under the name of the nationwide provider.

104. If a member of a long-standing rural partnership applying to participate in Auction 1002 wishes to assert qualification to bid on reserved spectrum in a PEA on the basis of status as a non-nationwide provider, notwithstanding attributable relationships with AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, or T-Mobile, it should submit an attachment to its FCC Form 175 certifying and detailing how it meets the circumstances specified by the Commission to secure status as a non-nationwide provider for purposes of qualifying to bid on the spectrum reserve.

iv. Disclosure of Agreements Related to Licenses Being Auctioned

105. An applicant must provide in its FCC Form 175 a brief description of, and identify each party to, any partnerships, joint ventures, consortia, or agreements, arrangements, or understandings of any kind relating to the licenses being auctioned, including any agreements that address or communicate directly or indirectly bids (including specific prices), bidding strategies (including the specific licenses on which to bid or not to bid), or the post-auction market structure, to which the applicant, or any party that controls or is controlled by the applicant, is a party. For purposes of this rule, a controlling interest includes all individuals or entities with positive or negative de jure or de facto control of the licensee. In connection with the agreement disclosure requirement, the applicant must certify under penalty of perjury in its FCC Form 175 that it has described, and identified each party to, any such agreements, arrangements, or understanding into which it has entered. An applicant may continue negotiating, discussing, or communicating with respect to a new agreement after the FCC Form 175 filing deadline, provided that the communications involved do not relate both to the licenses being auctioned and to bids or bidding strategies or post-auction market structure. An Auction 1002 applicant that enters into any agreement relating to the licenses being auctioned during the auction is subject to the same disclosure obligations as it would be for agreements existing at the FCC Form 175 filing deadline and must maintain the accuracy and completeness of the information in its pending auction application.

106. For purposes of making the required agreement disclosures on the FCC Form 175, if parties agree in principle on all material terms prior to the application filing deadline, each party to the agreement that is submitting an auction application must provide a brief description of, and identify the other party or parties to, the agreement on its respective FCC Form 175 pursuant to 47 CFR 1.2105(a)(2)(viii) and (c)(1), even if the agreement has not been reduced to writing. However, if the parties have not agreed in principle by the FCC Form 175 filing deadline, they should not describe, or include the names of parties to, the discussions on their applications.

107. As recently amended, the Commission's rules now generally prohibit joint bidding and other arrangements involving auction applicants (including any party that controls or is controlled by, such applicants). This prohibition applies to joint bidding arrangements involving two or more nationwide providers, as well as joint bidding arrangements involving a nationwide and one or more non-nationwide providers, where any party to the arrangement is an applicant for the auction. Non-nationwide providers may enter into agreements to form a consortium or a joint venture (as applicable) that result in a single party applying to participate in an auction. Specifically, a designated entity can participate in only one consortium in an auction, which shall be the exclusive bidding vehicle for its members in that auction, and non-nationwide providers may participate in an auction through only one joint venture, which also shall be the exclusive bidding vehicle for its members in that auction. While two or more non-nationwide providers may participate in an auction through a joint venture, a nationwide and a non-nationwide provider may not do so. The general prohibition on joint bidding arrangements excludes certain agreements, including those that are solely operational in nature, as defined in 47 CFR 1.2105(a)(2)(ix)(A)-(C).

108. For purposes of the prohibition on joint bidding arrangements, “joint bidding arrangements” include arrangements relating to the licenses being auctioned that address or communicate, directly or indirectly, bidding at the auction, bidding strategies, including arrangements regarding price or the specific licenses on which to bid, and any such arrangements relating to the post-auction market structure. A “non-nationwide provider” refers to any provider of communications services that is not a “nationwide provider.” For Auction 1002, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile are considered to be “nationwide providers.”

109. In connection with disclosing any agreements related to the licenses being auctioned in Auction 1002, an applicant must certify that neither the applicant, nor any party that controls or is controlled by the applicant, has entered or will enter into any agreements relating to the licenses being auctioned other than those fall within the limited exceptions in 47 CFR 1.2105(a). In addition, an applicant must certify that it is not, and will not be, privy to, or involved in, in any way the bids or bidding strategy of more than one auction applicant and that, if applicable, it has established procedures to preclude its agents, employees, or related parties, from possessing information about the bids or bidding strategies of more than one applicant or communicating such information regarding another applicant. Although 47 CFR 1.2105(c)(1) does not prohibit auction applicants from communicating about matters that are within the scope of an agreement described in 47 CFR 1.2105(a)(2)(ix)(A)-(C) that has been disclosed in an FCC Form 175 pursuant to 47 CFR 1.2105(a)(2)(viii), the Bureau reminds applicants that certain discussions or exchanges could nonetheless touch upon impermissible subject matters, and that compliance with the Commission's rules will not insulate a party from enforcement of the antitrust laws.

110. Applicants should bear in mind that a winning bidder will be required to disclose in its FCC Form 601 post-auction application the specific terms, conditions, and parties involved in any agreement relating to the licenses being auctioned into which it had entered prior to the filing of its FCC Form 175 application. This applies to any bidding consortium, joint venture, partnership, or other agreement, arrangement, or understanding of any kind entered into relating to the competitive bidding process, including any agreements relating to the licenses being auctioned that address or communicate directly or indirectly bids (including specific prices), bidding strategies (including the specific licenses on which to bid or not to bid), or the post-auction market structure, to which the applicant, or any party that controls or is controlled by the applicant, is a party.

v. Ownership Disclosure Requirements

111. Each applicant must comply with the uniform Part 1 ownership disclosure requirements and provide information required by 47 CFR 1.2105 and 1.2112, and, where applicable 1.2110. Specifically, in completing the FCC Form 175, an applicant will be required to fully disclose information on the real party- or parties-in-interest and the ownership structure of the applicant, including both direct and indirect ownership interests of 10 percent or more, as prescribed in 47 CFR 1.2105 and 1.2112, and, where applicable, 1.2110.

112. In certain circumstances, an applicant's most current ownership information on file with the Commission, if in an electronic format compatible with the FCC Form 175 (such as information submitted in an FCC Form 602 or in an FCC Form 175 filed for a previous auction) will automatically be entered into the applicant's auction application. Each applicant must carefully review any information that has been automatically entered in its FCC Form 175 to confirm that all information supplied on the application is complete and accurate as of the application filing deadline.

vi. Foreign Ownership Disclosure Requirements

113. Section 310 of the Communications Act requires the Commission to review foreign investment in radio station licenses and imposes specific restrictions on who may hold certain types of radio licenses. The provisions of section 310 apply to applications for initial radio licenses, applications for assignments and transfers of control of radio licenses, and spectrum leasing arrangements under the Commission's secondary market rules. In completing the FCC Form 175, an applicant will be required to disclose information concerning any foreign ownership of the applicant. If an applicant has a foreign owner(s) with ownership interests in excess of the applicable limit or benchmark set for in section 310, it may seek to participate in Auction 1002 as long as it has filed a petition for declaratory ruling with the Commission prior to the FCC Form 175 filing deadline. An applicant must certify in its FCC Form 175 that, as of the deadline for filing its application to participate in Auction 1002, the applicant either is in compliance with the foreign ownership provisions of section 310 or has filed a petition for declaratory ruling requesting Commission approval to exceed the applicable foreign ownership limit or benchmark in section 310(b) that is pending before, or has been granted by, the Commission.

vii. National Security Certification

114. The Commission's rules require that any applicant seeking to participate in an auction that is required or authorized to be conducted pursuant to the Spectrum Act must certify in its FCC Form 175, under penalty of perjury, that the applicant and all of the related individuals and entities required to be disclosed on its application are not person(s) who have been, for reasons of national security, barred by any agency of the Federal Government from bidding on a contract, participating in an auction, or receiving a grant, and who are thus statutorily prohibited from participating in such a Commission auction. Because the Commission will conduct Auction 1002 under its general competitive bidding rules and Auction 1002 is subject to the national security restriction in section 6004 of the Spectrum Act, Auction 1002 applicants must certify as to their compliance with the national security restriction in 47 CFR 1.2105(a)(2)(xiii).

viii. Provisions for Small Businesses and Rural Service Providers

115. The Commission recently revised the designated entity rules that apply to all licenses acquired with bidding credits, including those won in Auction 1002. A bidding credit represents an amount by which a bidder's winning bid will be discounted, subject to the caps discussed in the “Caps on Bidding Credits” section. Applicants should note that all references to a “winning bid” discussed in the context of designated entity bidding credits in the Auction 1000 Application Procedures PN (e.g., the application of a small business discount to an applicant's winning bid) refer to the calculated license price discussed in the “Calculating Individual License Prices” section and set forth in section 9 of Appendix H in Attachment 1 to the Auction 1000 Application Procedures PN.

116. As set forth in 47 CFR 1.2110, these rule revisions include, but are not limited to: (1) Adopting a two-pronged standard for evaluating eligibility for small business benefits and eliminating the attributable material relationship (AMR) rule; (2) establishing a new attribution rule for certain disclosable interest holders of applicants claiming designated entity benefits; (3) updating the gross revenue amounts defining eligibility for small business benefits; (4) creating a separate bidding credit for eligible rural service providers; and (5) establishing caps on the total amount of designated entity benefits any eligible winning bidder may receive.

117. In Auction 1002, bidding credits will be available to applicants demonstrating eligibility for a small business or a rural service provider bidding credit and subsequently winning license(s). Bidding credits will not be cumulative—an applicant is permitted to claim either a small business bidding credit or a rural service provider bidding credit, but not both. Each applicant must also certify that it is eligible for the claimed bidding credit in its FCC Form 175. Each applicant should review carefully the Commission's decisions regarding the designated entity provisions as well as the newly-adopted Part 1 rule changes.

a. Small Business Bidding Credit

118. For Auction 1002, bidding credits will be available to eligible small businesses and consortia thereof, subject to the caps. Under the service rules applicable to the 600 MHz Band licenses to be offered in Auction 1002, the level of bidding credit available is determined as follows: (1) A bidder with attributed average annual gross revenues that do not exceed $55 million for the preceding three years is eligible to receive a 15 percent discount on its winning bid; and (2) a bidder with attributed average annual gross revenues that do not exceed $20 million for the preceding three years is eligible to receive a 25 percent discount on its winning bid.

119. Small business bidding credits are not cumulative; an eligible applicant may receive either the 15 percent or the 25 percent bidding credit on its winning bid, but not both. The Commission's unjust enrichment provisions also apply to a winning bidder that utilizes a bidding credit and subsequently seeks to assign or transfer control of its license within a certain period to an entity not qualifying for the same level of bidding credit.

120. Each applicant claiming a small business bidding credit must disclose the gross revenues for the preceding three years for each of the following: (1) The applicant, (2) its affiliates, (3) its controlling interests, and (4) the affiliates of its controlling interests. The applicant must also submit an attachment that lists all parties with which the applicant has entered into any spectrum use agreements or arrangements for any licenses that be may won by the applicant in Auction 1002. In addition, to the extent that an applicant has an agreement with any disclosable interest holder for the use of more than 25 percent of the spectrum capacity of any license that may be won in Auction 1002, the identity and the attributable gross revenues of any such disclosable interest holder must be disclosed. If an applicant is applying as a consortium of small businesses, the disclosures described in this paragraph must be provided for each consortium member.

b. Rural Service Provider Bidding Credit

121. An eligible applicant may request a 15 percent discount on its winning bid using a rural service provider bidding credit, subject to the $10 million cap. To be eligible for a rural service provider bidding credit, an applicant must be: (1) A service provider that is in the business of providing commercial communications services and, together with its controlling interests, affiliates, and the affiliates of its controlling interests, has fewer than 250,000 combined wireless, wireline, broadband, and cable subscribers; and (2) serves predominantly rural areas, defined as counties with a population density of 100 or fewer persons per square mile. These eligibility requirements must be satisfied by the FCC Form 175 filing deadline for Auction 1002, i.e., January 28, 2016. Additionally, an applicant may count any subscriber as a single subscriber even if that subscriber receives more than one service.

122. Each applicant seeking a rural service provider bidding credit must disclose the number of subscribers it has, along with the number of subscribers of its affiliates, controlling interests, and the affiliates of its controlling interests. The applicant must also submit an attachment that lists all parties with which the applicant has entered into any spectrum use agreements or arrangements for any licenses that be may won by the applicant in Auction 1002. In addition, to the extent that an applicant has an agreement with any disclosable interest holder for the use of more than 25 percent of the spectrum capacity of any license that may be won in Auction 1002, the identity and the attributable subscribers of any such disclosable interest holder must be disclosed. Like applicants seeking eligibility for small business bidding credits, eligible rural service providers may also form a consortium. If an applicant is applying as a consortium of rural service providers, the disclosures described in this paragraph, including the certification, must be provided for each consortium member.

c. Caps on Bidding Credits

123. Eligible applicants claiming either a small business or rural service provider bidding credit will be subject to certain caps on the total amount of bidding credits that any eligible applicant may receive. Specifically, an applicant claiming a small business bidding credit is subject to a $150 million aggregate cap, of which at most $10 million may apply to licenses won in PEAs with a population of 500,000 or less. Additionally, an applicant claiming a rural service provider bidding credit is subject to a $10 million aggregate cap. No winning designated entity bidder will be able to obtain more than $10 million in bidding credits in total for licenses won in PEAs 118-416, with the exception of PEA 412 (Puerto Rico), which exceeds the 500,000 population threshold.

d. Attributable Interests (i) Controlling Interests and Affiliates

124. Pursuant to 47 CFR 1.2110 an applicant's eligibility for designated entity benefits is determined by attributing the gross revenues (for those seeking small business benefits) or subscribers (for those seeking rural service provider benefits) of the applicant, its affiliates, its controlling interests, and the affiliates of its controlling interests. Controlling interests of an applicant include individuals and entities with either de facto or de jure control of the applicant. Typically, ownership of greater than 50 percent of an entity's voting stock evidences de jure control. De facto control is determined on a case-by-case basis based on the totality of the circumstances. The following are some common indicia of de facto control: (1) The entity constitutes or appoints more than 50 percent of the board of directors or management committee; (2) the entity has authority to appoint, promote, demote, and fire senior executives that control the day-to-day activities of the licensee; and (3) the entity plays an integral role in management decisions.

125. Applicants should refer to 47 CFR 1.2110(c)(2) and FCC Form 175 Instructions to understand how certain interests are calculated in determining control for purposes of attributing gross revenues. For example, officers and directors of an applicant are considered to have a controlling interest in the applicant.

126. Affiliates of an applicant or controlling interest include an individual or entity that (1) directly or indirectly controls or has the power to control the applicant, (2) is directly or indirectly controlled by the applicant, (3) is directly or indirectly controlled by a third party that also controls or has the power to control the applicant, or (4) has an “identity of interest” with the applicant. The Commission's definition of an affiliate of the applicant encompasses both controlling interests of the applicant and affiliates of controlling interests of the applicant. For more information on the application requirements regarding controlling interests and affiliates, applicants should refer to 47 CFR 1.2110(c)(2) and (c)(5) respectively, as well as the FCC Form 175 Instructions.

127. An applicant seeking a small business bidding credit must demonstrate its eligibility for the bidding credit by: (1) Meeting the applicable small business size standard, based on the controlling interest and affiliation rules, and (2) retaining control, on a license-by-license basis, over the spectrum associated with the licenses for which it seeks small business benefits. For purposes of the first prong of the standard, applicants should note that control and affiliation may arise through, among other things, ownership interests, voting interests, management and other operating agreements, or the terms of any other types of agreements—including spectrum lease agreements—that independently or together create a controlling, or potentially controlling, interest in the applicant's or licensee's business as a whole. In addition, once an applicant demonstrates eligibility as a small business under the first prong, it must also be eligible for benefits on a license-by-license basis under the second prong. As part of making the FCC Form 175 certification that it is qualified as a designated entity under 47 CFR 1.2110, an applicant is certifying that it does not have any spectrum use or other agreements that would confer de jure and de facto control of any license it seeks to acquire with bidding credits.

128. Under this new standard for evaluating eligibility for small business bidding credits, if an applicant executes a spectrum use agreement that does not comply with the Commission's relevant standard of de facto control, it will be subject to unjust enrichment obligations for the benefits associated with that particular license, as well as the penalties associated with any violation of section 310(d) of the Communications Act and related regulations. If that spectrum use agreement (either alone or in combination with the designated entity controlling interest and attribution rules), goes so far as to confer control of the applicant's overall business, the gross revenues of the additional interest holders will be attributed to the applicant, which could render the applicant ineligible for all current and future small business benefits on all licenses.

(ii) Limitation on Spectrum Use

129. The Commission determined that a new attribution rule will apply going forward under which the gross revenues (or the subscribers, in the case of a rural service provider) of an applicant's disclosable interest holder are attributable to the applicant, on a license-by-license basis, if the disclosable interest holder has an agreement with the applicant to use, in any manner, more than 25 percent of the spectrum capacity of any license won by the applicant and acquired with a bidding credit during the five-year unjust enrichment period for the applicable license. For purposes of this rule, a disclosable interest holder of an applicant seeking designated entity benefits is defined as any individual or entity holding a ten percent or greater interest of any kind in the applicant, including but not limited to, a ten percent or greater interest in any class of stock, warrants, options or debt securities in the applicant or licensee. Any applicant seeking a bidding credit for licenses won in Auction 1002 will be subject to this attribution rule and must make the requisite disclosures.

130. The Commission also determined that certain disclosable interest holders may be excluded from this attribution rule. Specifically, an applicant claiming the rural service provider bidding credit may have spectrum license use agreements with a disclosable interest holder, without having to attribute the disclosable interest holder's subscribers, so long as the disclosable interest holder is independently eligible for a rural service provider credit and the use agreement is otherwise permissible under the Commission's existing rules. If applicable, the applicant must attach to its FCC Form 175 any additional information as may be required to indicate any license (or license area) that may be subject to this attribution rule or to demonstrate its eligibility for the exception from this attribution rule. To the extent an Auction 1002 applicant is required to submit any such additional information, the applicant must not disclose details of its submission to others as it would reveal information regarding its license area selection(s). Consistent with the Commission's limited information procedures, the Bureau intends to withhold from public disclosure all information contained in any such attachments until after the close of the auction.

(iii) Exceptions From Attribution Rules for Small Businesses and Rural Service Providers

131. Applicants claiming designated entity benefits may be eligible for certain exceptions from the Commission's attribution rules. For example, the Commission has clarified that, in calculating an applicant's gross revenues under the controlling interest standard, it will not attribute to the applicant the personal net worth, including personal income, of its officers and directors. The Commission has also exempted from attribution to the applicant the gross revenues of the affiliates of a rural telephone cooperative's officers and directors, if certain conditions specified in 47 CFR 1.2110(b)(4)(iii) are met. An applicant claiming this exemption must provide, in an attachment, an affirmative statement that the applicant, affiliate and/or controlling interest is an eligible rural telephone cooperative within the meaning of 47 CFR 1.2110(b)(4)(iii), and the applicant must supply any additional information as may be required to demonstrate eligibility for the exemption from the attribution rule.

132. An applicant claiming a rural service provider bidding credit may be eligible for an exception from the Commission's attribution rules as an existing rural partnership. To qualify for this exception, an applicant must be a rural partnership providing service as of July 16, 2015, and each member of the rural partnership must individually have fewer than 250,000 combined wireless, wireline, broadband, and cable subscribers. Because each member of the rural partnership must individually qualify for the bidding credit, by definition, a partnership that includes a nationwide provider as a member will not be eligible for the benefit.

133. Finally, a consortium of small businesses or rural service providers may seek an exception from the Commission's attribution rules. Under the Commission's rules, a consortium of small businesses or rural service providers is a conglomerate organization composed of two or more entities, each of which individually satisfies the definition of small business or rural service provider. A consortium must provide additional information for each member demonstrating each member's eligibility for the claimed bidding credit in order to show that the applicant satisfies the eligibility criteria for the bidding credit. The gross revenue or subscriber information of each consortium member will not be aggregated for purposes of determining the consortium's eligibility for the claimed bidding credit. However, this information must be provided to ensure that each consortium member qualifies for the bidding credit sought by the consortium.

ix. Tribal Lands Bidding Credit

134. To encourage the growth of wireless services in federally recognized tribal lands, the Commission has implemented a tribal lands bidding credit. Applicants do not provide information regarding tribal lands bidding credits on their FCC Form 175. Instead, winning bidders may apply for the tribal lands bidding credit after the auction when they file their more detailed, FCC Form 601 applications.

x. Provisions Regarding Current and Former Defaulters

135. Pursuant to the rules governing competitive bidding, each applicant must make certifications regarding whether it is a current or former defaulter or delinquent. A current defaulter or delinquent is not eligible to participate in Auction 1002, but a former defaulter or delinquent may participate so long as it is otherwise qualified and makes an upfront payment that is fifty percent more than would otherwise be necessary.

136. For purposes of evaluating the certifications under 47 CFR 1.2105(a)(2)(xi) and (xii), the Bureau clarifies that “non-tax debt owed to any Federal agency” includes, within the meaning of the rule, all amounts owed under Federal programs, including contributions to the Universal Service Fund, Telecommunications Relay Services Fund, and the North American Numbering Plan Administration, notwithstanding that the administrator of any such fund may not be considered a Federal “agency” under the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996. See 31 U.S.C. 3716 and 3717; see also 47 CFR 1.1911, 1.1912, 1.1940. For example, an applicant with a past due USF contribution as of the auction application filing deadline would be disqualified from participating in Auction 1002 under the Commission's rules. If, however, the applicant cures the overdue debt prior to the auction application filing deadline (and such debt does not fall within one of the exclusions described in the “Provisions Regarding Current and Former Defaulters” section), it may be eligible to participate in Auction 1002 as a former defaulter under the Commission's rules.

137. Accordingly, each applicant must certify under penalty of perjury on its FCC Form 175 that it, its affiliates, its controlling interests, and the affiliates of its controlling interests, are not in default on any payment for a Commission construction permit or license (including down payments) and that it is not delinquent on any non-tax debt owed to any Federal agency. Additionally, an applicant must certify under penalty of perjury whether it (along with its controlling interests) has ever been in default on any payment for a Commission construction permit or license (including down payments) or has ever been delinquent on any non-tax debt owed to any Federal agency, subject to the exclusions. For purposes of making these certifications, the term “controlling interest” is defined in 47 CFR 1.2105(a)(4)(i).

138. Under the Commission's revised rule regarding applications by former defaulters, an applicant is considered a “former defaulter” or a “former delinquent” when, as of the FCC Form 175 deadline, it or any of its controlling interests has defaulted on any Commission construction permit or license or has been delinquent on any non-tax debt owed to any Federal agency, but has since remedied all such defaults and cured all of the outstanding non-tax delinquencies. For purposes of the certification under 47 CFR 1.2105(a)(2)(xii), the applicant may exclude from consideration any cured default on a Commission license or delinquency on a non-tax debt owed to a Federal agency for which any of the following criteria are met: (1) The notice of the final payment deadline or delinquency was received more than seven years before the FCC Form 175 filing deadline; (2) the default or delinquency amounted to less than $100,000; (3) the default or delinquency was paid within two quarters (i.e., six months) after receiving the notice of the final payment deadline or delinquency; or (4) the default or delinquency was the subject of a legal or arbitration proceeding and was cured upon resolution of the proceeding. With respect to the first exclusion, notice to a debtor may include notice of a final payment deadline or notice of delinquency and may be express or implied depending on the origin of any Federal non-tax debt giving rise to a default or delinquency. Additionally, for the third exclusion, the date of receipt of the notice of a final default deadline or delinquency by the intended party or debtor will be used for purposes of verifying receipt of notice.

139. In addition to the Auction 1000 Application Procedures PN, applicants are encouraged to review the Bureau's previous guidance on default and delinquency disclosure requirements in the context of the auction application process. Parties are also encouraged to consult with the Bureau's Auctions and Spectrum Access Division staff if they have any questions about default and delinquency disclosure requirements.

140. The Commission considers outstanding debts owed to the United States Government, in any amount, to be a serious matter. The Commission adopted rules, including a provision referred to as the “red light rule,” that implement its obligations under the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996, which governs the collection of debts owed to the United States. Under the red light rule, applications and other requests for benefits filed by parties that have outstanding debts owed to the Commission will not be processed. In the same rulemaking order, the Commission explicitly declared, however, that its competitive bidding rules “are not affected” by the red light rule. As a consequence, the Commission's adoption of the red light rule does not alter the applicability of any of its competitive bidding rules, including the provisions and certifications of 47 CFR 1.2105 and 1.2106, with regard to current and former defaults or delinquencies.

141. The Bureau reminds each applicant, however, that the Commission's Red Light Display system, which provides information regarding debts currently owed to the Commission, may not be determinative of an auction applicant's ability to comply with the default and delinquency disclosure requirements of 47 CFR 1.2105. Thus, while the red light rule ultimately may prevent the processing of post-auction applications by auction winners, an auction applicant's lack of current “red light” status is not necessarily determinative of its eligibility to participate in an auction or of its upfront payment obligation. Moreover, a prospective applicant in Auction 1002 should note that any post-auction application filed after the close of bidding will be reviewed for compliance with the Commission's red light rule, and such review may result in the dismissal of a winning bidder's post-auction application. The Bureau strongly encourages each applicant (including its affiliates, controlling interests, and the affiliates of its controlling interests) to carefully review all records and other federal agency databases and information sources available to it to determine whether the applicant owes or was ever delinquent in the payment of non-tax debt owed to any Federal agency.

xi. Optional Applicant Status Identification

142. Applicants owned by members of minority groups and/or women, as defined in 47 CFR 1.2110(c)(3), and rural telephone companies, as defined in 47 CFR 1.2110(c)(4), may identify themselves regarding this status in filling out their FCC Form 175 applications. This applicant status information is collected for statistical purposes only and assists the Commission in monitoring the participation of various groups in its auctions.

xii. Modifications to FCC Form 175 a. Only Minor Modifications Allowed

143. After the initial FCC Form 175 filing deadline, an Auction 1002 applicant will be permitted to make only minor changes to its application. Examples of minor changes include the deletion or addition of authorized bidders (to a maximum of three), revision of addresses and telephone numbers of the applicant, its responsible party, and its contact person, and change in the applicant's selected biding option (electronic or telephonic). Major modification to an FCC Form 175 application (e.g., change of license area selection, change in ownership that would constitute an assignment or transfer of control of the applicant, change of certifying official, change in applicant's legal classification that results in a change in control, or change in claimed eligibility for a higher percentage of bidding credit) will not be permitted after the initial FCC Form 175 filing deadline. If an applicant makes a “major amendment,” as defined by 47 CFR 1.2105(b)(2), the major amendment will not be accepted and may result in the dismissal of the application. Any change in control of an applicant—resulting from a merger, for example—will be considered a major modification, and the application will consequently be dismissed. The Bureau reiterates that, even if an applicant's FCC Form 175 is dismissed, the applicant would remain subject to the communication prohibitions of 47 CFR 1.2105(c) until the down-payment deadline.

b. Duty To Maintain Accuracy and Completeness of FCC Form 175

144. Each applicant has a continuing obligation to maintain the accuracy and completeness of information furnished in its pending application, including a pending application in a competitive bidding proceeding. An Auction 1002 applicant must furnish additional or corrected information to the Commission within five days after a significant occurrence, or amend its FCC Form 175 no more than five days after the applicant becomes aware of the need for the amendment. Changes that cause a loss of or reduction in the percentage of bidding credit specified on the originally-submitted application must be reported immediately, and no later than five business days after the change occurs. An applicant's obligation to make modifications to a pending application in order to provide additional or corrected information continues in accordance with the Commission's rules. The Bureau notes that an applicant is obligated to amend its pending application even if a reported change is considered to be a major modification that may result in the dismissal of its application.

c. Submitting Modifications to FCC Form 175

145. If an applicant needs to make permissible minor changes to its FCC Form 175, or must make changes in order to maintain the accuracy and completeness of its application pursuant to 47 CFR 1.65 and 1.2105(b)(4), during a time when the system is available to the applicant for purposes of making the type of change(s) required, such changes should be made electronically to its FCC Form 175 using the Auction System. For the change to be submitted and considered by the Commission, an applicant must click on the SUBMIT button. After the revised application has been submitted, a confirmation page will be displayed stating the submission time, submission date, and a unique file number.

146. An applicant cannot use the Auction System outside of the initial and resubmission filing windows to make changes to its FCC Form 175 for other than administrative changes (e.g., changing responsible party or contact person name and related information, adding or deleting an authorized bidder). If other permissible minor changes need to be made, or if changes are required pursuant to 47 CFR 1.65 and 1.2105(b)(4), outside of these filing windows, the applicant must submit a letter briefly summarizing the changes to its FCC Form 175 by email to [email protected]. The email summarizing the changes must include a subject or caption referring to Auction 1002 and the name of the applicant, for example, “Re: Changes to Auction 1002 Application of XYZ Corp.” Any attachments to email must be formatted as Adobe® Acrobat® (PDF) or Microsoft® Word documents. Questions about FCC Form 175 amendments should be directed to the Auctions and Spectrum Access Division at (202) 418-0660. An applicant that submits its changes in this manner must subsequently update its FCC Form 175 application in the Auction System once it is open and available to applicants. Moreover, after the initial filing window has closed, the Auction System will not permit an applicant to make certain permissible changes itself (e.g., correcting a misstatement of the applicant's legal classification, reducing the applicant's claimed bidding credit level). This is the case because certain fields on the FCC Form 175 will no longer be available to, or changeable by, the applicant after the initial application filing window closes. If an applicant needs to make a permissible minor change that cannot be made using the Auction System, it must submit a written request by email to the [email protected] mailbox requesting that the Commission manually make the change on the applicant's behalf. The applicant must then recertify and resubmit its application by clicking on the SUBMIT button to confirm the change.

147. As with the FCC Form 175, any application amendment and related statements of fact must be certified by an authorized representative of the applicant with authority to bind the applicant. Applicants should note that submission of any such amendment or related statement of fact constitutes a representation by the person certifying that he or she is an authorized representative with such authority, and that the contents of the amendment or statement of fact are true and correct.

148. Applicants must not submit application-specific material through the Commission's Electronic Comment Filing System. Further, as discussed in the Prohibited Communications PN, parties submitting information related to their applications should use caution to ensure that their submissions do not contain confidential information or communicate information that would violate 47 CFR 1.2105(c) or the limited information procedures adopted for Auction 1002. A party seeking to submit, outside of the Auction System, information that might reflect non-public information, such as an applicant's license area selections, upfront payment amount, or bidding eligibility, should consider submitting any such information along with a request that the filing or portions of the filing be withheld from public inspection until the end of the prohibition of certain communications period pursuant to 47 CFR 1.2105(c).

D. Auction 1002 Process i. Online Auction Tutorials and Training

149. Online auction tutorials will be available on the Auction 1002 Web page for prospective bidders to familiarize themselves with the forward auction application and bidding processes. The online tutorials will provide information about pre-auction procedures, completing auction applications, auction conduct, the Auction System, auction rules, and 600 MHz Band service rules. Specifically, the first auction tutorial will focus on the auction application process and the second tutorial will focus on the biding process. Both tutorials will also provide an avenue to ask Commission staff questions about the auction, auction procedures, filing requirements, and other matters related to the forward auction. The tutorials will allow viewers to navigate the presentation outline, review written notes, listen to audio recordings of the notes, and search for topics using a text search function. Additional features of this web-based tool include links to auction-specific Commission releases, email links for contacting Commission licensing and auctions staff, and screen shots of the online application and Auction System. Using a web browser with Adobe Flash Player, the tutorials will be accessible from the Commission's Auction 1002 Web page at http://www.fcc.gov/auctions/1002 through an “Auction Tutorial” link under the “Education” tab. The application tutorial will be available on the Auction 1002 Web page under the “Education” tab on January 7, 2016, and the bidding process tutorial will be available on February 29, 2016. Once posted, the tutorials will remain available and accessible anytime for reference in connection with the procedures outlined in the Auction 1000 Application Procedures PN. In addition, an Auction 1002 applicant whose application has been deemed to be “complete” will be provided with additional opportunities to gain knowledge and experience with the auction bidding system prior to the mock auction that will be offered to qualified bidders. Based on the Bureau's experience with past auctions, parties interested in participating in this auction will find the interactive, online tutorials an efficient and effective way to further their understanding of the auction process.

ii. FCC Form 175—Due Prior to 6:00 p.m. ET on January 28, 2016

150. In order to be eligible to bid in the forward auction, applicants must first follow the procedures set forth in the FCC Form 175 Instructions to submit an FCC Form 175 electronically via the Auction System.

151. An applicant may file its application to participate in Auction 1002 during the filing window that will begin at noon ET on January 14, 2016 and close at 6:00 p.m. ET on January 28, 2016. The application must be submitted prior to the closing of the filing window. Late applications will not be accepted. No application fee is required, but an applicant must submit a timely upfront payment to be eligible to bid. Applicants are strongly encouraged to file early and are responsible for allowing adequate time for filing their applications. There are no limits or restrictions on the number of times an application can be updated or amended until the filing deadline on January 28, 2016.

152. An applicant must always click on the SUBMIT button on the “Certify & Submit” screen to successfully submit its FCC Form 175 and any modifications; otherwise the application or changes to it will not be received or reviewable by Commission staff. Additional information about accessing, completing, and viewing the FCC Form 175 will be included in the FCC Form 175 Instructions. FCC Auctions Technical Support is available at (877) 480-3201, option nine; (202) 414-1250; or (202) 414-1255 (TTY); hours of service are Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET. In order to provide better service to the public, all calls to Technical Support are recorded.

iii. Application Processing and Minor Corrections a. Public Notice of Applicants' Initial Application Status and Opportunity for Minor Corrections

153. After the deadline for filing auction applications, the Bureau will process all timely submitted applications to determine which are complete, and subsequently will issue a public notice with applicants' initial application status identifying (1) those that are complete, (2) those that are rejected, and (3) those that are incomplete or deficient because of minor defects that may be corrected. The public notice will include the deadline for resubmitting corrected applications.

154. After the application filing deadline on January 28, 2016, applicants can make only minor corrections to their applications. Major modifications (e.g., change license selection, change control of the applicant, change the certifying official, or claim eligibility for a higher percentage of bidding credit) will not be permitted.

155. Commission staff will communicate only with an applicant's contact person or certifying official, as designated on the applicant's FCC Form 175, unless the applicant's certifying official or contact person notifies Commission staff in writing that another representative is authorized to speak on the applicant's behalf. Authorizations may be sent by email to [email protected].

b. Public Notice of Applicants' Final Application Status After Upfront Payment Deadline

156. The Auction 1002 Qualified Bidders PN will be issued at least 15 business days before bidding in the initial stage of Auction 1002 begins. Qualified bidders are those applicants with submitted FCC Form 175 applications that are deemed timely-filed and complete, provided that such applicants have timely submitted an upfront payment that is sufficient to qualify them to bid.

iv. Upfront Payments and Bidding Eligibility

157. In order to be eligible to bid in Auction 1002, an applicant must submit an upfront payment. An upfront payment is a refundable deposit made by each bidder to establish its eligibility to bid on licenses. Upfront payments help deter frivolous or insincere bidding, and provide the Commission with a source of funds in the event that the bidder incurs liability during the auction. Upfront payments will be due after the initial clearing target and associated band plan scenario has been determined. The deadline for submitting upfront payments for Auction 1002, as well as detailed instructions about submitting upfront payments, will be provided in the Upfront Payment PN.

158. The amount of the upfront payment will determine a bidder's initial bidding eligibility in terms of bidding units, i.e., the maximum number of blocks, as measured by their associated bidding units, a bidder may demand in the clock phase of the forward auction. In order to bid for blocks in a particular PEA, a qualified bidder must have selected that PEA on its FCC Form 175 and must have a current eligibility level that meets or exceeds the number of bidding units assigned to the blocks in that PEA multiplied by the number of blocks for which it wishes to bid. At a minimum, an applicant's total upfront payment must be enough to establish eligibility to bid on at least one block in one of the PEAs selected on its FCC Form 175 for Auction 1002, or else the applicant will not be eligible to bid in the auction. In addition, each applicant should check its calculations carefully, as there is no provision for increasing a bidder's eligibility after the upfront payment deadline. An applicant does not have to make an upfront payment to cover all of the blocks in all of the license areas the applicant selected on its FCC Form 175, but only enough to cover the maximum number of bidding units that are associated with the blocks in the license area(s) on which it wishes to bid in any round. The total upfront payment does not affect the prices at which the bidder may demand blocks, nor the bidder's dollar commitment associated with the bidder's total demands at any point in the auction.

159. The Commission adopted an upfront payment amount of $2,500 per bidding unit for Auction 1002. The number of bidding units assigned to the spectrum blocks in each PEA, calculated using the approach adopted by the Commission in the Auction 1000 Bidding Procedures PN is set forth in Attachment 1, Appendix F (Forward Auction Bidding Units, Upfront Payments, and Minimum Opening Bids) to the Auction 1000 Application Procedures PN. The number of bidding units for the blocks in a given PEA will be fixed and will not change during the auction, regardless of price changes. The specific minimum opening bids and upfront payments for the forward auction are set forth in Attachment 1, Appendix F to the Auction 1000 Application Procedures PN.

160. Applicants considered to be former defaulters under the Commission's rules must make upfront payments that are 50 percent greater than non-former defaulters. For purposes of this calculation, an “applicant” includes the applicant itself and its controlling interests, as defined in 47 CFR 1.2105 and 1.2110. If an applicant is a former defaulter, it must calculate its upfront payment for all of its identified licenses by multiplying the number of bidding units on which it wishes to be active by 1.5. In order to calculate the number of bidding units to assign to former defaulters, the Commission will divide the upfront payment received by 1.5 and round the result up to the nearest bidding unit.

v. Auction Registration

161. All qualified bidders listed in the Auction 1002 Qualified Bidders PN will be automatically registered for the auction. Registration materials will be distributed prior to the auction by overnight mail. The mailing will be sent only to the contact person at the contact address listed in the FCC Form 175 application and will include the SecurID® tokens that will be required to place bids, the “Auction System Bidder's Guide,” and the Auction Bidder Line phone number. Forward auction qualified bidders will have access to detailed impairment information, including the actual source and location of any impairment, upon receipt of their registration materials.

162. Qualified bidders that do not receive this registration mailing will not be able to submit bids. Therefore, if this mailing is not received by noon five days prior to the mock auction, call the Auctions Hotline at (717) 338-2868. Receipt of this registration mailing is critical to participating in the auction, and each applicant is responsible for ensuring it has received all of the registration material.

163. In the event that SecurID® tokens are lost or damaged, only a person who has been designated as an authorized bidder, the contact person, or the certifying official on the applicant's FCC Form 175 may request replacements. To request replacement of these items, call Technical Support at (877) 480-3201, option nine; (202) 414-1250; or (202) 414-1255 (TTY).

vi. Remote Electronic Bidding

164. The Commission will conduct this auction over the Internet, and telephonic bidding will be available as well. Only qualified bidders are permitted to bid. Each applicant should indicate its bidding preference—electronic or telephonic—on its FCC Form 175. In either case, each authorized bidder must have its own designated SecurID® token, which the Commission will provide at no charge. Each authorized bidder will be issued a unique SecurID® token. For security purposes, the SecurID® tokens, the telephonic bidding telephone number, and the “Auction System Bidder's Guide” are only mailed to the contact person at the contact address listed on the FCC Form 175. Each SecurID® token is tailored to a specific auction and designated authorized bidder. SecurID® tokens issued for other auctions or obtained from a source other than the Commission will not work for Auction 1002. All telephone calls are recorded.

vii. Mock Auction—Clock and Assignment Phases

165. All Auction 1002 qualified bidders will be eligible to participate in a mock auction prior to bidding in Auction 1002. This mock auction will enable bidders to become familiar with the ascending clock auction format and assignment phase bidding using the Auction System prior to the start of the auction. The Bureau strongly recommends that all bidders participate in the mock auction. The date for the mock auction will be announced in Auction 1002 Qualified Bidders PN.

IV. Post-Auction Process A. Channel Reassignment PN

166. Following completion of the reverse and forward auctions, the Media and Wireless Telecommunications Bureaus will announce the results of the incentive auction and the repacking process in the Channel Reassignment PN. Specifically, the Channel Reassignment PN will provide the results of the reverse auction, the forward auction and the repacking, indicating the reassignments of television channels and reallocations of broadcast television spectrum. The Channel Reassignment PN will also establish the beginning of a 39-month post-auction transition period. Finally, the Channel Reassignment PN will provide additional details relating to post-auction procedures for successful bidders in the reverse and forward auctions, respectively.

B. Incentive Payments To Reverse Auction Winning Bidders i. Payees and Transmittal

167. Incentive payments will be disbursed from the proceeds received in the forward auction. A successful bidder in the reverse auction must submit the necessary financial information via a standardized incentive payment form to facilitate the disbursement of its incentive payment. Specific procedures for submitting the form, including applicable deadlines, will be set forth in the Channel Reassignment PN. As noted in the Incentive Auction R&O, the Commission intends to follow winning reverse auction bidders' payment instructions as set forth on their respective standardized incentive payment forms to the extent permitted by applicable law.

ii. Time of Payment

168. The Commission will share auction proceeds with broadcasters relinquishing spectrum usage rights as soon as practicable following the successful conclusion of the incentive auction. As explained in the Incentive Auction R&O, the Commission may disburse auction proceeds only after spectrum licenses associated with winning forward auction bids have been granted, absent express statutory direction to do otherwise. The Commission typically grants spectrum licenses after an auction on a rolling basis, as license applications filed by winning bidders are ready to be granted. Likewise, incentive auction proceeds will become available for distribution on a rolling basis over time and at intervals tied to the forward auction licensing process. Consequently, the Bureau cannot at this point set a specific deadline for sharing incentive auction proceeds.

169. The Commission is committed to disbursing auction proceeds as promptly as possible while meeting all of its statutory responsibilities. As the Commission noted in the Auction 1000 Comment PN, circumstances regarding the post-auction transition process for broadcasters may make it in the public interest to prioritize payments to some broadcasters over others in order to expedite the entire post-auction transition process. The Commission may take factors that facilitate the transition process into account when determining the sequence of payments sharing auction proceeds.

C. Forward Auction Participants

170. Shortly after bidding has ended, the Channel Reassignment PN will be issued declaring the auction closed, identifying the winning bidders and the total amount that they will owe, and establishing the deadlines for submitting down payments, final payments, post-auction applications, and ownership disclosure information reports. The Channel Reassignment PN will include the type information that is traditionally contained in an auction closing public notice.

i. Calculating Individual License Prices

171. In order to calculate individual license prices, the Auction System must determine how to apportion to individual licenses any assignment phase payments and potentially, any capped bidding credit discounts, since in both cases, a single amount may apply to multiple licenses. For example, a single assignment phase payment will apply to multiple licenses if a bidder won multiple licenses in a PEA or if PEAs were grouped for bidding in the assignment phase. A single capped bidding credit will apply if a bidder's bidding credit percentage as applied to all its winnings in small markets or in all markets overall, results in a discount larger than the applicable cap.

172. In order to calculate individual license prices, the Auction System will: (1) Calculate, for all licenses won by a bidder with a bidding credit, the total amount of any bidding credit discount for the bidder, capping that amount as needed (for a winning bidder claiming a small business bidding credit, this requires a determination in (1) of which bidding credit cap(s) apply); (2) apportion the total discount amount to the group of licenses won by the bidder in each PEA or assignment phase PEA group; (3) apportion the resulting discount and the assignment phase payment among the individual licenses won in the PEA/PEA group; and finally, (4) calculate the license price net of any bidding credit discount as the sum of the impairment adjusted clock phase price for that license plus the amount apportioned to the license in (3). To calculate the gross individual license price, the Auction System will ignore any apportioned bidding credit discount. For more detailed information about how final license prices are determined, please see Attachment 1, Appendix H (Forward Auction Assignment Phase and Post-Auction License Prices), attached to the Auction 1000 Application Procedures PN.

173. Consistent with past practices, the verification of eligibility and final calculation of any designated entity benefits for any license won in Auction 1002 will be conducted during the post-auction application process.

ii. Down Payments

174. Within ten business days after release of the Channel Reassignment PN, each winning bidder must submit sufficient funds (in addition to its upfront payment) to bring its total amount of money on deposit with the Commission for Auction 1002 to twenty percent of the amount of its total final payments net of any applicable small business or rural service provider bidding credits.

iii. Final Payments

175. Each winning bidder will be required to submit the balance of the net amount of its total final payments within ten business days after the applicable deadline for submitting down payments.

iv. Post-Auction Application (FCC Form 601)

176. The Commission's rules provide that, within ten business days after release of the Channel Reassignment PN, winning bidders must electronically submit a properly completed post-auction application (FCC Form 601) for the license(s) they won through Auction 1002.

177. A winning bidder claiming eligibility for a small business bidding credit or a rural service provider bidding credit must demonstrate its eligibility in its FCC Form 601 post-auction application for the bidding credit sought. Further instructions on these and other filing requirements will be provided to winning bidders in the Channel Reassignment PN.

178. Winning bidders organized as bidding consortia must comply with the FCC Form 601 post-auction application procedures established in the CSEA/Part 1 Report and Order. Specifically, each member (or group of members) of a winning consortium seeking separate licenses will be required to file a separate post-auction application for its respective license(s). If the license is to be partitioned or disaggregated, the member (or group) filing the post-auction application must provide the relevant partitioning or disaggregation agreement in its post-auction application. In addition, if two or more consortium members wish to be licensed together, they must first form a legal business entity, and the post-auction application must demonstrate that any such entity must meet the applicable designated entity criteria.

v. Ownership Disclosure Information Report (FCC Form 602)

179. Within ten business days after release of the Channel Reassignment PN, each winning bidder must also comply with the ownership reporting requirements in 47 CFR 1.913, 1.919, and 1.2112 by submitting an ownership disclosure information report for wireless telecommunications services (FCC Form 602) with its FCC Form 601 post-auction application.

180. If a winning bidder already has a complete and accurate FCC Form 602 on file in Universal Licensing System (ULS), it is not necessary to file a new report, but the winning bidder must certify in its FCC Form 601 application that the information on file with the Commission is complete and accurate. If the winning bidder does not have an FCC Form 602 on file, or if it is not complete and accurate, it must submit one.

181. When a winning bidder submits an FCC Form 175, ULS automatically creates an ownership record. This record is not an FCC Form 602, but may be used to pre-fill the FCC Form 602 with the ownership information submitted on the winning bidder's FCC Form 175 application. A winning bidder must review the pre-filled information and confirm that it is complete and accurate as of the filing date of the FCC Form 601 post-auction application before certifying and submitting the FCC Form 602. Further instructions will be provided to winning bidders in the Channel Reassignment PN.

vi. Tribal Lands Bidding Credit

182. A winning bidder that intends to use its license(s) to deploy facilities and provide services to federally recognized tribal lands that are unserved by any telecommunications carrier or that have a wireline penetration rate equal to or below 85 percent is eligible to receive a tribal lands bidding credit as set forth in 47 CFR 1.2107 and 1.2110(f). A tribal lands bidding credit is in addition to, and separate from, any other bidding credit for which a winning bidder may qualify.

183. Unlike other bidding credits that are requested prior to the auction, a winning bidder applies for the tribal lands bidding credit after the auction when it files its FCC Form 601 post-auction application. When initially filing the post-auction application, the winning bidder will be required to advise the Commission whether it intends to seek a tribal lands bidding credit, for each license won in the auction, by checking the designated box(es). After stating its intent to seek a tribal lands bidding credit, the winning bidder will have 180 days from the close of the post-auction application filing window to amend its application to select the specific tribal lands to be served and provide the required tribal government certifications. Licensees receiving a tribal lands bidding credit are subject to performance criteria as set forth in 47 CFR 1.2110(f)(3)(vii). For additional information on the tribal lands bidding credit, including how the amount of the credit is calculated, applicants should review the Commission's rulemaking proceeding regarding tribal lands bidding credits and related public notices.

vii. Default and Disqualification

184. Any winning bidder that defaults or is disqualified after the close of the auction (i.e., fails to remit the required down payment within the prescribed period of time, fails to submit a timely FCC Form 601 post-auction application, fails to make full payment, or is otherwise disqualified) will be subject to the payments described in 47 CFR 1.2104(g)(2). The default payment consists of a deficiency payment, equal to the difference between the amount of the Auction 1002 bidder's winning bid and the amount of the winning bid the next time a license covering the same spectrum is won in an auction, plus an additional payment equal to a percentage of the defaulter's bid or of the subsequent winning bid, whichever is less. For purposes of Auction 1002, the “winning bid” refers to the calculated license price discussed in the “Calculating Individual License Prices” section of the Auction 1000 Application Procedures PN and set forth in section 9 of Appendix H in Attachment 1 (Forward Auction Assignment Phase and Post-Auction License Prices) to the Auction 1000 Application Procedures PN.

185. The percentage of the bid that a defaulting bidder must pay in addition to the deficiency will depend on the auction format ultimately chosen for a particular auction. The Commission's rules specify that in an auction without combinatorial bidding, such as Auction 1002, the percentage shall be between three and 20 percent. In the Auction 1000 Comment PN, the Commission proposed an additional default payment of 20 percent of the applicable bid for the forward auction, concluding that the maximum amount is in the public interest given the importance of deterring defaults in order to minimize the possibility that the actual proceeds generated by the auction will not differ significantly from the amounts used to determine that the final stage rule is met. As the Commission noted in the Incentive Auction R&O, parties receiving the first disbursements of auction proceeds once amounts become available for distribution—including broadcasters relinquishing spectrum usage rights—will be insulated from the effects of any forward auction bidder defaults. The Commission received no comment on this proposal. Given the policy and public interest considerations underlying this proposal, and in the absence of any opposition, the Bureau adopts an additional default payment of 20 percent for Auction 1002.

186. Finally, in the event of a default, the Commission has the discretion to re-auction the license or offer it to the next highest bidder (in descending order) at its final bid amount. In addition, if a default or disqualification involves gross misconduct, misrepresentation, or bad faith by an applicant, the Commission may declare the applicant and its principals ineligible to bid in future auctions, and may take any other action that it deems necessary, including institution of proceedings to revoke any existing authorizations held by the applicant.

viii. Refund of Remaining Upfront Payment Balance

187. After the auction, an applicant that is not a winning bidder or is a winning bidder whose upfront payment exceeded the net amount of its total final payments may be entitled to a refund of some or all of its upfront payment. Information about requesting a refund of a remaining upfront payment balance will be provided in the Upfront Payment PN. A bidders should not request a refund of their upfront payments before the Commission releases a public notice declaring the auction closed, identifying the winning bidders, and establishing the deadlines for submitting down payments, FCC Form 601 post-auction applications, and final payments.

V. Supplemental Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

188. As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended (RFA), the Commission has prepared a Supplemental Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (SFRFA) of the possible significant economic impact on small entities by the procedures and instructions described in Attachment 4 of the Auction 1000 Application Procedures PN.

A. Need for, and Objectives of, Public Notice

189. The Auction 1000 Application Procedures PN implements the procedures established in the Commission's prior orders to carry out the broadcast television spectrum incentive auction, which is scheduled to begin on March 29, 2016, and consists of the reverse auction (Auction 1001) and the forward auction (Auction 1002). In the Auction 1000 Comment PN, the Commission sought comment on the proposals for conducting the incentive auction, including the proposed procedures for the forward auction, the reverse auction, and the integration of the reverse and forward auctions, that would implement rules previously proposed in the Incentive Auction NPRM and adopted in the Incentive Auction R&O. In the Auction 1000 Bidding Procedures PN, the Commission established the bidding procedures for the reverse and forward auctions. Pursuant to the Commission's direction, the Auction 1000 Application Procedures PN establishes the application procedures for the reverse and forward auctions; provides detailed information, instructions, and deadlines for filing applications; and finalizes certain post-auction procedures established by the Commission's prior orders.

190. Previously, as required by the RFA, the Commission prepared an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) in connection with the Incentive Auction NPRM and a Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (FRFA) in connection with the Incentive Auction R&O. Likewise, the Commission's Mobile Spectrum Holdings NPRM included an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis and the Mobile Spectrum Holdings R&O included a Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (MSH FRFA). Recently, the Commission modified its Part 1 competitive bidding rules, including the designated entity rules that apply to all licenses acquired with bidding credits, including those won in Auction 1002. The Part 1 NPRM and Part 1 PN included an IRFA and Supplemental IRFA respectively, and the resulting Part 1 R&O included a Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (Part 1 FRFA).

191. Following the release of the Auction 1000 Comment PN, a Supplemental Public Notice sought comment on how the proposals in the Auction 1000 Comment PN could affect either the IRFA or the FRFA. The Supplemental Public Notice provided that the proposals in the Auction 1000 Comment PN did not change any of the matters described in the IRFA or FRFA. As further noted in the Supplemental Public Notice, the request for comment focused on how the proposals in the Auction 1000 Comment PN might affect either the IRFA or the FRFA.

192. The subsequent Auction 1000 Bidding Procedures PN included a Supplemental Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (Bidding Procedures PN SFRFA) that addressed any determinations by the Commission that might have affected the IRFA and FRFA. In the Bidding Procedures PN SFRFA, one commenter responded to the Supplemental Public Notice. The SFRA addressed this response accounting for any particular impact on small businesses and explaining the reasons supporting the Commission's decisions. Aside from those comments that have been addressed in the Auction 1000 Bidding Procedures PN and the associated SFRFA, no other comments have been filed in response to the Supplemental Public Notice or the application procedures and instructions set forth in the Auction 1000 Application Procedures PN. As such, the procedures and instructions in the Public Notice do not change the analysis set forth in the IFRA, FRFA, and Bidding Procedures PN SFRFA. This SRFRA summarizes the application procedures in the Public Notice to assure that the Bureau has accounted properly for any economic impact on small businesses, consistent with the IRFA and FRFA.

193. Under the application procedures governing the conduct of the reverse auction, licensees of commercial and noncommercial educational full power and Class A television stations (eligible broadcast licensees) identified in the Final Baseline may apply to participate in the reverse auction. On its application (FCC Form 177), an eligible broadcast licensee will have up to three bid options depending on its pre-auction band: (1) Go off-air (available to all stations); (2) move to a Low-VHF channel (available to UHF or High-VHF stations); and (3) move to a High-VHF channel (available only to UHF stations). Additionally, if the applicant's application is timely-filed and deemed complete, it must then commit, at the associated opening price, to a preferred relinquishment option for each station for which it wishes to place bids in the clock rounds. Reverse auction bidders will be able to participate in the reverse auction over the Internet using the Commission's Auction System.

194. In the forward auction, each applicant must submit electronically through the Commission's Auction System a complete, accurate, and timely application (FCC Form 175), and submit a timely and sufficient upfront payment. Each stage of forward auction will consist of two phases—an ascending clock phase and an assignment phase. Forward auction bidders will also be able to participate in the forward auction over the Internet using the Commission's Auction System. Following the completion of the reverse and forward auctions, the Bureaus will release a Channel Reassignment PN that will provide the results of the reverse auction, the forward auction, and the repacking, indicating the reassignment of the television channels and reallocation of broadcast television spectrum, among other things.

B. Summary of Significant Issues Raised by Public Comments in Response to the Supplemental Notice

195. The Bidding Procedures PN SFRFA addressed the only response to the Supplemental Public Notice, and no subsequent comments were filed in response to the Supplemental Public Notice. Thus, no specific alternative procedures were raised for consideration by the Bureau. However, the Bureau considered the potential impact of the auction procedures and instructions in the Auction 1000 Application Procedures PN on all potential participants, including small businesses.

196. Pursuant to the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, the Commission is required to respond to any comments filed by the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration (SBA), and to provide a detailed statement of any change made to the proposed rules as a result of those comments. The Chief Counsel did not file any comments in response to the Auction 1000 Comment PN or the Supplemental Public Notice.

C. Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities To Which Specified Auction 1000 Procedures Will Apply

197. The RFA directs agencies to provide a description of and, where feasible, an estimate of the number of small entities that may be affected by rules proposed in that rulemaking proceeding, if adopted. The RFA generally defines the term “small entity” as having the same meaning as the terms “small business,” “small organization,” and “small governmental jurisdiction.” In addition, the term “small business” has the same meaning as the term “small business concern” under the Small Business Act. A small business concern is one which: (1) Is independently owned and operated; (2) is not dominant in its field of operation; and (3) satisfies any additional criteria established by the Small Business Administration (SBA). Auction 1000 is the first-of-its-kind incentive auction and participation is voluntary; therefore, the Bureau cannot make a meaningful estimate of the number of small entities who may apply to participate in the reverse and forward auctions. However, the Bureau anticipates greater participation by small businesses in the forward auction due to the recent changes in the Commission's designated entity rules aimed at providing greater opportunities for small businesses to gain access to capital in order to participate meaningfully at Commission auctions, including Auction 1002. Because the Auction 1000 Application Procedures PN implements those procedures and policies established in the Commission's orders relating to Auction 1000, the procedures, terms, and conditions may affect the same individuals and entities described in paragraphs 14 through 36 of the FRFA, paragraphs 5 through 30 of the MSH FRFA, and paragraphs 9 through 35 of the Part 1 FRFA.

D. Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other Compliance Requirements

198. Some of the application procedures contained in the Auction 1000 Application Procedures PN will affect reporting, recordkeeping, and other compliance requirements for small entities. However, these procedures implement the rules and policies established in the Commission's orders, including the factual, policy, and legal analyses supporting those policies. Additionally, no comments were filed in response to these particular procedures and the Bureau intends to apply them uniformly to all entities, including small businesses. However, to the extent that some of the procedures in the Auction 1000 Application Procedures PN may provide supplemental information for small businesses, the Bureaus summarizes these relevant procedures.

i. Reverse Auction (Auction 1001)

199. Red Light Rule. To encourage broadcaster participation in the reverse auction, in the Auction 1000 Application Procedures PN, the Bureau waives the red light rule for the limited purpose of permitting any licensee that is red lighted for debt owed to the Commission at the time it submits a reverse auction application to participate in the reverse auction. Because a reverse auction applicant may incur debt to the Commission after submission of its application, and may fail to pay the debt when due, to participate in the auction, each reverse auction applicant will be required to certify in its application that it (1) acknowledges its liability to the Commission for any debt owed to the Commission that the applicant incurred before, or that it may incur after, the reverse auction application deadline, including all accrued interest, penalties and costs, and that the debt will continue to accrue interest, penalties and costs until paid; and (2) agrees that the Commission may pay all debt owed by the applicant to the Commission from the applicant's share of auction proceeds. Each reverse auction applicant will also be required to certify its agreement that if an appeal of, or request for waiver or compromise of, any debt owed by the applicant to the Commission is pending at the conclusion of the incentive auction, the Commission may withhold so much of the applicant's share of the auction proceeds as is necessary to pay the debt in full, including accrued interest, penalties and costs, until issuance of a final non-appealable decision regarding the debt or waiver or compromise request, and may then pay the debt from the applicant's withheld share.

200. Channel Sharing Certification. In the Incentive Auction R&O, the Commission adopted rules requiring prospective sharer stations under pre-auction channel sharing agreements (CSAs) to make certain certifications concerning their channel sharing arrangements. In addition to the certifications adopted in the Incentive Auction R&O, a sharer station must also certify that the CSA submitted by the reverse auction applicant is a true, correct, and complete copy of the CSA between the parties.

201. Provisions Regarding Pending Proceedings. Each reverse auction applicant that selects going off-air as a bidding option for a station must indicate on its FCC Form 177 whether it will hold any other broadcast licenses if all of the bids that it might place to go off-air are accepted. If it will hold another broadcast license, then the applicant must certify that the applicant will remain subject to any license renewal, as well as any enforcement action, pending at the time of the auction application deadline against the station that may go off-air as a result of the auction. If it will not hold any other broadcast licenses, then the applicant must certify in its application (1) that pursuant to the Commission's announced procedures for resolving such matters in connection with this auction, the Commission may withhold a portion of the share of auction proceeds for the station, if any, pending final determination of any FCC liabilities with respect to the station and such portion may be applied towards the satisfaction of such liabilities; and (2) that the applicant remains subject to the Commission's jurisdiction and authority to impose enforcement or other FCC liabilities with respect to the station, notwithstanding the surrender of its license for the station.

202. Additionally, each reverse auction applicant must also indicate for each license identified in its application whether the license is subject: (1) To a non-final revocation order; or (2) has expired or been cancelled and is subject to a non-final license cancellation order. An applicant that includes a Class A television station in its application must indicate whether that station is subject to a non-final downgrade order. If an applicant indicates that a license in its application is subject to any of the foregoing revocation, cancellation, or downgrade proceedings, it must certify in its application that it agrees with the Commission's announced procedures to withhold all of any incentive payment for the station pending the final outcome of any such proceeding.

203. All auction proceeds held (i) to cover potential enforcement liabilities, (ii) because of an ongoing license validity or downgrade proceeding, or (iii) until final resolution of an appeal of a debt determination or a compromise or waiver request will be held by the Commission in the U.S. Treasury. As determined by the Commission in the Incentive Auction R&O, amounts held following the auction will be released to the broadcaster or applied towards any forfeiture costs and other debt the broadcaster owes to the Commission, as appropriate in light of the final resolution of the relevant issues.

ii. Forward Auction (Auction 1002)

204. Certification of Eligibility for Reserved Spectrum. Under this certification requirement, a forward auction applicant that is eligible to bid on reserved spectrum blocks in a given PEA, and that included the PEA in its license area selection(s), must certify its eligibility to bid for reserved blocks in the PEA. An applicant is not required to bid on, or certify its eligibility for, reserved spectrum blocks in any or all areas in which it is eligible. However, an applicant that does not certify its eligibility with respect to a particular license area because it is not eligible or it declines to do so will not be able to bid for reserved spectrum blocks in that PEA during the auction.

205. Additional Default Payment. Any winning bidder that defaults or is disqualified after the close of the auction (i.e., fails to remit the required down payment within the prescribed period of time, fails to submit a timely FCC Form 601 post-auction application, fails to make full payment, or is otherwise disqualified) will be subject to the payments described in 47 CFR 1.2104(g)(2). The default payment consists of a deficiency payment, equal to the difference between the amount of the Auction 1002 bidder's winning bid and the amount of the winning bid the next time a license covering the same spectrum is won in an auction, plus an additional payment equal to a percentage of the defaulter's bid or of the subsequent winning bid, whichever is less. For Auction 1002, the additional default payment will be 20 percent.

E. Steps Taken To Minimize the Significant Economic Impact on Small Entities, and Significant Alternatives Considered

206. The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant alternatives beneficial to small entities considered in reaching a proposed approach, which may include the following four alternatives (among others): (1) Establishment of differing compliance or reporting requirements or timetables that take into account the resources available to small entities; (2) clarification, consolidation, or simplification for small entities of compliance and reporting requirements; (3) use of performance, rather than design, standards; and (4) an exemption for small entities. The procedures, terms, and conditions in the Auction 1000 Application Procedures PN correlate to those proposals and policies articulated in the Commission's orders governing Auction 1000, including Auctions 1001 and 1002. As such, a description of the steps taken to minimize the significant economic impact and the alternatives considered for these proposals can be found in the FRFA, Bidding Procedures PN SFRFA, MSH FRFA, and Part 1 FRFA.

207. In the Auction 1000 Application Procedures PN, the Bureau describes the application procedures and instructions for Auctions 1001 and 1002, along with the post-auction process, which are summarized in this supplemental analysis. The policies adopted throughout the course of the incentive auction proceeding are consistent with the Commission's statutory obligations to “ensure that small businesses, rural telephone companies, and businesses owned by members of minority groups and women are given the opportunity to participate in the provision of spectrum-based services.” The statute also directs the Commission to promote “economic opportunity and competition . . . by avoiding excessive concentration of licenses and by disseminating licenses among a wide variety of applicants, including small businesses.” For instance, the Commission concluded in the Incentive Auction R&O that licensing on a PEA basis is consistent with the requirements of section 309(j) because it would promote spectrum opportunities for carriers of different sizes, including small businesses. Moreover, the Commission recently revised its designated entity rules to provide small businesses with more flexibility to find the capital needed for acquiring licenses in auctions by, for instance, eliminating the attributable material relationship rule (AMR rule) and increasing the gross revenue thresholds used for determining eligibility for small business bidding credits.

208. For Auction 1000, the Bureau has taken steps to minimize the administrative burdens for applicants throughout the application process while providing small businesses with the opportunity to participate in the reverse and forward auctions. These steps include, but are not limited to: (1) Establishing auction Web sites as a central repository for auction information in addition to other Commission databases (e.g., ULS, CDBS) and making such online resources available at no charge for prospective applicants to research auction application and bidding procedures as well as Commission rules, policies, and other applicable decisions; (2) publishing public notices at key points of the reverse and forward auction processes to keep auction applicants informed of their application status, applicable auction requirements, and relevant deadlines; (3) organizing, for reverse auction applicants, several workshops to address the auction application and bidding processes; (4) providing web-based, interactive online tutorials for prospective bidders to walk through the auction process and the Auction System's application and bidding screens; (5) implementing a mock auction for all qualified bidders to obtain hands-on experience with the Commission's Auction System prior to the start of the reverse and forward auctions; (6) conducting both auctions electronically over the Internet using the Commission's Auction System to include providing online availability of round results and auction announcements; and (7) providing Commission staff to answer technical, legal, and other auction-related questions.

209. Although the processes surrounding the implementation of Auction 1000 are unique, the timelines from the announcement of Auction 1000 to the execution of the reverse and forward auctions were developed with the consideration of lowering costs and burdens of compliance with the Commission's competitive bidding and media rules for all applicants, including small businesses. Following the conclusion of Auction 1000, the Bureaus will continue to provide information and services to auction applicants to facilitate compliance with the Bureaus' competitive bidding and media rules in the form of additional public notices and continued support by Commission staff. In summary, a number of application procedures which will be implemented in Auction 1000 were designed to facilitate auction participation by all interested applicants, including small businesses.

Federal Communications Commission. Gary D. Michaels, Deputy Chief, Auctions and Spectrum Access Division, WTB.
[FR Doc. 2015-27621 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION 47 CFR Part 52 [WC Docket Nos. 13-97, 04-36, 07-243, 10-90 and CC Docket No. 95-116, 01-92, and 99-200; FCC 15-70] Numbering Policies for Modern Communications, IP-Enabled Services, Telephone Number Requirements for IP-Enabled, Services Providers, Telephone Number Portability et al. AGENCY:

Federal Communications Commission.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

This document, establishes an authorization process to enable interconnected VoIP providers that choose direct access to request numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators. Next, this document sets forth several conditions designed to minimize number exhaust and preserve the integrity of the numbering system. Finally, this document modifies Commission's rules in order to permit VoIP Positioning Center (VPC) providers to obtain pseudo-Automatic Number Identification (p-ANI) codes directly from the Numbering Administrators for purposes of providing E911 services. These relatively modest steps will have lasting, positive impacts for consumers and the communications industry as we continue to undergo technology transitions.

DATES:

Effective November 30, 2015, except for 47 CFR 52.15(g)(2) through(g)(3), which contains information collection requirements that have not be approved by OMB, the Federal Communications Commission will publish a document in the Federal Register announcing the effective date.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Marilyn Jones, Wireline Competition Bureau, Competition Policy Division, (202) 418-1580, or send an email to [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

This is a summary of the Commission's Report and Order in WC Docket Nos. 13-97, 04-36, 07-243, 10-90 and CC Docket Nos. 95-116, 01-92, 99-200, FCC 15-70, adopted June 18, 2015 and released June 22, 2015. The full text of this document is available for public inspection during regular business hours in the FCC Reference Information Center, Portals II, 445 12th Street SW., Room CY-A257, Washington, DC 20554. The document may also be purchased from the Commission's duplicating contractor, Best Copy and Printing, Inc., 445 12th Street SW., Room CY-B402, Washington, DC 20554, telephone (800) 378-3160 or (202) 863-2893, facsimile (202) 863-2898, or via the Internet at http://www.bcpiweb.com. It is available on the Commission's Web site at http://www.fcc.gov.

I. Introduction

1. The nation's communications infrastructure is undergoing key technology transitions, including that from networks based on time-division multiplexed (TDM) circuit-switched voice services to all-Internet Protocol (IP) multi-media networks. Already, these transitions have brought innovative and improved communications services to the marketplace, and consumers have embraced these new technologies. This is evidenced by the nearly 48 million interconnected VoIP retail local telephone service connections in service as of the end of 2013, comprising over a third of all wireline retail local telephone service connections.

2. Our actions today support these transitions. We establish a process to authorize interconnected VoIP providers to obtain North American Numbering Plan (NANP) telephone numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators, rather than through intermediaries. Our actions will facilitate innovative technologies and services that will benefit both consumers and providers, and further the Commission's recognized pro-consumer, pro-competition, and public safety goals. In addition, permitting interconnected VoIP providers to obtain telephone numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators will improve responsiveness in the number porting process and increase visibility and accuracy of number utilization, enabling the Commission to more effectively protect the Nation's finite numbering resources. Our authorization process also enhances our ability to enforce the rules against interconnected VoIP providers. Finally, we also expect that, to the extent it encourages VoIP interconnection, authorizing interconnected VoIP providers to obtain numbers directly will help stakeholders and the Commission identify the source of routing problems and take corrective actions.

3. First, this Order establishes an authorization process to enable interconnected VoIP providers that choose direct access to request numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators. Next, the Order sets forth several conditions designed to minimize number exhaust and preserve the integrity of the numbering system. Finally, the Order also modifies Commission's rules in order to permit VoIP Positioning Center (VPC) providers to obtain pseudo-Automatic Number Identification (p-ANI) codes directly from the Numbering Administrators for purposes of providing E911 services. These relatively modest steps will have lasting, positive impacts for consumers and the communications industry as we continue to undergo technology transitions.

II. Background

4. Section 52.15(g)(2)(i) of the Commission's rules limits access to telephone numbers to entities that demonstrate they are authorized to provide service in the area for which the numbers are being requested. The Commission has interpreted this rule as requiring evidence of either a state certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) or a Commission license. As a practical matter, generally only telecommunications carriers are able to provide the proof of authorization required under our rules, and thus able to obtain numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators. As explained below, neither authorization is typically available in practice to interconnected VoIP providers. The Commission has waived section 52.15(g)(2)(i) in two instances. The first was in 2005 to allow SBC Information Services (SBCIS), an information service provider that lacked state certification a carrier, as a carrier to obtain numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators. In that Order, the SBCIS Waiver Order, the Commission stated that, “[t]o the extent other entities seek similar relief we would grant such relief to an extent comparable to what we set forth in this Order.” Following that Order, a number of entities filed similar petitions. The second waiver was in 2013, in order to conduct a limited trial allowing interconnected VoIP providers direct access to numbers. As described below, this trial demonstrated that there are no technical barriers preventing interconnected VoIP providers from accessing numbering resources directly and using them without intermediate carriers.

Direct Access NPRM

5. On April 18, 2013, the Commission adopted the Direct Access Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) (Federal Register 2013-09154 Pages 23192-23194) which, among other things, proposed to allow interconnected VoIP providers to obtain telephone numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators, subject to certain requirements. The Commission anticipated that allowing interconnected VoIP providers to have direct access to numbers would help speed the delivery of innovative services to consumers and businesses, while preserving the integrity of the network and appropriate oversight of telephone number assignments.

6. In the Direct Access (NPRM), the Commission sought comment on: (1) What type of documentation interconnected VoIP providers should have to provide to the Numbering Administrators in order to obtain numbers, (2) which existing or new numbering-related Commission requirements should apply to interconnected VoIP providers requesting numbers, and (3) how the Commission can enforce VoIP provider compliance with any numbering requirements it mandates. Specifically, regarding numbering requirements, the Commission proposed and sought comment on imposing the same requirements that it imposed in the SBCIS Waiver Order—number utilization and optimization requirements, numbering-related industry guidelines and practices that apply to carriers, and a 30-day notice period to inform the Commission and relevant states of the interconnected VoIP provider's intent to request numbers.

7. In the Direct Access (NPRM), the Commission sought comment on its proposal that interconnected VoIP providers may obtain numbers from any rate center unless a state commission finds that the request (1) is for numbers in a non-pooling rate center, and (2) will substantially contribute to number exhaust. It also sought comment on the Wisconsin Public Service Commission's proposal to impose the following requirements on interconnected VoIP providers seeking to obtain telephone numbers: (1) Provide the relevant state commission with contact information for personnel qualified to address regulatory and numbering concerns upon first requesting numbers in that state; (2) consolidate and report all numbers under its own unique Operating Company Number (OCN); (3) maintain the original rate center designation of all numbers in its inventory; and (4) to provide customers with the ability to access all N11 numbers in use in a state.

8. The Commission also sought comment on a series of commitments offered by Vonage as a condition to obtaining direct access to numbers. Specifically, those commitments would require an interconnected VoIP provider to maintain at least 65 percent number utilization across its telephone number inventory, to offer VoIP interconnection to other carriers and providers, and to provide the Commission with a transition plan for migrating customers to its own numbers at least 90 days before commencing that migration and every 90 days thereafter for 18 months. The Commission also sought comment on whether it should modify its rules to allow VPC providers direct access to p-ANI codes for the provision of 911 and E911 services. Finally, the NPRM addressed and sought comment on the Commission's legal authority to adopt the various requirements it proposed for direct access to numbers by interconnected VoIP providers.

Direct Access Technical Trial

9. In the Direct Access (NPRM), the Commission established a six-month technical trial allowing interconnected VoIP providers to obtain direct access to numbers. In the trial, the Commission granted limited, conditional waivers to providers that had pending petitions for waiver of section 52.15(g)(2)(i). These waivers allowed trial participants to obtain telephone numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators for use in providing interconnected VoIP services during the six-month technical trial. The Commission tailored the trial to test whether giving interconnected VoIP providers direct access to numbers would raise issues relating to number exhaust, number porting, VoIP interconnection, or intercarrier compensation, and if so, how those issues could be addressed. The Direct Access (NPRM) required trial participants to file regular reports throughout and at the end of the six-month trial, and allowed state commissions and other interested parties an opportunity to comment on the reports.

10. The Commission required trial participants to comply with its number utilization and optimization rules, as well as industry guidelines and practices, including abiding by the numbering authority delegated to state commissions and filing Numbering Resource Utilization and Forecast (NRUF) reports. The Commission also required each trial participant to maintain at least 65 percent number utilization across its entire telephone number inventory. State commissions recommended, and he Commission imposed, additional conditions on trial participants, including: (1) Providing the relevant state commission with regulatory and numbering contacts when the interconnected VoIP provider requests numbers in that state, (2) consolidating and reporting all numbers under its own unique OCN, (3) providing customers with the ability to access all abbreviated dialing codes (N11 numbers) in use in a state, and (4) maintaining the original rate center designation of all numbers in its inventory.

11. On June 17, 2013, the Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) adopted an Order announcing the participants in the trial. The Bureau concluded that the proposals submitted by Vonage Holdings Corp. (Vonage), SmartEdgeNet, LLC (SmartEdgeNet), WilTel Communications, LLC (WilTel or Level 3), Intelepeer, Inc. (Intelepeer), and Millicorp met the Commission's requirements to participate in a limited direct access to numbers trial, and approved them.

12. Upon completion of the trial, the Bureau released the Direct Access Trial Report. The Bureau reported that the limited trial indicated that it is technically feasible for interconnected VoIP providers to obtain telephone numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators and use them to provide services. Issues involving carrier obligations for interconnection and porting did arise during the trial, but did not appear to implicate technical concerns regarding direct access to numbers. The Bureau concluded that additional guidance or clarification from the Commission could reduce such disputes in the future.

III. Discussion

13. Our pro-consumer, pro-competitive actions today are consistent with the Commission's goal to facilitate the transition to all-IP networking and promote interconnection of IP based voice networks, and serve as an integral, incremental step in furthering the Nation's technology transition. Based on the record in this proceeding, including the technical trial, and consistent with our proposal in the Direct Access (NPRM), we establish a process to authorize interconnected VoIP providers to voluntarily request and obtain telephone numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators under our rules, subject to their compliance with certain numbering administration requirements. Generally, we require interconnected VoIP providers obtaining numbers to comply with the same requirements applicable to carriers seeking to obtain numbers. These requirements include any state requirements pursuant to numbering authority delegated to the states by the Commission, as well as industry guidelines and practices, among others. We also require interconnected VoIP providers to comply with facilities readiness requirements adapted to this context, and with numbering utilization and optimization requirements. To extend these requirements to interconnected VoIP providers that obtain direct access, we added the definition of interconnected VoIP provider and made changes to the definitions of service provider, telecommunications carrier and telecommunications service in section 52.5 of our rules.

14. As conditions to requesting and obtaining numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators, we also require interconnected VoIP providers to: (1) Provide the relevant state commissions with regulatory and numbering contacts when requesting numbers in those states, (2) request numbers from the Numbering Administrators under their own unique OCN, (3) file any requests for numbers with the relevant state commissions at least 30 days prior to requesting numbers from the Numbering Administrators, and (4) provide customers with the opportunity to access all abbreviated dialing codes (N11 numbers) in use in a geographic area. We discuss each of these requirements in detail below.

Benefits of Interconnected VoIP Providers Obtaining Numbers Directly

15. In reaching our decision, we have considered the potential risks and benefits of authorizing interconnected VoIP providers to directly access telephone numbering resources. Some commenters assert that authorizing interconnected VoIP providers to access numbers directly will potentially have adverse impacts on consumers, competition and enforcement, as well as number exhaust. Other commenters assert that authorizing interconnected VoIP providers to obtain numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators could have negative consequences for routing and intercarrier compensation. Still others assert unknown, unintended consequences of authorizing direct access for interconnected VoIP providers, and urge caution. We find on balance that the expected benefits, discussed below, outweigh any perceived risks of authorizing interconnected VoIP providers to directly access telephone numbering resources. Moreover, we find that we can mitigate any risks through the conditions we establish in this Order.

16. The record supports our findings that allowing interconnected VoIP providers to obtain telephone numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators will achieve a number of benefits. Both Vonage and VON assert that allowing interconnected VoIP providers to access numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators will improve efficiencies, provide greater control over call routing, and enhance the quality of service provided to customers. As SmartEdgeNet explains, “[b]ecause interconnected VoIP providers who do their own numbering will be identified in the Local Exchange Routing Guide (`LERG') and similar industry databases, other providers will be able to determine more easily with whom they are exchanging traffic, which should lead to the development of new and more efficient traffic exchange and call termination arrangements.” We find that allowing interconnected VoIP providers to access numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators will increase the transparency of call routing, and that in turn will enhance carriers' ability to ensure that calls are being completed properly. This enhanced ability is of value in addressing concerns about rural call completion. The Commission has recognized problems in completing calls to rural areas, as well as concerns about the quality of service when calls are completed. To help remedy these issues, the Commission now requires certain long-distance service providers, including interconnected VoIP providers in some cases, to record, retain, and report on call attempts to rural areas. The Commission determined that these requirements will help providers and regulators identify the source of problems and take corrective action. We expect that interconnected VoIP provider use of numbers obtained directly from the numbering administrators, rather than through carrier partners, will enable more expedient troubleshooting of problematic calls to rural Local Exchange Carriers (LECs) that may originate from interconnected VoIP providers, as well as enabling greater visibility into number utilization.

17. The record also reflects that permitting interconnected VoIP providers to obtain numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators will improve competition and benefit consumers. For example, Flowroute asserts that direct access will “increase efficiency and facilitate increased choices for American consumers.” Vonage maintains that allowing interconnected VoIP providers to obtain numbers will improve competition in the voice services market, broadening the options for consumers and reducing costs by eliminating the middleman for telephone numbers. Vonage asserts that, as a result of the competitiveness of the voice market, “this savings will be passed directly to consumers in the form of reduced prices, improved service, and additional features.” Similarly, VON argues that “easier and less costly access to numbers will allow VoIP providers to more vigorously compete in the voice services market, which can be expected to result in lower prices for consumers,” and the “wider variety of creative services developed and offered as a result of allowing direct access to numbers will lead to public benefits in the form of greater and more meaningful choices.” The record demonstrates that to the extent that authorizing interconnected VoIP providers to obtain numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators may facilitate direct IP interconnection, it will also facilitate deployment of advanced services such as HD voice.

18. Further, we find, based on the record, that to the extent permitting interconnected VoIP providers to obtain numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators may also facilitate direct IP interconnection, “[t]his will result in the expansion of the broadband infrastructure necessary to support VoIP, and will further the Commission's goals of accelerating broadband deployment and ensuring that more people have access to higher quality broadband service.”

19. We also find that authorizing interconnected VoIP providers to request numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators will eliminate unnecessary inefficiencies and associated expenses. We further are persuaded that having a presence in the routing guide (the LERG) may encourage VoIP interconnection58 and lead to enhanced innovation. We anticipate, based on the record, that authorizing direct access to numbers for interconnected VoIP providers will promote VoIP interconnection. Finally, we observe that permitting interconnected VoIP providers to access numbers directly is consistent with the recognized movement toward an all-IP network.

Implementation of Direct Access to Numbers for Interconnected VoIP Providers

20. As discussed above, Commission rules require an entity requesting numbering resources to demonstrate that it is “authorized” to provide service in the area for which it is requesting telephone numbers. Telecommunications carriers are typically required to provide either (1) a Commission license or (2) a CPCN issued by a state regulatory commission in order to obtain numbering resources from the Numbering Administrators. Neither of these authorizations is typically available to interconnected VoIP providers, because state commissions may lack jurisdiction to certify VoIP providers and they are not eligible for a Commission license. Also, the Commission has preempted state entry regulation of certain interconnected VoIP services to the extent that it interferes with important federal objectives. The Commission thus sought comment in the Direct Access (NPRM) on what, if any, documentation interconnected VoIP providers should be required to show in order to be eligible to obtain telephone numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators, and on specific processes by which an interconnected VoIP provider could demonstrate that it should be eligible to obtain numbers from the Numbering Administrators.

21. Today, we establish a new process by which an interconnected VoIP provider without a state certification can obtain a Commission authorization to demonstrate to the Numbering Administrators that it is authorized to provide service under our rules in order to obtain numbers directly from them. We also set forth the conditions that an interconnected VoIP provider obtaining Commission authorization must comply with in order to be eligible to obtain direct access to numbers. As a general matter, we impose on interconnected VoIP providers the same requirements to which carriers are subject. In some respects, however, we impose unique conditions of access on interconnected VoIP providers obtaining a Commission authorization, reflecting the particular circumstances of interconnected VoIP providers, including that (1) interconnected VoIP providers generally receive neither state certification nor a federal license before initiating service, and (2) nomadic interconnected VoIP service need not be tied to a particular geographic location. These conditions also reflect our understanding of the demand for numbers today, and the ways in which numbering resources may be strained. We find that the terms and conditions set forth below appropriately reflect the unique circumstances that pertain to interconnected VoIP providers and are designed to expand the type of entities that can obtain numbers without unduly straining that limited resource.

1. Requirements To Obtain Commission Authorization

22. We first address what form of documentation interconnected VoIP providers must submit to the Numbering Administrators in order to demonstrate that they have the authority to provide service within specific areas. Among our policy goals are implementing requirements to counteract number exhaust and ensure continuance of efficient number utilization, and providing adequate safeguards to prevent bad actors from gaining direct access to numbers. The extent to which permitting interconnected VoIP providers' direct access to numbers could exacerbate number exhaust has not been determined, largely because direct access would to some extent replace, rather than supplement, indirect access by interconnected VoIP providers. We recognize, however, that there are circumstances in which direct access may increase number exhaust within specific geographic areas, and our goal is to address these circumstances. We conclude that the most appropriate documentation to satisfy the required evidence of authority to provide service for interconnected VoIP providers that have not obtained state certification—and to meet our stated policy goals of counteracting number exhaust and preventing bad actors from gaining direct access—is an authorization issued by the Commission. We therefore require all interconnected VoIP providers without a state certification to obtain Commission authorization prior to filing their initial request for numbers with a Numbering Administrator. This nationwide authorization will fulfill the requirement under the Commission's rules to provide evidence of authorization to provide service. We direct and delegate authority to the Wireline Competition Bureau to implement and maintain the authorization process. Once an interconnected VoIP provider has Commission authorization to obtain numbers, it may request numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators.

23. This process is specifically designed to assess the eligibility of interconnected VoIP providers to obtain numbers from a Numbering Administrator. We find that the process we establish today will provide a uniform, streamlined process while also ensuring that that the integrity of our numbering system is not jeopardized. The process also provides an opportunity for states to offer their unique perspective regarding numbering resources within their states, while acting consistent with national numbering policy.

24. As part of the Commission authorization process, the applicant must:

• Comply with applicable Commission rules related to numbering, including, among others, numbering utilization and optimization requirements (in particular, filing NRUF Reports); comply with guidelines and procedures adopted pursuant to numbering authority delegated to the states; and comply with industry guidelines and practices applicable to telecommunications carriers with regard to numbering;

• file requests for numbers with the relevant state commission(s) at least 30 days before requesting numbers from the Numbering Administrators;

• provide contact information for personnel qualified to address issues relating to regulatory requirements, compliance, 911, and law enforcement;

• provide proof of compliance with the Commission's “facilities readiness” requirement in section 52.15(g)(2) of the rules;

• certify that the applicant complies with its Universal Service Fund (USF) contribution obligations under 47 CFR part 54, subpart H, its Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) contribution obligations under 47 CFR 64.604(c)(5)(iii), its NANP and local number portability (LNP) administration contribution obligations under 47 CFR Sections 52.17 and 52.32, its obligations to pay regulatory fees under 47 CFR 1.1154, and its 911 obligations under 47 CFR part 9; and

• certify that the applicant has the requisite technical, managerial, and financial capacity to provide service. This certification must include the name of the applicant's key management and technical personnel, such as the Chief Operating Officer and the Chief Technology Officer, or equivalent, and state that none of the identified personnel are being or have been investigated by the Commission or any law enforcement or regulatory agency for failure to comply with any law, rule, or order.

We explain more fully these requirements below.

25. We find that the measures outlined above will ensure that interconnected VoIP providers are able to obtain numbers with minimal burden or delay, while simultaneously preventing providers from obtaining numbers without first demonstrating that they can deploy and properly utilize those resources. Requiring commitments to comply with the Commission's number utilization and optimization rules and to file 30 day notices of intent to request numbers with the relevant state commission before making the request with the Numbering Administrators will help to meet our goal of efficient number utilization. In addition, requiring proof of compliance with the Commission's facilities readiness requirement will ensure that only interconnected VoIP providers that are prepared to provide service can gain direct access to numbers. We conclude that authorization by a state or the Commission is necessary to protect against number exhaust, as well as to ensure competitive neutrality among traditional telecommunications carriers and interconnected VoIP providers in the competitive market for voice services. As such, we reject assertions by commenters that a documentation requirement is unnecessary, and that interconnected VoIP providers should not be required to prove their eligibility and capability to provide service prior to receiving number authorization. We also find that the process set forth above is better targeted to demonstrating authorization to provide service than reliance on the filing of an FCC Form 499-A or 477 by an interconnected VoIP provider. Those forms do not demonstrate commitments to comply with the Commission's rules and specific numbering requirements or reflect that an applicant has the appropriate technical, managerial, and financial capacity to provide service. Further, as a practical matter, a new interconnected VoIP provider seeking direct access to numbers as part of launching a new service may not have a Form 477 on file at the time that it seeks to obtain numbers.

26. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission proposed that the Commission create a formal process to allow states to refer concerns about the numbering practices of any provider to the Commission and the NANPA, and that the Commission also require states to develop and implement their own review and challenge processes. We do not adopt any new processes, or require states to develop and implement their own review and challenge processes in instances where the Commission, rather than the state, is responsible for certification. Section 52.15(g)(5) of the Commission's rules currently grants the states access to service providers' applications for telephone numbers. Armed with this information, states are able to contact the Numbering Administrators directly about concerns with number requests for their states. And states may, of course contact the Commission or the Bureau to discuss any specific concerns. We find that the processes already in place, combined with the advance notice of number requests we require interconnected VoIP providers to provide to state commissions, ensure the integrity of the number assignment process without needlessly blocking or delaying number assignments to interconnected VoIP providers.

a. Compliance With Number Administration Rules and Guidelines

27. Commission rules and industry practice ensure and facilitate effective administration of the NANP and prevent number exhaust. As such, it is important that we make clear that interconnected VoIP providers that obtain a Commission authorization to enable direct access to numbering resources will be subject to the Commission's numbering rules and industry guidelines and practices for numbering applicable to telecommunications carriers. These requirements include, inter alia, filing NRUF reports, complying with Commission requirements to obtain additional numbers in a rate center, and adhering to the numbering authority delegated to state commissions for access to data and number reclamation. The Commission required participants in the technical trial to comply with specific number utilization and optimization requirements, including abiding by the numbering authority delegated to state commissions and filing NRUF reports, as well as industry guidelines and practices. These requirements contributed to the overall success of the trial by allowing the Commission, states, and Numbering Administrators to monitor the utilization of the number resources involved. Because of this experience, and for the reasons discussed below, we conclude that these requirements are a necessary component of interconnected VoIP providers' obtaining access to numbers permanently. Accordingly, we require interconnected VoIP providers that receive Commission authorization to obtain telephone numbers directly to comply with each of the Commission's number administration requirements, including any state requirements pursuant to numbering authority delegated to the states by the Commission. Moreover, interconnected VoIP providers relying on a Commission authorization to obtain numbers directly must also comply with industry guidelines and practices applicable to telecommunications carriers for numbering.

28. Interconnected VoIP providers' compliance with number administration requirements is key to the Commission's allowing their direct access to numbers, and no commenter argued that these requirements should not apply to them. As we discuss below, failure to comply with these obligations could result in revocation of the Commission's authorization, the inability to obtain additional numbers pending that revocation, reclamation of un-assigned numbers already obtained directly from the Numbering Administrators, or enforcement action. Requiring interconnected VoIP providers that obtain numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators to comply with the same numbering requirements and industry guidelines as carriers will help alleviate many concerns about telephone number exhaust, and will help ensure competitive neutrality among providers of voice services. Further, by imposing number utilization and reporting requirements directly on interconnected VoIP providers, we expect to have greater visibility into number utilization. For example, under our current rules, a service provider obtaining numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators must file Months-to-Exhaust Worksheets showing that it has used at least 75 percent of its numbering resources in a rate center before obtaining additional numbers in that rate center. Currently, most interconnected VoIP providers' utilization information is imbedded in the NRUF data of the carrier from which it purchases a Primary Interface Line8 Under our new requirement, the NANPA will receive NRUF reports directly from the interconnected VoIP provider that is actually serving the end user customer. This increased visibility will allow the Commission to better monitor, and take steps to limit, number exhaust.

29. We note also that we are requiring interconnected VoIP providers applying for direct access to numbers to certify that they comply with their existing USF contribution obligations under 47 CFR part 54, subpart H, TRS contribution obligations under 47 CFR Section 64.604(c)(5)(iii), NANP and LNP administration contribution obligations under 47 CFRs 52.17 and 52.32, obligations to pay regulatory fees under 47 CFR 1.1154, and 911 obligations under 47 CFR part 9. Requiring this certification of compliance with existing rules further ensures that the applicant is a company in good standing.

30. Intermediate Numbers. Among other things, NRUF reporting requires carriers to report how many of their numbers have been designated as “assigned” or “intermediate.” This designation affects the utilization percentage—the percentage of the total numbering inventory that is “assigned” to customers for use—of the reporting carrier. An “intermediate” number is one that is made available to a carrier or non-carrier entity from another carrier, but has not necessarily been assigned to an end-user or customer by the receiving carrier or non-carrier entity. An “assigned” number is one that has been assigned to a specific end-user or customer. Only “assigned” numbers are taken into account in the numerator of the utilization ratio when determining when a carrier or, once these rules take effect, an interconnected VoIP provider can obtain additional numbers; thus, there is an incentive for carriers and interconnected VoIP

31. As discussed in the Direct Access (NPRM), when a number is allocated to a carrier and the carrier assigns that number to a wholesale customer, such as an interconnected VoIP provider, section 52.15(f)(1)(v) of the Commission's rules requires that these numbers be reported as “intermediate” on the carrier's NRUF report until the numbers have been assigned to a retail end user. In practice, however, these numbers are often identified as “assigned,” whether or not the interconnected VoIP provider has a retail end-user customer for the number. In the Direct Access (NPRM), the Commission sought comment on how to revise the definition of “intermediate numbers” or “assigned numbers” to ensure consistency among all reporting providers.

32. Based on the record before us and the Commission's understanding that interpretation questions have arisen in certain respects regarding section 52.15(f)(1)(iii) of the rules, we conclude that it is necessary to clarify that numbers provided to carriers, interconnected VoIP providers, or other noncarrier entities by numbering partners should be reported as “intermediate,” and do not qualify as “end users” or “customers” as those terms are used in the definition of “assigned numbers” in section 52.15(f)(1)(iii) of the Commission's rules. This clarification is necessary in order to provide consistency and accuracy in number reporting and to limit telephone number exhaust. The record indicates that carriers are not reporting the use of numbers under the intermediate category consistently, and that there are widely differing interpretations of the definition of intermediate numbers and the requirement to report numbers in the intermediate category. For example, some carriers, whether they hold intermediate numbers in their inventories or allocate them to another service provider, treat all of their intermediate numbers as assigned for reporting purposes. Uniform definitions for number reporting allow the Commission to monitor individual carriers and their use of numbering resources to ensure efficient use of those resources and that the NANP is not prematurely exhausted. To achieve these goals, the Commission must obtain consistent, accurate, and complete reporting from carriers. Allowing carriers to continue to report numbers transferred to a carrier partner as assigned, instead of intermediate, would ultimately defeat our goals by gathering inaccurate information as to how many numbers are actually assigned to end-user customers. Thus, for purposes of part 52 of our rules, we make clear that the terms “end users” and “customers” do not include telecommunications carriers and non-carrier voice or telecommunication service providers. While this clarification of our rules may be less critical after our action taken today, as noted elsewhere in this Order there will be instances in which interconnected VoIP providers continue to use carrier partners. Therefore, it is still important to clarify the definition of “assigned” number in our rules.

b. 30-Day Notice Requirement

33. In the SBCIS Waiver Order, the Commission required SBCIS, now AT&T Internet Services, to file any requests for numbers with the Commission and the relevant state commissions at least 30 days prior to requesting numbers from the Numbering Administrators. The 30-day notice period has allowed the Commission and states to monitor SBCIS's number utilization and to take measures to conserve resources, if necessary, such as determining which rate centers are available for number assignments. In the Direct Access (NPRM), the Commission sought comment on imposing this requirement on all interconnected VoIP providers that obtain numbers, asking whether this requirement actually furthers the Commission's goal of ensuring number optimization. The Commission also sought comment on whether it should adopt a rule providing an opportunity for states whose commissions lack authority to provide certification for interconnected VoIP service to be given a formal opportunity to object to the assignment of numbers to these providers.

34. Based on our experience with SBCIS/AT&T Internet Services filings and the record in this proceeding, we require interconnected VoIP providers to file notices of intent to request numbers with relevant state commissions, on an on-going basis, at least 30 days prior to requesting numbers from the Numbering Administrators. We agree with commenters that providing 30-days' notice to state commissions contributes to the efficient utilization of our numbering resources. These filings will allow the states to monitor number usage and raise any concerns about the request with the service provider, the Commission, and the Numbering Administrators. Having 30-days' notice of a number request allows state commissions to advise interconnected VoIP providers as to which rate centers have excess blocks of numbers available. This notice period also gives state commissions the opportunity to determine, as they currently do with carriers, whether the request is problematic for any reason, such as the provider's failure to submit timely NRUF reports or meet the utilization threshold necessary to obtain additional numbers.

35. We do not, however, require 30-days' notice to be provided to the Commission, as required in the SBCIS Waiver Order. While this information is used by the states to, among other things, determine if the numbering request would be problematic in that state, the Commission will have access to this information once it is made available to the Numbering Administrators. Therefore, we conclude that it is unnecessary to require interconnected VoIP providers to give the Commission a separate 30-days' notice of their intent to request numbers from the Numbering Administrators.

c. “Facilities Readiness” Requirement

36. The Commission's rules require that before obtaining numbers, a provider must demonstrate that it “is or will be capable of providing service within sixty (60) days of the numbering resources activation date”—what we call “facilities readiness.” In the SBCIS Waiver Order, the Commission found that in general, SBCIS should be able to satisfy the requirement using the same type of information submitted by carriers, such as an interconnection agreement approved by a state commission. The Commission noted, however, that if SBCIS was unable to provide a copy of such agreement, it could submit evidence that it had ordered interconnection service pursuant to a tariff that is generally available to other providers of IP-enabled services. In the Direct Access Trial Report, interconnected VoIP providers were permitted to demonstrate “facilities readiness” by showing the combination of an agreement between the interconnected VoIP provider and its underlying carrier and an interconnection agreement between that underlying carrier and the relevant incumbent carrier.

37. Based on our experience with SBCIS/AT&T Internet Services and the record in this proceeding, we require interconnected VoIP providers that request telephone numbers from the Numbering Administrators to comply with the “facilities readiness” requirement in section 52.15(g)(2) of our rules, consistent with the requirements imposed on other providers of competitive voice services. We agree with commenters that an important aspect of direct access is that calls are interconnected with the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and terminated properly. A key difference between facilities readiness compliance with section 52.15(g)(2)(ii) in the context of interconnected VoIP providers seeking to obtaining numbers and in other contexts where the rule applies is that an interconnected VoIP provider seeking to access numbers directly need not have a carrier partner in order to provide service. As such, because the Commission has not classified interconnected VoIP services as telecommunications services or information services, nor has it otherwise addressed the interconnection obligations associated with interconnected VoIP service as a general matter, interconnected VoIP providers do not have any clearly established requirement, outside of the facilities readiness compliance context, to interconnect with a carrier that files tariffs. Therefore, we permit an interconnected VoIP provider that has obtained Commission authorization to request numbers directly to demonstrate proof of facilities readiness by (1) providing a combination of an agreement between the interconnected VoIP provider and its carrier partner and an interconnection agreement between that carrier and the relevant local exchange carrier (LEC), or (2) proof that the interconnected VoIP provider obtains interconnection with the PSTN pursuant to a tariffed offering or a commercial arrangement (such as a TDM-to-IP or a VoIP interconnection agreement) that provides access to the PSTN. The interconnected VoIP provider need not demonstrate that the point where it delivers traffic to or accepts traffic from the PSTN is in any particular geographic location so long as it demonstrates that it is ready to provide interconnected VoIP service, which is by definition service that “[p]ermits users generally to receive calls that originate on the public switched telephone network and to terminate calls to the public switched telephone network.”

2. Procedure for Requesting Commission Authorization

38. In order to streamline the processing of an interconnected VoIP provider's application for authorization to obtain numbers—called the “Numbering Authorization Application”—we have established a mechanism for these applications within the Commission's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS). We delegate authority to the Bureau to oversee this mechanism and the processing of these applications. The mechanism we have established includes a “Submit a Non-Docketed Filing” module that facilitates filing of these applications into a single docket where all such applications must be filed. When making its submission, the applicant must select “VoIP Numbering Authorization Application” from the “Submit a Non-Docketed Filing” module within ECFS, or successor online-filing mechanism. The filing must include the application, as well as any attachments.

39. Bureau staff will first review VoIP Numbering Authorization Applications for conformance with procedural rules. Assuming that the applicant satisfies this initial procedural review, Bureau staff will assign the application its own case-specific docket number and release an “Accepted-For-Filing Public Notice,” seeking comment on the application. The Public Notice will be associated with the docket established for the application. All subsequent filings by the applicant and interested parties related to this application must be submitted via ECFS in this docket. Parties wishing to submit comments addressing the request for authorization should do so as soon as possible, but no later than 15 days after the Commission releases an Accepted-For-Filing Public Notice, unless the public notice sets a different deadline.

40. As part of the CPCN certification process, states generally evaluate the fitness of the entity before granting a CPCN authorizing the entity to provide service in that state. In the case of interconnected VoIP providers that request numbers directly pursuant to a Commission authorization, it falls to the Commission to ensure the fitness of the entity and its principals to administer numbers, ensure that telephone numbers are not stranded, and maintain efficient utilization of numbering resources. On the 31st day after the “Accepted-For-Filing Public Notice” is released, the application will be deemed granted unless the Bureau notifies the applicant that the grant will not be automatically effective. The Bureau may halt this auto-grant process if (1) an applicant fails to respond promptly to Commission inquiries, (2) an application is associated with a non-routine request for waiver of the Commission's rules, (3) timely-filed comments on the application raise public interest concerns that require further Commission review, or (4) the Bureau determines that the request requires further analysis to determine whether a request for authorization for direct access to numbers would serve the public interest. To enable this process, we also delegate authority to the Bureau to make inquiries and compel responses from an applicant regarding the applicant and its principals' past compliance with applicable Commission rules.

41. Once an interconnected VoIP provider's Numbering Authorization Application is granted or deemed granted, the applicant can immediately proceed to provide states from which it intends to request numbers the required 30-days' notice. If the Bureau issues a public notice announcing that the application for authorization will not be automatically granted, the interconnected VoIP provider may not provide 30-days' notice and obtain numbers until the Bureau announces in a subsequent order or public notice that the application has been granted. This process strikes a proper balance between expeditiously authorizing interconnected VoIP provider requests for direct access to numbers, while providing an opportunity to consider more fully those requests that raise concerns.

3. Additional Requirements To Obtain Numbers

42. In the Direct Access (NPRM), the Commission sought comment on the Wisconsin Public Service Commission's proposal to adopt certain measures that would give state commissions oversight of interconnected VoIP providers that obtain telephone numbers. Specifically, the Wisconsin PSC recommended the following conditions for direct access: (1) Providing the relevant state commission with regulatory and numbering contacts when the interconnected VoIP provider requests numbers in that state; (2) consolidating and reporting all numbers under its own unique OCN; (3) providing customers with the ability to access all abbreviated dialing codes (N11 numbers) in use in a state; and (4) maintaining the original rate center designation of all numbers in its inventory. The Commission included these requirements in the Direct Access Trial. As described below, we require interconnected VoIP providers obtaining numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators to provide contact information to the relevant states, and also to request numbers under the interconnected VoIP provider's own OCN. For the reasons discussed below, we decline to adopt the other proposed conditions as requirements for direct access for interconnected VoIP providers.

43. Providing Contact Information. During the state certification process, many state commissions obtain contact information from service providers. Absent a contact information requirement, state commissions may not have accurate contact information for interconnected VoIP providers seeking direct access to numbering resources. In the Direct Access (NPRM), the Commission sought comment on whether interconnected VoIP providers that obtain direct access to numbers should be required to provide relevant state commissions with regulatory and numbering contacts upon first requesting numbers in that state. Several state commissions supported this requirement, while no commenter opposed it. We agree that providing accurate contact information to state regulators is important. For one thing, we agree that contact information allows state commissions to effectively and most readily address matters relating to regulatory compliance, provision of 911 service, and law enforcement to the extent already authorized. Having accurate contact information will also help state regulators monitor local numbering issues. This, in turn, helps the Commission in its overall efforts to conserve numbers. Because of its importance to state commissions and to this Commission, we require interconnected VoIP providers to give accurate regulatory and numbering contact information to the state commission when they request numbers in that state. We further require that interconnected VoIP providers update this information whenever it becomes outdated.

44. OCN Requirements. Under the Commission's rules, a carrier must have an OCN in order to obtain numbers from the NANPA. Based on the record we received on this issue, we require each interconnected VoIP provider to use its own unique OCN—as opposed to using the OCN of a carrier affiliate or partner—when obtaining numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators. Requiring each interconnected VoIP provider to use its own unique OCN follows the same procedure required for telecommunications carriers already getting direct access to numbers, which must request numbers using their own unique OCNs. In addition, requiring each interconnected VoIP service provider to show which numbers are in its own inventory—as opposed to in a carrier affiliate's or partner's inventories—will improve number utilization data used to predict number exhaust. It will also enable states to more easily identify the service providers involved when porting issues arise.

45. In addition to requiring each interconnected VoIP provider to have its own OCN, several state commenters assert that as a condition of obtaining numbers directly, each provider should be required to transfer all of the numbers it has obtained from its numbering partners to the interconnected VoIP provider's new OCN. We decline to adopt this condition. Commenters seeking such a condition urged the Commission to adopt it in order to minimize interconnected VoIP providers' opportunities to hoard telephone numbers and to ensure more accurate NRUF reporting by carriers. We do not find that such a requirement is necessary to protect against these harms. As discussed above, we require each interconnected VoIP provider obtaining numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators to comply with the Commission's NRUF reporting requirements. And as we also clarify above, all numbers assigned to interconnected VoIP providers by their numbering partners are to be reported as “intermediate,” unless and until such numbers are assigned to ultimate retail end users. We believe that these requirements are sufficient to ensure efficient number utilization by interconnected VoIP providers and their numbering partners.

46. Customer Access to Abbreviated Dialing Codes. The Commission currently requires interconnected VoIP providers to supply 911 emergency calling capabilities to their customers and to offer 711 abbreviated dialing for access to telephone relay services. In the Direct Access (NPRM), the Commission sought comment on the Wisconsin PSC proposal for interconnected VoIP providers to provide customers with the ability to access all N11 numbers in use in a state. In addition, it sought particular comment on how providers of nomadic VoIP service could comply with a requirement to provide access to the locally-appropriate N11 numbers. In the Direct Access Trial, participants were required to provide consumers with the ability to access N11 numbers in use in a state. State commissions and several other commenters support the proposal for interconnected VoIP providers to provide customers with the ability to access N11 numbers in use in a state. Vonage does not oppose the proposal that interconnected VoIP providers give subscribers the ability to access N11 numbers in use in a state, insofar as they are standard conditions imposed on any provider with direct access, and provided that such an obligation is dependent on states making available to interconnected VoIP providers the information needed to correctly route those calls. AT&T, on the other hand, advocates separately addressing mandating the use of all N11 numbers in the context of interconnected VoIP service in order to give interested parties the opportunity to air all concerns, including technical feasibility. CenturyLink argues that because N11-dialing deployments are not without cost and because service providers require some time to design and deploy such functionality, if the Commission requires that the N11-dialing functionality be a requirement for interconnected VoIP providers to obtain direct access to numbers, the requirement be conditioned on a government or authorized private party asking for the deployment, the requesting party paying for the deployment, and permitting up to a year after a bona fide request to accomplish the deployment. Level 3 cautions the Commission to avoid imposing a blanket requirement that VoIP providers with access to numbers also provide access to state-designated N11numbers, as any requirement that end users be provided access to N11 services should be imposed on the end user's service provider, without regard to whether the provider has obtained numbers directly or indirectly.

47. To balance the state commission concerns about customers' expectations of access to all active N11 dialing arrangements as VoIP services becomes a replacement for traditional carrier service and the industry concerns about the technical feasibility of providing N11, we require interconnected VoIP providers, as a condition of maintaining their authorization for direct access to numbers, to continue to provide their customers with the ability to access 911 and 711, the Commission-mandated N11numbers that interconnected VoIP providers are required to provide regardless of whether they obtain numbers directly or through a numbering partner. We also require interconnected VoIP providers to give their customers access to Commission-designated N11 numbers in use in a given rate center where an interconnected VoIP provider has requested numbering resources, to the extent that the provision of these dialing arrangements is technically feasible. We expect that interconnected VoIP providers will notify consumers and state commissions if they cannot provide access to a particular N11 code due to technical difficulties. These requirements will allow the potential availability of these dialing arrangements until the Commission has concluded its pending rulemaking addressing the technical feasibility of interconnected VoIP providers' offering of these codes. Without continued access to these numbers, their availability will diminish as consumers increasingly favor interconnected VoIP services over traditional telecommunications services.

48. We decline to adopt other proposals in the record calling for additional restrictions and conditions on interconnected VoIP providers' obtaining numbers, which are not imposed on telecommunications carriers. For example, we will not require interconnected VoIP providers to take numbers from certain rate centers chosen by the state commissions in more populous areas or in blocks of less than 1000 numbers. We conclude that additional restrictions beyond those that we adopt are unnecessary and would significantly disadvantage interconnected VoIP providers relative to competing carriers offering voice services. Moreover, the record does not demonstrate the need to impose additional restrictions on interconnected VoIP providers at this time. We conclude that the measures we take in this Order will promote efficient number utilization and protect against number exhaust. Similarly, we decline to act on proposals to revise our current reporting requirements, as we do not have a sufficient record upon which to evaluate such proposals.

49. We also decline to adopt as requirements additional voluntary commitments imposed in the Direct Access Trial. In addition to complying with the Commission's numbering requirements and the requirements set forth in the SBCIS Waiver Order, Vonage offered several commitments as a condition of the Commission granting it a waiver in order to obtain numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators. Specifically, Vonage's commitments included: Offering to maintain at least 65 percent number utilization across its telephone number inventory, offering VoIP interconnection to other carriers and providers, and providing the Commission with a transition plan for migrating customers to its own numbers within 90 days of commencing that migration and every 90 days thereafter for 18 months. Vonage indicated that these commitments would ensure efficient number utilization and facilitate Commission oversight. The Commission imposed these commitments on participants in the Direct Access Trial and sought comment on whether it should impose some or all of the Vonage commitments on interconnected VoIP providers, or on all entities that obtain telephone numbers.

50. Consistent with our effort to make the process by which interconnected VoIP providers obtain numbers as similar as possible to the process telecommunications carriers that already have direct access to numbers use, we decline to mandate additional requirements for interconnected VoIP providers that were offered by Vonage as voluntary commitments, and imposed on all participants in the Direct Access Trial. As discussed above, we require all interconnected VoIP providers that obtain direct access to numbers to comply with the Commission's number utilization and optimization requirements, including the filing of NRUF reports and Months to Exhaust Worksheets for growth numbering resources. Given the Commission's current 75 percent utilization requirement for rate centers, we conclude that we need not require interconnected VoIP providers to maintain at least 65 percent number utilization across their entire telephone number inventories at this time. While the Commission may consider extending an overall utilization requirement to all carriers and providers in the future, we do not impose such a disparate requirement on interconnected VoIP providers obtaining direct access to numbers at this time. Moreover, as Vonage suggests, conditions attached to a short-term waiver request that were designed to ensure that an existing rule's underlying purposes were met in particular circumstances are no longer necessary—and, in fact, have the potential to undermine the eventual success of the new regulatory regime. Further, while we anticipate an increase in VoIP interconnection arrangements once interconnected VoIP providers are authorized to access numbers directly, we decline to mandate those arrangements, as the Commission is currently considering the appropriate policy framework for VoIP interconnection in pending proceedings. Therefore, we do not adopt the commitments that Vonage offered as conditions of its request for waiver as requirements for interconnected VoIP providers to access numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators, and as of the effective date of this Order, participants in the trial who are still using the numbers they obtained in the trial may stop complying with the conditions imposed on the trial that are not made permanent requirements by this Order.

4. Enforcement

51. The Commission sought comment on whether obtaining Commission authorization for an interconnected VoIP provider to obtain numbers should subject an interconnected VoIP provider to the same or similar enforcement provisions as telecommunications carriers. The Commission asked whether the Commission authorization would allow the agency to exercise forfeiture authority without first issuing a citation; whether interconnected VoIP providers that obtain numbers directly should be subject to the same penalties and enforcement procedures as carriers; and whether outstanding debts or other violations should prevent an interconnected VoIP provider from obtaining numbering resources.

52. Interconnected VoIP providers who apply for and receive Commission authorization for direct access to numbers are subject to, and acknowledge, Commission enforcement authority. As described above, we require interconnected VoIP providers that seek Commission authorization to obtain direct access to numbers to comply with the Commission's numbering obligations. As a result, interconnected VoIP providers that obtain Commission authorization for direct access to numbers are subject to the Commission's enforcement authority and forfeiture penalties for violations of the Commission's numbering rules and the obligations established herein. We also find that the Commission authorization discussed in this Order serves as an “other authorization” under section 503(b)(5) of the Act, such that no citation is needed before a forfeiture for violation of any Commission rules to which the provider is subject can be assessed. Commenters generally agree that, if interconnected VoIP providers are authorized by the Commission to obtain numbers directly, they should be subject to Commission enforcement and forfeiture authority. No commenter asserted that the Commission should have to issue a citation before it could take enforcement action against an interconnected VoIP provider for violating numbering rules or requirements. Several state commissions urged that interconnected VoIP providers that receive Commission authorization to obtain numbers should be subject to the same enforcement and penalty provisions as traditional carriers. The enforcement provisions are an important component for maintaining the integrity of the numbering system as well as ensuring fair competition with telecommunications carriers providing similar services using numbers that they obtain from the Numbering Administrators.

53. We also observe that a failure to comply with the Commission's numbering rules could result in a loss of an interconnected VoIP provider's Commission authorization, the inability to obtain additional numbers pending that revocation, and reclamation of any un-assigned numbers that the provider has obtained directly from the Numbering Administrators.181 We delegate authority to the Wireline Competition and Enforcement Bureaus to order the revocation of authorization and to direct the Numbering Administrators to reclaim any of the service provider's unassigned numbers.

5. Other Issues Relating to Direct Access for Interconnected VoIP Providers a. Local Number Portability Obligations

54. In 2007, the Commission extended LNP obligations to interconnected VoIP providers in the VoIP LNP Order. The Commission's porting rules impose an “affirmative legal obligation” on interconnected VoIP providers “to take all steps necessary to initiate or allow a port-in or port-out.” In the VoIP LNP Order, the Commission also “clarif[ied] that carriers have an obligation under our rules to port-out NANP telephone numbers, upon valid request, for a user that is porting that number for use with an interconnected VoIP service.” The Commission concluded at the time that it had “ample authority” to impose porting requirements on local exchange carriers and interconnected VoIP providers.

55. Permitting interconnected VoIP providers direct access to numbers will enable interconnected VoIP providers to be more responsive to end user LNP requests by eliminating the extra time, complexity, and potential for confusion associated with the existing processes. It is our intention that users of interconnected VoIP services should enjoy the benefits of local number portability without regard to whether the interconnected VoIP provider obtains numbers directly or through a carrier partner. Thus, we modify our rules to include language codifying that intention. Specifically, we adopt an affirmative obligation requiring telecommunications carriers that receive a valid porting request to or from an interconnected VoIP provider to take all steps necessary to initiate or allow a port-in or port-out without unreasonable delay or unreasonable procedures that have the effect of delaying or denying porting of the NANP-based telephone number.

56. We disagree with commenters' assertions that the Commission lacks authority to require local exchange carriers (LECs) and CMRS providers to port numbers to and from interconnected VoIP providers, or to require interconnected VoIP providers to port numbers to and from such carriers. The Act requires LECs “to provide, to the extent technically feasible, number portability,” and defines “number portability” as “the ability of users of telecommunications services to retain, at the same location, existing telecommunications numbers without impairment of quality, reliability, or convenience when switching from one telecommunications carrier to another.” Opponents assert that these provisions limit the Commission to requiring number portability only between “telecommunications carriers,” and since the Commission has not classified interconnected VoIP providers as such, it cannot require LECs or non-LEC CMRS providers to port numbers directly to and from interconnected VoIP providers.

57. We disagree. We observe that while section 251(b)(2) expressly addresses LECs' obligations to port numbers when their customers switch to another telecommunications carrier, it is silent about any obligations of LECs beyond that, and does not preclude reliance on other, more general authority to impose additional LNP obligations on LECs under section 251(e)(1), nor does it address the obligations of non-LEC wireless carriers.192 Because number portability—whether to and from an interconnected VoIP provider, LEC, or non-LEC carrier—clearly makes use of telephone numbers, implicating “facets of numbering administration” under section 251(e)(1), we conclude that section 251(e)(1) provides authority supporting LECs' and non-LEC wireless carriers' obligation to port numbers directly to and from interconnected VoIP providers.

58. We also find that section 251(e)(1) provides sufficient authority to require interconnected VoIP providers that obtain numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators to port numbers to and from other providers of voice service. Section 251(e)(1) provides the Commission “exclusive jurisdiction over those portions of the North American Numbering Plan that pertain to the United States,” and the Commission has retained its “authority to set policy with respect to all facets of numbering administration in the United States.” As the Commission explained in the VoIP LNP Order, to the extent that an interconnected VoIP provider provides services that offer its customers NANP telephone numbers, the interconnected VoIP provider “subjects [itself] to the Commission's plenary authority under section 251(e)(1) with respect to those numbers.” As the Commission has previously found, “[f]ailure to extend LNP obligations to interconnected VoIP providers . . . would thwart the effective and efficient administration of our numbering administration responsibilities under section 251 of the Act.”

59. The industry and Commission have developed limits on the extent to which a provider must port numbers from one geographic area to another. For example, under a NANC guideline adopted by the Commission, a wireline carrier must port to another wireline carrier within the same rate center. A wireline carrier must port numbers to a wireless carrier where the requesting wireless carrier's coverage area overlaps with the geographic location of the customer's wireline rate center, so long as the porting-in wireless carrier maintains the number's original rate center designation following the port. A wireless carrier must port out a NANP telephone number to another wireless carrier, or a wireline carrier that is within the number's originating rate center. In the past, interconnected VoIP providers (with the exception of SBCIS) have obtained numbers through carrier partners, and the porting obligations to or from the interconnected VoIP provider stemmed from the status of the numbering partner.

60. The Commission sought comment on the geographic limitations, if any, that should apply to ports between either a wireline or wireless carrier and an interconnected VoIP provider that has obtained its numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators. There is broad support in the record for industry involvement in addressing technical feasibility in porting arrangements between interconnected VoIP providers and wireline and wireless carriers. We agree that the industry should be involved in addressing these issues. Accordingly, we direct the North American Numbering Council (NANC) to examine and address any specific considerations for interconnected VoIP provider porting both to and from wireline, wireless, and other interconnected VoIP providers. In particular, we direct the NANC to examine any rate center or geographic considerations implicated by porting directly to and from interconnected VoIP providers, including the implications of rate center consolidation, as well as public safety considerations, any such PSAP and 911 issues that could arise. We also direct the NANC to give the Commission a report addressing these issues, which includes options and recommendations, no later than 180 days from the release date of this Report and Order.

61. We find, however, that we need not delay giving interconnected VoIP providers direct access to numbers pending specific industry input. The Commission is currently examining how to address non-geographic number assignment in an all-IP world, and that proceeding is the forum in which to address such concerns. The Direct Access Trial provided an opportunity to test porting directly to interconnected VoIP providers, and that porting occurred without incident. As such, we decline at present to articulate specific geographic limitations on ports between an interconnected VoIP provider that has obtained its numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators and a wireline or wireless carrier. Instead, we find that an interconnected VoIP provider that has obtained its numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators and is not utilizing the services of a numbering partner for LNP purposes must port telephone numbers to and from a wireline or wireless carrier where technically feasible. Similarly, a wireline or wireless carrier must also port in and port out telephone numbers to an interconnected VoIP provider that has obtained its numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators and that is not utilizing the services of a numbering partner for LNP purposes where technically feasible.

b. Interconnection Obligations

62. The Commission reminds providers that the USF/ICC Transformation Order said that “[t]he duty to negotiate in good faith has been a longstanding element of interconnection requirements under the Communications Act and does not depend upon the network technology underlying the interconnection” and that the Commission “expect[s] all carriers to negotiate in good faith in response to requests for [VoIP] interconnection.”

63. VoIP interconnection is an important element in completing the transition from TDM to IP networks and services. As explained above, we find, and the record reflects, that permitting interconnected VoIP providers to obtain numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators will encourage and promote VoIP interconnection. For example, Vonage explains that direct access is necessary to achieve voluntary VoIP interconnection arrangements because “providers must, as a practical matter, be able to see i[nterconnected ]VoIP providers as the `owners' of a number in the industry databases [in] order to route traffic to such providers directly. Without direct access, i[nterconnected ]VoIP providers' numbers appear to belong to underlying numbering partners, preventing direct routing between i[nterconnected ]VoIP providers and their potential IP interconnection partners.” In the Direct Access Trial Report, the Bureau found that the trial indicated that there may be some confusion regarding parties' rights and obligations with respect to interconnection, but that such matters could be addressed in pending rulemakings addressing the topic. Though some commenters assert that the Commission must address VoIP interconnection obligations in its pending rulemaking proceedings before permitting interconnected VoIP providers to obtain numbers directly, we disagree that such a step is required. The process and obligations we establish in this Order enable interconnected VoIP providers that are unable to obtain state certification to request Commission authorization in order to enable them to obtain numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators. Our actions in this Order neither rely on, nor require, the Commission to address the many issues surrounding VoIP interconnection. Thus, given the complexity and importance of VoIP interconnection in facilitating the transition to all-IP network, we find that issues relating to VoIP interconnection that may result from interconnected VoIP providers obtaining numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators are more appropriately addressed in the Commission's pending proceedings addressing VoIP interconnection.

c. Intercarrier Compensation

64. In the USF/ICC Transformation Order, the Commission adopted a default uniform national bill-and-keep framework as the ultimate intercarrier compensation end state for all telecommunications traffic exchanged with a LEC, and established a measured transition that focused initially on reducing certain terminating switched access rates. As explained in the Direct Access NPRM, the Commission set forth several important policy goals for VoIP traffic in the USF/ICC Transformation Order. First, the Commission at that time “ `set an express goal of facilitating industry progression to all-IP networks.' ” Second, while providing a “move away from the pre-existing, flawed intercarrier compensation regimes,” the Commission sought to “reduce disputes” stemming from the lack of clarity regarding intercarrier compensation obligations for VoIP traffic. Third, the Commission stated that a significant goal was to eliminate opportunities and incentives to engage in access avoidance, both for non-VoIP traffic and for VoIP traffic.

65. The implementation of intercarrier compensation obligations depends on whether the traffic being exchanged is tariffed or exchanged pursuant to an agreement. If traffic is subject to state or federal intercarrier compensation tariffs, intercarrier compensation generally is owed by the entity that receives the tariffed access services. For traffic exchanged pursuant to an agreement, intercarrier compensation is determined by such agreements. Interconnected VoIP providers that access numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators can enter into agreements to interconnect with other providers. Thus, the Commission sought comment on concerns about how the implementation of intercarrier compensation obligations may change as a result of granting interconnected VoIP providers direct access to numbers. The Commission also sought comment on how the Commission should address any new ambiguities in intercarrier compensation payment obligations that might arise as a result of permitting interconnected VoIP providers to access number directly.

66. Intercarrier compensation was one of the considerations discussed in the technical trial completed in December 2013. Based on the results of that trial, the Bureau determined that “participants were able to port-in and port-out numbers and issue new numbers to customers, with no significant billing, routing, or compensation disputes reported.” The Bureau further found that “the trial did not identify technical problems regarding . . . intercarrier compensation.”

67. Commenters to this proceeding disagree as to what effect authorizing interconnected VoIP providers to obtain numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators will have on intercarrier compensation in the future. AT&T asserts that the Commission should reject concerns that implementation of intercarrier compensation obligations may change as a result of giving interconnected VoIP providers direct access to numbers, explaining that obligations to pay intercarrier compensation have never stemmed from numbers. Vonage contends that direct access enables interconnected VoIP providers to seek VoIP interconnection arrangements, which will facilitate the transition to a bill-and keep regime through commercial agreements. Other commenters agree that allowing direct access to numbers will have no effect on intercarrier compensation or outbound reciprocal compensation. On the other hand, Bandwidth asserts that failure to clearly address intercarrier compensation issues will “almost certainly lead to an even higher incidence of call completion problems.” Interisle contends that interconnected VoIP providers should not be allowed to use their OCNs for billing purposes due to concerns about “misbilling” and “complexity,” but should be required to bill for intercarrier compensation solely through their wholesale partners. NTCA expresses concerns about potential problems with phantom traffic.

68. We find that concerns about potential intercarrier compensation issues are speculative and that they do not constitute sufficient grounds to delay authorizing direct access to numbers for interconnected VoIP providers. Bandwidth and NTCA fail to provide any data or evidence of problems with call completion or phantom traffic resulting from the trial, and the Direct Access Trial Report did not identify any such problems. Moreover, the vast majority of the issues raised, i.e., concerns about incorrect billing, phantom traffic, and call completion, were raised by commenters before the limited trial occurred, and such potential problems never materialized. For these reasons, we decline to delay our action here based on billing and intercarrier compensation concerns expressed in the record. We find that, on balance, authorizing interconnected VoIP providers to access numbers directly will serve the Commission's “express goal of facilitating industry progression to all-IP networks.” If, in the future, billing or intercarrier compensation issues related to interconnected VoIP providers having direct access to numbering resources arise, we will address them at that time.

d. Call Routing and Termination

69. The Commission also sought comment generally on whether authorizing interconnected VoIP providers to obtain numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators would hinder or prevent call routing or tracking, and how the Commission can prevent or minimize such complications. The Commission sought comment on whether marketplace solutions are adequate to properly route calls by interconnected VoIP providers, absent a VoIP interconnection agreement, and whether the Commission should require interconnected VoIP providers to maintain carrier partners to ensure that calls are routed properly. The Commission also sought comment on the routing limitations that interconnected VoIP providers currently experience as a result of having to partner with a carrier in order to get numbers, and on the role and scalability of various industry databases in routing VoIP traffic directly to the interconnected VoIP provider over IP links. The Commission also asked how numbering schemes and databases integral to the operations of PSTN call routing will need to evolve to operate well in IP-based Networks.

70. The record reflects that authorizing interconnected VoIP providers to obtain numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators will facilitate, rather than hinder, call routing and tracking. Further, based on the record, we have no reason to assume that marketplace solutions like those described in the Direct Access (NPRM) will not be adequate to properly route calls to and from interconnected VoIP providers, or that changes to the numbering databases are necessary as a result of this Order. We also find, in light of comments in the record and based on lessons learned from our technical trial that, as a technical matter, it is not necessary for interconnected VoIP providers to use a carrier partner to obtain numbers or complete calls. We agree with Telcordia and do not anticipate “any database-related call routing or tracking problems arising from allowing VoIP providers to have direct access to numbers.” We disagree with commenters who assert that direct access to numbers for interconnected VoIP providers will raise significant routing issues, or that the Commission must mandate changes to the numbering databases at this time. We also disagree with commenters asserting that the Commission should require interconnected VoIP providers to have a carrier partner for routing purposes. We agree with Intelepeer that “adopting an interim solution as a permanent requirement presumes that such arrangements will be necessary indefinitely, which consequently discourages the industry from continuing to pursue and develop better alternatives.” Further, no trial participant reported any routing failures or billing or compensation disputes as a result of direct access to numbers for interconnected VoIP provider trial participants. Based upon this result, we conclude that further regulatory intervention is not needed at this time to ensure that routing works from a technical perspective. As Neustar and Telcordia noted, the numbering databases can accommodate a wide range of scenarios involving interconnected VoIP providers, whether those providers have direct access to numbers or obtain numbers through a carrier partner. We expect that interconnected VoIP providers will continue to route traffic consistent with existing guidelines and practices.

71. We observe that in January 2014, the Commission initiated a proceeding inviting interested providers to submit detailed proposals to test real-world applications of planned changes in technology that are likely to have tangible effects on consumers. These voluntary service-based experiments will examine the impacts of replacing existing customer services with IP-based alternatives in discrete geographic areas or ways. As part of this proceeding and subsequent experiments, the Commission will evaluate any issues that may arise with call routing. In addition, the Commission held a workshop to facilitate the design and development of a Numbering Testbed to enable research into numbering in an all-IP network in March 2014. Thus, given the Commission's ongoing examination of issues relating to the transition to IP-based networks, including call routing issues, we conclude that the Commission's open proceedings addressing systematic reform are the most appropriate venue to address any call routing concerns stemming from interconnected VoIP providers obtaining numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators. However, as underscored in Commission orders, any call delivery failures have significant public interest ramifications. Therefore, the Commission stands ready to address any problems associated with interconnected VoIP providers' direct access to numbers that negatively affect the integrity of routing and call delivery processes.

6. Transitioning to Direct Access

72. In the Direct Access (NPRM), the Commission recognized that allowing direct access to numbers by entities lacking state certification could affect existing revenue streams for companies that currently provide wholesale services to interconnected VoIP providers. The Commission also recognized that transferring numbers from one provider to another could potentially present logistical challenges, at least if the volume of numbers to be transferred in a rate center is large. The Commission therefore sought comment on whether any adopted changes should be made on a gradual or phased-in basis and, if so, what would be appropriate timeframes and limits for a graduated transition. In addition, the Commission sought comment on other steps it should take to ensure that any transition to direct access to numbers by interconnected VoIP providers occurs without unnecessary disruption to consumers or the industry.

73. Few commenters addressed this issue or advocated that the rules should provide for a graduated or staged-in implementation. Level 3, expressing concerns about the orderliness and timeline of the transition and possible logistical challenges of transferring large volume of numbers, urged that the rules not take effect until at least 90 days after adoption. Intelepeer contended that the rules could be implemented within 18 months after issuance of the NPRM, and within six months after the trial ended.

74. After analyzing the record and lessons learned from the Direct Access Trial, we conclude that we need not phase in the rule changes that allow interconnected VoIP providers to obtain numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators. The industry has had ample opportunity to prepare for this change. The Direct Access (NPRM) was issued in April 2013 and the Direct Access Trial concluded more than a year ago. The Numbering Administrators and the industry will have even more time to transition to the new numbering regime, since interconnected VoIP providers must still apply for, and obtain, Commission authorization after this Order is adopted. With regard to possible logistical issues in that transition, the Direct Access Trial gave the Numbering Administrators and participants an opportunity to test the technical feasibility of providing interconnected VoIP providers direct access to numbering resources. Finally, because interconnected VoIP providers may not request more numbers than they are able to use (due to our utilization requirements), and because our porting rules provide additional time to accommodate requests for complex ports, we expect that the Numbering Administrators' will be able to handle number requests from interconnected VoIP providers without the need for a slowed or graduated implementation.

Scope of Commission's Decision

75. In the Direct Access (NPRM), the Commission proposed to allow interconnected VoIP providers to obtain direct access to numbers and sought comment on whether it should expand direct access to numbers to other types of entities that use numbers indirectly. In particular, the Commission sought comment on whether it should expand access to numbers to all VoIP providers (interconnected and one-way) and on the types of services and applications that use numbers today, and that are likely to do so in the future.

76. Our decision today applies solely to interconnected VoIP providers. We find that permitting interconnected VoIP providers to request and receive numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators is, in itself, a significant step that has the potential to benefit a large number of consumers. According to the 2014 FCC Local Competition Report, the number of residential interconnected VoIP subscribers increased from 19.7 million subscribers in December 2008 to 37.7 million subscribers in December 2013. As the transition from legacy circuit-switched to broadband networks and IP-based connections for voice progresses, we expect Americans' reliance on VoIP service to increase.

77. While the Commission may consider permitting other types of entities to obtain numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators in the future, we decline to do so now. The bulk of the record focuses on the benefits and risks associated with extending direct access to numbers to interconnected VoIP providers. In addition, the technical trial was limited to interconnected VoIP providers. We thus find that we have sufficient information to establish appropriate terms and conditions for interconnected VoIP providers in light of the record and the trial. However, other types of entities might warrant different conditions for obtaining numbers, and we lack an adequate record on what such conditions should be. Thus, we reject proposals to expand direct access to numbers to entities other than interconnected VoIP providers at this time.

Legal Authority To Extend Numbering Requirements to Interconnected VoIP Providers That Choose Direct Access

78. Section 251(e)(1) of the Act, which was enacted by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (1996 Act), gives the Commission “exclusive jurisdiction” over that portion of the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) that pertains to the United States, and provides that such numbers must be “available on an equitable basis.” The Commission retains “authority to set policy with respect to all facets of numbering administration in the United States.” The Commission has concluded that its numbering authority allows it to extend numbering-related requirements to interconnected VoIP providers that utilize telephone numbers. Nothing in section 251(e)(1) limits access to numbers to “telecommunications carriers” or “telecommunications services,” and thus in defining the underlying policies regarding access to and use of numbers, we conclude that we can provide such access directly to interconnected VoIP providers, without regard to whether they are carriers. Moreover, the obligation to ensure that numbers are available on an equitable basis is reasonably understood to include not only how numbers are made available but to whom, and on what terms and conditions. Thus, we conclude that the Commission has authority under section 251(e)(1) to extend to interconnected VoIP providers both the rights and obligations associated with using telephone numbers.

79. Some commenters assert that the Commission must classify interconnected VoIP providers as telecommunications carriers in order to authorize them access numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators, asserting that to do otherwise would allow interconnected VoIP providers the benefits of Title II classification without actually classifying interconnected VoIP providers as Title II telecommunications carriers and subjecting them to all of the requirements to which competing telecommunications carriers are subject. NARUC and Bandwidth assert that the Commission lacks authority to extend the benefits and obligations of number portability to providers that are not telecommunications carriers and do not offer telecommunications services. They assert that the authority granted to the Commission in section 251(e)(1) of the Act over “those portions of the North American Numbering Plan that pertain to the United States” must be read in conjunction with section 251(e)(2), which requires that the costs of both number administration and number portability be borne by “all telecommunications carriers.” NARUC and Bandwidth assert that the broader power to administer numbers cannot be applied in a way that conflicts directly with the more specific requirements and duties specified in sections 251(b), 251(e), 153(37), and 153(51), and in particular, the number portability obligations in the Act that apply to telecommunications carriers.

80. We disagree. Nothing in section 251(e) restricts the Commission's jurisdiction to telecommunications carriers. In contrast, sections 251(a)-(c) pertain expressly to telecommunications carriers, local exchange carriers, and incumbent local exchange carriers, respectively. It is a well understood rule of statutory construction that, when Congress includes a term in one portion of the statute but not another, it did so intentionally. Congress's limitation in sections 251(a) through (c) shows that where—in the same statutory section—Congress wanted to limit certain rights or obligations just to telecommunications carriers or telecommunications services, it knew how to do so. The absence of any such express limitation in section 251(e)(1) supports our finding that Congress did not intend to limit the Commission's flexibility to extend direct access to numbers to non-carrier interconnected VoIP providers.

81. Further, we do not find that extending direct access to numbers to interconnected VoIP providers conflicts with the specific provisions to which commenters cite. In particular, telecommunications carriers (and more particularly, their end-user customers) generally benefit from the telephone network, including not only the ability of the carriers' end-user customers to receive calls placed to the telephone numbers assigned to them, but also their ability to place calls to numbers assigned to other end users, whether those end users are customers of traditional voice telecommunications carriers or interconnected VoIP providers. Thus, authorizing interconnected VoIP providers to obtain numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators under section 251(e) does not conflict with the fact that recovery of the costs of numbering administration is focused on telecommunications carriers under section 251(e)(2). Further, as the Commission found in the VoIP LNP Order, the language in section 251(e)(2), which phrases the obligation to contribute to the costs of numbering administration as applying to “all telecommunications carriers,” reflects Congress's intent to ensure that no telecommunications carriers were omitted from the contribution obligation, and does not preclude the Commission from exercising its authority to require other providers of comparable services to make such contributions.

82. Nor does authorizing direct access to numbers for interconnected VoIP providers under section 251(e) conflict with the fact that section 251(b)(2) addresses LECs' obligation to allow customers to port numbers when switching from one telecommunications carrier to another. We believe that section 251(b)(2) is reasonably understood simply as reflecting a requirement that Congress anticipated as necessary to promote competition in local markets, rather than reflecting any inherent Congressional judgment regarding the universe of entities that might have direct access to telephone numbers. And in any case, the Commission has required service providers that have not been found to be LECs, but that are expected to compete against LECs, to comply with the LNP obligations set forth in section 251(b)(2). Thus, because we conclude that the Commission has authority under section 251(e)(1) to extend the numbering requirements discussed above to interconnected VoIP providers, we find it unnecessary to first determine the classification of interconnected VoIP service, and decline to do so here.

Enabling Direct Access to p-ANI Codes for VoIP Positioning Center Providers

83. Under the Commission's rules, applicants for p-ANI codes, like applicants for numbers, must provide evidence that they are authorized to provide service in the area in which they are requesting codes. As discussed above, telecommunications carriers are typically required to provide either (1) a Commission license or (2) a CPCN issued by a state regulatory commission in order to obtain numbers from the Numbering Administrators. However, in October 2008, as part of its implementation of the NET 911 Act, the Commission granted interconnected VoIP providers the right to obtain p-ANI codes without such authorization, for the purpose of providing E911 services. The Commission did not, in that Order, extend this right to VPC providers; it sought comment on this issue instead in the Direct Access (NPRM). Specifically, the Commission sought comment on whether allowing VPC providers access to p-ANI codes would enhance public safety by further ensuring that emergency calls are properly routed to trained responders of the PSAPs, and whether there are any unique technical characteristics of p-ANI codes that make them different from the numbers currently included in section 52.15(g)(2)(i). The Commission also sought comment on whether permitting VPCs direct access to p-ANI codes would encourage the continued growth of interconnected VoIP services. At the same time, the Commission granted Telecommunication Systems, Inc. (TCS), a VPC provider, a limited waiver of section 52.15(g)(2)(i) of the Commission's rules so that it could obtain p-ANI codes in South Carolina and in other states where it could not obtain state certification to show that it was authorized to provide service. The Commission limited the scope and duration of the waiver to such time as it addresses whether section 52.15(g)(2)(i) should be modified to allow all providers of VPC service to directly obtain p-ANI codes.

84. As we discuss below, and based upon the record, we find that public safety and efficient p-ANI administration considerations necessitate a revision of our rules to permit VPC providers to obtain direct access to p-ANI codes for use in the delivery of E911 services in those states where VPC providers cannot obtain certification. We disagree with TCS's assertions that requiring VPC providers to obtain state certifications serves no purpose, and that state certification procedures are simply not designed to determine the suitability of a VPC that typically does not provide retail service and over whom the state commissions have little or no jurisdiction. Rather, we agree with Intrado and recognize the importance of state commissions in certifying and regulating 911 service providers. As such, we decline to adopt TCS's proposals to waive the authorization requirement in section 52.15(g)(2)(i) in states that do offer certification, or to provide a national authorization for VPCs. Instead, we revise our rules to permit VPC's to request p-ANI codes from the RNA for public safety purposes in states where a provider of VPC service can demonstrate that it cannot obtain state certification because the state does not certify providers of VPC service.

85. Public interest considerations necessitate this modification of our rules. The record demonstrates that the inability to obtain p-ANI codes to provide VPC services may disrupt E911 service. As TCS explains, it supports approximately 50 percent of all U.S. wireless E911 calls, serving over 140 million wireless and IP-enabled devices. One of the main purposes of its VPC service is to provide call routing instructions to the VoIP service provider's softswitch so that E911 calls can be routed to the appropriate PSAP. P-ANI codes provide the means for that communication. TCS asserts that after extensive and expensive testing of each p-ANI code by the VPC provider, the code is assigned to a unique PSAP. The VPC provider then tests these p-ANI codes with a gateway service provider to make sure that the codes route to the proper PSAP. TCS further explains that it obtains p-ANI codes from a fixed pool that is shared by multiple VPC softswitches. Approximately ten p-ANI codes are assigned per PSAP. Once tested, these codes can be used simultaneously by multiple service providers. TCS argues that if it were unable to obtain its own p-ANI codes, nomadic VoIP providers would have to obtain, test, manage, and deploy their own p-ANI codes, requiring each PSAP to test p-ANI codes, at considerable time and expense, with “dozens (or hundreds)” of nomadic interconnected VoIP service providers that might never actually use the p-ANI codes assigned to them. This process, it predicts, would potentially exhaust the reservoir of assignable p-ANI codes and create disruption, confusion, and even danger to our E911 system. TCS asserts that allowing VPCs access to p-ANI codes would enhance public safety by ensuring that emergency calls are properly routed to the appropriate PSAPs, and help to encourage the continued growth of VoIP services by making it easier for small interconnected VoIP service providers to rely on VPCs.

86. We acknowledge TCS's assertion that not providing a federal regulatory backstop in cases where state certification is unavailable runs counter to the public interest by making it more difficult for TCS to fulfill its regulatory obligations to provide E911 capabilities to interconnected VoIP service providers. Further, we agree that the alternative of continuing to require every small interconnected VoIP service provider to undertake the time and expense to secure p-ANIs themselves in states that do not certify VPCs is unnecessary and would only serve to hamper their operations. We concur with TCS that requiring interconnected VoIP providers to obtain p-ANI codes they might never use would be inefficient and would accelerate the exhaust of this valuable resource. While we are skeptical that “dozens (or even hundreds)” of individual VoIP service providers would individually undertake to deploy their own multi-jurisdictional, p-ANI-based positioning solutions, we do recognize the economies of scale and the efficient use of limited numbering resources that result when a VPC's pool of p-ANIs is shared among multiple VoIP service providers.

87. We decline to establish a separate Commission certification process to allow VPC providers direct access to p-ANI codes where states do not offer their own certification process for VPCs, as suggested by Intrado. TCS's comments reflect that, at the time of filing, it had obtained certification in 40 states. To date, we have not received additional requests from TCS or any other VPC provider under the temporary waiver. Therefore, we do not find that the benefits of establishing and requiring a separate certification process for VPCs outweigh the burdens of doing so at this time. Further, we also observe that, as p-ANIs are “non-dialable” numbers with unique technical characteristics that make them different from the numbers currently included in section 52.15(g)(2), granting VPCs direct access to p-ANI codes in states where certification is not available would not affect the pool of “dialable” numbers and would thus not affect number exhaust. Today's modification to our rules—which allow a VPC provider unable to demonstrate authorization to provide service in a state to demonstrate instead that the state does not certify VPC providers in order to request p-ANI codes directly from the Numbering Administrators for purposes of providing E-911 service—is limited. It only applies to circumstances in which a VPC provider demonstrates that it cannot obtain p-ANI codes in a particular state because the state does not certify VPC providers. A VPC provider may make this showing, for example, by providing the RNA with a denial from a state commission with the reason for the denial being that the state does not certify VPC providers, or a statement from the state commission or its general counsel that it does not certify VPC providers. Unlike the limited waiver granted to TCS in the Direct Access NPRM, we require the VPC provider to make this showing directly to the RNA. Upon such a showing to the RNA, the VPC provider may obtain p-ANI codes in that particular state.

IV. Procedural Matters Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

88. As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA), as amended, an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) was incorporated in the Direct Access NPRM. The Commission sought written public comment on the proposals in the Direct Access NPRM, including comment on the IRFA. The Commission did not receive any comments on the Direct Access NPRM IRFA. This Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (FRFA) conforms to the RFA.

1. Need for, and Objectives of, the Final Rules

89. Section 52.15(g)(2) of the Commission's rules limits access to telephone numbers to entities that demonstrate they are authorized to provide service in the area for which the numbers are being requested. The Commission has interpreted this rule as requiring evidence of either a state certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) or a Commission license. As a practical matter, generally only telecommunications carriers are able to provide the proof of authorization required under our rules, and thus able to obtain numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators. Neither authorization is typically available in practice to interconnected VoIP providers because state commissions may lack jurisdiction to certify VoIP providers and they are not eligible for a Commission license. Also, the Commission has preempted state entry regulation of certain interconnected VoIP services to the extent that it interferes with important federal objectives.

90. Establishing a Commission Authorization Process. The Report and Order (Order) finds that a state or Commission authorization is necessary to protect against number exhaust and to ensure a level competitive playing field among traditional telecommunications carriers and interconnected VoIP providers. As such, today's Order establishes a Commission authorization process that will enable interconnected VoIP service providers to voluntarily request and obtain telephone numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators, subject to several conditions designed to minimize number exhaust and preserve the integrity of the numbering system. This nationwide authorization will fulfill the requirement under the Commission's rules that entities must furnish evidence of authorization in order to provide service. The Order directs and delegates authority to the Wireline Competition Bureau to implement and maintain the authorization process. Once an interconnected VoIP provider has Commission authorization to obtain numbers, it may request them directly from the Numbering Administrators. We believe that this approach will provide a uniform, streamlined process while ensuring that the integrity of our numbering system is not jeopardized. The process also provides an opportunity for states to offer their unique perspective regarding numbering resources within their states, while acting consistent with national numbering policy.

91. As part of the Commission authorization process, applicants must: (1) Comply with applicable Commission rules related to numbering, including, among others, numbering utilization and optimization requirements (in particular, filing Numbering Resource Utilization Forecast (NRUF) Reports), comply with guidelines and procedures adopted pursuant to numbering authority delegated to the states, and comply with industry guidelines and practices applicable to telecommunications carriers with regard to numbering; (2) file requests for numbers with the relevant state commission(s) at least 30 days before requesting numbers from the Numbering Administrators; (3) provide contact information for personnel qualified to address issues relating to Commission rules, compliance, 911, and law enforcement; (4) provide proof of compliance with the Commission's “facilities readiness” requirement in section 52.15(g)(2) of the rules; (5) certify that the applicant complies with its Universal Service Fund obligations under 47 CFR part 54, subpart H, its Telecommunications Relay Service contribution obligations under 47 CFR section 64.604(c)(5)(iii), its NANP and LNP administration contribution obligations under 47 CFR section 52.17 and 52.32, its obligations to pay regulatory fees under 47 CFR section 1.1154, and its 911 obligations under 47 CFR part 9; and (6) certify that the applicant has the requisite technical, managerial, and financial capacity to provide service. This certification must include the name of applicant's key management and technical personnel, such as the Chief Operating Officer and the Chief Technology Officer, or equivalent, and state that none of the identified personnel are being or have been investigated by the Commission or any law enforcement or regulatory agency for failure to comply with any law, rule, or order. We believe that these requirements will allow interconnected VoIP providers to obtain numbers with minimal burden or delay while simultaneously preventing providers from obtaining numbers without first demonstrating that they can deploy and properly utilize such resources.

92. The Order finds that these terms and conditions appropriately reflect the unique circumstances that pertain to interconnected VoIP providers and are designed to expand the type of entities that can obtain numbers without unduly straining that limited resource. Requiring interconnected VoIP providers that obtain numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators to comply with the same numbering requirements and industry guidelines and practices as telecommunications carriers will help alleviate many concerns about number exhaust, ensure competitive neutrality among providers of voice services, and offer greater visibility into number utilization. Requiring proof of compliance with the Commission's facilities readiness requirement will also ensure that only interconnected VoIP providers that are prepared to provide service can gain direct access to numbers, and help to account for the unique circumstances of interconnected VoIP providers within the market for voice services while also ensuring that calls are interconnected with the PSTN and terminated properly.

93. The 30-day notice required as a condition of authorization will allow the states to monitor number usage and raise any concerns about the request with the provider, the Commission, and the Numbering Administrators. It will further contribute to the efficient utilization of numbering resources by allowing state commissions to advise interconnected VoIP providers as to which rate centers have excess blocks of numbers available. This notice period also gives state commissions the opportunity to determine, as they currently do with carriers, whether the request is problematic for any reason, such as the provider's failure to submit timely NRUF reports or meet the utilization threshold necessary to obtain additional numbers. We do not, however, require 30-days' notice be provided to the Commission, as the Commission will have access to this information once it is made available to the Numbering Administrators.

94. This authorization process will remove regulatory barriers to efficient use of numbers and will further facilitate the creation and dissemination of innovative services and technologies that will benefit both consumers and providers. In addition, we expect that allowing interconnected VoIP providers to obtain telephone numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators will increase visibility and accuracy of number utilization and improve responsiveness in the number porting process by eliminating the extra time, complexity, and potential for confusion associated with the existing processes. This process will also increase the transparency of call routing, which will in turn enhance carriers' ability to ensure that calls are being completed properly. This enhanced ability is of value in addressing concerns about rural call completion. We expect that interconnected VoIP provider use of numbers obtained directly from the Numbering Administrators will enable more expedient troubleshooting of problematic calls to rural LECs that may originate from interconnected VoIP providers. We also expect that, to the extent that it facilitates direct IP interconnection, the authorization process established in the Order will result in the expansion of the broadband infrastructure necessary to support VoIP, and will further the Commission's goals of accelerating broadband deployment and ensuring that more people have access to higher quality broadband service. Further, permitting interconnected VoIP providers direct access to numbers can improve competition and benefit consumers by increasing demand for interconnected VoIP services and giving providers a greater incentive to expand their offerings to new service areas.

95. Procedure for Requesting Commission Authorization. In order to streamline the processing of interconnected VoIP providers' Numbering Authorization Applications, the Order establishes a mechanism for these applications within the Commission's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS). The Order delegates authority to the Bureau to oversee this mechanism and the processing of these applications. The mechanism established includes a “Submit a Non-Docketed Filing” module that facilitates filing of these applications into a single docket where all such applications must be filed. When making its submission, the applicant must select “VoIP Numbering Authorization Application” from the “Submit a Non-Docketed Filing” module within ECFS, or successor online-filing mechanism. The filing must include the application, as well as any attachments.

96. Bureau staff will first review VoIP Numbering Authorization Applications for conformance with procedural rules. Assuming that the applicant satisfies this initial procedural review, Bureau staff will assign the application its own case-specific docket number and release an “Accepted-For-Filing Public Notice” seeking comment on the application. The Public Notice will be associated with the docket established for the application. All subsequent filings by the applicant and interested parties related to this application must be submitted via ECFS in this docket. Parties wishing to submit comments addressing the request for authorization should do so as soon as possible, but no later than 15 days after the Commission releases an Accepted-For-Filing Public Notice, unless the Public Notice sets a different deadline. On the 31st day after an “Accepted-For-Filing Public Notice” is released, the application will be deemed granted unless the Bureau notifies the applicant that the grant will not be automatically effective. The Bureau may halt this auto-grant process if (1) an applicant fails to respond promptly to Commission inquiries; (2) an application is associated with a non-routine request for waiver of the Commission's rules; (3) timely-filed comments on the application raise public interest concerns that necessitate further Commission review; or (4) the Bureau determines that the request requires further analysis to determine whether grant of an authorization would serve the public interest. To enable this process, the Order also delegates authority to the Bureau to make inquiries and compel responses from an applicant regarding the applicant and its principals' past compliance with applicable Commission rules. Once a Numbering Authorization Application is granted or deemed granted, the applicant can immediately proceed to provide states from which it intends to request numbers the required 30-days' notice. If the Bureau issues a public notice announcing that the application for authorization will not be automatically granted, the interconnected VoIP provider may not provide 30-days' notice and obtain numbers until the Bureau announces in a subsequent order or public notice that the application has been granted. We believe that this process strikes a proper balance between expeditiously authorizing interconnected VoIP provider requests for direct access to numbers while providing an adequate opportunity to consider more fully those requests that raise concerns.

97. Additional Requirements to Obtain Direct Access to Numbers. In order to improve efficiency and utilization data while facilitating better predictions of number exhaust, the Commission also requires interconnected VoIP providers to furnish accurate regulatory and numbering contact information to the relevant state commission(s) when they request numbers in that state and to update this information whenever it becomes outdated. This requirement will help states to effectively and readily address matters relating to regulatory compliance, provision of 911 service, and law enforcement. It will also enable state regulators to monitor local numbering issues, which will, in turn, assist the Commission in its overall efforts to conserve numbers.

98. The Order also requires interconnected VoIP providers to utilize their own unique Operating Company Numbers (OCN) (as opposed to the OCNs of their carrier affiliates or partners) when obtaining numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators. Requiring each interconnected VoIP provider to use its own unique OCN follows the same procedure required for carriers who are already getting direct access to numbers. Additionally, requiring each interconnected VoIP service provider to show which numbers are in its own inventory—as opposed to in a carrier affiliate's or partner's inventories—will improve number utilization data used to predict number exhaust and enable states to more easily identify the service providers involved when porting issues arise.

99. To balance state commission concerns about customers' expectation of access to all active N11 dialing arrangements as VoIP services become a replacement for traditional carrier service and the industry concerns about the technical feasibility of providing N11, we require interconnected VoIP providers, as a condition of maintaining their authorization for direct access to numbers, to continue to provide their customers with the ability to access 911 and 711, the Commission-mandated N11 numbers that interconnected VoIP providers are required to provide regardless of whether they obtain numbers directly or through a numbering partner. We also require interconnected VoIP providers to give their customers access to Commission-designated N11 numbers in use in a given rate center where an interconnected VoIP provider has requested numbering resources, to the extent that the provision of these dialing arrangements is technically feasible.

100. We expect that interconnected VoIP providers will notify consumers and state commissions if they cannot provide access to a particular N11 code due to technical difficulties. These requirements will allow the potential availability of these dialing arrangements until the Commission has concluded its pending rulemaking addressing the technical feasibility of interconnected VoIP providers' offering of these codes. Absent continued access to these numbers, their availability will diminish as consumers increasingly favor VoIP services over traditional telecommunications services.

101. The Order declines to adopt other proposals in the record calling for additional restrictions and conditions on interconnected VoIP providers' obtaining numbers, which are not imposed on telecommunications carriers. The Commission finds these additional restrictions to be unnecessary, with the potential to significantly disadvantage interconnected VoIP providers relative to competing carriers offering voice services. The record also does not demonstrate the need to impose additional restrictions at this time. We believe that the measures taken in the Order will sufficiently promote efficient number utilization and protect against number exhaust.

102. Local Number Portability Obligations. The Commission intends that users of VoIP services should enjoy the benefits of local number portability (LNP) without regard to whether the interconnected VoIP provider obtains numbers directly or through a carrier partner. As such, the Order requires telecommunications carriers that receive a valid porting request to or from an interconnected VoIP provider to take all steps necessary to initiate or allow a port-in or port-out without unreasonable delay or unreasonable procedures that have the effect of delaying or denying porting of the NANP-based telephone number. The Order also requires interconnected VoIP providers that obtain numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators and which do not utilize the services of a numbering partner for LNP purposes to port telephone numbers to and from a wireline or wireless carrier.

103. The Commission declines to articulate specific geographic limits on ports between an interconnected VoIP provider that has obtained its numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators and a wireline or wireless carrier at this time. Instead, the Commission directs the North American Numbering Council (NANC) to examine and address any specific considerations for interconnected VoIP provider porting both to and from wireline, wireless, and other interconnected VoIP providers. In particular, the Commission directs the NANC to examine any rate center or geographic considerations implicated by porting directly to and from interconnected VoIP providers, including the implications of rate center consolidation, as well as public safety considerations such as any Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) and 911 issues that could arise. The Order directs the NANC to give the Commission a report addressing these issues, which includes options and recommendations, no later than 180 days from the release date of the Order.

104. Enabling Direct Access to p-ANI Codes for VPCs. The Order also finds that that public safety and efficient p-ANI administration considerations also necessitate a revision of our rules to permit VoIP Positioning Center (VPC) providers to obtain direct access to p-ANI codes for use in the delivery of E911 services in those states where VPC providers cannot obtain certification. Under section 52.15(g)(2) of our rules, applicants for p-ANI codes, like applicants for numbers, must provide evidence that they are authorized to provide service in the area in which they are requesting codes. We revise our rules to permit VPC's to request p-ANI codes from the Routing Number Administrator (RNA) for public safety purposes in states where a provider of VPC service can demonstrate that it cannot obtain state certification because the state does not certify providers of VPC service. A VPC provider may make this showing, for example, by providing the RNA with a denial from a state commission with the reason for the denial being that the state does not certify VPC providers, or a statement from the state commission or its general counsel that it does not certify VPC providers. Unlike the limited waiver granted to Telecommunication Systems, Inc. (TCS) in the Direct Access NPRM, we require the VPC provider to make this showing directly to the RNA. Upon such a showing to the RNA, the VPC provider may obtain p-ANI codes in a particular state.

105. The record shows that the inability to obtain p-ANI codes to provide VPC services may disrupt E911 service. TCS supports approximately 50 percent all of U.S. wireless E911 calls, serving over 140 million wireless and IP-enabled devices. One of the main purposes of its VPC service is to provide call routing instructions to the VoIP service provider's softswitch so that E911 calls can be routed to the appropriate PSAP. P-ANI codes provide the means for that communication. After extensive and expensive testing of each p-ANI code by the VPC provider, the code is assigned to a unique PSAP. The VPC provider then tests these p-ANI codes with a gateway service provider to make sure that the codes route to the proper PSAP. Approximately ten p-ANI are assigned per PSAP, which allows ten different calls from a variety of IP-enabled voice service providers to be processed simultaneously. Once tested, these codes can be used simultaneously by multiple service providers.

106. The Order acknowledges TCS's assertion that not providing a federal regulatory backstop in cases where state certification is unavailable runs counter to the public interest by making it more difficult for TCS to fulfill its regulatory obligations to provide E911 capabilities to interconnected VoIP service providers. Further, the Commission agrees that the alternative of continuing to require every small interconnected VoIP service provider to undertake the time and expense to secure p-ANIs themselves in states that do not certify VPCs is unnecessary and would only serve to hamper their operations. The Order concurs with TCS that requiring interconnected VoIP providers to obtain p-ANI codes they might never use would be inefficient and would accelerate the exhaust of this valuable resource. While we are skeptical that “dozens (or even hundreds)” of individual VoIP service providers would individually undertake to deploy their own multi-jurisdictional, p-ANI-based positioning solutions, we do recognize the economies of scale and the efficient use of limited numbering resources that result when a VPC's pool of p-ANIs is shared among multiple VoIP service providers.

107. The Order declines to establish a separate Commission certification process to allow VPC providers direct access to p-ANI codes where states do not offer their own certification process for VPCs, as suggested by Intrado. TCS's comments reflect that, at the time of filing, it had obtained certification in 40 states. To date, the Commission has not received additional requests from TCS or any other VPC provider under the temporary waiver. Therefore, the Commission does not find that the benefits of establishing and requiring a separate certification process for VPCs outweigh the burdens of doing so at this time. Further, as p-ANIs are “non dialable” numbers with unique technical characteristics that make them different from the numbers currently included in section 52.15(g)(2), granting VPCs direct access to p-ANI codes in states where certification is not available would not affect the pool of “dialable” numbers and would thus not impact number exhaust.

2. Summary of Significant Issues Raised by Public Comments in Response to the IRFA

108. There were no comments filed that specifically addressed the rules and policies proposed in the IRFA. To the extent we received comments raising general small business concerns during this proceeding, those comments are addressed throughout the Order.

3. Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities To Which the Rules Would Apply

109. The RFA directs agencies to provide a description of, and where feasible, an estimate of the number of small entities that may be affected by adopted rules. The RFA generally defines the term “small entity” as having the same meaning as the terms “small business,” “small organization,” and “small governmental jurisdiction.” In addition, the term “small business” has the same meaning as the term “small-business concern” under the Small Business Act. A “small-business concern” is one which: (1) Is independently owned and operated; (2) is not dominant in its field of operation; and (3) satisfies any additional criteria established by the SBA.

a. Total Small Business

110. A small business is an independent business having less than 500 employees. Nationwide, there are a total of approximately 28.2 million small businesses, according to the SBA. Affected small entities as defined by industry are as follows.

b. Internet Access Service Providers

111. Internet Access Service Providers. The rules adopted in the Order apply to Internet access service providers. The Economic Census places these firms, whose services might include Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), in either of two categories, depending on whether the service is provided over the provider's own telecommunications facilities (e.g., cable and DSL ISPs), or over client-supplied telecommunications connections (e.g., dial-up ISPs). The former are within the category of Wired Telecommunications Carriers, which has an SBA small business size standard of 1,500 or fewer employees. These are also labeled “broadband.” The latter are within the category of All Other Telecommunications, which has a size standard of annual receipts of $25 million or less. These are labeled non-broadband. According to Census Bureau data for 2007, there were 3,188 firms in the first category, total, that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 3,144 firms had employment of 999 or fewer employees, and 44 firms had employment of 1,000 employees or more. For the second category, the data show that 1,274 firms operated for the entire year. Of those, 1,252 had annual receipts below $25 million per year. Consequently, we estimate that the majority of broadband Internet access service provider firms are small entities that may be affected by the rules adopted in this Order.

112. The broadband Internet access service provider industry has changed since this definition was introduced in 2007. The data cited above may therefore include entities that no longer provide broadband Internet access service, and may exclude entities that now provide such service. To ensure that this FRFA describes the universe of small entities that our action might affect, we discuss in turn several different types of entities that might be providing broadband Internet access service.

113. Internet Publishing and Broadcasting and Web Search Portals. Our action pertains to interconnected VoIP services, which could be provided by entities that provide other services such as email, online gaming, web browsing, video conferencing, instant messaging, and other, similar IP-enabled services. The Commission has not adopted a size standard for entities that create or provide these types of services or applications. However, the Census Bureau has identified firms that “primarily engaged in (1) publishing and/or broadcasting content on the Internet exclusively or (2) operating Web sites that use a search engine to generate and maintain extensive databases of Internet addresses and content in an easily searchable format (and known as Web search portals).” The SBA has developed a small business size standard for this category, which is: All such firms having 500 or fewer employees. According to Census Bureau data for 2007, there were 2,705 firms in this category that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 2,682 firms had employment of 499 or fewer employees, and 23 firms had employment of 500 employees or more. Consequently, we estimate that the majority of these firms are small entities that may be affected by rules adopted pursuant to the NPRM.

c. Wireline Providers

114. Wired Telecommunications Carriers. The SBA has developed a small business size standard for Wired Telecommunications Carriers, which consists of all such companies having 1,500 or fewer employees. According to Census Bureau data for 2007, there were 3,188 firms in this category, total, that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 3,144 firms had employment of 999 or fewer employees, and 44 firms had employment of 1,000 employees or more. Thus, under this size standard, the majority of firms can be considered small.

115. Local Exchange Carriers (LECs). Neither the Commission nor the SBA has developed a size standard for small businesses specifically applicable to local exchange services. The closest applicable size standard under SBA rules is for Wired Telecommunications Carriers. Under that size standard, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. According to Commission data, 1,307 carriers reported that they were incumbent local exchange service providers. Of these 1,307 carriers, an estimated 1,006 have 1,500 or fewer employees and 301 have more than 1,500 employees. Consequently, the Commission estimates that most providers of local exchange service are small entities that may be affected by the rules adopted in the Order.

116. Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers (Incumbent LECs). Neither the Commission nor the SBA has developed a small business size standard specifically for incumbent local exchange services. The closest applicable size standard under SBA rules is for the category Wired Telecommunications Carriers. Under that size standard, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. According to Commission data, 1,307 carriers reported that they were incumbent local exchange service providers. Of these 1,307 carriers, an estimated 1,006 have 1,500 or fewer employees and 301 have more than 1,500 employees. Consequently, the Commission estimates that most providers of incumbent local exchange service are small businesses that may be affected by rules adopted pursuant to the Order.

117. We have included small incumbent LECs in this present RFA analysis. As noted above, a “small business” under the RFA is one that, inter alia, meets the pertinent small business size standard (e.g., a telephone communications business having 1,500 or fewer employees), and “is not dominant in its field of operation.” The SBA's Office of Advocacy contends that, for RFA purposes, small incumbent LECs are not dominant in their field of operation because any such dominance is not “national” in scope. We have therefore included small incumbent LECs in this RFA analysis, although we emphasize that this RFA action has no effect on Commission analyses and determinations in other, non-RFA contexts.

118. Competitive Local Exchange Carriers (Competitive LECs), Competitive Access Providers (CAPs), Shared-Tenant Service Providers, and Other Local Service Providers. Neither the Commission nor the SBA has developed a small business size standard specifically for these service providers. The appropriate size standard under SBA rules is for the category Wired Telecommunications Carriers. Under that size standard, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. According to Commission data, 1,442 carriers reported that they were engaged in the provision of either competitive local exchange services or competitive access provider services. Of these 1,442 carriers, an estimated 1,256 have 1,500 or fewer employees and 186 have more than 1,500 employees. In addition, 17 carriers have reported that they are Shared-Tenant Service Providers, and all 17 are estimated to have 1,500 or fewer employees. In addition, 72 carriers have reported that they are Other Local Service Providers. Of the 72, seventy have 1,500 or fewer employees and two have more than 1,500 employees. Consequently, the Commission estimates that most providers of competitive local exchange service, competitive access providers, Shared-Tenant Service Providers, and other local service providers are small entities that may be affected by rules adopted pursuant to the Order.

119. Interexchange Carriers. Neither the Commission nor the SBA has developed a small business size standard specifically for providers of interexchange services. The appropriate size standard under SBA rules is for the category Wired Telecommunications Carriers. Under that size standard, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. According to Commission data, 359 carriers have reported that they are engaged in the provision of interexchange service. Of these, an estimated 317 have 1,500 or fewer employees and 42 have more than 1,500 employees. Consequently, the Commission estimates that the majority of IXCs are small entities that may be affected by rules adopted pursuant to the Order.

120. Operator Service Providers (OSPs). Although we did not include Operator Service Providers (OSPs) as part of our Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis in the Direct Access NPRM, after further analysis we conclude that some such providers may be affected by the rules adopted in this Order. We therefore include them as part of this Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis. Neither the Commission nor the SBA has developed a small business size standard specifically for operator service providers. The appropriate size standard under SBA rules is for the category Wired Telecommunications Carriers. Under that size standard, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. According to Commission data, 33 carriers have reported that they are engaged in the provision of operator services. Of these, an estimated 31 have 1,500 or fewer employees and two have more than 1,500 employees. Consequently, the Commission estimates that the majority of OSPs are small entities that may be affected by rules adopted pursuant to the Order.

121. Local Resellers. The SBA has developed a small business size standard for the category of Telecommunications Resellers. Under that size standard, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. According to Commission data, 213 carriers have reported that they are engaged in the provision of local resale services. Of these, an estimated 211 have 1,500 or fewer employees and two have more than 1,500 employees. Consequently, the Commission estimates that the majority of local resellers are small entities that may be affected by rules adopted in this Order.

122. Toll Resellers. The SBA has developed a small business size standard for the category of Telecommunications Resellers. Under that size standard, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. According to Commission data, 881 carriers have reported that they are engaged in the provision of toll resale services. Of these, an estimated 857 have 1,500 or fewer employees and 24 have more than 1,500 employees. Consequently, the Commission estimates that the majority of toll resellers are small entities that may be affected by rules adopted pursuant to the NPRM.

123. Other Toll Carriers. Neither the Commission nor the SBA has developed a size standard for small businesses specifically applicable to Other Toll Carriers. This category includes toll carriers that do not fall within the categories of interexchange carriers, operator service providers, prepaid calling card providers, satellite service carriers, or toll resellers. The closest applicable size standard under SBA rules is for Wired Telecommunications Carriers. Under that size standard, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. According to Commission data, 284 companies reported that their primary telecommunications service activity was the provision of other toll carriage. Of these, an estimated 279 have 1,500 or fewer employees and five have more than 1,500 employees. Consequently, the Commission estimates that most Other Toll Carriers are small entities that may be affected by the rules and policies adopted pursuant to the NPRM.

d. Wireless Providers—Fixed and Mobile

124. Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except Satellite). Since 2007, the Census Bureau has placed wireless firms within this new, broad, economic census category. Under the present and prior categories, the SBA has deemed a wireless business to be small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. For the category of Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except Satellite), census data for 2007 show that there were 1,383 firms that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 1,368 firms had employment of 999 or fewer employees and 15 had employment of 1,000 employees or more. Since all firms with fewer than 1,500 employees are considered small, given the total employment in the sector, we estimate that the vast majority of wireless firms are small.

125. Wireless Telephony. Wireless telephony includes cellular, personal communications services, and specialized mobile radio telephony carriers. The SBA has developed a small business size standard for Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except Satellite). Under the SBA small business size standard, a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. According to Commission data, 413 carriers reported that they were engaged in wireless telephony. Of these, an estimated 261 have 1,500 or fewer employees and 152 have more than 1,500 employees. Therefore, a little less than one third of these entities can be considered small.

126. Paging (Private and Common Carrier). In the IRFA that was incorporated in the Direct Access NPRM, we included Paging (Private and Common Carrier) providers as one of the categories of small entities to which the proposed rules might have applied. Based on further analysis, we do not believe that the rules adopted in this Order will have an effect on this category of private entities. We therefore do not include them in our Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis.

e. Satellite Service Providers

127. Satellite Telecommunications Providers. Although we did not include Satellite Telecommunications Providers as part of our Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis in the Direct Access NPRM, after further analysis we conclude that some such providers may be affected by the rules adopted in this Order. We therefore include them as part of this Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis.

128. Two economic census categories address the satellite industry. The first category has a small business size standard of $30 million or less in average annual receipts, under SBA rules. The second has a size standard of $30 million or less in annual receipts.

129. The category of Satellite Telecommunications “comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing telecommunications services to other establishments in the telecommunications and broadcasting industries by forwarding and receiving communications signals via a system of satellites or reselling satellite telecommunications.” For this category, Census Bureau data for 2007 show that there were a total of 512 firms that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 495 firms had annual receipts of under $50 million, and 17 firms had receipts of over $50 million. Consequently, we estimate that the majority of Satellite Telecommunications firms are small entities that might be affected by our action.

130. The second category of All Other Telecommunications comprises, inter alia, “establishments primarily engaged in providing specialized telecommunications services, such as satellite tracking, communications telemetry, and radar station operation. This industry also includes establishments primarily engaged in providing satellite terminal stations and associated facilities connected with one or more terrestrial systems and capable of transmitting telecommunications to, and receiving telecommunications from, satellite systems. Establishments providing Internet services or Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services via client-supplied telecommunications connections are also included in this industry.” The SBA has developed a small business size standard for this category: That size standard is $30.0 million or less in average annual receipts. According to Census Bureau data for 2007, there were 2,383 firms in this category that operated for the entire year. Of these, 2,305 establishments had annual receipts of under $10 million and 78 establishments had annual receipts of $10 million or more. Consequently, we estimate that the majority of these firms are small entities that may be affected by our action.

f. Cable Service Providers

131. Cable and Other Program Distributors. Since 2007, these services have been defined within the broad economic census category of Wired Telecommunications Carriers; that category is defined as follows: “This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in operating and/or providing access to transmission facilities and infrastructure that they own and/or lease for the transmission of voice, data, text, sound, and video using wired telecommunications networks. Transmission facilities may be based on a single technology or a combination of technologies.” The SBA has developed a small business size standard for this category, which is: All such firms having 1,500 or fewer employees. To gauge small business prevalence for these cable services we must, however, use current census data that are based on the previous category of Cable and Other Program Distribution and its associated size standard; that size standard was all such firms having $13.5 million or less in annual receipts. According to Census Bureau data for 2007, there were a total of 3,188 firms in this category that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 2,694 firms had annual receipts of under $10 million, and 504 firms had receipts of $10 million or more. Thus, the majority of these firms can be considered small and may be affected by rules adopted pursuant to the Order.

132. Cable Companies and Systems. The Commission has also developed its own small business size standards, for the purpose of cable rate regulation. Under the Commission's rules, a “small cable company” is one serving 400,000 or fewer subscribers, nationwide. Industry data shows that there are 660 cable operators in the country. Of this total, all but eleven cable operators nationwide are small under this size standard. In addition, under the Commission's rules, a “small system” is a cable system serving 15,000 or fewer subscribers. Current Commission records show 4,945 cable systems nationwide. Of this total, 4,380 cable systems have less than 20,000 subscribers, and 565 systems have 20,000 or more subscribers, based on the same records. Thus, under this standard, we estimate that most cable systems are small entities.

133. Cable System Operators. The Communications Act of 1934, as amended, also contains a size standard for small cable system operators, which is “a cable operator that, directly or through an affiliate, serves in the aggregate fewer than 1 percent of all subscribers in the United States and is not affiliated with any entity or entities whose gross annual revenues in the aggregate exceed $250,000,000.” The Commission has determined that an operator serving fewer than 677,000 subscribers shall be deemed a small operator if its annual revenues, when combined with the total annual revenues of all its affiliates, do not exceed $250 million in the aggregate. Based on available data, we find that all but ten incumbent cable operators are small entities under this size standard. We note that the Commission neither requests nor collects information on whether cable system operators are affiliated with entities whose gross annual revenues exceed $250 million, and therefore we are unable to estimate more accurately the number of cable system operators that would qualify as small under this size standard.

g. All Other Information Services

134. All Other Information Services. The Census Bureau defines this industry as including “establishments primarily engaged in providing other information services (except news syndicates, libraries, archives, Internet publishing and broadcasting, and Web search portals).” Our action pertains to interconnected VoIP services, which could be provided by entities that provide other services such as email, online gaming, web browsing, video conferencing, instant messaging, and other, similar IP-enabled services. The SBA has developed a small business size standard for this category; that size standard is $7.0 million or less in average annual receipts. According to Census Bureau data for 2007, there were 367 firms in this category that operated for the entire year. Of these, 334 had annual receipts of under $5 million, and an additional 11 firms had receipts of between $5 million and $9,999,999. Consequently, we estimate that the majority of these firms are small entities that may be affected by our action.

4. Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other Compliance Requirements for Small Entities

135. In the Order, the Commission establishes a voluntary authorization process to enable interconnected VoIP providers that seek direct access to numbers and that are without a state certification to demonstrate that they are authorized to provide service under our rules. Once granted, this Commission authorization permits an interconnected VoIP provider to request numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators. The Commission expects that interconnected VoIP providers will continue to use carrier partners in some instances, and today's Order does not prohibit those partner relationships.

136. To the extent that an interconnected VoIP provider voluntarily seeks to obtain direct access to numbers through a Commission authorization, the Commission imposes, as a condition of this authorization, the same requirements to which traditional telecommunications carriers are subject, as well as several unique conditions of access that reflect the particular circumstances of interconnected VoIP providers.

137. In order to apply for Commission authorization, interconnected VoIP providers must (1) comply with applicable Commission rules related to numbering, including, among others, numbering utilization and optimization requirements (in particular, filing NRUF Reports), comply with guidelines and procedures adopted pursuant to numbering authority delegated to the states, and comply with industry guidelines and practices applicable to telecommunications carriers with regard to numbering; (2) file requests for numbers with the relevant state commission(s) at least 30 days before requesting numbers from the Numbering Administrators on an on-going basis; (3) provide contact information for personnel qualified to address issues relating to Commission rules, compliance, 911, and law enforcement; (4) provide proof of compliance with the Commission's “facilities readiness” requirement in section 52.15(g)(2) of the rules; (5) certify that the applicant complies with its Universal Service Fund obligations under 47 CFR part 54, subpart H, its Telecommunications Relay Service contribution obligations under 47 CFR 64.604(c)(5)(iii), its NANP and LNP administration contribution obligations under 47 CFR 52.17 and 52.32, its obligations to pay regulatory fees under 47 CFR 1.1154, and its 911 obligations under 47 CFR part 9; and (6) certify that the applicant has the requisite technical, managerial, and financial capacity to provide service. This certification must include the name of the applicant's key management and technical personnel, such as the Chief Operating Officer and the Chief Technology Officer, or equivalent, and state that none of the identified personnel are being or have been investigated by the Commission or any law enforcement or regulatory agency for failure to comply with any law, rule, or order.

138. Among other things, NRUF reporting requires carriers to report how many of their numbers have been designated as “assigned” or “intermediate.” This designation affects the utilization percentage, e.g., the percentage of the total numbering inventory that is assigned to customers for use, of the reporting carrier. An “intermediate” number is one that is made available for use by another telecommunications carrier or non-carrier, but has not necessarily been assigned to an end-user or customer. An “assigned” number is one that has been assigned to a specific end-user or customer. The Order clarifies that numbers provided to carriers, interconnected VoIP providers, or other non-carrier entities by numbering partners should be reported as “intermediate,” and that such entities do not qualify as “end users” or “customers” as those terms are used in the definition of “assigned numbers” in section 52.15(f)(1)(iii) of the Commission's rules. We find that this clarification is necessary to provide consistency and accuracy in number reporting and to limit telephone number exhaust.

139. The Order also requires interconnected VoIP providers who obtain a Commission authorization to file notices of intent to request numbers with the relevant state commissions, on an ongoing basis, at least 30 days prior to requesting numbers from the Numbering Administrators.

140. Under section 52.15(g)(2) of our rules, a provider must demonstrate that it “is or will be capable of providing service within sixty (60) days of the numbering resources activation date.” The Order requires interconnected VoIP providers that request numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators to comply with this “facilities readiness” requirement, consistent with the requirements imposed on other providers of competitive voice services. The Order permits an interconnected VoIP provider that has obtained Commission authorization to request numbers directly to demonstrate proof of facilities readiness by (1) providing a combination of an agreement between the interconnected VoIP provider and its carrier partner and an interconnection agreement between that carrier and the relevant LEC, or (2) proof that the interconnected VoIP provider obtains interconnection with the PSTN pursuant to a tariffed offering or a commercial arrangement (such as a TDM-to-IP or VoIP interconnection agreement) that provides access to the PSTN.

141. In order to streamline the processing of an interconnected VoIP provider's Numbering Authorization Application, the Order establishes a “Submit a Non-Docketed Filing” module within the Commission's ECFS that facilitates filing of such applications into a single docket where all such applications must be filed. The applicants will be required to select “Numbering Authorization Application” from the “Submit a Non-Docketed Filing” module within ECFS, or successor online-filing mechanism. The filing must include the application, as well as any attachments. Once an interconnected VoIP provider's authorization application is granted or deemed granted, the applicant can immediately proceed to provide states from which it intends to request numbers the required 30-days' notice. Interconnected VoIP providers who apply for and receive Commission authorization for direct access to numbers are subject to, and acknowledge Commission enforcement authority.

142. In addition to these requirements, interconnected VoIP providers seeking direct access must, as a condition of maintaining their authorization for direct access to numbers (1) provide accurate regulatory and numbering contact information to the relevant state commission(s) when they request numbers in that state and update this information whenever it becomes outdated; (2) use their own unique OCNs (as opposed to the OCNs of their carrier affiliates or partners) when obtaining numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators; and (3) continue to provide their customers with the ability to access 911 and 711, the Commission-mandated N11 numbers that interconnected VoIP providers are required to provide regardless of whether they obtain numbers directly or through a numbering partner, as well as give their customers access to Commission-designated N11 numbers in use in a given rate center where an interconnected VoIP provider has requested numbering resources, to the extent that the provision of these dialing arrangements is technically feasible.

143. The Order further imposes an affirmative obligation on telecommunications carriers to facilitate a valid porting request to or from an interconnected VoIP provider. Carriers are obligated to take all steps necessary to initiate or allow a port-in or port-out itself without unreasonable delay or unreasonable procedures that have the effect of delaying or denying porting of the NANP-based telephone number. An interconnected VoIP provider that has obtained its numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators and is not utilizing the services of a numbering partner for LNP purposes must port telephone numbers to and from a wireline or wireless carrier.

144. The Order also permits VPC providers to obtain direct access to p-ANI codes for use in the delivery of E911 services in those states where a VPC provider can demonstrate that it cannot obtain state certification because the state does not certify providers of VPC service. A VPC provider may make this showing, for example, by providing the RNA with a denial from a state commission with the reason for the denial being that the state does not certify VPC providers, or a statement from the state commission or its general counsel that it does not certify VPC providers. Unlike the limited waiver granted to TCS in the Direct Access NPRM, we require the VPC provider to make this showing directly to the RNA. Upon such a showing to the RNA, the VPC provider may obtain p-ANI codes in a particular state.

5. Steps Taken To Minimize the Significant Economic Impact on Small Entities, and Significant Alternatives Considered

145. The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant alternatives that it has considered in reaching its proposed approach, which may include (among others) the following four alternatives: (1) The establishment of differing compliance or reporting requirements or timetables that take into account the resources available to small entities; (2) the clarification, consolidation, or simplification of compliance and reporting requirements under the rules for such small entities; (3) the use of performance rather than design standards; and (4) an exemption from coverage of the rule, or any part thereof, for such small entities.

146. The Commission is aware that some of the rules adopted in this Order will impact small entities by imposing costs and administrative burdens. For this reason, in reaching its final conclusions and taking action in this proceeding, the Commission has taken a number of measures to minimize or eliminate the costs and burdens generated by compliance with the adopted regulations.

147. Interconnected VoIP providers are not required to seek Commission authorization—the Order establishes a voluntary process designed to allow interconnected VoIP providers that seek direct access to obtain it. Telecommunications carriers in like positions must similarly seek state certification or a Commission license. The Order only requires those interconnected VoIP providers seeking a Commission authorization to request numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators to comply with the applicable Commission rules related to numbering, including, among others, numbering utilization and optimization requirements, complying with guidelines and procedures adopted pursuant to numbering authority delegated to the states, and complying with industry guidelines and practices applicable to telecommunications carriers with regard to numbering. Although the Order requires such providers to submit specific documentation as a condition of obtaining Commission authorization, the Commission has attempted to minimize this burden by streamlining the application process as much as possible. For instance, to ease the administrative burden on small entities of producing and submitting a Numbering Authorization Application, the Commission has established within its own ECFS a module that facilitates filing of applications online.

148. While the Order adopts several requirements that interconnected VoIP providers must fulfill as a condition of receiving Commission authorization, the Commission declined to adopt several other proposals that would have placed a greater monetary and administrative burden on small entities, including proposals in the record that, as a condition of direct access, an interconnected VoIP provider be required to (1) transfer all of the numbers it has obtained from its numbering partners to the interconnected VoIP provider's new OCN, and (2) take numbers from certain rate centers chosen by the state commissions in more populous areas or in blocks of less than 1000 numbers. The Commission also declined to revise its current reporting requirements and adopt as requirements additional voluntary commitments imposed in the Direct Access Trial, as some commenters suggested. The Commission concluded that additional restrictions beyond those adopted are unnecessary and would significantly burden and disadvantage small interconnected VoIP providers relative to competing carriers offering voice services. The Commission also considered, and ultimately declined to adopt further rules or take further action, pertaining to VoIP interconnection obligations, intercarrier compensation obligations, or call routing and tracking. We believe that the measures taken in this Order will promote efficient number utilization and protect against number exhaust without the need for further restrictions and regulations at this time.

149. We find also that the establishment of a Commission authorization process to enable interconnected VoIP providers to obtain direct access to numbers may lower costs for interconnected VoIP providers in some instances, by allowing them to obtain telephone numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators without having to retain the services of a carrier partner. In its comments, Vonage asserts that doing so will improve competition in the voice services market, broadening the options for consumers and reducing costs by eliminating the middleman for telephone numbers. Thus, the regulations promulgated in the Order may benefit small entities financially by eliminating inefficiencies and the associated expenses.

6. Report to Congress

150. The Commission will send a copy of the Order, including this FRFA, in a report to be sent to Congress and the Government Accountability Office pursuant to the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996. In addition, the Commission will send a copy of the Order, including the FRFA, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration. A copy of the Order and FRFA (or summaries thereof) will also be published in the Federal Register.

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 Analysis

151. This document contains new information collection requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), Public Law 104-13. It will be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review under section 3507(d) of the PRA. OMB, the general public, and other federal agencies are invited to comment on the new information collection requirements contained in this proceeding. In addition, we note that pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 107-198, see 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(4), we previously sought specific comment on how the Commission might further reduce the information collection burden for small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees.

152. In this document, we establish a process to authorize interconnected VoIP providers to obtain telephone numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators, rather than through carrier affiliates or partners. We have assessed the effects of these rules and find that any burden on small businesses and other small entities will be minimal because the decision to apply for Commission authorization to obtain numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators is strictly voluntary. Interconnected VoIP providers, including small businesses, may continue to obtain numbers through numbering partners. Moreover, the Commission has attempted to ease the administrative burden on small entities that do decide to submit Numbering Authorization Applications by streamlining the application process as much as possible, including the establishment of a module within the Electronic Comment Filing System that facilitates filing of applications electronically.

Congressional Review Act

153. The Commission will send a copy of this Report and Order to Congress and the Government Accountability Office pursuant to the Congressional Review Act, see 5 U.S.C. Section 801(a)(1)(A).

Accessible Formats

154. To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities (braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), send an email to [email protected] or call the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice), 202-418-0432 (tty).

V. Ordering Clauses

155. Accordingly, it is ordered that pursuant to Sections 1, 3, 4, 201-205, 251, and 303(r) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. Sections 151, 153, 154, 201-205, 251, 303(r), the Report and Order hereby is adopted and part 52 of the Commission's rules, 47 CFR part 52, is amended as set forth in Appendix B of this Report and Order. The Report and Order shall become effective November 30, 2015, except for 47 CFR 52.15(g)(2) through(g)(3), which contains information collection requirements that have not be approved by OMB, the Federal Communications Commission will publish a document in the Federal Register announcing the effective date.

156. It is further ordered that, pursuant to the authority contained in sections 1, 3, 4, 201-205, 251, and 303(r) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. Sections 151, 153, 154, 201-205, 251, 303(r), the Petition of TeleCommunication Systems, Inc. and HBF Group, Inc. for Waiver of Part 52 of the Commission's Rules, filed February 20, 2007 in CC Docket No. 99-200, and the Petition of Vixxi Solutions, Inc. for Limited Waiver of Number Access Restrictions, filed September 8, 2008 in CC Docket No. 99-200 are denied to the extent set forth herein, effective upon release.

157. It is further ordered that pursuant to the authority contained in sections 1, 3, 4, 201-205, 251, and 303(r) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. Sections 151, 153, 154, 201-205, 251, 303(r), the Petitions for Limited Waiver of Section 52.15(g)(2)(i) of the Commission's Rules Regarding Numbering Resources filed in CC Docket No. 99-200 by RNK Inc. on February 4, 2005; Nuvio Corporation on February 15, 2005; Dialpad Communications, Inc. on March 1, 2005; UniPoint Enhanced Services d/b/a PointOne on March 2, 2005; VoEX, Inc. on March 4, 2005; Vonage Holdings Corp. on March 4, 2005; Qwest Communications Corporation on March 29, 2005; CoreComm-Voyager, Inc. on April 22, 2005; Net2Phone Inc. on May 5, 2005; WilTel Communications, LLC on May 9, 2005; Constant Touch Communications on May 23, 2005; Frontier Communications of America, Inc. on August 29, 2006, SmartEdgeNet, LLC on March 6, 2012; Millicorp, LLC on March 14, 2012, and Bandwidth.com, Inc. on June 13, 2012 are dismissed as moot, effective upon release.

158. It is further ordered that, pursuant to sections 1, 4(i), 4(j), 251, and 303(r) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. Sections 151, 154(i)-(j), 251, 303(r), and sections 52.11(b) and 52.25(d) of the Commission's rules, 47 CFRs 52.11(b), 52.25(d), the North American Numbering Council shall submit its recommendations to the Commission within 180 days of the release date of this Report and Order, as discussed in paragraph 60 of this Report and Order.

159. It is further ordered that the Commission's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Reference Information Center, shall send a copy of this Report and Order, including the Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration.

List of Subjects in 47 CFR Part 52

Communications common carriers, Telecommunications, Telephone.

Federal Communications Commission. Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary. Final Rules

For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Federal Communications Commission amends 47 CFR part 52 as follows:

PART 52—NUMBERING 1. The authority citation for part 52 continues to read as follows: Authority:

Sections 1, 2, 4, 5, 48 Stat. 1066, as amended; 47 U.S.C. 151, 152, 154, and 155 unless otherwise noted. Interpret or apply secs. 3, 4, 201-05, 207-09, 218, 225-27, 251-52, 271 and 332, 48 Stat. 1070, as amended, 1077; 47 U.S.C. 153, 154, 201-05, 207-09, 218, 225-27, 251-52, 271 and 332 unless otherwise noted.

2. Revise § 52.5 to read as follows:
§ 52.5 Central office code administration.

(a) Incumbent local exchange carrier. With respect to an area, an “incumbent local exchange carrier” is a local exchange carrier that:

(1) On February 8, 1996, provided telephone exchange service in such area; and

(2)(i) On February 8, 1996, was deemed to be a member of the exchange carrier Association pursuant to § 69.601(b) of this chapter (47 CFR 69.601(b)); or

(ii) Is a person or entity that, on or after February 8, 1996, became a successor or assign of a member described in paragraph (a)(2)(i) of this section.

(b) Interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service provider. The term “interconnected VoIP service provider” is an entity that provides interconnected VoIP service, as that term is defined in 47 U.S.C. Section 153(25).

(c) North American Numbering Council (NANC). The “North American Numbering Council” is an advisory committee created under the Federal Advisory Committee Act, 5 U.S.C., App (1988), to advise the Commission and to make recommendations, reached through consensus, that foster efficient and impartial number administration.

(d) North American Numbering Plan (NANP). The “North American Numbering Plan” is the basic numbering scheme for the telecommunications networks located in American Samoa, Anguilla, Antigua, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, Sint Maarten, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Turks & Caicos Islands, Trinidad & Tobago, and the United States (including Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands).

(e) Service provider. The term “service provider” refers to a telecommunications carrier or other entity that receives numbering resources from the NANPA, a Pooling Administrator or a telecommunications carrier for the purpose of providing or establishing telecommunications service. For the purposes of this part, the term “service provider” includes an interconnected VoIP service provider.

(f) State. The term “state” includes the District of Columbia and the Territories and possessions.

(g) State commission. The term “state commission” means the commission, board, or official (by whatever name designated) which under the laws of any state has regulatory jurisdiction with respect to intrastate operations of carriers.

(h) Telecommunications. “Telecommunications” means the transmission, between or among points specified by the user, of information of the user's choosing, without change in the form or content of the information as sent and received.

(i) Telecommunications carrier or carrier. A “telecommunications carrier” or “carrier” is any provider of telecommunications services, except that such term does not include aggregators of telecommunications services (as defined in 47 U.S.C. 226(a)(2)). For the purposes of this part, the term “telecommunications carrier” or “carrier” includes an interconnected VoIP service provider.

(j) Telecommunications service. The term “telecommunications service” refers to the offering of telecommunications for a fee directly to the public, or to such classes of users as to be effectively available directly to the public, regardless of the facilities used. For purposes of this part, the term “telecommunications service” includes interconnected VoIP service as that term is defined in 47 U.S.C. 153(25).

Subpart B—Administration 3. Amend § 52.15 by revising paragraphs (g)(1) and (g)(2), redesignate paragraphs (g)(3) through (g)(5) as paragraphs (g)(4)through (g)(6), and add new paragraph (g)(3) to read as follows:
§ 52.15 Central office code administration.

(g) * * *

(1) General requirements. An applicant for numbering resources must include in its application the applicant's company name, company headquarters address, OCN, parent company's OCN(s), and the primary type of business in which the numbering resources will be used.

(2) Initial numbering resources. An applicant for initial numbering resources must include in its application evidence that the applicant is authorized to provide service in the area for which the numbering resources are requested; and that the applicant is or will be capable of providing service within sixty (60) days of the numbering resources activation date. A provider of VoIP Positioning Center (VPC) services that is unable to demonstrate authorization to provide service in a state may instead demonstrate that the state does not certify VPC service providers in order to request pseudo-Automatic Numbering Identification (p-ANI) codes directly from the Numbering Administrators for purposes of providing 911 and E-911 service.

(3) Commission authorization process. A provider of interconnected VoIP service may show a Commission authorization obtained pursuant to this paragraph as evidence that it is authorized to provide service under paragraph (g)(2) of this section.

(i) Contents of the application for interconnected VoIP provider numbering authorization. An application for authorization must reference this section and must contain the following:

(A) The applicant's name, address, and telephone number, and contact information for personnel qualified to address issues relating to regulatory requirements, compliance with Commission's rules, 911, and law enforcement;

(B) An acknowledgment that the authorization granted under this paragraph is subject to compliance with applicable Commission numbering rules; numbering authority delegated to the states; and industry guidelines and practices regarding numbering as applicable to telecommunications carriers;

(C) An acknowledgement that the applicant must file requests for numbers with the relevant state commission(s) at least 30 days before requesting numbers from the Numbering Administrators;

(D) Proof that the applicant is or will be capable of providing service within sixty (60) days of the numbering resources activation date in accordance with paragraph (g)(2) of this section;

(E) Certification that the applicant complies with its Universal Service Fund contribution obligations under 47 CFR part 54, subpart H, its Telecommunications Relay Service contribution obligations under 47 CFR 64.604(c)(5)(iii), its NANP and LNP administration contribution obligations under 47 CFR 52.17 and 52.32, its obligations to pay regulatory fees under 47 CFR 1.1154, and its 911 obligations under 47 CFR part 9; and

(F) Certification that the applicant possesses the financial, managerial, and technical expertise to provide reliable service. This certification must include the name of applicant's key management and technical personnel, such as the Chief Operating Officer and the Chief Technology Officer, or equivalent, and state that none of the identified personnel are being or have been investigated by the Federal Communications Commission or any law enforcement or regulatory agency for failure to comply with any law, rule, or order; and

(G) Certification pursuant to Sections 1.2001 and 1.2002 of this chapter that no party to the application is subject to a denial of Federal benefits pursuant to section 5301 of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988. See 21 U.S.C. 862.

(ii) An applicant for Commission authorization under this section must file its application electronically through the “Submit a Non-Docketed Filing” module of the Commission's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS). Once the Commission reviews the application and assigns a docket number, the applicant must make all subsequent filings relating to its application in this docket. Parties may file comments addressing an application for authorization no later than 15 days after the Commission releases a public notice stating that the application has been accepted for filing, unless the public notice specifies a different filing date.

(iii) An application under this section is deemed granted by the Commission on the 31st day after the Commission releases a public notice stating that the application has been accepted for filing, unless the Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) notifies the applicant that the grant will not be automatically effective. The Bureau may halt this auto-grant process if;

(A) An applicant fails to respond promptly to Commission inquiries,

(B) An application is associated with a non-routine request for waiver of the Commission's rules,

(C) Timely-filed comments on the application raise public interest concerns that require further Commission review, or

(D) The Bureau determines that the application requires further analysis to determine whether granting the application serves the public interest. The Commission reserves the right to request additional information after its initial review of an application.

(iv) Conditions applicable to all interconnected VoIP provider numbering authorizations. An interconnected VoIP provider authorized to request numbering resources directly from the Numbering Administrators under this section must adhere to the following requirements:

(A) Maintain the accuracy of all contact information and certifications in its application. If any contact information or certification is no longer accurate, the provider must file a correction with the Commission and each applicable state within thirty (30) days of the change of contact information or certification. The Commission may use the updated information or certification to determine whether a change in authorization status is warranted;

(B) Comply with the applicable Commission numbering rules; numbering authority delegated to the states; and industry guidelines and practices regarding numbering as applicable to telecommunications carriers;

(C) File requests for numbers with the relevant state commission(s) at least thirty (30) days before requesting numbers from the Numbering Administrators;

(D) Provide accurate regulatory and numbering contact information to each state commission when requesting numbers in that state.

(4) Growth numbering resources. (i) Applications for growth numbering resources shall include:

(A) A Months-to-Exhaust Worksheet that provides utilization by rate center for the preceding six months and projected monthly utilization for the next twelve (12) months; and

(B) The applicant's current numbering resource utilization level for the rate center in which it is seeking growth numbering resources.

(ii) The numbering resource utilization level shall be calculated by dividing all assigned numbers by the total numbering resources in the applicant's inventory and multiplying the result by 100. Numbering resources activated in the Local Exchange Routing Guide (LERG) within the preceding 90 days of reporting utilization levels may be excluded from the utilization calculation.

(iii) All service providers shall maintain no more than a six-month inventory of telephone numbers in each rate center or service area in which it provides telecommunications service.

(iv) The NANPA shall withhold numbering resources from any U.S. carrier that fails to comply with the reporting and numbering resource application requirements established in this part. The NANPA shall not issue numbering resources to a carrier without an OCN. The NANPA must notify the carrier in writing of its decision to withhold numbering resources within ten (10) days of receiving a request for numbering resources. The carrier may challenge the NANPA's decision to the appropriate state regulatory commission. The state commission may affirm or overturn the NANPA's decision to withhold numbering resources from the carrier based on its determination of compliance with the reporting and numbering resource application requirements herein.

(5) Non-compliance. The NANPA shall withhold numbering resources from any U.S. carrier that fails to comply with the reporting and numbering resource application requirements established in this part. The NANPA shall not issue numbering resources to a carrier without an Operating Company Number (OCN). The NANPA must notify the carrier in writing of its decision to withhold numbering resources within ten (10) days of receiving a request for numbering resources. The carrier may challenge the NANPA's decision to the appropriate state regulatory commission. The state commission may affirm, or may overturn, the NANPA's decision to withhold numbering resources from the carrier based on its determination that the carrier has complied with the reporting and numbering resource application requirements herein. The state commission also may overturn the NANPA's decision to withhold numbering resources from the carrier based on its determination that the carrier has demonstrated a verifiable need for numbering resources and has exhausted all other available remedies.

(6) State access to applications. State regulatory commissions shall have access to service provider's applications for numbering resources. The state commissions should request copies of such applications from the service providers operating within their states, and service providers must comply with state commission requests for copies of numbering resource applications. Carriers that fail to comply with a state commission request for numbering resource application materials shall be denied numbering resources.

§ 52.16 [Amended]
4. Amend § 52.16 by removing paragraph (g).
§ 52.17 [Amended]
5. Amend § 52.17 by removing paragraph (c).
§ 52.21 [Amended]
6. Amend § 52.21 by removing paragraph (h) and redesignating paragraphs (i) through (w) as paragraphs (h) through (v).
§ 52.32 [Amended]
7. Amend § 52.32 by removing paragraph (e).
8. Amend § 52.33 by revising paragraph (b) to read as follows:
§ 52.33 Recovery of carrier-specific costs directly related to providing long-term number portability.

(b) All telecommunications carriers other than incumbent local exchange carriers may recover their number portability costs in any manner consistent with applicable state and federal laws and regulations.

9. Amend § 52.34 by adding paragraph (c) to read as follows:
§ 52.34 Obligations regarding local number porting to and from interconnected VoIP or Internet-based TRS providers.

(c) Telecommunications carriers must facilitate an end-user customer's valid number portability request either to or from an interconnected VoIP or VRS or IP Relay provider. “Facilitate” is defined as the telecommunication carrier's affirmative legal obligation to take all steps necessary to initiate or allow a port-in or port-out itself, subject to a valid port request, without unreasonable delay or unreasonable procedures that have the effect of delaying or denying porting of the NANP-based telephone number.

§ 52.35 [Amended]
10. Amend § 52.35 by removing paragraph (e)(1) and redesignating paragraphs (e)(2) and (e)(3) as (e)(1) and (e)(2).
§ 52.36 [Amended]
11. Amend § 52.36 by removing paragraph (d).
[FR Doc. 2015-20900 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
80 209 Thursday, October 29, 2015 Proposed Rules DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2015-2208; Directorate Identifier 2015-NE-19-AD] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Honeywell International Inc. (Type Certificate Previously Held by AlliedSignal Inc., Garrett Turbine Engine Company) Turbofan Engines AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

SUMMARY:

We propose to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for Honeywell International Inc. TFE731-4, -4R, -5AR, -5BR, and -5R turbofan engines. This proposed AD was prompted by a report of certain interstage turbine transition (ITT) ducts failing to meet containment capability requirements. This proposed AD would require replacing certain ITT ducts. We are proposing this AD to prevent failure of the ITT duct, which could lead to an uncontained part release, damage to the engine, and damage to the airplane.

DATES:

We must receive comments on this proposed AD by December 28, 2015

ADDRESSES:

You may send comments, using the procedures found in 14 CFR 11.43 and 11.45, by any of the following methods:

Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

Fax: 202-493-2251.

Mail: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.

Hand Delivery: Deliver to Mail address above between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

For service information identified in this proposed AD, contact Honeywell International Inc., 111 S 34th Street Phoenix, AZ 85034-2802; phone: 800-601-3099; Internet: https://myaerospace.honeywell.com/wps/portal/!ut/. You may view this service information at the FAA, Engine & Propeller Directorate, 12 New England Executive Park, Burlington, MA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 781-238-7125.

Examining the AD Docket

You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-2208; or in person at the Docket Management Facility between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this proposed AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received and other information. The street address for the Docket Office (phone: 800-647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Joseph Costa, Aerospace Engineer, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office, FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 3960 Paramount Blvd., Lakewood, CA 90712-4137; phone: 562-627-5246; fax: 562-627-5210; email: [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Comments Invited

We invite you to send any written relevant data, views, or arguments about this NPRM. Send your comments to an address listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include “Docket No. FAA-2015-2208; Directorate Identifier 2015-NE-19-AD” at the beginning of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this NPRM. We will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this NPRM because of those comments.

We will post all comments we receive, without change, to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information you provide. We will also post a report summarizing each substantive verbal contact we receive about this NPRM.

Discussion

While the Honeywell Aerospace Olomouc facility in the Czech Republic was reworking certain ITT ducts, forgings that were not properly heat treated were installed on the affected engines. The heat treatment is necessary for the ITT ducts, part number (P/N) 3075292-4, to meet mechanical properties and the containment capability requirements of the ITT duct design. ITT ducts with unacceptable containment capability, if not corrected, could result in an uncontained part release, damage to the engine, and damage to the airplane.

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

We reviewed Honeywell Service Bulletin (SB) No. TFE731-72-3789, dated March 23, 2015. The SB describes procedures for removing affected ITT ducts. This service information is reasonably available because the interested parties have access to it through their normal course of business or by the means identified in the ADDRESSES section of this NPRM.

FAA's Determination

We are proposing this NPRM because we evaluated all the relevant information and determined the unsafe condition described previously is likely to exist or develop in other products of the same type design.

Proposed AD Requirements

This NPRM would require replacing certain ITT ducts, P/N 3075292-4.

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this proposed AD affects 47 engines installed on airplanes of U.S. registry. We also estimate that it would take about 2 hours per engine to comply with this proposed AD. The average labor rate is $85 per hour. We estimate that replacement parts would cost $15,000 per engine. Based on these figures, we estimate the total cost of the proposed AD to U.S. operators to be $712,990. Our cost estimate is exclusive of possible warranty coverage.

Authority for This Rulemaking

Title 49 of the United States Code specifies the FAA's authority to issue rules on aviation safety. Subtitle I, section 106, describes the authority of the FAA Administrator. Subtitle VII: Aviation Programs, describes in more detail the scope of the Agency's authority.

We are issuing this rulemaking under the authority described in Subtitle VII, Part A, Subpart III, Section 44701: “General requirements.” Under that section, Congress charges the FAA with promoting safe flight of civil aircraft in air commerce by prescribing regulations for practices, methods, and procedures the Administrator finds necessary for safety in air commerce. This regulation is within the scope of that authority because it addresses an unsafe condition that is likely to exist or develop on products identified in this rulemaking action.

Regulatory Findings

We determined that this proposed AD would not have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132. This proposed AD would not have a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship between the national Government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government.

For the reasons discussed above, I certify this proposed regulation:

(1) Is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866,

(2) Is not a “significant rule” under the DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures (44 FR 11034, February 26, 1979),

(3) Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska to the extent that it justifies making a regulatory distinction, and

(4) Will not have a significant economic impact, positive or negative, on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

Air transportation, Aircraft, Aviation safety, Incorporation by reference, Safety.

The Proposed Amendment

Accordingly, under the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the FAA proposes to amend 14 CFR part 39 as follows:

PART 39—AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES 1. The authority citation for part 39 continues to read as follows: Authority:

49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701.

§ 39.13 [Amended]
2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD): Honeywell International Inc. (Type Certificate previously held by AlliedSignal Inc., Garrett Turbine Engine Company): Docket No. FAA-2015-2208; Directorate Identifier 2015-NE-19-AD. (a) Comments Due Date

We must receive comments by December 28, 2015.

(b) Affected ADs

None.

(c) Applicability

This AD applies to all Honeywell International Inc. TFE731-4, -4R, -5AR, -5BR, and -5R turbofan engines with an interstage turbine transition (ITT) duct, part number (P/N) 3075292-4, installed, with a serial number (S/N) listed in Table 2 of Honeywell Service Bulletin (SB) No. TFE731-72-3789, dated March 23, 2015.

(d) Unsafe Condition

This AD was prompted by a report of certain ITT ducts failing to meet containment capability requirements. We are issuing this AD to prevent failure of the ITT duct, which could lead to an uncontained part release, damage to the engine, and damage to the airplane.

(e) Compliance

Comply with this AD within the compliance times specified, unless already done.

(1) At the next removal of the ITT duct from the engine not to exceed 2,600 hours time-in-service after the effective date of this AD, remove the affected ITT duct and replace with a part eligible for installation.

(2) Reserved.

(f) Definitions

For the purpose of this AD a part eligible for installation is an ITT duct with an S/N that is not listed in Table 2 of Honeywell SB No. TFE731-72-3789, dated March 23, 2015 or, if listed in Table 2 of this SB, was reworked using Honeywell SB No. TFE731-72-3789, dated March 23, 2015.

(g) Installation Prohibition

After the effective date of this AD, do not install any ITT duct with an S/N listed in Table 2 of Honeywell SB No. TFE731-72-3789, dated March 23, 2015, onto any engine, unless the ITT duct is marked with the overhaul/repair instructions number “P35864” near the ITT duct P/N and S/N markings.

(h) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

The Manager, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office, FAA, may approve AMOCs for this AD. Use the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19 to make your request.

(i) Related Information

(1) For more information about this AD, contact Joseph Costa, Aerospace Engineer, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office, FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 3960 Paramount Blvd., Lakewood, CA 90712-4137; phone: 562-627-5246; fax: 562-627-5210; email: [email protected]

(2) For service information identified in this AD contact Honeywell International Inc., 111 S 34th Street, Phoenix, AZ 85034-2802; phone: 800-601-3099; Internet: https://myaerospace.honeywell.com/wps/portal/!ut/.

(3) You may view this service information at the FAA, Engine & Propeller Directorate, 12 New England Executive Park, Burlington, MA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 781-238-7125.

Issued in Burlington, Massachusetts, on October 22, 2015. Colleen M. D'Alessandro, Directorate Manager, Engine & Propeller Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 2015-27555 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2015-4803; Directorate Identifier 2015-CE-034-AD] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; B-N Group Ltd. Airplanes AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of Transportation (DOT).

ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

SUMMARY:

We propose to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for B-N Group Ltd. Models BN-2, BN-2A, BN-2A-2, BN-2A-3, BN-2A-6, BN-2A-8, BN-2A-9, BN-2A-20, BN-2A-21, BN-2A-26, BN-2A-27, BN-2B-20, BN-2B-21, BN-2B-26, BN-2B-27, BN2A MK. III, BN2A MK. III-2, and BN2A MK. III-3 airplanes that would supersede AD 2014-03-18. This proposed AD results from mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI) originated by an aviation authority of another country to identify and correct an unsafe condition on an aviation product. The MCAI describes the unsafe condition as damage of the cable sliding end assembly and installation of the incorrect end fitting on engine control cable assemblies. We are issuing this proposed AD to require actions to address the unsafe condition on these products.

DATES:

We must receive comments on this proposed AD by December 14, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

You may send comments by any of the following methods:

Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

Fax: (202) 493-2251.

Mail: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.

Hand Delivery: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

For service information identified in this proposed AD, contact Britten-Norman Aircraft Limited, Commodore House, Mountbatten Business Centre, Millbrook Road East, Southampton SO15 1HY, United Kingdom; telephone: +44 20 3371 4000; fax: +44 20 3371 4001; email: [email protected]; Internet: http://www.britten-norman.com/customer-support/. You may review copies of the referenced service information at the FAA, Small Airplane Directorate, 901 Locust, Kansas City, Missouri 64106. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call (816) 329-4148. It is also available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for Docket No. FAA-2015-4803.

Examining the AD Docket

You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-4803; or in person at the Docket Management Facility between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this proposed AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket Office (telephone (800) 647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Raymond Johnston, Aerospace Engineer, FAA, Small Airplane Directorate, 901 Locust, Room 301, Kansas City, Missouri 64106; telephone: (816) 329-4159; fax: (816) 329-3047; email: [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Comments Invited

We invite you to send any written relevant data, views, or arguments about this proposed AD. Send your comments to an address listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include “Docket No. FAA-2015-4803; Directorate Identifier 2015-CE-034-AD” at the beginning of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this proposed AD. We will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this proposed AD because of those comments.

We will post all comments we receive, without change, to http://regulations.gov, including any personal information you provide. We will also post a report summarizing each substantive verbal contact we receive about this proposed AD.

Discussion

On February 6, 2014, we issued AD 2014-03-18, Amendment 39-17755 (79 FR 10340; February 25, 2014). That AD required actions intended to address an unsafe condition on B-N Group Ltd. BN-2, BN-2A, BN-2A-2, BN-2A-3, BN-2A-6, BN-2A-8, BN-2A-9, BN-2A-20, BN-2A-21, BN-2A-26, BN-2A-27, BN-2B-20, BN-2B-21, BN-2B-26, BN-2B-27, BN2A MK. III, BN2A MK. III-2, and BN2A MK. III-3 airplanes and was based on mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI) originated by an aviation authority of another country.

Since we issued AD 2014-03-18, it was found that the service information did not correctly identify the parts to be inspected on the Trislander (BN2A MK III) series airplanes. The service information has been revised to correctly identify the parts to be inspected on those airplanes.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Community, has issued AD No.: 2015-0184, dated September 1, 2015 (referred to after this as “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for the specified products. The MCAI states:

Britten-Norman Aircraft Limited was made aware of two occurrences where a failure of engine control cable assemblies has caused engine control difficulties. In both reported cases, the cable sliding end assemblies were in poor condition and in both cases, an incorrect end-fitting was installed, which may have contributed to the failures.

This condition, if not detected and corrected, could result in reduced engine control, possibly resulting in reduced control of the aeroplane.

To address this potential unsafe condition, Britten-Norman Aircraft issued Service Bulletin (SB) 334 to provide inspection instructions, and EASA issued AD 2013-0215 to require a one-time inspection and functional test of the engine control cables and, depending on findings, replacement of the cables.

Subsequently, as it was found that BN2 “Islander” aeroplanes were mistakenly omitted from the AD applicability, EASA issued AD 2013-0263, retaining the requirements of EASA AD 2013-0215, which was superseded, and extending the applicability to BN2 aeroplanes.

You may examine the MCAI on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-4803.

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

We reviewed Britten-Norman Aircraft Limited Service Bulletin No. SB 334, Issue 1, dated August 30, 2013, and Britten-Norman Aircraft Limited Service Bulletin No. SB 334, Issue 2, dated July 17, 2015. The service information describes procedures for inspection and replacement if necessary of the engine control cable assemblies. This service information is reasonably available because the interested parties have access to it through their normal course of business or by the means identified in the ADDRESSES section of this NPRM.

FAA's Determination and Requirements of the Proposed AD

This product has been approved by the aviation authority of another country, and is approved for operation in the United States. Pursuant to our bilateral agreement with this State of Design Authority, they have notified us of the unsafe condition described in the MCAI and service information referenced above. We are proposing this AD because we evaluated all information and determined the unsafe condition exists and is likely to exist or develop on other products of the same type design.

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this proposed AD will affect 96 products of U.S. registry. We also estimate that it would take about 1 work-hour per product to comply with the basic requirements of this proposed AD. The average labor rate is $85 per work-hour.

Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of the proposed AD on U.S. operators to be $8,160 or $85 per product.

In addition, we estimate that any necessary follow-on actions would take about 10 work-hours and require parts costing $6,000), for a cost of $6,850 per product. We have no way of determining the number of products that may need these actions.

Authority for This Rulemaking

Title 49 of the United States Code specifies the FAA's authority to issue rules on aviation safety. Subtitle I, section 106, describes the authority of the FAA Administrator. “Subtitle VII: Aviation Programs,” describes in more detail the scope of the Agency's authority.

We are issuing this rulemaking under the authority described in “Subtitle VII, Part A, Subpart III, Section 44701: General requirements.” Under that section, Congress charges the FAA with promoting safe flight of civil aircraft in air commerce by prescribing regulations for practices, methods, and procedures the Administrator finds necessary for safety in air commerce. This regulation is within the scope of that authority because it addresses an unsafe condition that is likely to exist or develop on products identified in this rulemaking action.

Regulatory Findings

We determined that this proposed AD would not have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132. This proposed AD would not have a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship between the national Government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government.

For the reasons discussed above, I certify this proposed regulation:

(1) Is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866,

(2) Is not a “significant rule” under the DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures (44 FR 11034, February 26, 1979),

(3) Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska, and

(4) Will not have a significant economic impact, positive or negative, on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

Air transportation, Aircraft, Aviation safety, Incorporation by reference, Safety.

The Proposed Amendment

Accordingly, under the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the FAA proposes to amend 14 CFR part 39 as follows:

PART 39—AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES 1. The authority citation for part 39 continues to read as follows: Authority:

49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701.

§ 39.13 [Amended]
2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by removing Amendment 39-17755 (79 FR 10340; February 25, 2014), and adding the following new AD: B-N Group Ltd.: Docket No. FAA-2015-4803; Directorate Identifier 2015-CE-034-AD. (a) Comments Due Date

We must receive comments by December 14, 2015.

(b) Affected ADs

This AD supersedes AD 2014-03-18, Amendment 39-17755 (79 FR 10340; February 25, 2014).

(c) Applicability

This AD applies to B-N Group Ltd. Models BN-2, BN-2A, BN-2A-2, BN-2A-3, BN-2A-6, BN-2A-8, BN-2A-9, BN-2A-20, BN-2A-21, BN-2A-26, BN-2A-27, BN-2B-20, BN-2B-21, BN-2B-26, BN-2B-27, BN2A MK. III, BN2A MK. III-2, and BN2A MK. III-3 airplanes, all serial numbers, certificated in any category.

(d) Subject

Air Transport Association of America (ATA) Code 76: Engine Controls.

(e) Reason

This AD was prompted by possible damage of the cable sliding end assembly and installation of the incorrect end fitting on engine control cable assemblies. We are issuing this proposed AD to detect and correct damage of the cable sliding end assembly (cracking, distortion, corrosion) and incorrect end fittings on the engine control assemblies, which could lead to reduced engine control with consequent loss of control, and to incorporate revised service information with updated information on applicability and on the identity of parts to be inspected on some airplanes.

(f) Actions and Compliance

Unless already done, do the actions in paragraphs (f)(1) through (f)(6) of this AD:

(1) For all airplanes except the Trislander Models BN2A MK. III, BN2A MK. III-2, and BN2A MK. III-3: Within the next 6 months after April 1, 2014 (the effective date retained from AD 2014-03-18), do a one-time inspection of the engine control cable assemblies, part number (P/N) 137835, P/N 172449-1, P/N 172450, and P/N 172451, and surrounding areas for damage (cracking, distortion, corrosion); for the correct cable end-fitting; and to assure the wire locking is intact following Britten-Norman Aircraft Limited Service Bulletin No. SB 334, Issue 1, dated August 30, 2013, or Britten-Norman Aircraft Limited Service Bulletin No. SB 334, Issue 2, dated July 17, 2015.

(2) For the Trislander Models BN2A MK. III, BN2A MK. III-2, and BN2A MK. III-3 airplanes: Within the next 3 months after the effective date of this AD, do a one-time inspection of the engine control cable assemblies, P/N 80468 and P/N NB-45-2883, and surrounding areas for damage (cracking, distortion, corrosion); for the correct cable end-fitting; and to assure the wire locking is intact following Britten-Norman Aircraft Limited Service Bulletin No. SB 334, Issue 2, dated July 17, 2015.

(3) For all airplanes except the Trislander Models BN2A MK. III, BN2A MK. III-2, and BN2A MK. III-3: If no discrepancies are found during the inspection required in paragraph (f)(1) of this AD, before further flight, inspect the control linkages for proper adjustment and make any necessary changes following Britten-Norman Aircraft Limited Service Bulletin No. SB 334, Issue 1, dated August 30, 2013, or Britten-Norman Aircraft Limited Service Bulletin No. SB 334, Issue 2, dated July 17, 2015.

(4) For the Trislander Models BN2A MK. III, BN2A MK. III-2, and BN2A MK. III-3 airplanes: If no discrepancies are found during the inspection required in paragraph (f)(2) of this AD, before further flight, inspect the control linkages for proper adjustment and make any necessary changes following Britten-Norman Aircraft Limited Service Bulletin No. SB 334, Issue 2, dated July 17, 2015.

(5) For all airplanes except the Trislander Models BN2A MK. III, BN2A MK. III-2, and BN2A MK. III-3: If any discrepancies are found during the inspection required in paragraph (f)(1) of this AD and/or the control linkages cannot be properly adjusted as specified in paragraph (f)(3) of this AD, before further flight, replace the engine control cable assembly with a serviceable unit following Britten-Norman Aircraft Limited Service Bulletin No. SB 334, Issue 1, dated August 30, 2013, or Britten-Norman Aircraft Limited Service Bulletin No. SB 334, Issue 2, dated July 17, 2015.

(6) For the Trislander Models BN2A MK. III, BN2A MK. III-2, and BN2A MK. III-3 airplanes: If any discrepancies are found during the inspection required in paragraph (f)(2) of this AD and/or the control linkages cannot be properly adjusted as specified in paragraph (f)(4) of this AD, before further flight, replace the engine control cable assembly with a serviceable unit following Britten-Norman Aircraft Limited Service Bulletin No. SB 334, Issue 2, dated July 17, 2015.

(7) For all airplanes except the Trislander Models BN2A MK. III, BN2A MK. III-2, and BN2A MK. III-3: After April 1, 2014 (the effective date retained from AD 2014-03-18), do not install on any airplane engine control cable assemblies, P/N 137835, P/N 172449-1, P/N 172450, and P/N 172451, unless they are new or have been inspected as required in paragraphs (f)(1) and (f)(3) of this AD and found free of any discrepancies and have proper adjustment.

(8) For the Trislander Models BN2A MK. III, BN2A MK. III-2, and BN2A MK. III-3 airplanes: After the effective date of this AD, do not install on any airplane engine control cable assemblies P/N 80468 and/or P/N NB-45-2883, unless they are new or have been inspected as required in paragraphs (f)(2) and (f)(4) of this AD and found free of any discrepancies and have proper adjustment.

(g) Other FAA AD Provisions

The following provisions also apply to this AD:

(1) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs): The Manager, Standards Office, FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. Send information to ATTN: Raymond Johnston, Aerospace Engineer, FAA, Small Airplane Directorate, 901 Locust, Room 301, Kansas City, Missouri 64106; telephone: (816) 329-4159; fax: (816) 329-3047; email: [email protected] Before using any approved AMOC on any airplane to which the AMOC applies, notify your appropriate principal inspector (PI) in the FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), or lacking a PI, your local FSDO.

(2) Airworthy Product: For any requirement in this AD to obtain corrective actions from a manufacturer or other source, use these actions if they are FAA-approved. Corrective actions are considered FAA-approved if they are approved by the State of Design Authority (or their delegated agent). You are required to assure the product is airworthy before it is returned to service.

(h) Related Information

Refer to MCAI European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD No.: 2015-0184, dated September 1, 2015; for related information. You may examine the MCAI on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-4803. For service information related to this AD, contact Britten-Norman Aircraft Limited, Commodore House, Mountbatten Business Centre, Millbrook Road East, Southampton SO15 1HY, United Kingdom; telephone: +44 20 3371 4000; fax: +44 20 3371 4001; email: [email protected]; Internet: http://www.britten-norman.com/customer-support/. You may review copies of the referenced service information at the FAA, Small Airplane Directorate, 901 Locust, Kansas City, Missouri 64106. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call (816) 329-4148.

Issued in Kansas City, Missouri on October 22, 2015. Melvin Johnson, Acting Manager, Small Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 2015-27571 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Internal Revenue Service 26 CFR Part 1 [REG-109370-10] RIN 1545-BJ34 Allocable Cash Basis and Tiered Partnership Items; Correction AGENCY:

Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Treasury.

ACTION:

Correction to a notice of proposed rulemaking.

SUMMARY:

This document contains corrections to a notice of proposed rulemaking (REG-109370-10) that was published in the Federal Register on Monday, August 3, 2015 (80 FR 45905). The proposed regulations are regarding the determination of a partner's distributive share of certain allocable cash basis items and items attributable to an interest in a lower-tier partnership during a partnership taxable year in which a partner's interest changes.

DATES:

Written or electronic comments and requests for a public hearing for the notice of proposed rulemaking published at 80 FR 45905, August 3, 2015, are still being accepted and must be received by November 2, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Benjamin H. Weaver at (202) 317-6850 (not a toll free number).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

The notice of proposed rulemaking (REG-109370-10) that is the subject of these corrections is under section 706 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Need for Correction

As published, the notice of proposed rulemaking (REG-109370-10) contains errors that may prove to be misleading and are in need of clarification.

Correction of Publication

Accordingly, the notice of proposed rulemaking (REG-109370-10), that was the subject of FR Doc. 2015-18817, is corrected as follows:

1. On page 45906, in the preamble, first column, the third line from the top of the column, the language “section 706(d)(2)(C)(i) to a person who ” is corrected to read “section 706(d)(2)(D)(i) to a person who”. 2. On page 45910, in the preamble, first column, the eleventh line from the top of the column, the language “extraordinary items in § 1.706-4(d)(2)” is corrected to read “extraordinary items in § 1.706-4(e)(2)”. 3. On page 45913, third column, the first line of the signature block, the language “Karen L. Schiller,” is corrected to read “Karen M. Schiller,”.
§ 1.706-0 [Corrected]
4. On Page 45910, third column, the section heading for the entry § 1.706-2 should read “§ 1.706-2 Certain allocable cash basis items.”. 5. On page 49510, third column, the section heading for the entry § 1.706-3 should read “§ 1.706-3 Items attributable to interest in lower-tier partnership.”.
§ 1.706-2 [Corrected]
6. On page 45911, first column, the section heading should read “§ 1.706-2 Certain allocable cash basis items.”. 7. On Page 49511, first column, paragraph (a)(2)(iii), the last line of the paragraph, the language “in § 1.706-4(d)); ” is corrected to read “in § 1.706-4(e));”.
§ 1.706-4 [Corrected]
8. On page 45913, paragraph (e)(4) Example 3., remove the language “2015” and add the language “2016” wherever it appears. 9. On page 45913, second column, paragraph (e)(4) Example 3. (iii), sixth line from the top of the paragraph, the language “15, 2016, and PRS determines that the” is corrected to read “15, 2017, and PRS determines that the”. Martin V. Franks, Chief, Publications and Regulations Branch, Legal Processing Division, Associate Chief Counsel (Procedure and Administration).
[FR Doc. 2015-27609 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4830-01-P
DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Internal Revenue Service 26 CFR Part 1 [REG-155164-09] RIN 1545-BJ48 United States Property Held by Controlled Foreign Corporations in Transactions Involving Partnerships; Rents and Royalties Derived in the Active Conduct of a Trade or Business; Correction AGENCY:

Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Treasury.

ACTION:

Correction to notice of proposed rulemaking.

SUMMARY:

This document contains corrections to a notice of proposed rulemaking (REG-155164-09) that was published in the Federal Register on Wednesday, September 2, 2015 (80 FR 53058). The proposed rules are regarding the treatment as United States property of property held by a controlled foreign corporation in connection with certain transactions involving partnerships.

DATES:

Written or electronic comments and request for a public hearing for the notice of proposed rulemaking at 80 FR 53058, September 2, 2015, are still being accepted and must be received by December 1, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Rose E. Jenkins, at (202) 317-6934 (not a toll-free number).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

The notice of proposed rulemaking that is the subject of this document is under sections 954 and 956 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Need for Correction

As published, the notice of proposed rulemaking (REG-155164-09) contains errors that are misleading and are in need of clarification.

Correction to Publication

Accordingly, the notice of proposed rulemaking, that is the subject of FR Doc. 2015-21572, is corrected as follows:

1. On page 53059, in the preamble, third column, sixth line of the second full paragraph, the language “in Part I.B of this preamble for” is corrected to read “in Part 1.B of this preamble for”. 2. On page 53061, in the preamble, third column, fourth line from the top of the column, the language “determined under § 1.956-4(b).” is corrected to read “determined under proposed § 1.956-4(b).”.
§ 1.956-4 [Corrected]
3. On page 53067, third column, second line of paragraph (c)(4) Example 2. (i), the language “same as in paragraph (i) of Example 1, except” is corrected to read “same as in Example 1, except”. 4. On page 53068, paragraph (f), remove the language “[DATE OF PUBLICATION OF FINAL RULE]” and add the language “the date of publication in the Federal Register of the Treasury Decision adopting this rule as a final regulation” wherever it appears. Martin V. Franks, Chief, Publications and Regulations Branch, Legal Processing Division, Associate Chief Counsel (Procedure and Administration).
[FR Doc. 2015-27601 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4830-01-P
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 RIN 0648-BF29 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area; Amendment 111 AGENCY:

National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

ACTION:

Notice of availability of amendment to fishery management plan; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) has submitted Amendment 111 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (FMP) to the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) for review. Amendment 111 to the FMP would reduce bycatch limits, also known as Prohibited Species Catch (PSC) limits, by specific amounts in four groundfish sectors: the Amendment 80 sector (non-pollock trawl catcher/processors); the BSAI trawl limited access sector (all non-Amendment 80 trawl fishery participants); the BSAI non-trawl sector (primarily hook-and-line catcher/processors); and the Western Alaska Community Development Quota Program (CDQ Program, also referred to as the CDQ sector). This action is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), the FMP, and other applicable laws.

DATES:

Submit comments on or before December 28, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2015-0092, by any one of the following methods:

Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2015-0092, click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.

Mail: Address written comments to Glenn Merrill, Assistant Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region NMFS, Attn: Ellen Sebastian. Mail comments to P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802.

Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on http://www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address) confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information voluntarily submitted by the commenter will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter N/A in the required fields, if you wish to remain anonymous).

Electronic copies of Amendment 111 to the FMP, the Environmental Assessment/Regulatory Impact Review/Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis prepared for this action, and the Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) prepared for this action may be obtained from http://www.regulations.gov or from the Alaska Region Web site at http://www.alaskafisheries/noaa.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Mary Alice McKeen, 907-586-7228.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The Council has submitted Amendment 111 to the FMP to the Secretary for review. If approved, Amendment 111 would reduce bycatch limits, also known as prohibited species catch (PSC) limits, of Pacific halibut in the Bering Sea Aleutian Islands (BSAI) groundfish fisheries by specific amounts in four groundfish sectors: the Amendment 80 sector; the BSAI trawl limited access; the BSAI non-trawl sector; and the CDQ sector. Amendment 111 is necessary to minimize halibut bycatch in the BSAI groundfish fisheries to the extent practicable and to achieve, on a continuing basis, optimum yield from the BSAI groundfish fisheries. Amendment 111 is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the FMP, and other applicable laws.

The Magnuson-Stevens Act requires that each regional fishery management council submit any fishery management plan amendment it prepares to NMFS for review and approval, disapproval, or partial approval by the Secretary. The Magnuson-Stevens Act also requires that NMFS, upon receiving a fishery management plan amendment, immediately publish a document in the Federal Register announcing that the amendment is available for public review and comment. This document announces that proposed Amendment 111 to the FMP is available for public review and comment.

If approved, Amendment 111 would reduce the halibut PSC limits for the Amendment 80 sector by 25 percent, from 2,325 mt to 1,745 mt; for the BSAI trawl limited access fisheries by 15 percent, from 875 mt to 745 mt.; for the BSAI non-trawl sector, by 15 percent, from 833 mt to 710 mt.; and for the CDQ sector by 20 percent, from 393 mt to 315 mt.

In submitting Amendment 111 to the Secretary, the Council and NMFS considered all the National Standards in section 301 of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, but four national standards figured prominently in their consideration of Amendment 111: National Standard 1, National Standard 4, National Standard 8, and National Standard 9. Amendment 111 would minimize halibut bycatch to the extent practicable, consistent with National Standard 9, while achieving, on a continuing basis, optimum yield from the BSAI groundfish fisheries, consistent with National Standard 1. Amendment 111 does not discriminate between residents of different states and assigns allocations of halibut PSC limits in manner that is fair and equitable consistent with National Standard 4. Amendment 111 takes into account the impact of its provisions on fishing communities in order to provide for the sustained participation of those communities and, to the extent practicable, to minimize adverse economic impacts on such communities, consistent with National Standard 8. Amendment 111 may provide additional opportunities for directed commercial halibut fishing, if the International Pacific Halibut Commission increases the commercial catch limit for the directed halibut fishery in response to this action.

In addition to reducing the BSAI halibut PSC limits, Amendment 111 would change two features of current halibut PSC management. First, Amendment 111 would establish the PSC limit for the CDQ sector as a separate limit. Under current FMP provisions, the PSC limit for the CDQ sector is taken partly from the overall trawl PSC limit and the overall non-trawl PSC limit. Second, Amendment 111 would change a feature of the halibut PSC limit for the Amendment 80 sector. Within the Amendment 80 sector, the halibut PSC limit is divided annually between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access fishery, which consists of vessels that choose that year to fish outside of an Amendment 80 cooperative. In the current regulation, any halibut PSC that is not assigned to an Amendment 80 cooperative is assigned to the Amendment 80 limited access fishery. Under Amendment 111, if any Amendment 80 vessels fish in the Amendment 80 limited access fishery, NMFS would reduce the halibut PSC in the Amendment 80 limited access fishery for that year by 20 percent compared to the PSC amount that NMFS would have allocated to cooperatives for that year if those vessels had fished through cooperatives.

Amendment 111 would amend Section 3.6.2.1.4 of the FMP to specify the BSAI halibut PSC limits for the four groundfish sectors; amend Section 3.7.4.6 of the FMP and specify a separate PSC limit for the CDQ sector; amend Section 3.7.5.2 so that it would establish the halibut PSC limit for the Amendment 80 sector as 1,745 mt and the halibut PSC limit for the BSAI trawl limited access sector as 745 mt; and amend Section 3.7.5.2 so that it establishes an additional 20 percent reduction in the halibut PSC limit for the Amendment 80 vessels that participate in the Amendment 80 limited access fishery. Amendment 111 would make two minor revisions to Table ES-2 to include the revised halibut PSC limits and would amend Appendix A to note the revisions that Amendment 111 would make to the halibut PSC limits adopted under Amendment 80 to the FMP (72 FR 52668, September 14, 2007).

NMFS is soliciting public comments on proposed Amendment 111 through the end of the comment period (see DATES). NMFS intends to publish in the Federal Register and seek public comment on a proposed rule that would implement Amendment 111, following NMFS' evaluation of the proposed rule under the Magnuson-Stevens Act. All comments received by the end of the comment period on Amendment 111, whether specifically directed to the FMP amendment or the proposed rule, will be considered in the approval/disapproval decision on Amendment 111. Comments received after that date may not be considered in the approval/disapproval decision on Amendment 111. To be certain of consideration, comments must be received, not just postmarked or otherwise transmitted, by the last day of the comment period.

Authority:

16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

Dated: October 26, 2015. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2015-27608 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
80 209 Thursday, October 29, 2015 Notices DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Rural Utilities Service Information Collection Activity; Comment Request AGENCY:

Rural Utilities Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Notice and request for comments.

SUMMARY:

In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. chapter 35, as amended), the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Rural Utilities Service (RUS) invites comments on this information collection for which the Agency intends to request approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

DATES:

Comments on this notice must be received by December 28, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Thomas P. Dickson, Acting Director, Program Development and Regulatory Analysis, USDA Rural Development, 1400 Independence Ave. SW., STOP 1522, Room 5164 South Building, Washington, DC 20250-1522. Telephone: (202) 690-4492. Fax: (202) 720-8435.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) regulation (5 CFR part 1320) implementing provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-13) requires that interested members of the public and affected agencies have an opportunity to comment on information collection and recordkeeping activities (see 5 CFR 1320.8(d)). This notice identifies an information collection that RUS is submitting to OMB as a revision to an existing collection. Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the Agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Comments may be sent to: Thomas P. Dickson, Acting Director, Program Development and Regulatory Analysis, Rural Utilities Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, STOP 1522, Room 5164, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250-1522. Fax: (202) 720-8435.

Title: 7 CFR part 1786, Prepayment of Rural Utilities Service Guaranteed and Insured Loans to Electric and Telephone Borrowers.

OMB Control Number: 0572-0088.

Type of Request: Extension of a currently approved collection.

Abstract: The Rural Utilities Service relies on the information provided by the borrowers in their financial statements to make lending decisions as to borrowers' credit worthiness and to assure that loan funds are approved, advanced and disbursed for proper RE Act purposes. These financial statements are audited by a certified public accountant to provide independent assurance that the data being reported are properly measured and fairly presented.

Estimate of Burden: Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 2.00 hours per response.

Respondents: Business or other for-profit, Not-for-profit institutions.

Estimated Number of Respondents: 38.

Estimated Number of Responses per Respondent: 1.00.

Estimated Total Annual Burden on Respondents: 76 hours.

Copies of this information collection can be obtained from Rebecca Hunt, Program Development and Regulatory Analysis, at (202) 205-3660, Fax: (202) 720-8435.

All responses to this notice will be summarized and included in the request for OMB approval. All comments will also become a matter of public record.

Dated: October 22, 2015. Brandon McBride, Administrator, Rural Utilities Service.
[FR Doc. 2015-27602 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-15-P
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Economic Development Administration Notice of Petitions by Firms for Determination of Eligibility To Apply for Trade Adjustment Assistance AGENCY:

Economic Development Administration, Department of Commerce.

ACTION:

Notice and opportunity for public comment.

Pursuant to Section 251 of the Trade Act 1974, as amended (19 U.S.C. 2341 et seq.), the Economic Development Administration (EDA) has received petitions for certification of eligibility to apply for Trade Adjustment Assistance from the firms listed below. Accordingly, EDA has initiated investigations to determine whether increased imports into the United States of articles like or directly competitive with those produced by each of these firms contributed importantly to the total or partial separation of the firm's workers, or threat thereof, and to a decrease in sales or production of each petitioning firm.

List of Petitions Received by EDA for Certification Eligibility To Apply for Trade Adjustment Assistance [10/7/2015 through 10/22/2015] Firm name Firm address Date accepted for investigation Product(s) Bonamar Corporation 7990 NW. 53rd Street, Suite 336, Doral, FL 33166 10/22/2015 The firm manufactures crabmeat using a process that consists of pasteurizing/cooking and packing the crabmeat. Hastings Irrigation Pipe Co 1801 East South Street, Hastings, ND 68901 10/22/2015 The firm manufactures alumimun pipe. Automation Systems, LLC 2001 N. 17th Avenue, Melrose Park, IL 60160 10/22/2015 The firm manufactures bolt, screw, and washer assembled components for the automotive and commercial markets.

Any party having a substantial interest in these proceedings may request a public hearing on the matter. A written request for a hearing must be submitted to the Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms Division, Room 71030, Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, DC 20230, no later than ten (10) calendar days following publication of this notice.

Please follow the requirements set forth in EDA's regulations at 13 CFR 315.9 for procedures to request a public hearing. The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance official number and title for the program under which these petitions are submitted is 11.313, Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms.

Dated: October 22, 2015. Miriam Kearse, Lead Program Analyst.
[FR Doc. 2015-27423 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-WH-P
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Foreign-Trade Zones Board [B-68-2015] Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) 102—St. Louis, Missouri; Notification of Proposed Production Activity; H-J Enterprises, Inc./H-J International, Inc. (Electrical Transformer Bushing Assemblies); High Ridge, Missouri

The St. Louis County Port Authority, grantee of FTZ 102, submitted a notification of proposed production activity to the FTZ Board on behalf of H-J Enterprises, Inc./H-J International, Inc. (H-J), located at two sites in High Ridge, Missouri. The notification conforming to the requirements of the regulations of the FTZ Board (15 CFR 400.22) was received on October 20, 2015.

A separate application for subzone designation at the H-J facilities is planned and will be processed under Section 400.31 of the FTZ Board's regulations. The facilities are used for the production of electrical transformer bushing assemblies for utility companies. Pursuant to 15 CFR 400.14(b), FTZ activity would be limited to the specific foreign-status materials and components and specific finished products described in the submitted notification (as described below) and subsequently authorized by the FTZ Board.

Production under FTZ procedures could exempt H-J from customs duty payments on the foreign-status components used in export production. On its domestic sales, H-J would be able to choose the duty rates during customs entry procedures that apply to porcelain and epoxy electrical transformer bushing assemblies (duty rates 2.7% and 3%, respectively) for the foreign-status inputs noted below. Customs duties also could possibly be deferred or reduced on foreign-status production equipment.

The components and materials sourced from abroad include: Rubber bushing plugs; iron/steel bolts, screws, studs and washers; steel ground pads; copper tubes, studs and terminals; brass washers, bolts, screws, nuts, studs and terminals; aluminum/steel bushing inserts and caps; aluminum clamps and plugs; steel hinges, steel/brass fittings and connectors; copper/brass/steel drain valves; steel/brass inserts and bushing caps; bayonet fuses; porcelain/epoxy bushing assemblies; fuse end bells; electrical leads; porcelain insulators; and level gauges (duty rates range from 1.8% to 8.5%).

Public comment is invited from interested parties. Submissions shall be addressed to the FTZ Board's Executive Secretary at the address below. The closing period for their receipt is December 8, 2015.

A copy of the notification will be available for public inspection at the Office of the Executive Secretary, Foreign-Trade Zones Board, Room 21013, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230-0002, and in the “Reading Room” section of the FTZ Board's Web site, which is accessible via www.trade.gov/ftz.

For further information, contact Diane Finver at [email protected] or (202) 482-1367.

Dated: October 22, 2015. Andrew McGilvray, Executive Secretary.
[FR Doc. 2015-27620 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Business Directory Survey AGENCY:

International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce.

ACTION:

Opportunity to participate in the RE3 app.

SUMMARY:

The U.S. Departments of State, Commerce, and Energy (the “Interagency Team”) announce an opportunity for U.S.-based suppliers and providers of clean energy, smart grid, and energy efficiency solutions to participate in the launch of an interactive directory of renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions. The Interagency Team has developed the beta version of an interactive app to serve as a mobile business directory for U.S. clean energy exporters. The app will highlight deployments of sustainable technologies and systems at U.S. diplomatic missions and provide potential business partners around the world with a searchable interface to find information on potential U.S. technology and service providers. The app will showcase a diverse array of clean energy goods and services, including renewable energy equipment (solar, wind, geothermal), biofuels, fuel cell power, smart grid technologies, and energy efficiency solutions, as well as U.S.-based services critical to the deployment of clean energy supplies. U.S. clean energy and energy efficiency exporters interested in registering to be part of the interactive directory and provide information on their company's solutions to be included in the app are requested to send an email to [email protected] by no later than December 31, 2015.

Who will use the app?

Target users include Foreign Service Officers and Foreign Commercial Service Officers and their energy sector stakeholders in international markets. The app will enable users to easily demonstrate U.S. clean energy and energy efficiency solutions available in foreign markets and provide a tool to facilitate commercial partnerships that drive the deployment of U.S. technologies and services globally. Through the app, a global audience, as well as the American public, will be invited to learn more about environmental diplomacy efforts overseas, and the innovative U.S. companies powering them.

Disclaimer

The information submitted to the directory and displayed on the app is intended to inform users about U.S. clean energy and energy efficiency solutions. All U.S.-based businesses in these industries that meet the criteria requested in the online form will be eligible for the directory and app. The Interagency Team will perform due diligence on submissions to the Directory and expects that submitting parties will perform their own due diligence, investigation, and background research before entering into a commercial relationship with any listed business or business contact facilitated through the product. A listing in the directory does not constitute endorsement of the business or its products, services or technology by the Interagency Team. The Interagency Team assumes no responsibility or liability for the actions users may take based on the information provided and reserves the right not to list any particular business.

ADDRESSES:

To provide information for use in the app, send an email to [email protected] by no later than December 31, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Helaina Matza, Office of Innovation and Eco-Diplomacy, United States Department of State; 202.647.0716; [email protected]; or Andrew Bennett, Office of Energy and Environmental Industries, United States Department of Commerce; 202-482-5235; [email protected]

Dated: October 2, 2015. Edward A. O'Malley, Director, Office of Energy and Environmental Industries.
[FR Doc. 2015-27579 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DR-P
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request

The Department of Commerce will submit to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for clearance the following proposal for collection of information under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35).

Agency: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Title: Transshipment Requirements under the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention (WCPFC).

OMB Control Number: 0648-0649.

Form Number(s): None.

Type of Request: Regular (extension of a currently approved information collection).

Number of Respondents: 214.

Average Hours per Response: Transshipment report, 1 hour; High Seas Transshipment or Emergency Transshipment and Notice of Entry or Exit for Eastern Special Management Area, 15 minutes each; Purse Seine Discard Report, 30 minutes; Daily Fish Aggregating Device Report, 10 minutes; Pre-trip Notification for Observer Placement, 1 minute.

Burden Hours: 2,350.

Needs and Uses: This request is for an extension of a currently approved information collection.

National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has issued regulations under authority of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation Act (WCPFCIA; 16 U.S.C. 6901 et seq.) to carry out the obligations of the United States under the Convention on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (Commission). The regulations include requirements for the owners and operators of U.S. vessels to: (1) Complete and submit a Pacific Transshipment Declaration form for each transshipment that takes place in the Convention Area of highly migratory species caught in the Convention Area, (2) submit notice to the WCPFC Executive Director containing specific information at least 36 hours prior to each transshipment on the high seas in the Convention Area, (3) in the event that a vessel anticipates a transshipment where an observer is required, provide notice to NMFS at least 72 hours before leaving port of the need for an observer, (4) submit a notice to the WCPFC Executive Director containing specific information six hours prior to entry or exit of the Eastern High Seas Special Management Area, (5) complete and submit a U.S. Purse Seine Discard form within 48 hours after any discard, and (6) submit a FAD Report within 24 hours at the end of each day that the vessel is on a fishing trip in the Convention Area.

The information collected from these requirements is used by NOAA and the Commission to help ensure compliance with domestic laws and the Commission's conservation and management measures, and are necessary in order for the United States to satisfy its obligations under the Convention.

Affected Public: Business or other for-profit institutions; individuals or households.

Frequency: On occasion.

Respondent's Obligation: Mandatory.

This information collection request may be viewed at reginfo.gov. Follow the instructions to view Department of Commerce collections currently under review by OMB.

Written comments and recommendations for the proposed information collection should be sent within 30 days of publication of this notice to [email protected] or fax to (202) 395-5806.

Dated: October 26, 2015. Sarah Brabson, NOAA PRA Clearance Officer.
[FR Doc. 2015-27569 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XE276 Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting AGENCY:

National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

ACTION:

Notice of public meeting.

SUMMARY:

The Pacific Fishery Management Council (Pacific Council) and its advisory entities will hold a seven-day public meeting to consider actions affecting West Coast fisheries in the exclusive economic zone.

DATES:

Advisory entities to the Pacific Council will meet beginning at 8 a.m. Friday, November 13, 2015 through Thursday November 19, 2015 as listed in the Schedule of Ancillary Meetings. The Pacific Council general session will begin on Saturday, November 14, 2015 at 8 a.m., reconvening each day through Thursday November 19, 2015. All meetings are open to the public, except a closed session will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 18 to address litigation and personnel matters. The Pacific Council will meet as late as necessary each day to complete its scheduled business.

ADDRESSES:

Meetings of the Council and its advisory entities will be held at the Hyatt Regency Orange County, 11999 Harbor Blvd., Garden Grove, CA 92840; telephone (714) 750-1234. Instructions for attending the meeting via live stream broadcast are given under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION, below.

Council address: Pacific Fishery Management Council, 7700 NE Ambassador Place, Suite 101, Portland, OR 97220.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Dr. Donald O. McIsaac, Executive Director, Pacific Fishery Management Council; telephone: (503) 820-2280 or (866) 806-7204 toll free. Access the Pacific Council Web site, http://www.pcouncil.org/council-operations/council-meetings/current-meeting/ for the current meeting location, proposed agendas, and meeting briefing materials.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Live Stream Broadcast Saturday, November 14, 2015 at 8 a.m. Through Thursday November 19, 2015

The general session of the Pacific Fishery Management Council will be streamed live on the internet beginning at 8 a.m. Pacific Time (PT) on Saturday, November 14, 2015 at 8 a.m. through Thursday November 19, 2015. The broadcast will end daily at 6 p.m. PT or when business for the day is complete. Only the audio portion, and portions of the presentations displayed on the screen at the Council meeting, will be broadcast. The audio portion is listen-only; you will be unable to speak to the Council via the broadcast. Join the meeting by visiting this link http://www.gotomeeting.com/online/webinar/join-webinar, enter the Webinar ID for this meeting, which is 145-232-603, and enter your email address as required. It is recommended that you use a computer headset as GoToMeeting allows you to listen to the meeting using your computer headset and speakers. If you do not have a headset and speakers, you may use your telephone for the audio portion of the meeting by dialing this toll number 1-951-266-6126 (not a toll free number); entering the phone audio access code 925-719-732; and then entering your Audio Pin which will be shown to you after joining the webinar. The webinar is broadcast in listen-only mode.

Agenda Saturday, November 14, 2015 at 8 a.m. Through Thursday November 19, 2015

The following items are on the Pacific Council agenda, but not necessarily in this order. Agenda items noted as “(Final Action)” refer to actions requiring the Council to transmit a proposed fishery management plan, proposed plan amendment, or proposed regulations to the Secretary of Commerce, under Sections 304 or 305 of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Additional detail on agenda items, Council action, and meeting rooms, is described in Agenda Item A.4, Proposed Council Meeting Agenda, and will be available in the advance November 2015 briefing materials and posted on the Council Web site http://www.pcouncil.org/council-operations/council-meetings/current-briefing-book/ no later than Thursday, October 29, 2015.

A. Call to Order 1. Opening Remarks 2. Roll Call 3. Executive Director's Report 4. Approve Agenda B. Open Comment Period 1. Comments on Non-Agenda Items C. Enforcement Issues 1. Tri-State Enforcement Report 2. Vessel Movement Monitoring Alternatives D. Salmon Management 1. National Marine Fisheries Service Report 2. Salmon Methodology Review 3. Salmon Management Schedule for 2016 E. Habitat 1. Current Habitat Issues F. Administrative Matters 1. Briefing on Recusals and Financial Interest Disclosures 2. Legislative Matters 3. Approval of Council Meeting Record 4. Fiscal Matters 5. Membership Appointments and Council Operating Procedures 6. Future Council Meeting Agenda and Workload Planning G. Highly Migratory Species Management 1. National Marine Fisheries Service Report 2. Swordfish Management Policy Connections H. Coastal Pelagic Species Management 1. Pacific Sardine Distribution Workshop 2. 2016 Exempted Fishing Permits Notice of Intent 3. Anchovy General Status Overview 4. 2016 Methodology Review Preliminary Topic Selection including Data-Limited Assessment Methods I. Groundfish Management 1. National Marine Fisheries Service Report 2. Preliminary exempted Fishing Permit Approval 3. Final Approval of Stock Assessments 4. Biennial Harvest Specifications for 2017-18 Groundfish Management Including Final Overfishing Limits and Acceptable Biological Catches (Final Action) 5. Whiting Electronic Monitoring Final Alternative and Regulations (Final Action) 6. Blackgill-Slope Complex Final Reallocation and Accumulation Limits (Final Action) 7. Stock Assessment Prioritization for the 2019-20 Management Cycle 8. Consideration of Inseason Adjustments (Final Action) 9. Biennial Management Measures for 2017-18 J. Pacific Halibut Management 1. Final 2016 Catch Sharing Plan and Management Measures, and Preliminary Sablefish Fishery Incidental Landing Regulations (Final Action) Advisory Body Agendas

Advisory body agendas will include discussions of relevant issues that are on the Council agenda for this meeting, and may also include issues that may be relevant to future Council meetings. Proposed advisory body agendas for this meeting will be available on the Council Web site http://www.pcouncil.org/council-operations/council-meetings/current-briefing-book/ no later than Thursday, October 29, 2015.

Schedule of Ancillary Meetings Friday, November 13, 2015

Coastal Pelagic Species Advisory Subpanel convening at 8 a.m.;

Coastal Pelagic Species Management Team convening at 8 a.m.;

Groundfish Electronic Monitoring Policy and Technical Advisory Committees convening at 8 a.m.;

Groundfish Management Team convening at 8 a.m.;

Highly Migratory Species Advisory Subpanel convening at 8 a.m.;

Highly Migratory Species Management Team convening at 8 a.m.;

Scientific and Statistical Committee convening at 8 a.m.;

Habitat Committee convening at 8:30 a.m.;

Legislative Committee convening at 1 p.m.;

Budget Committee convening at 2 p.m.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

California State Delegation convening at 7 a.m.;

Oregon State Delegation convening at 7 a.m.;

Washington State Delegation convening at 7 a.m.;

Coastal Pelagic Species Advisory Subpanel convening at 8 a.m.;

Coastal Pelagic Species Management Team convening at 8 a.m.;

Enforcement Consultants convening at 8 a.m.;

Groundfish Advisory Subpanel convening at 8 a.m.;

Groundfish Management Team convening at 8 a.m.;

Highly Migratory Species Advisory Subpanel convening at 8 a.m.;

Highly Migratory Species Management Team convening at 8 a.m.;

Scientific and Statistical Committee convening at 8 a.m.;

Annual Awards Banquet convening at 6 p.m.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

California State Delegation convening at 7 a.m.;

Oregon State Delegation convening at 7 a.m.;

Washington State Delegation convening at 7 a.m.;

Groundfish Advisory Subpanel convening at 8 a.m.;

Groundfish Management Team convening at 8 a.m.;

Enforcement Consultants convening on an ad hoc basis;

Stock Assessment Briefing convening at 7 p.m.

Monday, November 16, 2015

California State Delegation convening at 7 a.m.;

Oregon State Delegation convening at 7 a.m.;

Washington State Delegation convening at 7 a.m.;

Groundfish Advisory Subpanel convening at 8 a.m.;

Groundfish Management Team convening at 8 a.m.;

Enforcement Consultants convening on an ad hoc basis.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

California State Delegation convening at 7 a.m.;

Oregon State Delegation convening at 7 a.m.;

Washington State Delegation convening at 7 a.m.;

Groundfish Advisory Subpanel convening at 8 a.m.;

Groundfish Management Team convening at 8 a.m.;

Enforcement Consultants convening on an ad hoc basis.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

California State Delegation convening at 7 a.m.;

Oregon State Delegation convening at 7 a.m.;

Washington State Delegation convening at 7 a.m.;

Groundfish Advisory Subpanel convening at 8 a.m.;

Groundfish Management Team convening at 8 a.m.;

Enforcement Consultants convening on an ad hoc basis.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

California State Delegation convening at 7 a.m.;

Oregon State Delegation convening at 7 a.m.;

Washington State Delegation convening at 7 a.m.

Although non-emergency issues not contained in this agenda may come before this Council for discussion, those issues may not be the subject of formal Council action during these meetings. Council action will be restricted to those issues specifically listed in this notice and any issues arising after publication of this notice that require emergency action under Section 305(c) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, provided the public has been notified of the Council's intent to take final action to address the emergency.

Special Accommodations

These meetings are physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to Kristopher Kleinschmidt at least five days prior to the meeting date by: telephone (503) 820-2280; at the Council office (see ADDRESSES); or by email at [email protected].

Authority:

16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

Dated: October 26, 2015. Tracey L. Thompson, Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2015-27591 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request

The Department of Commerce will submit to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for clearance the following proposal for collection of information under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35).

Agency: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Title: Alaska Recreational Charter Vessel Guide and Owner Data Collection.

OMB Control Number: 0648-0647.

Form Number(s): None.

Type of Request: Regular (reinstatement without change of a previously approved information collection).

Number of Respondents: 560.

Average Hours per Response: Mail survey, 90 minutes; follow-up telephone survey, 6 minutes.

Burden Hours: 260.

Needs and Uses: Numerous management measures have recently been proposed or implemented that affect recreational charter boat fishing for Pacific halibut off Alaska. On January 5, 2010, NMFS issued a final rule establishing a limited entry permit system for charter vessels in the guided halibut sport fishery in International Pacific Halibut Commission Areas 2C (Southeast Alaska) and 3A (Central Gulf of Alaska) (75FR554). This permit system is intended to address concerns about the growth of fishing capacity in this fishery sector, which accounts for a substantial portion of the overall recreational halibut catch in Alaska. On March 16, 2011, a size limit on Pacific halibut caught while charter boat fishing in Area 2C for the 2011 fishing season was established (76FR14300). In addition, a Halibut Catch Sharing Plan (76FR44156) was implemented in 2014 that altered the way Pacific halibut is allocated between the guided sport (i.e., the charter sector) and the commercial halibut fishery.

To assess the effect of regulatory restrictions (currently in place or potential) on charter operator and owner behavior and welfare, it is necessary to obtain a better general understanding of the Alaska recreational charter boat industry. Some information useful for this purpose is already collected from existing sources, such as charter vessel logbooks administered by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G). In addition, a voluntary survey under this OMB Control Number administered to collect economic information for three fishing seasons (2011-2013) from business owners in the charter fleet was administered between 2012 and 2014. It collected information on vessel and crew characteristics, services offered to clients, spatial and temporal aspects of their operations and fishing behavior, and costs and earnings information for the three fishing seasons prior to implementation of the Halibut Catch Sharing Plan. These data were collected directly from the industry since they are not available from other existing data sources. A description of the previously-fielded survey and a summary of the results are available in a NOAA Technical Memorandum that can be accessed at http://www.afsc.noaa.gov/Publications/AFSC-TM/NOAA-TM-AFSC-299.pdf.

To evaluate changes in the charter sector associated with the Halibut Catch Sharing Plan, the National Marine Fisheries Service's (NMFS) Alaska Fisheries Science Center proposes to continue the implementation of the survey of charter vessel owners to collect annual cost, earnings, and employment data that will supplement logbook data collected by ADF&G. The proposed data collection will provide another three years of basic economic information about the charter sector beyond the 2011 to 2013 data that was collected previously, including revenues produced from different products and services provided to clients, fixed and variable operating costs, and locations of purchases. These data will support improved analysis and of the effects of fisheries regulations on the charter fishing industry, information that is increasingly needed by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council and NMFS to more completely understand ongoing halibut allocation issues and other fishery management issues involving the charter industry. The survey will have minor changes, including, possibly, a small set of questions about how charter vessels have been impacted by a new management program)

Affected Public: Business or other for-profit organizations.

Frequency: Annually.

Respondent's Obligation: Voluntary.

This information collection request may be viewed at reginfo.gov. Follow the instructions to view Department of Commerce collections currently under review by OMB.

Written comments and recommendations for the proposed information collection should be sent within 30 days of publication of this notice to [email protected] or fax to (202) 395-5806.

Dated: October 26, 2015. Sarah Brabson, NOAA PRA Clearance Officer.
[FR Doc. 2015-27570 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XE275 New England Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting AGENCY:

National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

ACTION:

Notice; public meeting.

SUMMARY:

The New England Fishery Management Council (Council) is scheduling a public meeting of its Joint Skate Advisory Panel & Committee Meeting to consider actions affecting New England fisheries in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Recommendations from this group will be brought to the full Council for formal consideration and action, if appropriate.

DATES:

This meeting will be held on Thursday, November 12, 2015 at 9:30 a.m.

ADDRESSES:

The meeting will be held at the Radisson Airport Hotel, 2081 Post Road, Warwick, RI 02886; telephone: (401) 739-3000; fax: (401) 732-9309.

Council address: New England Fishery Management Council, 50 Water Street, Mill 2, Newburyport, MA 01950.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Thomas A. Nies, Executive Director, New England Fishery Management Council; telephone: (978) 465-0492.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Agenda

The Skate Committee and Advisory Panel will review Plan Development Team work on alternatives under consideration and impacts of these alternatives in Framework Adjustment 3 and select preferred alternatives. They will also discuss other business as necessary.

Special Accommodations

This meeting is physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to Thomas A. Nies, Executive Director, at (978) 465-0492, at least 5 days prior to the meeting date.

Authority:

16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

Dated: October 26, 2015. Tracey L. Thompson, Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2015-27598 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION Fees for Reviews of the Rule Enforcement Programs of Designated Contract Markets and Registered Futures Associations AGENCY:

Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

ACTION:

Notice of 2015 schedule of fees.

SUMMARY:

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC” or “Commission”) charges fees to designated contract markets and registered futures associations to recover the costs incurred by the Commission in the operation of its program of oversight of self-regulatory organization rule enforcement programs, specifically National Futures Association, a registered futures association, and the designated contract markets. The calculation of the fee amounts charged for 2015 by this notice is based upon an average of actual program costs incurred during fiscal year (“FY”) 2012, FY 2013, and FY 2014.

DATES:

Effective date: Each self-regulatory organization is required to remit electronically the applicable fee on or before December 28, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Mary Jean Buhler, Chief Financial Officer, Commodity Futures Trading Commission; (202) 418-5089; Three Lafayette Centre, 1155 21st Street NW., Washington, DC 20581. For information on electronic payment, contact Jennifer Fleming; (202) 418-5034; Three Lafayette Centre, 1155 21st Street NW., Washington, DC 20581.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background Information A. General

This notice relates to fees for the Commission's review of the rule enforcement programs at the registered futures associations 1 and designated contract markets (“DCM”), each of which is a self-regulatory organization (“SRO”) regulated by the Commission. The Commission recalculates the fees charged each year to cover the costs of operating this Commission program.2 The fees are set each year based on direct program costs, plus an overhead factor. The Commission calculates actual costs, then calculates an alternate fee taking volume into account, and then charges the lower of the two.3

1 National Futures Association is the only registered futures association.

2See Section 237 of the Futures Trading Act of 1982, 7 U.S.C. 16a, and 31 U.S.C. 9701. For a broader discussion of the history of Commission fees, see 52 FR 46070, Dec. 4, 1987.

3 58 FR 42643, Aug. 11, 1993, and 17 CFR part 1, app. B.

B. Overhead Rate

The fees charged by the Commission to the SROs are designed to recover program costs, including direct labor costs and overhead. The overhead rate is calculated by dividing total Commission-wide overhead direct program labor costs into the total amount of the Commission-wide overhead pool. For this purpose, direct program labor costs are the salary costs of personnel working in all Commission programs. Overhead costs generally consist of the following Commission-wide costs: Indirect personnel costs (leave and benefits), rent, communications, contract services, utilities, equipment, and supplies. This formula has resulted in the following overhead rates for the most recent three years (rounded to the nearest whole percent): 161 percent for FY 2012, 181 percent for FY 2013, and 180 percent for FY 2014.

C. Conduct of SRO Rule Enforcement Reviews

Under the formula adopted by the Commission in 1993, the Commission calculates the fee to recover the costs of its rule enforcement reviews and examinations, based on the three-year average of the actual cost of performing such reviews and examinations at each SRO. The cost of operation of the Commission's SRO oversight program varies from SRO to SRO, according to the size and complexity of each SRO's program. The three-year averaging computation method is intended to smooth out year-to-year variations in cost. Timing of the Commission's reviews and examinations may affect costs—a review or examination may span two fiscal years and reviews and examinations are not conducted at each SRO each year.

As noted above, adjustments to actual costs may be made to relieve the burden on an SRO with a disproportionately large share of program costs. The Commission's formula provides for a reduction in the assessed fee if an SRO has a smaller percentage of United States industry contract volume than its percentage of overall Commission oversight program costs. This adjustment reduces the costs so that, as a percentage of total Commission SRO oversight program costs, they are in line with the pro rata percentage for that SRO of United States industry-wide contract volume.

The calculation is made as follows: The fee required to be paid to the Commission by each DCM is equal to the lesser of actual costs based on the three-year historical average of costs for that DCM or one-half of average costs incurred by the Commission for each DCM for the most recent three years, plus a pro rata share (based on average trading volume for the most recent three years) of the aggregate of average annual costs of all DCMs for the most recent three years. The formula for calculating the second factor is: 0.5a + 0.5 vt = current fee. In this formula, “a” equals the average annual costs, “v” equals the percentage of total volume across DCMs over the last three years, and “t” equals the average annual costs for all DCMs. NFA has no contracts traded; hence, its fee is based simply on costs for the most recent three fiscal years. This table summarizes the data used in the calculations of the resulting fee for each entity:

Actual total costs FY 2012 FY 2013 FY 2014 3-Year average actual costs 3-Year percent of volume Volume
  • adjusted
  • costs
  • 2015
  • Assessed
  • fee
  • CBOE Futures $29,278 $235,567 $— $88,282 0.98 $50,853 $50,853 Chicago Board of Trade 238,392 164,974 55,515 152,960 30.02 281,079 152,960 Chicago Mercantile Exchange 757,347 391,917 225,701 458,322 44.93 535,344 458,322 ELX Futures 34,593 134,267 56,287 0.026 28,320 28,320 ICE Futures U.S. 221,813 360,223 81,176 221,071 8.56 168,880 168,880 Kansas City Board of Trade 34,335 559 11,631 0.12 6,615 6,615 Minneapolis Grain Exchange 60,897 220,975 47,648 109,840 0.04 55,225 55,225 NADEX North American 11,293 101,252 980 37,842 0.033 19,147 19,147 New York Mercantile Exchange .. 7,411 135,316 225,672 122,800 14.69 161,480 122,800 NYSE LIFFE US 71,317 24,802 32,039 0.34 18,354 18,354 One Chicago 55,755 128,599 31,196 71,850 0.241 37,568 37,568 Subtotal 1,522,431 1,898,451 667,888 1,362,924 100 1,362,865 1,119,044 National Futures Association 487,328 186,499 292,102 321,976 321,976 Total 2,009,759 2,084,950 959,990 1,684,900 1,441,020

    An example of how the fee is calculated for one exchange, the Chicago Board of Trade, is set forth here:

    a. Actual three-year average costs equal $152,960.

    b. The alternative computation is: (.5) ($152,960) + (.5) (.30) ($1,347,041) = $278,695.

    c. The fee is the lesser of a or b; in this case $152,960.

    As noted above, the alternative calculation based on contracts traded is not applicable to NFA because it is not a DCM and has no contracts traded. The Commission's average annual cost for conducting oversight review of the NFA rule enforcement program during fiscal years 2012 through 2014 was $321,976. The fee to be paid by the NFA for the current fiscal year is $321,976.

    II. Schedule of Fees

    Fees for the Commission's review of the rule enforcement programs at the registered futures associations and DCMs regulated by the Commission are as follows:

    3-Year average actual cost 3-Year percent of volume 2015 Fee lesser of actual or calculated fee CBOE Futures $88,282 0.98 $50,853 Chicago Board of Trade 152,960 30.02 152,960 Chicago Mercantile Exchange 458,322 44.93 458,322 ELX Futures 56,287 0.03 28,320 ICE Futures U.S. 221,071 8.56 168,880 Kansas City Board of Trade 11,631 0.12 6,615 Minneapolis Grain Exchange 109,840 0.04 55,225 NADEX North American 37,842 0.03 19,147 New York Mercantile Exchange 122,800 14.69 122,800 NYSE LIFFE US 32,039 0.34 18,354 One Chicago 71,850 0.2412 37,568 Subtotal 1,362,924 100 1,119,044 National Futures Association 321,976 321,976 Total 1,684,900 1,441,020 III. Payment Method

    The Debt Collection Improvement Act (DCIA) requires deposits of fees owed to the government by electronic transfer of funds. See 31 U.S.C. 3720. For information about electronic payments, please contact Jennifer Fleming at (202) 418-5034 or [email protected], or see the CFTC Web site at www.cftc.gov, specifically, www.cftc.gov/cftc/cftcelectronicpayments.htm.

    (Authority: 7 U.S.C. 16a) Issued in Washington, DC, on October 23, 2015, by the Commission. Christopher J. Kirkpatrick, Secretary of the Commission.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27535 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6351-01-P
    BUREAU OF CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION [Docket No. CFPB-2015-0046] Agency Information Collection Activities: Comment Request AGENCY:

    Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.

    ACTION:

    Notice and request for comment.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Bureau) is requesting to renew the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) approval for an existing information collection titled, “Generic Information Collection Plan for Information on Compliance Costs and Other Effects of Regulations.”

    DATES:

    Written comments are encouraged and must be received on or before December 28, 2015 to be assured of consideration.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by the title of the information collection, OMB Control Number (see below), and docket number (see above), by any of the following methods:

    Electronic: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    Mail: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Attention: PRA Office), 1700 G Street NW., Washington, DC 20552.

    Hand Delivery/Courier: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Attention: PRA Office), 1275 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20002.

    Please note that comments submitted after the comment period will not be accepted. In general, all comments received will become public records, including any personal information provided. Sensitive personal information, such as account numbers or social security numbers, should not be included.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Documentation prepared in support of this information collection request is available at www.regulations.gov. Requests for additional information should be directed to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, (Attention: PRA Office), 1700 G Street NW., Washington, DC 20552, (202) 435-9575, or email: [email protected] Please do not submit comments to this mailbox.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title of Collection: Generic Information Collection Plan for Information on Compliance Costs and Other Effects of Regulations.

    OMB Control Number: 3170-0032.

    Type of Review: Extension without change of a currently approved collection.

    Affected Public: Private Sector.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: 8,150.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 9,008.

    Abstract: The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act requires or authorizes the Consumer Financial Projection Bureau to implement new consumer protections in certain sectors of financial markets, including the mortgage and remittance industries. The information collected is required in order to effectively incorporate information from financial services providers concerning compliance costs and other effects of regulations into potential rulemakings.

    Request for Comments: Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Bureau, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) The accuracy of the Bureau's estimate of the burden of the collection of information, including the validity of the methods and the assumptions used; (c) Ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) Ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval. All comments will become a matter of public record.

    Dated: October 23, 2015. Linda F. Powell, Chief Data Officer, Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27576 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4810-AM-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary [Transmittal No. 15-54] 36(b)(1) Arms Sales Notification AGENCY:

    Defense Security Cooperation Agency, Department of Defense.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Defense is publishing the unclassified text of a section 36(b)(1) arms sales notification. This is published to fulfill the requirements of section 155 of Public Law 104-164 dated July 21, 1996.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Sarah A. Ragan or Heather N. Harwell, DSCA/LMO, (703) 604-1546/(703) 607-5339.

    The following is a copy of a letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Transmittal 15-54 with attached Policy Justification.

    Dated: October 23, 2015. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense. BILLING CODE 5001-06-P EN29OC15.004 BILLING CODE 5001-06-C Transmittal No. 15-54 Notice of Proposed Issuance of Letter of Offer Pursuant to Section 36(b)(l) of the Arms Export Control Act, as amended

    (i) Prospective Purchaser: The Government of Spain

    (ii) Total Estimated Value:

    Major Defense Equipment * $ 80 million Other $163 million TOTAL $243 million

    (iii) Description and Quantity or Quantities of Articles or Services under Consideration for Purchase:

    Major Defense Equipment (MDE):

    Four (4) MQ-9 Block 5 Remotely Piloted Aircraft Twenty (20) Embedded Global Positioning System/Inertial Guidance Unit (EGI) (3 per aircraft, and 8 spares) Two (2) Mobile Ground Control Stations (MGCS) Five (5) Multi-Spectral Targeting Systems (MTS-B) (1 per aircraft, 1 spare) Five (5) Synthetic Aperture Radar, Lynx AN/APY-8 (1 per aircraft, 1 spare)

    Also provided are a unique and common spares package, support equipment, United States Air Force (USAF) technical orders, country specific technical orders, Contractor Logistics Support for two (optional three) years, contractor provided aircraft components, spares, and accessories, personnel training, and other related elements of logistical and program support.

    (iv) Military Department: Air Force (X8-D-SAA)

    (v) Prior Related Cases, if any: None

    (vi) Sales Commission, Fee, etc., Paid, Offered, or Agreed to be Paid: None

    (vii) Sensitivity of Technology Contained in the Defense Article or Defense Services Proposed to be Sold: See Attached Annex

    (viii) Date Report Delivered to Congress: 05 Oct 2015

    * As defined in Section 47(6) of the Arms Export Control Act.

    POLICY JUSTIFICATION Spain—MQ-9 Block 5 aircraft

    The Government of Spain requested a possible sale of:

    Major Defense Equipment (MDE):

    Four (4) MQ-9 Block 5 Remotely Piloted Aircraft Twenty (20) Embedded Global Positioning System/Inertial Guidance Unit (EGI) (3 per aircraft, and 8 spares) Two (2) Mobile Ground Control Stations (MGCS) Five (5) Multi-Spectral Targeting Systems (MTS-B) (1 per aircraft, 1 spare) Five (5) Synthetic Aperture Radar, Lynx AN/APY-8 (1 per aircraft, 1 spare)

    Also provided are a unique and common spares package, support equipment, United States Air Force (USAF) technical orders, country specific technical orders, Contractor Logistics Support for two (optional three) years, contractor provided aircraft components, spares, and accessories, personnel training, and other related elements of logistical and program support. The estimated MDE cost is $80 million. The estimated total cost is $243 million.

    This proposed sale enhances the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capability of the Spanish military in support of national, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), United Nations, and other coalition operations. Commonality of ISR capabilities increases interoperability between U.S. and Spanish forces and provides a common interface with other MQ-9 NATO operators, including the United Kingdom, France, and Italy. The Spanish Air Force intends to use the MQ-9s for homeland security, peacekeeping, peace enforcement, counterinsurgency, and counterterrorism operations. The proposed sale improves Spain's ability to meet current and future threats by providing improved ISR coverage that promotes increased battlefield situational awareness, anticipates enemy intent, augments combat search and rescue, and provides ground troop support.

    Spain requests these capabilities to provide for the defense of its deployed troops, regional security, and interoperability with the United States. Spain will have no difficulty absorbing this additional capability.

    The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

    The principal contractor will be General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. in San Diego, California. Other sole source requests identified in the Letter of Request are Raytheon Company in McKinney, Texas, and L-3 Communications Systems—West in Salt Lake City, Utah. The purchaser requested offsets. At this time, offset agreements are undetermined and will be defined in negotiations between the purchaser and contractor.

    Implementation of this proposed sale may require multiple trips for U.S. contractor representatives to Spain and potentially deployed locations to provide initial launch, recovery, and maintenance support.

    There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale. All defense articles and services have been approved for release by the USAF foreign disclosure office.

    Transmittal No. 15-54 Notice of Proposed Issuance of Letter of Offer Pursuant to Section 36(b)(1) of the Arms Export Control Act Annex Item No. vii

    (vii) Sensitivity of Technology:

    1. The MQ-9 is a long-endurance, high-altitude Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) used for surveillance, military reconnaissance, and targeting missions. MQ-9 is capable of performing real-time and pre-programmed flight missions. Real-time missions are flown under the control of a pilot in a Ground Control Station (GCS). A data link is maintained that uplinks control commands and downlinks video with telemetry data. The data link can be a Line-of-Sight (LOS) C-Band communication or Beyond Line-of-Sight (BLOS) Ku-Band Satellite Communication (SATCOM). Missions are preprogrammed by pilots in the GCS or hand flown under the control of an onboard suite of redundant computers, controls, and sensors. A pilot initiates a pre programmed mission once the aircraft is airborne and lands the aircraft when the mission is completed. Pilots can change preprogrammed mission parameters as often as required. The aircraft can also be handed off to other strategically placed ground- or sea-based GCSs.

    The MQ-9 is designed to carry 800 pounds of internal payload with maximum fuel and can carry multiple mission payloads aloft. The following payloads are being integrated into the MQ-9 being prepared for offer to Spain as part of this proposed sale: Electro-Optical/Infrared (EO/IR), Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), and laser designators.

    a. The equipment proposed for the Spanish MQ-9 (Reaper) Letter of Request (LOR) is classified up to Secret.

    2. The Spanish MQ-9 system includes the following components:

    a. A secure Mobile Ground Control Station (MGCS) with workstations that allow operators to control and monitor the aircraft, as well as record and exploit downlinked payload data.

    b. The Raytheon Multi-Spectral Targeting System (MTS-B with Laser Target Designation) and multi-use ElectroOptical (EO)/Infra-Red (IR) sensor provides long-range surveillance, high-altitude target acquisition, tracking, and range-finding.

    c. Modified Weaponization Kit (UHK16205-1) is a hardware kit built into the aircraft at the time of production to include the necessary cables, mission kits, module assemblies, and switching modules that are critical in allowing mating, powering, and communicating with weapons that might be desired and authorized for use on the platform in the future. The Weaponization Kit to be provided under this proposed sale will not include the other necessary hardware required to employ weapons (aircraft pylons, bomb racks, weapons-specific components of the country specific technical orders (CSTOs) and airworthiness documents). Additionally, weapons employment will require software enhancement to the GCS prior to employment.

    3. If a technologically advanced adversary were to obtain knowledge of the specific hardware or software in this proposed sale, any information gleaned from exploitation of hardware, publications and software could be used to develop countermeasures (electronic, infrared, or other types) as well as offensive and defensive counter-tactics and allow an adversary to exploit those vulnerabilities during combat.

    4. A determination has been made that the recipient country can provide substantially the same degree of protection for the sensitive technology being released as the U.S. Government. This sale is necessary in furtherance of the U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives outlined in the Policy Justification.

    [FR Doc. 2015-27503 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary [Docket ID: DoD-2014-OS-0112] Proposed Collection; Comment Request AGENCY:

    Defense Logistics Agency, DoD.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Defense Logistics Agency announces a proposed public information collection and seeks public comment on the provisions thereof. Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed information collection; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the information collection on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    DATES:

    Consideration will be given to all comments received by December 28, 2015

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by docket number and title, by any of the following methods:

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    Mail: Department of Defense, Office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer, Directorate of Oversight and Compliance, Regulatory and Audit Matters Office, 9010 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-9010.

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name, docket number and title for this Federal Register document. The general policy for comments and other submissions from members of the public is to make these submissions available for public viewing on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov as they are received without change, including any personal identifiers or contact information.

    Any associated form(s) for this collection may be located within this same electronic docket and downloaded for review/testing. Follow the instructions at http://www.regulations.gov for submitting comments. Please submit comments on any given form identified by docket number, form number, and title.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    To request more information on this proposed information collection or to obtain a copy of the proposal and associated collection instruments, please write to the DLA Logistics Information Services, ATTN: Mr. Robert A Burrow, DLIS-LAE, 74 Washington Ave. N., Suite 7, Battle Creek MI 49037-3084, or call Mr. Robert A Burrow at (269)-961-4410.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title; Associated Form; And OMB Number: Department of Defense Electronic Mall Web site; OMB Control Number 0704-XXXX.

    Needs And Uses: Each user of the DoD EMALL Web site must complete registration information in order to receive DoD EMALL access. Only authorized personnel of Federal, State, and Local government are able to register and log into the DoD EMALL Web site to shop, search, order, and make purchases.

    Affected Public: Not-for-profit institutions; State, local or Tribal governments.

    Annual Burden Hours: 8,344.75.

    Number of Respondents: 33,379.

    Responses per Respondent: 1

    Annual Responses: 33,379.

    Average Burden per Response: 15 minutes

    Frequency: On occasion.

    DoD EMALL is an Internet-based Electronic Mall, which allows customers to search for an order items from the government and commercial sources. DoD EMALL is a Department of Defense program operated by the Defense Logistics Information Service (DLIS). All users are required to register and be authenticated and authorized by a DLIS Access Administrator.

    Dated: October 23, 2015. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27508 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary Revised Non-Foreign Overseas Per Diem Rates AGENCY:

    Defense Travel Management Office.

    ACTION:

    Notice of Revised Non-Foreign Overseas Per Diem Rates.

    SUMMARY:

    The Defense Travel Management Office is publishing Civilian Personnel Per Diem Bulletin Number 299. This bulletin lists revisions in the per diem rates prescribed for U.S. Government employees for official travel in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands and Possessions of the United States when applicable. AEA changes announced in Bulletin Number 194 remain in effect. Bulletin Number 299 is being published in the Federal Register to assure that travelers are paid per diem at the most current rates.

    DATES:

    Effective Date: November 1, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Sonia Malik, 571-372-1276.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This document gives notice of revisions in per diem rates prescribed by the Defense Travel Management Office for non-foreign areas outside the contiguous United States. It supersedes Civilian Personnel Per Diem Bulletin Number 298. Per Diem Bulletins published periodically in the Federal Register now constitute the only notification of revisions in per diem rates to agencies and establishments outside the Department of Defense. For more information or questions about per diem rates, please contact your local travel office. Civilian Bulletin 299 includes updated rates for Puerto Rico.

    Dated: October 23, 2015. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense. BILLING CODE 5001-06-P EN29OC15.005 EN29OC15.006 EN29OC15.007 EN29OC15.008 EN29OC15.009 EN29OC15.010 EN29OC15.011 EN29OC15.012 EN29OC15.013 EN29OC15.014
    [FR Doc. 2015-27506 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-C
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary [Docket ID: DoD-2015-OS-0112] Privacy Act of 1974; System of Records AGENCY:

    Office of the Secretary of Defense, DoD.

    ACTION:

    Notice to alter a System of Records.

    SUMMARY:

    The Office of the Secretary of Defense proposes to alter a system of records notice DMDC 05, entitled “Joint Duty Assignment Management Information System (JDAMIS)” to enable consolidated tracking of joint experiences for the purpose of awarding joint qualification experience and training, and to provide an annual report to Congress as required by Title 10, Chapter 38, Section 667. Records are also used as a management tool for statistical analysis, tracking, reporting to Congress, evaluating program effectiveness, and conducting research.

    DATES:

    Comments will be accepted on or before November 30, 2015. This proposed action will be effective on the date following the end of the comment period unless comments are received which result in a contrary determination.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by docket number and title, by any of the following methods:

    • Federal Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    • Mail: Department of Defense, Office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer, Directorate of Oversight and Compliance, Regulatory and Audit Matters Office, 9010 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-9010.

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name and docket number for this Federal Register document. The general policy for comments and other submissions from members of the public is to make these submissions available for public viewing on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov as they are received without change, including any personal identifiers or contact information.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Cindy Allard, Chief, OSD/JS Privacy Office, Freedom of Information Directorate, Washington Headquarters Service, 1155 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1155, or by phone at (571)372-0461.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Office of the Secretary of Defense notices for systems of records subject to the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a), as amended, have been published in the Federal Register and are available from the address in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT or from the Defense Privacy and Civil Liberties Division Web site at http://dpcld.defense.gov/.

    The proposed systems reports, as required by 5 U.S.C. 552a(r) of the Privacy Act, as amended, were submitted on October 23, 2015, to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) pursuant to paragraph 4c of Appendix I to OMB Circular No. A-130, “Federal Agency Responsibilities for Maintaining Records About Individuals,” dated February 8, 1996, (February 20, 1996, 61 FR 6427).

    Dated: October 23, 2015. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense. DMDC 05 System name:

    Joint Duty Assignment Management Information System (JDAMIS) (March 15, 2011, 76 FR 13992).

    Changes: Categories of individuals covered by the system:

    Delete entry and replace with “All military officers of the Armed Forces who: Are serving or have served in billets designated as joint duty assignment positions; are attending or have completed joint professional military education schools; are designated as joint qualified at various levels of qualification; or are eligible to be nominated and designated at various joint qualification levels; and have earned approved joint experience or discretionary points.”

    Categories of records in the system:

    Delete entry and replace with “Information on individuals includes first name, last name, Social Security Number (SSN), date of birth, gender, date of rank, military branch, occupation, duty station, joint professional military education status, pay grade, race, ethnicity, joint qualification level, skill code, departure reason, and DoD email address. Also includes information on billets such as service, unit identification code, tour length, rank, job title, and critical billet code.”

    Authority for maintenance of the system:

    Delete entry and replace with “10 U.S.C. Chapter 38, Joint Officer Management; 10 U.S.C. Chapter 107, Professional Military Education; 10 U.S.C. 136, Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness; Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Instruction 1330.05, Joint Officer Management Program Procedures; DoD Instruction 1300.19, DoD Joint Officer Management (JOM) Program; and E.O. 9397 (SSN), as amended.”

    Purpose(s):

    Delete entry and replace with “To enable consolidated tracking of joint experiences for the purpose of awarding joint qualification experience and training, and to provide an annual report to Congress as required by Title 10, Chapter 38, Section 667. Records are also used as a management tool for statistical analysis, tracking, reporting to Congress, evaluating program effectiveness, and conducting research.”

    Routine uses of records maintained in the system, including categories of users and the purposes of such uses:

    Delete entry and replace with “In addition to those disclosures generally permitted under 5 U.S.C. 552a(b) of the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, the records contained herein may specifically be disclosed outside the DoD as a routine use pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(b)(3) as follows:

    Law Enforcement Routine Use: If a system of records maintained by a DoD Component to carry out its functions indicates a violation or potential violation of law, whether civil, criminal, or regulatory in nature, and whether arising by general statute or by regulation, rule, or order issued pursuant thereto, the relevant records in the system of records may be referred, as a routine use, to the agency concerned, whether federal, state, local, or foreign, charged with the responsibility of investigating or prosecuting such violation or charged with enforcing or implementing the statute, rule, regulation, or order issued pursuant thereto.

    Congressional Inquiries Disclosure Routine Use: Disclosure from a system of records maintained by a DoD Component may be made to a congressional office from the record of an individual in response to an inquiry from the congressional office made at the request of that individual.

    Disclosure to the Department of Justice for Litigation Routine Use: A record from a system of records maintained by a DoD Component may be disclosed as a routine use to any component of the Department of Justice for the purpose of representing the Department of Defense, or any officer, employee or member of the Department in pending or potential litigation to which the record is pertinent.

    Disclosure of Information to the National Archives and Records Administration Routine Use: A record from a system of records maintained by a DoD Component may be disclosed as a routine use to the National Archives and Records Administration for the purpose of records management inspections conducted under authority of 44 U.S.C. 2904 and 2906.

    Data Breach Remediation Purposes Routine Use: A record from a system of records maintained by a Component may be disclosed to appropriate agencies, entities, and persons when (1) The Component suspects or has confirmed that the security or confidentiality of the information in the system of records has been compromised; (2) the Component has determined that as a result of the suspected or confirmed compromise there is a risk of harm to economic or property interests, identity theft or fraud, or harm to the security or integrity of this system or other systems or programs (whether maintained by the Component or another agency or entity) that rely upon the compromised information; and (3) the disclosure made to such agencies, entities, and persons is reasonably necessary to assist in connection with the Components efforts to respond to the suspected or confirmed compromise and prevent, minimize, or remedy such harm.

    The DoD Blanket Routine Uses set forth at the beginning of the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) compilation of systems of records notices may apply to this system. The complete list of DoD blanket routine uses can be found online at: http://dpcld.defense.gov/Privacy/SORNsIndex/BlanketRoutineUses.aspx”

    Safeguards:

    Delete entry and replace with “Electronic records are maintained in a controlled area accessible only to authorized personnel. Entry to these areas is restricted by the use of locks, guards, and administrative procedures such as periodic security audits and regular monitoring of users' security practices. Access to personal information is limited to those who require the records in the performance of their official duties. Access to personal information is further restricted by the use of the Common Access Card (CAC), intrusion detection system (IDS), encryption and firewalls.”

    System manager(s) and address:

    Delete entry and replace with “Deputy Director, Defense Manpower Data Center, DoD Center Monterey Bay, 400 Gigling Road, Seaside, CA 93955-6771.”

    Notification procedure:

    Delete entry and replace with “Individuals seeking to determine whether information about themselves is contained in this system should address written inquiries to the Deputy Director, Defense Manpower Data Center, DoD Center Monterey Bay, 400 Gigling Road, Seaside, CA 93955-6771.

    Signed, written requests should contain the requester's first name, last name, SSN, current address and telephone number.”

    Record access procedures:

    Delete entry and replace with “Individuals seeking access to information about themselves contained in this system should address written inquiries to the Office of the Secretary of Defense/Joint Staff, Freedom of Information Act Requester Service Center, 1155 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1155.

    Signed, written requests should contain the name and number of this system of records notice along with the requester's first name, last name, SSN, current address and telephone number.”

    Record source categories:

    Delete entry and replace with “DMDC Active Duty and Reserve Component flat files, Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System database, the Military Services, and the Joint Staff.”

    [FR Doc. 2015-27528 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary [Docket ID: DoD-2015-OS-0113] Privacy Act of 1974; System of Records AGENCY:

    Office of the Secretary of Defense, DoD.

    ACTION:

    Notice to add a new System of Records.

    SUMMARY:

    The Office of the Secretary of Defense proposes to add a new system of records, DUSDA 15, entitled “AT&L External Account Creation System (EACS)” to validate eligibility, and maintain an official registry that identifies individuals who apply for, and are granted access privileges to AT&L products, services and electronic information systems.

    DATES:

    Comments will be accepted on or before November 30, 2015. This proposed action will be effective the day following the end of the comment period unless comments are received which result in a contrary determination.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by docket number and title, by any of the following methods:

    * Federal Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    * Mail: Department of Defense, Office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer, Directorate of Oversight and Compliance, Regulatory and Audit Matters Office, 9010 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-9010.

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name and docket number for this Federal Register document. The general policy for comments and other submissions from members of the public is to make these submissions available for public viewing on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov as they are received without change, including any personal identifiers or contact information.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Cindy Allard, Chief, OSD/JS Privacy Office, Freedom of Information Directorate, Washington Headquarters Service, 1155 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1155, or by phone at (571) 372-0461.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Office of the Secretary of Defense notices for systems of records subject to the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a), as amended, have been published in the Federal Register and are available from the address in FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT or at http://dpcld.defense.gov/. The proposed system report, as required by 5 U.S.C. 552a(r) of the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, was submitted on October 23, 2015, to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) pursuant to paragraph 4c of Appendix I to OMB Circular No. A-130, “Federal Agency Responsibilities for Maintaining Records About Individuals,” dated February 8, 1996 (February 20, 1996, 61 FR 6427).

    Dated: October 23, 2015. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense. DUSDA 15 System Name:

    AT&L External Account Creation System (EACS)

    System Location:

    Pentagon, 1400 Defense Pentagon, Arlington, VA 20301-1400.

    Categories of Individuals Covered by the System:

    DoD and other U.S. Federal Government agency military and civilian personnel, and contractors; researchers of colleges or universities funded by DoD or other U.S. Federal Government agencies; students and employees of specifically qualifying educational institutions, groups, and programs.

    Categories of Records in the System:

    Full name, title, DoD Identification number, employment type (civilian, contractor, military), work contact information (address, phone number, and email address).

    Authority for Maintenance of the System:

    10 U.S.C. 133, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (AT&L); DoD Instruction (DoDI) 5200.01, DoD Information Security Program and Protection of Sensitive Compartmented Information; and DoDI 8520.02, Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) and Public Key (PK) Enabling.

    Purpose(s):

    To validate eligibility, and maintain an official registry that identifies individuals who apply for, and are granted access privileges to AT&L products, services and electronic information systems.

    Routine Uses of Records Maintained in the System, Including Categories of Users and the Purposes of Such Uses:

    In addition to those disclosures generally permitted under 5 U.S.C. 552a(b) of the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, the records contained herein may specifically be disclosed outside the DoD as a routine use pursuant to 552a(b)(3) as follows:

    Law Enforcement Routine Use: If a system of records maintained by a DoD Component to carry out its functions indicates a violation or potential violation of law, whether civil, criminal, or regulatory in nature, and whether arising by general statute or by regulation, rule, or order issued pursuant thereto, the relevant records in the system of records may be referred, as a routine use, to the agency concerned, whether federal, state, local, or foreign, charged with the responsibility of investigating or prosecuting such violation or charged with enforcing or implementing the statute, rule, regulation, or order issued pursuant thereto.

    Congressional Inquiries Disclosure Routine Use: Disclosure from a system of records maintained by a DoD Component may be made to a congressional office from the record of an individual in response to an inquiry from the congressional office made at the request of that individual.

    Disclosure to the Department of Justice for Litigation Routine Use: A record from a system of records maintained by a DoD Component may be disclosed as a routine use to any component of the Department of Justice for the purpose of representing the Department of Defense, or any officer, employee or member of the Department in pending or potential litigation to which the record is pertinent.

    Disclosure of Information to the National Archives and Records Administration Routine Use: A record from a system of records maintained by a DoD Component may be disclosed as a routine use to the National Archives and Records Administration for the purpose of records management inspections conducted under authority of 44 U.S.C. 2904 and 2906.

    Data Breach Remediation Purposes Routine Use: A record from a system of records maintained by a Component may be disclosed to appropriate agencies, entities, and persons when (1) The Component suspects or has confirmed that the security or confidentiality of the information in the system of records has been compromised; (2) the Component has determined that as a result of the suspected or confirmed compromise there is a risk of harm to economic or property interests, identity theft or fraud, or harm to the security or integrity of this system or other systems or programs (whether maintained by the Component or another agency or entity) that rely upon the compromised information; and (3) the disclosure made to such agencies, entities, and persons is reasonably necessary to assist in connection with the Components efforts to respond to the suspected or confirmed compromise and prevent, minimize, or remedy such harm.

    The DoD Blanket Routine Uses set forth at the beginning of the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) compilation of systems of records notices may apply to this system. The complete list of DoD Blanket Routine Uses can be found online at: http://dpcld.defense.gov/Privacy/SORNsindex/BlanketRoutineUses.aspx.

    Policies and practices for storing, retrieving, accessing, retaining, and disposing of records in the system:

    Storage:

    Electronic storage media.

    Retrievability:

    Name.

    Safeguards:

    Records are maintained in secure, limited access, or monitored areas. Access is restricted to database and system administrators with trusted credentials and security clearances. System access is password protected and Common Access Card (CAC) enabled. Physical entry by unauthorized persons is restricted through the use of locks, guards, and passwords. Archived data is stored on discs or magnetic tapes which are kept in a locked or controlled access area. Access to personal information is limited to those individuals who have a need-to-know to perform their official assigned duties.

    Retention and Disposal:

    Destroy when superseded or obsolete of the authorization document or on transfer, separation, or relief of the individual concerned.

    System Manager(s) and Address:

    Director, eBusiness Center, 4800 Mark Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22311-3604.

    Notification Procedure:

    Individuals seeking to determine whether this system of records contains information about themselves may address their inquiries to Director, eBusiness Center, 4800 Mark Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22311-3604.

    Signed, written requests should contain the full name of the individual, current work address, telephone number and email address.

    Record Access Procedures:

    Individuals seeking to access records about themselves contained in this system of records should address written inquiries to the Office of the Secretary of Defense/Joint Staff, Freedom of Information Act Requester Services, 1155 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1155.

    Signed, written requests should include the full name of the individual, current work address, telephone number, email address, and the number of this system of records notice.

    Contesting Record Procedures:

    The Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) rules for accessing records, for contesting contents and appealing initial agency determinations are published in OSD Administrative Instruction 81; 32 CFR part 311; or may be obtained from the system manager.

    Record Source Categories:

    Individual.

    Exemptions Claimed for the System:

    None.

    [FR Doc. 2015-27529 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary [Transmittal No. 0L-15] 36(b)(1) Arms Sales Notification AGENCY:

    Defense Security Cooperation Agency, Department of Defense.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Defense is publishing the unclassified text of a section 36(b)(1) arms sales notification. This is published to fulfill the requirements of section 155 of Public Law 104-164 dated July 21, 1996.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Sarah A. Ragan or Heather N. Harwell, DSCA/LMO, (703) 604-1546/(703) 607-5339.

    The following is a copy of a letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Transmittal 0L-15 with attached Policy Justification.

    Dated: October 23, 2015. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense. BILLING CODE 5001-06-P EN29OC15.016 BILLING CODE 5001-06-C Transmittal No. 0L-15 REPORT OF ENHANCEMENT OR UPGRADE OF SENSITIVITY OF TECHNOLOGY OR CAPABILITY (SEC. 36(B)(5)(C), AECA)

    (i) Purchaser: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

    (ii) Sec. 36(b)(1), AECA Transmittal No.: 08-101

    Date: 26 September 2008

    Military Department: Navy

    (iii) Description: On 26 September 2008, Congress was notified by Congressional Notification Transmittal Number 08-101, of the possible sale under Section 36(b)(1) of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) of eighty (80) Link 16 Multifunctional Information Distribution System/Low Volume Terminals (MIDS/LVT-1) to be installed on Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Typhoon aircraft, data transfer devices, installation, testing, spare and repair parts, support equipment, personnel training, training equipment, contractor engineering and technical support, and other related elements of program support. The estimated cost was $31 million. Major Defense Equipment (MDE) constituted $30 million of this total.

    This transmittal reports the addition of seventy-six (76) Link 16 MIDS/LVT-1 to be installed on Saudi Arabia's Tornado aircraft, SAAB 2000 Erieye Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft, and Tactical Airborne Surveillance System (TASS) aircraft data transfer devices. Also included are installation, testing, spare and repair parts, support equipment, personnel training, training equipment, contractor engineering and technical support, and other related elements of program support. This notification will result in an increase in major defense equipment (MDE) of $30 million, for a total estimated MDE value of $60 million, and a total overall value of $61 million.

    (iv) Significance: This notification is being provided to increase the quantity of MIDS/LVT-1 on platforms other than those notified in Transmittal number 08-101 on 26 Sep 2008. The expansion of MIDS to other platforms continues a modernization program that has been ongoing since 2008. Overall, the ability for these additional platforms to support Link 16 operations provides added interoperability with U.S. forces and for conducting coordinated operations.

    (v) Justification: This sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a friendly country that has been, and continues to be, an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East.

    (vi) Date Report Delivered to Congress: 05 Oct 2015.

    [FR Doc. 2015-27502 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary [Docket ID: DoD-2015-OS-0111] Privacy Act of 1974; System of Records AGENCY:

    Office of the Secretary of Defense, DoD.

    ACTION:

    Notice to delete a System of Records.

    SUMMARY:

    The Office of the Secretary of Defense is deleting a system of records notice from its existing inventory of record systems subject to the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended. The system of records notice is DC3I 01, Joint Reserve Intelligence Planning Support System (JRIPSS) (November 20, 1997, 62 FR 62002).

    DATES:

    Comments will be accepted on or before November 30, 2015. This proposed action will be effective on the day following the end of the comment period unless comments are received which result in a contrary determination.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by docket number and title, by any of the following methods:

    * Federal Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    * Mail: Department of Defense, Office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer, Directorate of Oversight and Compliance, Regulatory and Audit Matters Office, 9010 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-9010.

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name and docket number for this Federal Register document. The general policy for comments and other submissions from members of the public is to make these submissions available for public viewing on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov as they are received without change, including any personal identifiers or contact information.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mrs. Cindy Allard at (571) 372-0461.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Office of the Secretary of Defense systems of records notices subject to the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a), as amended, have been published in the Federal Register and are available from the address in FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT or at the Defense Privacy and Civil Liberties Division Web site at http://dpcld.defense.gov/.

    The Office of the Secretary of Defense proposes to delete one system of records notice from its inventory of record systems subject to the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a), as amended. The proposed deletion is not within the purview of subsection (r) of the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a), as amended, which requires the submission of a new or altered system report.

    Dated: October 23, 2015. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense.

    Deletion:

    DC3I 01

    Joint Reserve Intelligence Planning Support System (JRIPSS) (November 20, 1997, 62 FR 62002).

    Reason: This system of records was divested to the Military Services and records are covered by the individual Service systems of records notices listed: F036 AF PC Q, Personnel Data System (PDS) (June 11, 1997, 62 FR 31793); A0600-8-104 AHRC, Army Personnel System (APS) (July 30, 2013, 78 FR 45914); M01040-3, Marine Corps Manpower Management Information System Records (April 29, 2010, 75 FR 22570); and N01080-3, Reserve Command Management Information (February 22, 1993 58 FR 10706). Therefore, DC3I 01, Joint Reserve Intelligence Planning Support System (JRIPSS) can be deleted.

    [FR Doc. 2015-27513 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary [Transmittal No. 15-68] 36(b)(1) Arms Sales Notification AGENCY:

    Department of Defense, Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Defense is publishing the unclassified text of a section 36(b)(1) arms sales notification. This is published to fulfill the requirements of section 155 of Public Law 104-164 dated July 21, 1996.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Sarah A. Ragan or Heather N. Harwell, DSCA/LMO, (703) 604-1546/(703) 607-5339.

    The following is a copy of a letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Transmittal 15-68 with attached Policy Justification.

    Dated: October 23, 2015. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense. BILLING CODE 5001-06-P EN29OC15.015 BILLING CODE 5001-06-C Transmittal No. 15-68 Notice of Proposed Issuance of Letter of Offer Pursuant to Section 36(b)(1) of the Arms Export Control Act, as amended

    (i) Prospective Purchaser: Saudi Arabia

    (ii) Total Estimated Value:

    Major Defense Equipment * $ 4.30 billion Other $ 6.95 billion TOTAL $11.25 billion

    (iii) Description and Quantity or Quantities of Articles or Services under Consideration for Purchase: The Government of Saudi Arabia has requested a comprehensive naval modernization program referred to as the Saudi Naval Expansion Program II (SNEP-II). This notification of the next phase of that program will include Multi-Mission Surface Combatant (MMSC) ships and program office support. The MMSC will consist of the following Major Defense Equipment (MDE):

    Four (4) MMSC ships (a derivative of the Freedom Variant of the U.S. Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Class) that incorporate five (5) COMBATSS-21 Combat Management Systems (four (4) installed, one (1) spare) with five (5) TRS-4D Radars (four (4) installed, one (1) spare)

    Five (5) Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) (Mode 4- and Mode 5-capable) UPX-29 (four (4) installed, one (1) spare)

    Five (5) Compact Low Frequency Active Passive Variable Depth Sonar (four (4) installed, one (1) spare)

    Eight (8) MK-41 Vertical Launch Systems (VLS) (two (2) eight-cell assemblies per ship for 16 cells per hull)

    Five-hundred thirty-two (532) tactical RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSM) (one hundred twenty-eight (128) installed, twenty (20) test and training rounds, three hundred eighty-four (384) spares)

    Five (5) AN/SWG-l (V) Harpoon Ship Command Launch Control Systems (four (4) installed (one (1) per ship), one (1) spare)

    Eight (8) Harpoon Shipboard Launchers (two (2) installed four-tube assemblies per ship)

    Forty-eight (48) RGM-84 Harpoon Block II Missiles (thirty-two (32) installed, sixteen (16) test and training rounds)

    Five (5) MK-15 Mod 31 SeaRAM Close-In Weapon System (CIWS) (four (4) installed, one (1) spare)

    One-hundred eighty-eight (188) RIM 116C Block II Rolling Airframe Missiles (RAM) (forty-four (44) installed, twelve (12) test and training rounds, one hundred thirty-two (132) spares)

    Five (5) MK-75 76mm OTO Melara Gun Systems (four (4) installed, one (1) spare)

    Forty-eight (48) 50-caliber machine guns (forty (40) installed (ten (10) per ship), eight (8) spares); ordnance; and Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module (SAASM) Global Positioning System/Precise Positioning Service (GPS/PPS) navigation equipment

    Also included in this sale in support of the MMSC are: study, design and construction of operations; support and training facilities; spare and repair parts; support and test equipment; communications equipment employing Link 16 equipment; Fire Control System/Ceros 200 Sensor and Illuminator; 20mm Narwhal Gun; Nixie AN/SLQ-25A Surface Ship Torpedo Defense System; MK-32 Surface Vessel Torpedo Tubes; WBR-2000 Electronic Support Measure and Threat Warning System; Automatic Launch of Expendables (ALEX) Chaff and Decoy-Launching System; ARC-210 Radios; Combined Enterprise Regional Information Exchange System (CENTRIXS); Automated Digital Network System; publications and technical documentation; personnel training and training equipment; U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical and logistics support services; and other related elements of logistical and program support.

    In addition, this case will provide overarching program office support for the SNEP II to include: U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical and logistics support, and other related elements of program support to meet necessities for program execution.

    (iv) Military Department: Navy (SBV, GBZ)

    (v) Prior Related Cases, if any: SBU—$1.9 billion—20 May 2015

    (vi) Sales Commission, Fee, etc., Paid, Offered, or Agreed to be Paid: None

    (vii) Sensitivity of Technology Contained in the Defense Article or Defense Services Proposed to be Sold: See Attached Annex

    (viii) Date Report Delivered to Congress: 19 Oct 2015

    * as defined in Section 47(6) of the Arms Export Control Act.

    POLICY JUSTIFICATION Government of Saudi Arabia—Multi-Mission Surface Combatant (MMSC) Ships

    The Government of Saudi Arabia has requested a naval modernization program to include the sale of Multi-Mission Surface Combatant (MMSC) ships and program office support. The Multi-Mission Surface Combatant program will consist of:

    Four (4) MMSC ships (a derivative of the Freedom Variant of the U.S. Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Class) that incorporate five (5) COMBATSS-21 Combat Management Systems (four (4) installed, one (1) spare) with five (5) TRS-4D Radars (four (4) installed, one (1) spare)

    Five (5) Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) (Mode 4- and Mode 5-capable) UPX-29 (four (4) installed, one (1) spare)

    Five (5) Compact Low Frequency Active Passive Variable Depth Sonar (four (4) installed, one (1) spare)

    Eight (8) MK-41 Vertical Launch Systems (VLS) (two (2) eight-cell assemblies per ship for 16 cells per hull)

    Five-hundred thirty-two (532) tactical RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSM) (one hundred twenty-eight (128) installed, twenty (20) test and training rounds, three hundred eighty-four (384) spares)

    Five (5) AN/SWG-l (V) Harpoon Ship Command Launch Control Systems (four (4) installed (one (1) per ship), one (1) spare)

    Eight (8) Harpoon Shipboard Launchers (two (2) installed four-tube assemblies per ship)

    Forty-eight (48) RGM-84 Harpoon Block II Missiles (thirty-two (32) installed, sixteen (16) test and training rounds)

    Five (5) MK-15 Mod 31 SeaRAM Close-In Weapon System (CIWS) (four (4) installed, one (1) spare)

    One-hundred eighty-eight (188) RIM 116C Block II Rolling Airframe Missiles (RAM) (forty-four (44) installed, twelve (12) test and training rounds, one hundred thirty-two (132) spares)

    Five (5) MK-75 76mm OTO Melara Gun Systems (four (4) installed, one (1) spare)

    Forty-eight (48) 50-caliber machine guns (forty (40) installed (ten (10) per ship), eight (8) spares); ordnance; and Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module (SAASM) Global Positioning System/Precise Positioning Service (GPS/PPS) navigation equipment

    Also included in this sale in support of the MMSC are: study, design and construction of operations; support and training facilities; spare and repair parts; support and test equipment; communications equipment employing Link 16 equipment; Fire Control System/Ceros 200 Sensor and Illuminator; 20mm Narwhal Gun; Nixie AN/SLQ-25A Surface Ship Torpedo Defense System; MK-32 Surface Vessel Torpedo Tubes; WBR-2000 Electronic Support Measure and Threat Warning System; Automatic Launch of Expendables (ALEX) Chaff and Decoy-Launching System; ARC-210 Radios; Combined Enterprise Regional Information Exchange System (CENTRIXS); Automated Digital Network System; publications and technical documentation; personnel training and training equipment; U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical and logistics support services; and other related elements of logistical and program support.

    In addition, this case will provide overarching program office support for the SNEP II to include: U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical and logistics support, and other related elements of program support to meet necessities for program execution. The estimated value of MDE is $4.3 billion. The total estimated cost is $11.25 billion.

    This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security goals of the United States by helping to improve the security of a strategic regional partner, which has been, and continues to be, an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East. This acquisition will enhance the stability and maritime security in the sea areas around the Arabian Peninsula and support strategic objectives of the United States.

    The proposed sale will provide Saudi Arabia with an increased ability to meet current and future maritime threats from enemy weapon systems. The Multi-Mission Surface Combatant ships will provide protection-in-depth for critical industrial infrastructure and for the sea lines of communication. Saudi Arabia will use the enhanced capability to keep pace with the rapid advances in technology and to remain a viable U.S. coalition partner in the region.

    The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

    The principal contractor for the Multi-Mission Surface Combatant will be Lockheed Martin Corporation of Bethesda, Maryland. There are no known offset agreements in connection with this potential sale.

    Implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of additional U.S. Government and/or contractor representatives to Saudi Arabia.

    There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.

    Transmittal No. 15-68 Notice of Proposed Issuance of Letter of Offer Pursuant to Section 36(b)(1) of the Arms Export Control Act, as amended Annex Item No. vii

    (vii) Sensitivity of Technology

    1. The Multi-Mission Surface Combatant (MMSC) Ship, a derivative of the U.S. Navy Freedom Class Littoral Combat Ship, will provide Saudi Arabia with an increased ability to identify, engage, and defeat maritime security threats in the open waters of the Arabian Gulf and the Red Sea. These vessels will deliver protection-in-depth for Saudi Arabia industrial infrastructure and for the sea lines of communication. The MMSC carries several sensors and data links to enhance its ability to work in a network centric battle group. The mission equipment subsystem consists of the following sensors and subsystems: TRS-40 Radar, Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) interrogator, Compact Low Frequency Active Passive Variable Depth Sonar, and Electronic Support Measures (ESM). The MMSC processes sensor data and transmits data via Link 16 equipment. The MMSC is capable of carrying Harpoon Block II missiles and Evolved Sea Sparrow missiles, as well as, Mk 46 or Mk 54 torpedoes to engage surface and sub-surface targets. (Note that the MMSC will include provisions for both the Mk 46 and the Mk 54 light weight torpedoes but torpedoes are not included in this sale.) The MMSC weapons system is classified up to SECRET. Unless otherwise noted below, MMSC hardware and support equipment, test equipment and maintenance spares are UNCLASSIFIED except when electrical power is applied to hardware containing volatile data storage. Technical data and documentation for MMSC weapons systems (to include sub-systems and weapons listed below) are classified up to SECRET. The sensitive technologies include:

    a. COMBATSS-21 is the ship's battle management system, which is produced by Lockheed Martin and derived from the U.S. Navy's latest Aegis surface combatants. The COMBATSS-21 Combat Management System is the backbone of the Freedom-variant self-defense suite and integrates the radar, electro-optical infrared cameras, gun fire control system, countermeasures and short-range anti-air missiles. COMBATSS-2l provides a flexible, reliable next generation defense system classified to the level of SECRET.

    b. TRS 4D Radar is a three-dimensional, air volume surveillance radar with fast target alert, which provides target designation to combat management system for anti-air warfare (AAW) and anti-surface warfare (ASuW). It provides sensor support for surface gun fire control with splash detection, ship-controlled helicopter approach support, jammer detection, tracking and suppression, cued search with enhanced detection performance for a dedicated sector, cued track with high-accuracy target tracking for missile guidance, and target classification, integrated IFF, and is integrated with the combat management system. The system is available internationally through Airbus Defense and Space. The TRS 4D radar system is UNCLASSIFIED and does not contain classified data. However, when connected to COMBATSS-21, the TRS 4D radar is classified SECRET.

    c. Fire Control System/Ceros 200 Sensor and Illuminator supports engagements with either main gun battery or semi-active surface-to-air missile systems. The Ceros 200 Illuminator is a fully stabilized radar and optronic tracking system, which when working in combination with a missile and gun fire control system provides tracking and illumination functions against advanced sea-skimming missiles and asymmetric surface threats in littoral environments. When installed in a continuous wave illumination configuration with the surface to air missile control module, the system provides an X-band channel for continuous wave illumination of a target to support guidance of the semi-active surface-to-air missile. The Ceros 200 Illuminator can also be combined with gun fire control and SAM modules to provide precision control for any naval gun or a semi-active surface-to-air missile system. The CEROS 200 is available internationally through Saab. A separate gyro cam EO/IR camera/laser illuminator can also provide additional, independent situational awareness and cue an engagement to the fire control system. When connected to COMBATSS-21, the fire control system/Ceros 200 Sensor and Illuminator is classified SECRET.

    d. SeaRAM Anti-Ship Missile Defense System engages multiple, high-performance, air and surface threats, from subsonic to supersonic. SeaRAM blends capabilities from the Phalanx Close-In Weapon System (CIWS) and the RIM-l16C Block II Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) Guided Weapon System. An 11-missile RAM launcher assembly provides extended range and high maneuverability missiles paired with the Phalanx Block 1B's high resolution search-and-track sensor systems and quick-response capability. SeaRAM is an end-to-end track-to-engage system and contains classified algorithms, up to a level of SECRET.

    e. MK-4 l Vertical Launch System (VLS) is a multi-cell, vertical missile launcher that accommodates multiple VLS capable missiles, including the Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM), Standard Missile 2 (SM-2), and Vertical Launch Anti-Submarine Rocket (ASROC) Lightweight Hybrid Torpedo. This case only provides tactical VLS capability for ESSM. Guidance data exchanged with COMBATSS-21 will be classified to the level of SECRET.

    f. Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) is a medium-range, semi-active, homing missile that provides reliable ship self-defense capability against agile, high-speed, low-altitude, anti-ship cruise missiles, low velocity air threats, such as helicopters, and high-speed maneuverable surface threats. ESSM's tracking performance and agile kinematics result from S and X-band midcourse uplinks, high average velocity and tail control. The MK 25 quad pack canister is used for MK-41 VLS-equipped ships. ESSM is part of a 10-nation international cooperative development program between the United States, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) partner nations, and Australia and is a kinematic upgrade to the RIM-7P Sea Sparrow Missile that leverages U.S. guidance technology. This case will provide a VLS configuration that supports only tactical ESSM employment. Guidance data exchanged with COMBATSS-21 will be classified to the level of SECRET.

    g. The MK-75 76mm Super Rapid (SR) Gun Mount is a multi-mission, rapid-fire naval gun for primary defense against air and surface threats and for employment in naval fire support missions. The MK-75 76mm provides an accurate, sustained firing rate from 1 to 120 rounds per minute, and is capable against subsonic, anti-ship missiles. Optional add-ons provide capabilities to reduce the impact of gun radar cross-section, improve gun accuracy, and facilitate automated gun feed of multiple ammunition types on the fly. The system is available internationally through OTO Melara. When the 76mm gun is connected to the gun fire control system, which is in-tum connected to COMBATSS-21, it is classified SECRET.

    h. The 20mm Narwhal gun is a gyro-stabilized mount armed with a 20mm automatic cannon, an electro-optic, charge-coupled device camera, and a closed loop, fire-control system, which can be controlled remotely to enable system operation, target acquisition and tracking, and fire opening by the gun operator. Optional add-ons include a thermal camera, laser rangefinder, and target automatic tracking video system. The 20mm gun has a firing rate of 800 rounds per minute of NATO standard ammunition, and is produced by the French Government-owned Nexter Systems. When connected to COMBATSS-21 for cueing, the Narwhal gun will be classified SECRET.

    i. The Browning M2 50 caliber machine gun is an air-cooled, belt-fed machine gun that fires from a closed bolt, operated on the short recoil principle. The M2 is a secondary weapon for anti-boat defense on large naval vessels (corvettes, frigates, destroyers, cruisers, etc.). The M2 Heavy Barrel (HB), air-cooled ground gun has a cyclical rate of 450-575 rounds per minute with an effective stabilized range of 2000 yards (significantly shorter unstabilized). The Browning machinegun is UNCLASSIFIED.

    j. Harpoon Block II is based on the Harpoon, which is an all-weather, over-the-horizon, sea skimming, anti-ship missile system. Harpoon Block II (RGM-84L) improvements include the inertial measurement unit from the Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) program and software, computer, Global Positioning System (GPS)/inertial navigation system and GPS antenna/receiver from SLAM Expanded Response (SLAM-ER). Block II Harpoon has improved targeting capabilities, a larger engagement envelope, and higher resistance to electronic countermeasures, and consequently, provides a littoral, anti-ship capability. Data exchanged with COMBATSS-21 will be classified to the level of SECRET.

    k. The Nixie AN/SLQ-25A Surface Ship Torpedo Defense System is a torpedo countermeasures system that is a digitally controlled, modular design, electro-acoustic soft kill countermeasure decoy system capable of countering wake homing torpedoes, acoustic homing torpedoes, and wire guided torpedoes. The SLQ-25A provides active/passive detection, location, threat identification of torpedoes and other acoustic targets. The SLQ-25's towed body, the decoy which diverts the threat from the ship, connects to the management system using fiber optic cable to control the signals emitted by the decoy. The data are classified to the level of SECRET.

    l. Compact Low Frequency Active Passive Variable Depth Sonar is a key sensor technology for identifying conventional, diesel-powered submarines operating in difficult sonar environments such as littoral waters. The Compact Low Frequency Active Passive Variable Depth Sonar offers a single winch to tow both the transmit tow body and the receive array. The system has a transmit array providing 360-degree bearing, omni-directional transmission and a receive array that instantly resolves right/left ambiguity issues. When connected to COMBATSS-21 data up to the level of SECRET are exchanged.

    m. MK-32 Surface Vessel Torpedo Tubes (SVTT) handle the MK-46 and Mk-54 torpedo subsurface warfare weapons on a variety of surface combatants. It is an ASW-launching system that pneumatically launches torpedoes over-the-side of the ship using weatherproof, triple-tube sets that can be rotated or trained to face a target. Launching is powered by compressed air in a rear flask and the torpedoes are fire-and-forget weapons. The MK-46 Torpedo is a high-speed, deep-running, acoustic-homing, anti-submarine weapon. SVTT launches torpedoes under local control or remote control from an ASW fire control system. The tubes are also capable of storing torpedoes for long periods, but this is only practical with regular maintenance. When connected to COMBATSS-21 data exchange is classified to the level of SECRET.

    n. WBR-2000 is an electronic support measure and threat warning system designed for smaller surface naval combatants and for coastal surveillance. Radar signals, received by the antenna assembly through an omni-directional antenna and an array of directional antennas, are passed to the receiver/processor unit where frequency and angle of arrival of each radar pulse are measured and digitized. The data then passes to a signal processor that associates all pulses received from an individual radar with each other, measures the pulse train modulation characteristics, and forms a report characterizing the radar. These reports are compared with an organic, stored library of radar parameters to identify the type of radar and the platform normally associated with the intercepted radar signal. The emitter is reported parametrically whether or not it is in the library. A computer workstation is used to store the reports and display the data to the operator. The contents of the library are typically classified CONFIDENTIAL or SECRET.

    o. The Automatic Launch of Expendables (ALEX) is a chaff and decoy-launching system. Off-board decoys provide the lowest risk and offer the most cost effective method to aid in ship survival. It is a mortar-tube launching system consisting of two or more launchers, each containing six tubes arranged in two parallel rows of either all 45-degree tubes, or a mixture of 45 and 60-degree tubes depending on the specific launcher variant installed. RF, IR, RF-IR rounds and some specialty decoys are capable of being launched from the ALEX system depending on the particular threat. Decoys are launched from the bridge launcher control in the pilothouse or master control panel located in the mission control center. Launchers must be manually loaded/re-loaded, when required, from ready service storage lockers located in the vicinity of the launchers. When connected to WBR-2000 data up to the level of SECRET is exchanged.

    p. The ARC-210 is a family of radios for military aircraft that provides two-way, multi-mode voice and data communications over a Very High Frequency (VHF) I Ultra High Frequency (UHF) frequency range. ARC-210 radios contain embedded sensitive encryption algorithms and keying material. ARC-210 hardware is UNCLASSIFIED. When electrical power is applied and mission data loaded, the ARC-210 is classified up to SECRET.

    q. Combined Enterprise Regional Information Exchange System (CENTRIXS) enables ship-to-ship operational dialogue, often encrypted, between vessels of other nations in both text and web based formats.

    r. Identification, Friend or Foe (IFF) Mode 4 (5 Capable) is an identification system designed for command and control. It enables military and national (civilian air traffic control) interrogation systems to identify aircraft, vehicles or forces as friendly. Mode 5 provides a cryptographically secured version of Mode S and ADS-8 GPS position. Data can be classified up to SECRET.

    s. Global Command and Control System-Joint (GCCS-J) is a command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence system consisting of hardware, software (commercial-off-the shelf and government off-the-shelf), procedures, standards, and interfaces that provide an integrated near real-time picture of the battlespace necessary to conduct joint and multinational operations. Data can be classified up to SECRET.

    t. GPS/PPS/SAASM -Global Positioning System (GPS) provides a space-based Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) that has reliable location and time information in all weather and at all times and anywhere on or near the Earth when and where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites. Selective Availability/Anti-Spoofing Module (SAASM) (AN/PSN-11) is used by military GPS receivers to allow decryption of precision GPS coordinates. The GPS hardware is UNCLASSIFIED. When electrical power is applied, the system is classified up to SECRET.

    u. Automated Digital Network System furnishes autonomous, digital, interoperable, joint and secure LAN/WAN management and control for RF assets on demand aboard ships and at shore sites. It also ensures worldwide communications connectivity, automates all communications systems, and replaces several unique subnetworks with a single integrated network hub.

    v. Link 16 equipment is a military tactical data exchange network used by the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member nations allowed by the MIDS International Program Office. Its specification is part of the family of tactical data links. With Link 16 equipment, military aircraft as well as ships and ground forces may exchange their tactical picture in near-real time. Link 16 equipment also supports the exchange of text messages, imagery data and provides two channels of digital voice.

    2. If a technologically advanced adversary were to obtain knowledge of the specific hardware and software elements, the information could be used to develop countermeasures which might reduce weapon system effectiveness or be used in the development of a system with similar or advanced capabilities.

    3. A determination has been made that the recipient country can provide substantially the same degree of protection for the sensitive technology being released as the U.S. Government. This sale is necessary in furtherance of the U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives outlined in the Policy Justification.

    4. All defense articles and services listed in this transmittal have been authorized for release and export to Saudi Arabia.

    [FR Doc. 2015-27505 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary National Security Education Board; Notice of Federal Advisory Committee Meeting AGENCY:

    The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, Defense Language and National Security Education Office (DLNSEO), DoD.

    ACTION:

    Meeting notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Defense is publishing this notice to announce that the following Federal advisory committee meeting of the National Security Education Board will take place. This meeting is open to the public.

    DATES:

    Tuesday, December 8, 2015, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

    ADDRESSES:

    1101 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 1210, Arlington, VA 22209.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Alison Patz, telephone (571) 256-0771, [email protected], fax (703) 692-2615.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This meeting is being held under the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972 (5 U.S.C., Appendix, as amended), the Government in the Sunshine Act of 1976 (5 U.S.C. 552b, as amended), and 41 CFR 102-3.150.

    Purpose of the Meeting: The purpose of the meeting is to review and make recommendations to the Secretary of Defense concerning requirements established by the David L. Boren National Security Education Act, Title VII of Public Law 102-183, as amended.

    Agenda 08:30 a.m.—Ethics Briefing. 09:30 a.m.—Opening Remarks and Key Updates. 10:00 a.m.—Programmatic Updates. 10:30 a.m.—NSEP Agencies with National Security Responsibilities List. 10:45 a.m.—Break. 11:00 a.m.—National Initiatives on Language and Overseas Study. 12:30 p.m.—Working Lunch. 1:30 p.m.—The Flagship Experience. 2:45 p.m.—Break. 3:00 p.m.—Board Discussion. 4:00 p.m.—Adjourn.

    Public's Accessibility to the Meeting: Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552b and 41 CFR 102-3.140 through 102-3.165, and the availability of space, this meeting is open to the public. Seating is on a first-come basis.

    Committee's Point of Contact: Alison Patz, Alternate Designated Federal Official, (571) 256-0771, [email protected]

    Pursuant to 102-3.140 and sections 10(a)(3) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972, the public or interested organizations may submit written statements to the Department of Defense National Security Education Board about its mission and functions. Written statements may be submitted at any time or in response to the stated agenda of the planned meeting.

    All written statements shall be submitted to the Designated Federal Official for the National Security Education Board, and this individual will ensure that the written statements are provided to the membership for their consideration. Contact information for the Designated Federal Official can be obtained from the GSA's FACA Database—http://facadatabase.gov/.

    Statements being submitted in response to the agenda mentioned in this notice must be received by the Designated Federal Official at the address listed in FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT at least five calendar days prior to the meeting that is the subject of this notice. Written statements received after this date may not be provided to or considered by the National Security Education Board until its next meeting.

    The Designated Federal Official will review all timely submissions with the National Security Education Board and ensure they are provided to all members of the National Security Education Board before the meeting that is the subject of this notice.

    Dated: October 23, 2015. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27507 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary [Transmittal No. 15-66] 36(b)(1) Arms Sales Notification AGENCY:

    Defense Security Cooperation Agency, Department of Defense.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Defense is publishing the unclassified text of a section 36(b)(1) arms sales notification. This is published to fulfill the requirements of section 155 of Public Law 104-164 dated July 21, 1996.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Sarah A. Ragan or Heather N. Harwell, DSCA/LMO, (703) 604-1546/(703) 607-5339.

    The following is a copy of a letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Transmittal 15-66 with attached Policy Justification.

    Dated: October 23, 2015. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense. BILLING CODE 5001-06-P EN29OC15.003 BILLING CODE 5001-06-C Transmittal No. 15-66 Notice of Proposed Issuance of Letter of Offer Pursuant to Section 36(b)(1) of the Arms Export Control Act, as amended

    (i) Prospective Purchaser: Saudi Arabia

    (ii) Total Estimated Value:

    Major Defense Equipment * $312 million Other $183 million TOTAL $495 million

    (iii) Description and Quantity or Quantities of Articles or Services under Consideration for Purchase:

    Major Defense Equipment (MDE):

    Nine (9) UH-60M Black Hawk Utility Helicopters Twenty-one (21) T700-GE-701D Engines (eighteen (18) installed and three (3) spares) Twenty (20) Embedded Global Positioning Systems with Inertial Navigation System (GPS/INS) (eighteen (18) installed and two (2) spares) Twelve (12) AN/AAR-57, Common Missile Warning Systems (CMWS) (nine (9) installed and three (3) spares) Twenty (20) M240H 7.62mm Machine Guns

    Also included are the following non-MDE items and support: Aircraft Survivability Equipment; M134 Miniguns; Electro-optical Infrared (EO/IR) system; Dual Mode (normal light/infrared) Controllable Search Lights; Fast Rope Insertion/Extraction System (FRIES); External Electric Hoists; Internal Auxiliary Fuel Tank Systems (IAFS); Dual Patient Litter System; Ballistic Armor Protection System; aircraft warranty; air worthiness support; spare and repair parts; communications equipment; personnel training and training equipment; site surveys; tool and test equipment; ground support equipment; repair and return; publications and technical documentation; Quality Assurance Team (QAT); U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical and logistics support services; and other related elements of logistics and program support.

    (iv) Military Department: Army (ZAD)

    (v) Prior Related Case, if any:

    SR-B-VTW, $372M, 12 Feb 08 SR-B-VNK, $133M, 17 Dec 90 SR-B-VJB, $152M, 30 May 80

    (vi) Sales Commission, Fee, etc., Paid, Offered, or Agreed to be Paid: None

    (vii) Sensitivity of Technology Contained in the Defense Article or Defense Services Proposed to be Sold: See Attached Annex.

    (viii) Date Report Delivered to Congress: 13 Oct 2015

    * as defined in Section 47(6) of the Arms Export Control Act.

    POLICY JUSTIFICATION

    Kingdom of Saudi Arabia—UH-60M Black Hawk Utility Helicopters

    The Government of Saudi Arabia has requested a possible sale of:

    Major Defense Equipment (MDE):

    Nine (9) UH-60M Black Hawk Utility Helicopters Twenty-one (21) T700-GE-701D Engines (eighteen (18) installed and three (3) spares) Twenty (20) Embedded Global Positioning Systems with Inertial Navigation System (GPS/INS) (eighteen (18) installed and two (2) spares) Twelve (12) AN/AAR-57, Common Missile Warning Systems (CMWS) (nine (9) installed and three (3) spares) Twenty (20) M240H 7.62mm Machine Guns

    Also included are the following non-MDE items and support: Aircraft Survivability Equipment; M134 Miniguns; Electro-optical Infrared (EO/IR) system; Dual Mode (normal light/infrared) Controllable Search Lights; Fast Rope Insertion/Extraction System (FRIES); External Electric Hoists; Internal Auxiliary Fuel Tank Systems (IAFS); Dual Patient Litter System; Ballistic Armor Protection System; aircraft warranty; air worthiness support; spare and repair parts; communications equipment; personnel training and training equipment; site surveys; tool and test equipment; ground support equipment; repair and return; publications and technical documentation; Quality Assurance Team (QAT); U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical and logistics support services; and other related elements of logistics and program support. The estimated cost is $495 million.

    The proposed sale will make a positive contribution to the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by helping to improve the security of an important regional partner that has been, and continues to be, a significant U.S. partner for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East.

    The Royal Saudi Land Forces Aviation Command (RSLFAC) plans to use these helicopters for search and rescue, disaster relief, humanitarian support, counterterrorism, and combat operations.

    The proposed sale will not introduce new technology to or alter the basic military balance in the region.

    The principal contractors will be Sikorsky Aircraft Company in Stratford, Connecticut; and General Electric Aircraft Company (GEAC) in Lynn, Massachusetts. There are no known offset agreements in connection with this potential sale.

    Implementation of this sale will require an estimated forty (40) to sixty (60) U.S. Government and contractor representatives to travel to Saudi Arabia for up to sixty (60) months for equipment de-processing, fielding, system checkout, training, and technical logistics support.

    There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.

    Transmittal No. 15-66 Notice of Proposed Issuance of Letter of Offer Pursuant to Section 36(b)(1) of the Arms Export Control Act Annex Item No. vii

    (vii) Sensitivity of Technology:

    1. The UH-60M Black Hawk Utility Helicopter is a medium lift aircraft which includes two T700-GE-701D Engines and an advanced cockpit that features four multi-function displays, four-axis coupled flight director, digital map, and Dual Embedded Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation System (GPS/INS) (EGI).

    a. Embedded Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation System (GPS/INS) (EGI)—The EGI is a Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module (SAASM) based navigation platform that combines an inertial sensor assembly with a fixed reception pattern antenna GPS receiver. The EGI system is the primary source for position information and is UNCLASSIFIED. The GPS crypto variables needed for the highest GPS accuracy are classified up to SECRET.

    b. AN/AAR-57 Common Missile Warning System (CMWS)—The CMWS detects threat missiles in flight, evaluates potential false alarms, declares validity of threat and selects the appropriate Infrared Countermeasure (IRCM). Each platform includes: Electro-Optical Missile Sensors, an Electronic Control Unit (ECU), Sequencer, and the Improved Countermeasures Dispenser (ICMD). The hardware is classified CONFIDENTIAL. Releasable technical manuals for operation and maintenance are classified SECRET. Reverse engineering is not a major concern.

    c. AN/APR-39A Radar Warning System—This radar signal detecting set provides warning of a radar directed air defense threat to allow appropriate countermeasures. Hardware is classified CONFIDENTIAL when programmed with U.S. threat data. Releasable technical manuals for operation and maintenance are classified CONFIDENTIAL. Releasable technical data (technical performance) are classified SECRET. The system can be programmed with threat data provided by the purchasing country.

    d. AN/AVR-2B, Laser Warning Set—A passive laser warning system that receives, processes, and displays threat information resulting from aircraft illumination by lasers, on the multi-functional display. The hardware is classified CONFIDENTIAL. Releasable technical manuals for operation and maintenance are classified SECRET. Reverse engineering is not a major concern.

    2. Software, hardware, and other data/information that is classified or sensitive is reviewed prior to release to protect system vulnerabilities, design data, and performance parameters. Some end-item hardware, software, and other data identified above are classified at the CONFIDENTIAL level.

    3. Loss of this hardware, software, documentation and/or data could permit development of information which may lead to a significant threat to future U.S. military operations. If a technologically advanced adversary were to obtain knowledge of the specific hardware and software elements, the information could be used to develop countermeasures or equivalent systems which might reduce weapon system effectiveness or be used in the development of a system with similar or advanced capabilities.

    4. A determination has been made that Saudi Arabia can provide substantially the same degree of protection for this technology as the U.S. Government. This proposed sale is necessary in furtherance of the U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives outlined in the Policy Justification.

    5. All of the defense articles and services listed in this transmittal have been authorized for release and export to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

    [FR Doc. 2015-27504 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary [Docket ID: DoD-2015-OS-0110] Privacy Act of 1974; System of Records AGENCY:

    Office of the Secretary of Defense, DoD.

    ACTION:

    Notice to delete a system of records.

    SUMMARY:

    The Office of the Secretary of Defense is deleting a system of records notice from its existing inventory of record systems subject to the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended. The system of records notice is WUSU 19, entitled “Travel Records” (February 22, 1993, 58 FR 10920).

    DATES:

    Comments will be accepted on or before November 30, 2015. This proposed action will be effective on the day following the end of the comment period unless comments are received which result in a contrary determination.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by docket number and title, by any of the following methods:

    * Federal Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    * Mail: Department of Defense, Office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer, Directorate of Oversight and Compliance, Regulatory and Audit Matters Office, 9010 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-9010.

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name and docket number for this Federal Register document. The general policy for comments and other submissions from members of the public is to make these submissions available for public viewing on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov as they are received without change, including any personal identifiers or contact information.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mrs. Cindy Allard at (571) 372-0461.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Office of the Secretary of Defense systems of records notices subject to the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a), as amended, have been published in the Federal Register and are available from the address in FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT or at the Defense Privacy and Civil Liberties Division Web site at http://dpcld.defense.gov/. The Office of the Secretary of Defense proposes to delete one system of records notice from its inventory of record systems subject to the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a), as amended. The proposed deletion is not within the purview of subsection (r) of the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a), as amended, which requires the submission of a new or altered system report.

    Dated: October 23, 2015. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense. DELETION WUSU 19

    Travel Records (February 22, 1993, 58 FR 10920)

    Reason: Based on a recent review of WUSU 19, Travel Records, it has been determined that this system of records is covered by system of records notice DHRA 08 DoD, Defense Travel System (March 24, 2010, 75 FR 14142); therefore, WUSU 19, Travel Records can be deleted.

    [FR Doc. 2015-27514 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Navy [Docket ID USN-2014-0024] Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Defense has submitted to OMB for clearance, the following proposal for collection of information under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act.

    DATES:

    Consideration will be given to all comments received by November 30, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Fred Licari, 571-372-0493.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title, Associated Form and OMB Number: Department of the Navy (DON) Reasonable Accommodations (RA) Tracker; SECNAV 12306/1T Confirmation of Reasonable Accommodation Request; OMB Control Number 0703-XXXX.

    Type of Request: New Collection

    Number of Respondents: 100

    Responses per Respondent: 1

    Annual Responses: 100

    Average Burden per Response: 20 minutes

    Annual Burden Hours: 33

    Needs and Uses: The information collection requirement is necessary to track, monitor, review, and process requests for reasonable accommodations for employees, contractors, and applicants for employment. This information will be collected by DON EEO personnel involved in the Reasonable Accommodation process and data input into the Reasonable Accommodation Tracker (electronic information system) pursuant to Executive Order 13163. Official Reasonable Accommodation case files are secured with access granted on a strictly limited basis.

    Affected Public: Individuals or households; contractors and applicants for employment.

    Frequency: On occasion.

    Respondent's Obligation: Required to obtain or retain benefits.

    OMB Desk Officer: Ms. Jasmeet Seehra.

    Comments and recommendations on the proposed information collection should be emailed to Ms. Jasmeet Seehra, DoD Desk Officer, at [email protected] Please identify the proposed information collection by DoD Desk Officer and the Docket ID number and title of the information collection.

    You may also submit comments and recommendations, identified by Docket ID number and title, by the following method:

    • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name, Docket ID number and title for this Federal Register document. The general policy for comments and other submissions from members of the public is to make these submissions available for public viewing on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov as they are received without change, including any personal identifiers or contact information.

    DOD Clearance Officer: Mr. Frederick Licari.

    Written requests for copies of the information collection proposal should be sent to Mr. Licari at WHS/ESD Directives Division, 4800 Mark Center Drive, East Tower, Suite 02G09, Alexandria, VA 22350-3100.

    Dated: October 23, 2015. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27527 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DELAWARE RIVER BASIN COMMISSION Notice of Public Hearing and Business Meeting November 10 and December 9, 2015 Correction

    In notice document 2015-26837 beginning on page 63973 in the issue of Thursday, October 22, 2015 make the following correction:

    1. On page 63973 in the third column, in the second paragraph, “The public hearing on November 10, 2015 will begin at 1:30 p.m.” should read “The public hearing on November 10, 2015 will begin at 10:30 a.m.”

    [FR Doc. C1-2015-26837 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 1505-01-D
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. CP14-529-000] Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, L.L.C.; Notice of Availability of the Environmental Assessment for the Proposed Connecticut Expansion Project

    The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) has prepared an environmental assessment (EA) for the Connecticut Expansion Project, proposed by Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, L.L.C. (Tennessee) in the above-referenced docket. Tennessee requests authorization to construct and operate certain natural gas pipeline and aboveground facilities along its existing pipeline system in various counties in New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut to provide an additional 72.1 million cubic feet per day of firm transportation service to three new shippers: Connecticut Natural Gas Corporation, Southern Connecticut Gas Company, and Yankee Gas Services Company.

    The EA assesses the potential environmental effects of the construction and operation of the Connecticut Expansion Project in accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The FERC staff concludes that approval of the proposed project, with appropriate mitigating measures, would not constitute a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment.

    The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets participated as a cooperating agency in the preparation of the EA. Cooperating agencies have jurisdiction by law or special expertise with respect to resources potentially affected by the proposal and participate in the NEPA analysis.

    The proposed Connecticut Expansion Project includes the following facilities:

    • About 1.4 miles of new 36-inch-diameter natural gas pipeline loop in Albany County, New York;

    • about 3.8 miles of new 36-inch-diameter natural gas pipeline loop in Berkshire County, Massachusetts;

    • about 8.3 miles of new 24-inch-diameter natural gas pipeline loop in Hampden County, Massachusetts and Hartford County, Connecticut;

    • modifications at the existing Agawam Compressor Station (Compressor Station 261) in Hampden County, Massachusetts;

    • appurtenant facilities, including a mainline valve, cathodic protection, and pig launchers and receivers; and

    • relocation of two existing pig receiver facilities.

    The FERC staff mailed copies of the EA to federal, state, and local government representatives and agencies; elected officials; environmental and public interest groups; Native American tribes; potentially affected landowners and other interested individuals and groups; newspapers and libraries in the project area; and parties to this proceeding. In addition, the EA is available for public viewing on the FERC's Web site (www.ferc.gov) using the eLibrary link. A limited number of copies of the EA are available for distribution and public inspection at:

    Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Public Reference Room, 888 First Street NE., Room 2A, Washington, DC 20426, (202) 502-8371.

    Any person wishing to comment on the EA may do so. Your comments should focus on the potential environmental effects, reasonable alternatives, and measures to avoid or lessen environmental impacts. The more specific your comments, the more useful they will be. To ensure that the Commission has the opportunity to consider your comments prior to making its decision on this project, it is important that we receive your comments in Washington, DC on or before November 23, 2015.

    For your convenience, there are three methods you can use to file your comments to the Commission. In all instances, please reference the project docket number (CP14-529-000) with your submission. The Commission encourages electronic filing of comments and has expert staff available to assist you at (202) 502-8258 or [email protected].

    (1) You can file your comments electronically using the eComment feature on the Commission's Web site (www.ferc.gov) under the link to Documents and Filings. This is an easy method for submitting brief, text-only comments on a project;

    (2) You can also file your comments electronically using the eFiling feature on the Commission's Web site (www.ferc.gov) under the link to Documents and Filings. With eFiling, you can provide comments in a variety of formats by attaching them as a file with your submission. New eFiling users must first create an account by clicking on “eRegister.” You must select the type of filing you are making. If you are filing a comment on a particular project, please select “Comment on a Filing”; or

    (3) You can file a paper copy of your comments by mailing them to the following address:

    Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Room 1A, Washington, DC 20426.

    Any person seeking to become a party to the proceeding must file a motion to intervene pursuant to Rule 214 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedures (18 CFR 385.214).1 Only intervenors have the right to seek rehearing of the Commission's decision. The Commission grants affected landowners and others with environmental concerns intervenor status upon showing good cause by stating that they have a clear and direct interest in this proceeding which no other party can adequately represent. Simply filing environmental comments will not give you intervenor status, but you do not need intervenor status to have your comments considered.

    1 See the previous discussion on the methods for filing comments.

    Additional information about the project is available from the Commission's Office of External Affairs, at (866) 208-FERC, or on the FERC Web site (www.ferc.gov) using the eLibrary link. Click on the eLibrary link, click on “General Search,” and enter the docket number excluding the last three digits in the Docket Number field (i.e., CP14-529). Be sure you have selected an appropriate date range. For assistance, please contact FERC Online Support at [email protected] or toll free at (866) 208-3676, or for TTY, contact (202) 502-8659. The eLibrary link also provides access to the texts of formal documents issued by the Commission, such as orders, notices, and rulemakings.

    In addition, the Commission offers a free service called eSubscription which allows you to keep track of all formal issuances and submittals in specific dockets. This can reduce the amount of time you spend researching proceedings by automatically providing you with notification of these filings, document summaries, and direct links to the documents. Go to www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/esubscription.asp.

    Dated: October 23, 2015. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27573 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Project No. 2380-005] Duke Energy Progress, Inc., Duke Energy Progress, LLC; Notice of Transfer of Exemption

    1. By letter filed September 25, 2015, Duke Energy Progress, LLC (Duke Energy) informed the Commission that the exemption from licensing for the Marshall Hydroelectric Project No. 2380, originally issued February 18, 1983,1 has been transferred to Duke Energy Progress, LLC. The project is located on the French Broad River in Madison County, North Carolina. The transfer of an exemption does not require Commission approval.

    1 22 FERC ¶ 62,211, Notice of Exemption from Licensing (1983).

    2. Duke Energy Progress, LLC is now the exemptee of the Marshall Hydroelectric Project, No. 2380. All correspondence should be forwarded to: Ms. Tami Styer, Project Manager II, Duke Energy Progress, LLC, c/o Duke Energy Water Strategy & Hydro Licensing, 522 South Church Street, Mail Code EC12Y, Charlotte, NC 28202.

    Dated: October 23, 2015. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27572 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Project No. 14425-001] Liberty University Inc.; Notice of Intent To File License Application, Filing of Pre-Application Document, Approving Use of the Traditional Licensing Process

    a. Type of Filing: Notice of Intent to File License Application and Request to Use the Traditional Licensing Process.

    b. Project No.: 14425-001.

    c. Date Filed: September 1, 2015.

    d. Submitted By: Liberty University Inc.

    e. Name of Project: Scott's Mill Dam Hydroelectric Project.

    f. Location: On the James River, in Amherst and Bedford Counties, Virginia. No federal lands are occupied by the project works or located within the project boundary.

    g. Filed Pursuant to: 18 CFR 5.3 of the Commission's regulations.

    h. Potential Applicant Contact: Christos Carol, Liberty University, 1972 University Boulevard, Lynchburg, VA 24502; (434) 592-6463; email—[email protected].

    i. FERC Contact: Jody Callihan at (202) 502-8278; or email at [email protected].

    j. Liberty University Inc. (Liberty) filed their request to use the Traditional Licensing Process on September 1, 2015. Liberty provided public notice of its request on September 28, 2015. In a letter dated October 23, 2015, the Director of the Division of Hydropower Licensing approved Liberty's request to use the Traditional Licensing Process.

    k. With this notice, we are initiating informal consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under section 7 of the Endangered Species Act and the joint agency regulations thereunder at 50 CFR, Part 402. We are also initiating consultation with the Virginia State Historic Preservation Officer, as required by section 106, National Historic Preservation Act, and the implementing regulations of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation at 36 CFR 800.2.

    l. With this notice, we are designating Liberty University Inc. as the Commission's non-federal representative for carrying out informal consultation pursuant to section 7 of the Endangered Species Act and section 305(b) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act; and consultation pursuant to section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.

    m. Liberty University Inc. filed a Pre-Application Document (PAD; including a proposed process plan and schedule) with the Commission, pursuant to 18 CFR 5.6 of the Commission's regulations.

    n. A copy of the PAD is available for review at the Commission in the Public Reference Room or may be viewed on the Commission's Web site (http://www.ferc.gov), using the “eLibrary” link. Enter the docket number, excluding the last three digits in the docket number field to access the document. For assistance, contact FERC Online Support at [email protected], (866) 208-3676 (toll free), or (202) 502-8659 (TTY). Copies are also available for inspection and reproduction at the Lynchburg Public Library, 2315 Memorial Avenue, Lynchburg, VA 24501, and the Liberty University Library, DeMoss Dr., Lynchburg, VA 24502.

    o. Register online at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/esubscription.asp to be notified via email of new filings and issuances related to this or other pending projects. For assistance, contact FERC Online Support.

    Dated: October 23, 2015. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27575 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. CP15-549-000] Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assessment for the Proposed SM-80 MAOP Restoration Project and Request for Comments on Environmental Issues

    The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) will prepare an environmental assessment (EA) that will discuss the environmental impacts of the SM-80 MAOP Restoration Project involving construction and operation of facilities by Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC (Columbia Gas) in Wayne County, West Virginia. The Commission will use this EA in its decision-making process to determine whether the project is in the public convenience and necessity.

    This notice announces the opening of the scoping process the Commission will use to gather input from the public and interested agencies on the project. You can make a difference by providing us with your specific comments or concerns about the project. Your comments should focus on the potential environmental effects, reasonable alternatives, and measures to avoid or lessen environmental impacts. Your input will help the Commission staff determine what issues they need to evaluate in the EA. To ensure that your comments are timely and properly recorded, please send your comments so that the Commission receives them in Washington, DC on or before November 14, 2015.

    If you sent comments on this project to the Commission before the opening of this docket on September 2, 2015, you will need to file those comments in Docket No. CP15-549-000 to ensure they are considered as part of this proceeding.

    This notice is being sent to the Commission's current environmental mailing list for this project. State and local government representatives should notify their constituents of this proposed project and encourage them to comment on their areas of concern.

    If you are a landowner receiving this notice, a pipeline company representative may contact you about the acquisition of an easement to construct, operate, and maintain the proposed facilities. The company would seek to negotiate a mutually acceptable agreement. However, if the Commission approves the project, that approval conveys with it the right of eminent domain. Therefore, if easement negotiations fail to produce an agreement, the pipeline company could initiate condemnation proceedings where compensation would be determined in accordance with state law.

    Columbia Gas provided landowners with a fact sheet prepared by the FERC entitled “An Interstate Natural Gas Facility On My Land? What Do I Need To Know?” This fact sheet addresses a number of typically asked questions, including the use of eminent domain and how to participate in the Commission's proceedings. It is also available for viewing on the FERC Web site (www.ferc.gov).

    Public Participation

    For your convenience, there are three methods you can use to submit your comments to the Commission. The Commission encourages electronic filing of comments and has expert staff available to assist you at (202) 502-8258 or [email protected] Please carefully follow these instructions so that your comments are properly recorded.

    (1) You can file your comments electronically using the eComment feature on the Commission's Web site (www.ferc.gov) under the link to Documents and Filings. This is an easy method for submitting brief, text-only comments on a project;

    (2) You can file your comments electronically by using the eFiling feature on the Commission's Web site (www.ferc.gov) under the link to Documents and Filings. With eFiling, you can provide comments in a variety of formats by attaching them as a file with your submission. New eFiling users must first create an account by clicking on “eRegister.” If you are filing a comment on a particular project, please select “Comment on a Filing” as the filing type; or

    (3) You can file a paper copy of your comments by mailing them to the following address. Be sure to reference the project docket number (CP15-549-000) with your submission:

    Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Room 1A, Washington, DC 20426.

    Summary of the Proposed Project

    Columbia Gas proposes to abandon in place approximately 3.3 miles of 30-inch-diameter pipeline and associated above ground appurtenances located on its existing SM-80 natural gas transmission system located in Wayne County, West Virginia. This section would be abandoned due to its age and condition, and the current Department of Transportation requirements based on increases in population density near the pipeline. Columbia would also construct approximately 3.9 miles of 30-inch-diameter pipe to replace the abandoned pipeline. The new pipeline would be tied-in to the existing SM-80 pipeline at mileposts 0.67 and 4.56 and would be co-located with the existing SM-80 Loop 1 and other existing easements for 3.8 of the 3.9 miles. The 3.3 miles of 30-inch diameter pipeline is located in an area that has undergone an increase in residential development. In order to decrease the potential impacts to this residential development, Columbia Gas proposed to install the 30-inch diameter replacement pipeline to the south and east of the proposed abandonment.

    1 A pipeline loop is a segment of pipe constructed parallel to an existing pipeline to increase capacity.

    In addition to the above-mentioned pipeline, the SM-80 MAOP Restoration Project would require minor modification to support facilities.

    The general location of the project facilities is shown in appendix 1.2

    2 The appendices referenced in this notice will not appear in the Federal Register. Copies of appendices were sent to all those receiving this notice in the mail and are available at www.ferc.gov using the link called “eLibrary” or from the Commission's Public Reference Room, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426, or call (202) 502-8371. For instructions on connecting to eLibrary, refer to the last page of this notice.

    Land Requirements for Construction

    Construction of the proposed facilities would disturb about 77.9 acres of land for the aboveground facilities and the pipeline. Following construction, Columbia Gas would maintain about 12.4 acres for permanent operation of the project's facilities; the remaining acreage would be restored and revert to former uses. About 96 percent of the proposed pipeline route parallels existing pipeline, utility, or road rights-of-way.

    The EA Process

    The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires the Commission to take into account the environmental impacts that could result from an action whenever it considers the issuance of a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity. NEPA also requires us 3 to discover and address concerns the public may have about proposals. This process is referred to as “scoping.” The main goal of the scoping process is to focus the analysis in the EA on the important environmental issues. By this notice, the Commission requests public comments on the scope of the issues to address in the EA. We will consider all filed comments during the preparation of the EA.

    3 “We,” “us,” and “our” refer to the environmental staff of the Commission's Office of Energy Projects.

    In the EA we will discuss impacts that could occur as a result of the construction and operation of the proposed project under these general headings:

    • Geology and soils;

    • land use;

    • water resources, fisheries, and wetlands;

    • cultural resources;

    • vegetation and wildlife;

    • air quality and noise;

    • endangered and threatened species;

    • public safety; and

    • cumulative impacts.

    We will also evaluate reasonable alternatives to the proposed project or portions of the project, and make recommendations on how to lessen or avoid impacts on the various resource areas.

    The EA will present our independent analysis of the issues. The EA will be available in the public record through eLibrary. We may also publish and distribute the EA to the public for an allotted comment period. We will consider all comments on the EA before making our recommendations to the Commission. To ensure we have the opportunity to consider and address your comments, please carefully follow the instructions in the Public Participation section, beginning on page 2.

    With this notice, we are asking agencies with jurisdiction by law and/or special expertise with respect to the environmental issues of this project to formally cooperate with us in the preparation of the EA.4 Agencies that would like to request cooperating agency status should follow the instructions for filing comments provided under the Public Participation section of this notice.

    4 The Council on Environmental Quality regulations addressing cooperating agency responsibilities are at Title 40, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 1501.6.

    Consultations Under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act

    In accordance with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation's implementing regulations for section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, we are using this notice to initiate consultation with the applicable State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), and to solicit their views and those of other government agencies, interested Indian tribes, and the public on the project's potential effects on historic properties.5 We will define the project-specific Area of Potential Effects (APE) in consultation with the SHPO as the project develops. On natural gas facility projects, the APE at a minimum encompasses all areas subject to ground disturbance (examples include construction right-of-way, contractor/pipe storage yards, compressor stations, and access roads). Our EA for this project will document our findings on the impacts on historic properties and summarize the status of consultations under section 106.

    5 The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation's regulations are at Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 800. Those regulations define historic properties as any prehistoric or historic district, site, building, structure, or object included in or eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.

    Environmental Mailing List

    The environmental mailing list includes: Federal, state, and local government representatives and agencies; elected officials; environmental and public interest groups; Native American Tribes; other interested parties; and local libraries and newspapers. This list also includes all affected landowners (as defined in the Commission's regulations) who are potential right-of-way grantors, whose property may be used temporarily for project purposes, or who own homes within certain distances of aboveground facilities, and anyone who submits comments on the project. We will update the environmental mailing list as the analysis proceeds to ensure that we send the information related to this environmental review to all individuals, organizations, and government entities interested in and/or potentially affected by the proposed project.

    If we publish and distribute the EA, copies will be sent to the environmental mailing list for public review and comment. If you would prefer to receive a paper copy of the document instead of the CD version or would like to remove your name from the mailing list, please return the attached Information Request (appendix 2).

    Becoming an Intervenor

    In addition to involvement in the EA scoping process, you may want to become an “intervenor” which is an official party to the Commission's proceeding. Intervenors play a more formal role in the process and are able to file briefs, appear at hearings, and be heard by the courts if they choose to appeal the Commission's final ruling. An intervenor formally participates in the proceeding by filing a request to intervene. Instructions for becoming an intervenor are in the “Document-less Intervention Guide” under the “e-filing” link on the Commission's Web site. Motions to intervene are more fully described at http://www.ferc.gov/resources/guides/how-to/intervene.asp.

    Additional Information

    Additional information about the project is available from the Commission's Office of External Affairs, at (866) 208-FERC, or on the FERC Web site at www.ferc.gov using the “eLibrary” link. Click on the eLibrary link, click on “General Search” and enter the docket number, excluding the last three digits in the Docket Number field (i.e., CP15-549). Be sure you have selected an appropriate date range. For assistance, please contact FERC Online Support at [email protected] or toll free at (866) 208-3676, or for TTY, contact (202) 502-8659. The eLibrary link also provides access to the texts of formal documents issued by the Commission, such as orders, notices, and rulemakings.

    In addition, the Commission offers a free service called eSubscription which allows you to keep track of all formal issuances and submittals in specific dockets. This can reduce the amount of time you spend researching proceedings by automatically providing you with notification of these filings, document summaries, and direct links to the documents. Go to www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/esubscription.asp.

    Finally, public meetings or site visits will be posted on the Commission's calendar located at www.ferc.gov/EventCalendar/EventsList.aspx along with other related information.

    Dated: October 23, 2015. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27574 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    FEDERAL ACCOUNTING STANDARDS ADVISORY BOARD Notice of Renewal of FASAB Charter AGENCY:

    Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    Board Action: Pursuant to 31 U.S.C. 3511(d),the Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub. L. 92-463), as amended, and the FASAB Rules Of Procedure, as amended in October 2010, notice is hereby given that under the authority and in furtherance of the objectives of 31 U.S.C. 3511(d), the Secretary of the Treasury, the Director of OMB, and the Comptroller General (the Sponsors) have agreed to continue an advisory committee to consider and recommend accounting standards and principles for the federal government.

    For Further Information, or to Obtain a Copy of the Charter, Contact: Ms. Wendy M. Payne, Executive Director, 441 G St. NW., Mail Stop 6H20, Washington, DC 20548, or call (202) 512-7350.

    Authority:

    Federal Advisory Committee Act, Pub. L. 92-463.

    Dated: October 23, 2015. Charles Jackson, Federal Register Liaison Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27578 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 1610-02-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION [DA 15-1130] Notice of Debarment; Federal Lifeline Universal Service Support Mechanism AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Enforcement Bureau (Bureau) gives notice of Oscar Enrique Perez-Zumaeta's debarment from the federal Lifeline universal service support mechanism (Lifeline program) for a period of three years. During this debarment period, Mr. Perez-Zumaeta is prohibited from participating in activities associated with or related to the Lifeline program, including the receipt of funds or discounted services through the Lifeline program, or consulting with, assisting, or advising applicants or service providers regarding the Lifeline program.

    DATES:

    Debarment commences on the date Mr. Perez-Zumaeta receives the debarment letter or October 29, 2015, whichever comes first, for a period of three years.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Celia Lewis, Paralegal Specialist, Federal Communications Commission, Enforcement Bureau, Investigations and Hearings Division, Room 4-A422, 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554. Celia Lewis may be contacted by telephone at (202) 418-7456 or email at [email protected] If Ms. Lewis is unavailable, you may contact Mr. Kalun Lee, Deputy Chief, Investigations and Hearings Division, by telephone at (202) 418-0796 or email at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Bureau debars Mr. Perez-Zumaeta for a period of three years pursuant to 47 CFR 54.8 and 0.111(a)(14). Mr. Perez-Zumaeta's conviction for money laundering in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1957(a) and 18 U.S.C. 2, in connection with fraudulent claims against the Lifeline program is the basis for this debarment. Attached is the Notice of Debarment, DA 15-1130, which was mailed to Mr. Perez-Zumaeta and released on October 5, 2015. The complete text of the Notice of Debarment is available for public inspection and copying during regular business hours at the FCC Reference Information Center, Portal II, 445 12th Street SW., Room CY-A257, Washington, DC 20554. In addition, the complete text is available on the FCC's Web site at http://www.fcc.gov.

    Federal Communications Commission. Jeffrey J. Gee, Chief, Investigations and Hearings Division, Enforcement Bureau. October 5, 2015 DA 15-1130 SENT VIA CERTIFIED MAIL, RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED Mr. Oscar Enrique Perez-Zumaeta c/o William P. Earley Federal Public Defender-OKC 215 Dean A McGee Ave Suite 109 Oklahoma City, OK 73102 Re: Notice of Debarment, File No. EB-IHD-15-00019209

    Dear Mr. Perez-Zumaeta:

    The Federal Communications Commission (Commission) hereby notifies you that, pursuant to section 54.8 of the Commission's rules, you are prohibited from participating in activities associated with or related to the federal low-income support mechanism (Lifeline program) for three years from either the date of your receipt of this Notice of Debarment or of its publication in the Federal Register, whichever comes first (Debarment Date).1

    1 47 CFR 54.8(e), (g); 47 CFR 0.111 (delegating to the Bureau authority to resolve universal service suspension and debarment proceedings). In 2007, the Commission extended the debarment rules to apply to all federal universal service support mechanisms, including the Lifeline program. See Comprehensive Review of the Universal Service Fund Management, Administration, & Oversight, Report and Order, 22 FCC Rcd 16372, 16410-12 (2007) (Program Management Order) (renumbering section 54.521 of the universal service debarment rules as section 54.8 and amending paragraphs (a)(1), (a)(5), (c), (d), (e)(2)(i), (e)(3), (e)(4), and (g)).

    On June 8, 2015, the Commission's Enforcement Bureau (Bureau) sent you a notice of suspension and initiation of debarment proceeding (Notice of Suspension) that was published in the Federal Register on July 9, 2015.2 The Notice of Suspension suspended you from participating in any activities associated with or related to the Lifeline program, including receiving funds or discounted services through the Lifeline program, or consulting with, assisting, or advising applicants or service providers regarding the Lifeline program.3 It also described the basis for initiating debarment proceedings against you, the applicable debarment procedures, and the effect of debarment.

    2 Letter from Jeffrey J. Gee, Chief, Investigations and Hearings Division, FCC Enforcement Bureau, to Oscar Enrique Perez-Zumaeta, Notice of suspension and initiation of debarment proceeding, 30 FCC Rcd 6121 (Enf. Bur. 2015); 80 FR 39430-01, July 9, 2015.

    3 47 CFR 54.8(a)(1), (d).

    As discussed in the Notice of Suspension, on November 7, 2014, you were convicted of money laundering in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1957(a) and 18 U.S.C. 2, in connection with fraudulent claims against the federal Lifeline program.4 You owned and managed PSPS Sales LLC (PSPS), a California entity that recruited low-income individuals to apply for Lifeline telephone service through Icon Telecom, Inc. (Icon).5 Specifically, you pled guilty to one count of money laundering for depositing a $52,390.00 check from Icon into a PSPS bank account, despite knowing that more than $10,000.00 of those funds was the result of criminal fraud against the Commission.6 Pursuant to section 54.8(c) of the Commission's rules, your conviction of criminal conduct in connection with the Lifeline program is the basis for this debarment.7

    4 Any further reference in this letter to “your conviction” refers to your guilty plea and subsequent sentencing in United States v. Perez-Zumaeta, Criminal Docket No. 5:14-cr-00165-D-1, Plea Agreement (W.D. Okla. filed Nov. 07, 2014) (Plea Agreement). See also Lifeline & Link Up Reform & Modernization, WC Docket No. 11-42, CC Docket No. 96-45, WC Docket No. 03-109, Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 27 FCC Rcd 6656 (2012) (Lifeline Reform Order).

    5United States v. Perez-Zumaeta, Criminal Docket No. 5:14-cr-00165-D-1, Indictment at 1-2 (W.D. Okla. filed June 03, 2014) (Indictment).

    6Plea Agreement at 2; Indictment at 16-17; see also United States Attorney's Office, Western District of Oklahoma, Press Release, Final Defendant Sentenced to Serve 42 Months in Prison for Money Laundering in Connection with Federal Wireless Telephone Program Subsidies, Apr. 23, 2015, available at http://www.justice.gov/usao-wdok/pr/final-defendant-sentenced-serve-42-months-prison-money-laundering-connection-federal.

    7 47 CFR 54.8(c).

    In accordance with the Commission's debarment rules, you were required to file with the Commission any opposition to your suspension or its scope, or to your proposed debarment or its scope, no later than 30 calendar days from either the date of your receipt of the Notice of Suspension or of its publication in the Federal Register, whichever date occurred first.8 The Commission received no opposition from you.

    8Id. § 54.8(e)(3)-(4). Any opposition had to be filed no later than July 12, 2015.

    For the foregoing reasons, you are debarred from involvement with the Lifeline program for three years from the Debarment Date.9 During this debarment period, you are excluded from participating in any activities associated with or related to the Lifeline program, including the receipt of funds or discounted services through the Lifeline program, or consulting with, assisting, or advising applicants or service providers regarding the Lifeline program.10

    9 47 CFR 54.8(g).

    10 47 CFR 54.8(a)(1), (d), (g).

    Sincerely yours, Jeffrey J. Gee, Chief, Investigations and Hearings Division, Enforcement Bureau. cc: Johnnay Schrieber, Universal Service Administrative Company (via email) Rashann Duvall, Universal Service Administrative Company (via email) Chris M. Stevens, United States Attorney's Office, Western District of Oklahoma (via email) Scott E. Williams, United States Attorney's Office, Western District of Oklahoma (via email)
    [FR Doc. 2015-27550 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION Notice to All Interested Parties of the Termination of the Receivership of 10362, First National Bank of Central Florida, Winter Park, FL

    Notice is hereby given that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) as Receiver for First National Bank of Central Florida, Winter Park, FL (“the Receiver”) intends to terminate its receivership for said institution. The FDIC was appointed receiver of First National Bank Central Florida on April 29, 2011. The liquidation of the receivership assets has been completed. To the extent permitted by available funds and in accordance with law, the Receiver will be making a final dividend payment to proven creditors.

    Based upon the foregoing, the Receiver has determined that the continued existence of the receivership will serve no useful purpose. Consequently, notice is given that the receivership shall be terminated, to be effective no sooner than thirty days after the date of this Notice. If any person wishes to comment concerning the termination of the receivership, such comment must be made in writing and sent within thirty days of the date of this Notice to: Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Division of Resolutions and Receiverships, Attention: Receivership Oversight Department 32.1, 1601 Bryan Street, Dallas, TX 75201.

    No comments concerning the termination of this receivership will be considered which are not sent within this time frame.

    Dated: October 26, 2015. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Robert E. Feldman, Executive Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27585 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6714-01-P
    FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM Formations of, Acquisitions by, and Mergers of Bank Holding Companies

    The companies listed in this notice have applied to the Board for approval, pursuant to the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956 (12 U.S.C. 1841 et seq.) (BHC Act), Regulation Y (12 CFR part 225), and all other applicable statutes and regulations to become a bank holding company and/or to acquire the assets or the ownership of, control of, or the power to vote shares of a bank or bank holding company and all of the banks and nonbanking companies owned by the bank holding company, including the companies listed below.

    The applications listed below, as well as other related filings required by the Board, are available for immediate inspection at the Federal Reserve Bank indicated. The applications will also be available for inspection at the offices of the Board of Governors. Interested persons may express their views in writing on the standards enumerated in the BHC Act (12 U.S.C. 1842(c)). If the proposal also involves the acquisition of a nonbanking company, the review also includes whether the acquisition of the nonbanking company complies with the standards in section 4 of the BHC Act (12 U.S.C. 1843). Unless otherwise noted, nonbanking activities will be conducted throughout the United States.

    Unless otherwise noted, comments regarding each of these applications must be received at the Reserve Bank indicated or the offices of the Board of Governors not later than November 23, 2015.

    A. Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City (Dennis Denney, Assistant Vice President) 1 Memorial Drive, Kansas City, Missouri 64198-0001:

    1. Carroll County Bancshares, Inc., Carrollton, Missouri; to acquire up to 24.99 percent of the voting shares of Adams Dairy Bancshares, Inc., and thereby indirectly acquire Adams Dairy Bank, both in Blue Springs, Missouri.

    B. Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas (Robert L. Triplett III, Senior Vice President) 2200 North Pearl Street, Dallas, Texas 75201-2272:

    1. Community Bank Holdings of Texas, Inc., Corsicana, Texas; to acquire 100 percent of StarBanc Holding Company, and thereby indirectly acquire Star Bank of Texas, both in Fort Worth, Texas.

    Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, October 26, 2015. Michael J. Lewandowski, Associate Secretary of the Board.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27590 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6210-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION [OMB Control No. 9000-0192; Docket 2015-0055, Sequence 50] Submission for OMB Review; Utilization of Small Business Subcontractors AGENCIES:

    Department of Defense (DoD), General Services Administration (GSA), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

    ACTION:

    Notice of request for public comments regarding a new OMB information collection.

    SUMMARY:

    Under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. chapter 35), the Regulatory Secretariat Division (MVCB) will be submitting to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) a request to review and approve a new information collection requirement regarding utilization of small business subcontractors. A notice was published in the Federal Register at 80 FR 32909 on June 10, 2015. No comments were received on this information collection.

    DATES:

    Submit comments on or before November 30, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit comments regarding this burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden to: Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs of OMB, Attention: Desk Officer for GSA, Room 10236, NEOB, Washington, DC 20503. Additionally submit a copy to GSA by any of the following methods:

    • Regulations.gov: http://www.regulations.gov. Submit comments via the Federal eRulemaking portal by searching the OMB control number. Select the link “Submit a Comment” that corresponds with “Information Collection 9000-0192, Utilization of Small Business Subcontractors”. Follow the instructions provided at the “Submit a Comment” screen. Please include your name, company name (if any), and “Information Collection 9000-0192, Utilization of Small Business Subcontractors” on your attached document.

    • Mail: General Services Administration, Regulatory Secretariat (MVCB), ATTN: Ms. Flowers, 1800 F. Street, NW., Washington, DC 20405.

    Instructions: Please submit comments only and cite Information Collection 9000-0192, Utilization of Small Business Subcontractors, in all correspondence related to this case. Comments received generally will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal and/or business confidential information provided. To confirm receipt of your comment(s), please check www.regulations.gov, approximately two to three days after submission to verify posting (except allow 30 days for posting of comments submitted by mail).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Mahruba Uddowla, Procurement Analyst, at 703-605-2868 for clarification of content.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    A. Purpose

    Section 1322 of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 (Jobs Act), Public Law 111-240, amends the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 637(d)(6)) to require as part of a subcontracting plan that a prime contractor make good faith effort to utilize a small business subcontractor during performance of a contract to the same degree the prime contractor relied on the small business in preparing and submitting its bid or proposal. If a prime contractor does not utilize a small business subcontractor as described above, the prime contractor is required to explain, in writing, to the contracting officer the reasons why it is unable to do so. The Small Business Administration (SBA) made regulatory changes in its final rule at 78 FR 42391, dated July 16, 2013 to implement the statutory requirements set forth at section 1322. The SBA final rule is being implemented in the FAR at Subpart 19.7 and clause 52.219-9 Small Business Subcontracting Plan through FAR case 2014-003, Small Business Subcontracting Improvements.

    B. Annual Reporting Burden

    Public reporting burden for the collection of information regarding a contractor's utilization of small business subcontractors to the same degree the prime contractor relied on the small business in preparing and submitting its bid or proposal is estimated to be $202,464. FPDS for FY 2013 lists 5,327 actions with small business subcontracting plans. However, it is estimated that at most 50% of these contracts with subcontracting plans may have instances of the prime contractor not using a small business subcontractor to the same extent used in preparing the bid or proposal. Using this method provides the number of respondents as 2,664. It is estimated that the average time required to read and prepare information for this collection is two hours. It is also estimated that the responses per respondent would be once a year since prime contractors have until 30 days of contract completion to submit the written explanation.

    Respondents: 2,664.

    Responses per respondent: 1.

    Total annual responses: 2,664.

    Preparation hours per response: 2.

    Total response burden hours: 5,328.

    C. Public Comments

    Public comments are particularly invited on: Whether this collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of functions of the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR), and whether it will have practical utility; whether our estimate of the public burden of this collection of information is accurate, and based on valid assumptions and methodology; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and ways in which we can minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, through the use of appropriate technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    Obtaining Copies of Proposals: Requesters may obtain a copy of the information collection documents from the General Services Administration, Regulatory Secretariat Division (MVCB), 1800 F Street NW., Washington, DC 20405, telephone 202-501-4755.

    Please cite OMB Control No. 9000-0192, Utilization of Small Business Subcontractors, in all correspondence.

    Edward Loeb, Acting Director, Federal Acquisition Policy Division, Office of Governmentwide Acquisition Policy, Office of Acquisition Policy, Office of Governmentwide Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27510 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6820-EP-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION [OMB Control No. 9000-0006; Docket 2015-0055; Sequence 46] Submission for OMB Review; Subcontracting Plans/Individual Subcontract Report, SF 294 and ISRS AGENCIES:

    Department of Defense (DOD), General Services Administration (GSA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

    ACTION:

    Notice of request for public comments regarding a revision to an existing OMB clearance.

    SUMMARY:

    Under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act, the Regulatory Secretariat Division will be submitting to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) a request to review and approve revisions to a previously approved information collection requirement concerning Subcontracting Plans/Individual Subcontract Report (SF) 294. A notice was published in the Federal Register at 80 FR 32909, on June 10, 2015. No comments were received on the information collection.

    DATES:

    Submit comments on or before November 30, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit comments regarding this burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden to: Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs of OMB, Attention: Desk Officer for GSA, Room 10236, NEOB, Washington, DC 20503. Additionally submit a copy to GSA by any of the following methods:

    • Regulations.gov: http://www.regulations.gov. Submit comments via the Federal eRulemaking portal by searching the OMB control number. Select the link “Submit a Comment” that corresponds with “Information Collection 9000-0006, Subcontracting Plans/Individual Subcontract Report (SF) 294, and ISRS”. Follow the instructions provided at the “Submit a Comment” screen. Please include your name, company name (if any), and “Information Collection 9000-0006, Subcontracting Plans/Individual Subcontract Report (SF) 294 and ISRS” on your attached document.

    • Mail: General Services Administration, Regulatory Secretariat Division (MVCB), 1800 F Street NW., Washington, DC 20405. ATTN: Ms. Flowers/IC 9000-0006, Subcontracting Plans/Individual Subcontract Report (SF) 294 and ISRS.

    Instructions: Please submit comments only and cite Information Collection 9000-0006, Subcontracting Plans/Individual Subcontract Report (SF) 294 and ISRS, in all correspondence related to this collection. Comments received generally will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal and/or business confidential information provided. To confirm receipt of your comment(s), please check www.regulations.gov, approximately two to three days after submission to verify posting (except allow 30 days for posting of comments submitted by mail).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Mahruba Uddowla, Procurement Analyst, Office of Acquisition Policy, GSA 703-605-2868 or email [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: A. Purpose

    In accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulation 19.702, which implements the statutory requirements of Section 8(d) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 637(d)), contractors receiving a contract for more than the simplified acquisition threshold agree to have small business, small disadvantaged business, women-owned small business, historically underutilized business zone small business, veteran-owned small business, and service-disabled veteran-owned small business concerns participate in the performance of the contract as far as practicable. Contractors receiving a contract or a modification to a contract expected to exceed $700,000 ($1,500,000 for construction) must submit a subcontracting plan that provides maximum practicable opportunities for the above named concerns. Specific elements required to be included in the plan are specified in section 8(d) of the Small Business Act and implemented in FAR subpart 19.7 and clause 52.219-9.

    In conjunction with the subcontracting plan requirements, contractors must submit semi-annual reports of their small business subcontracting progress to the government. With the exception of those contracts noted in FAR 4.606(c)(5) which states “Actions that, pursuant to other authority, will not be entered in FPDS (e.g., reporting of the information would compromise national security)”, contractors must use the electronic Individual Subcontract Report (ISR) in the Electronic Subcontracting Reporting System (eSRS) in lieu of the Standard Form 294, Subcontracting Report for Individual Contracts.

    The ISR is the electronic equivalent of the Standard Form 294. The eSRS streamlines the small business subcontracting program reporting process and provides the data to agencies in a manner that enables them to more effectively manage the program. Those contract actions noted in FAR 4.606(c)(5) will continue to use the Standard Form 294.

    The SBA made regulatory changes in its final rule at 78 FR 42391, dated July 16, 2013 regarding subcontracting plan requirements and the associated reporting requirements. The SBA final rule is being implemented in the FAR at subpart 19.7 and clause 52.219-9 Small Business Subcontracting Plan through FAR case 2014-003, Small Business Subcontracting Improvements. FAR case 2014-003 revised the FAR to require a subcontracting plan for modifications of any value if the modification will cause the contract to exceed the threshold for requiring a plan and when subcontracting opportunities exist as well as to give contracting officers the discretion to require a plan when a small business prime contractor rerepresents as an other than small on the contract. These revisions to the FAR required revisions to the existing information collections associated with subcontracting plan requirements and the associated reporting requirements.

    B. Annual Reporting Burden

    Based on the proposed revisions to the FAR as well as a more accurate basis for estimation, an upward adjustment is being made to the average burden hours for reporting and recordkeeping per response but a downward adjustment is being made to the number of respondents (i.e., subcontracting plans and the individual subcontracting reports associated with them). As a result, a downward adjustment is being made to the estimated annual reporting burden since the notice regarding an extension to this clearance published in the Federal Register at 78 FR 17668, on March 22, 2013.

    Respondents: 59,336.

    Responses per Respondent: 3.

    Total Annual Responses: 178,008.

    Average Burden Hours per Response: 13.5.

    Total Burden Hours: 2,403,108.

    Public comments are particularly invited on: Whether this collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of functions of the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR), and whether it will have practical utility; whether our estimate of the public burden of this collection of information is accurate, and based on valid assumptions and methodology; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and ways in which we can minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, through the use of appropriate technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    Obtaining Copies Of Proposals: Requesters may obtain a copy of the information collection documents from the General Services Administration, Regulatory Secretariat Division (MVCB), 1800 F Street NW., Washington, DC 20405, telephone 202-501-4755.

    Please cite OMB Control No. 9000-0006, Subcontracting Plans/Individual Subcontract Report, SF 294, in all correspondence.

    Edward Loeb, Acting Director, Federal Acquisition Policy Division, Office of Governmentwide Acquisition Policy, Office of Acquisition Policy, Office of Governmentwide Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27509 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6820-EP-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION [OMB Control No. 9000-0007; Docket 2015-0055; Sequence 59] Submission for OMB Review; Summary Subcontract Report AGENCY:

    Department of Defense (DOD), General Services Administration (GSA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

    ACTION:

    Notice of request for comments regarding a revision to an existing OMB clearance.

    SUMMARY:

    Under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act, the Regulatory Secretariat Division will be submitting to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) a request to review and approve revisions to a previously approved information collection requirement concerning summary subcontract reports. A notice was published in the Federal Register at 80 FR 32909 on June 10, 2015. No comments were received on the information collection.

    DATES:

    Submit comments on or before November 30, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit comments regarding this burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden to: Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs of OMB, Attention: Desk Officer for GSA, Room 10236, NEOB, Washington, DC 20503. Additionally submit a copy to GSA by any of the following methods:

    • Regulations.gov: http://www.regulations.gov. Submit comments via the Federal eRulemaking portal by searching the OMB control number. Select the link “Submit a Comment” that corresponds with “Information Collection 9000-0007, Summary Subcontract Report”. Follow the instructions provided at the “Submit a Comment” screen. Please include your name, company name (if any), and “Information Collection 9000-0007, Summary Subcontract Report”, on your attached document.

    • Mail: General Services Administration, Regulatory Secretariat (MVCB), 1800 F Street NW., Washington, DC 20405. ATTN: Ms. Flowers/IC 9000-0007, Summary Subcontract Report.

    Instructions: Please submit comments only and cite Information Collection 9000-0007, Summary Subcontract Report, in all correspondence related to this collection. Comments received generally will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal and/or business confidential information provided. To confirm receipt of your comment(s), please check www.regulations.gov, approximately two to three days after submission to verify posting (except allow 30 days for posting of comments submitted by mail).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Mahruba Uddowla, Procurement Analyst, Office of Governmentwide Acquisition Policy, at 703-605-2868 or via email at [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: A. Purpose

    In accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulation 19.702, any contractor receiving a contract for more than the simplified acquisition threshold must agree in the contract that small business, small disadvantaged business, historically underutilized business zone (HUBZone) small business, veteran-owned small business, service-disabled veteran-owned small business, and women-owned small business concerns will have the maximum practicable opportunity to participate in contract performance consistent with its efficient performance. Further, contractors receiving a contract or a modification to a contract expected to exceed $700,000 ($1,500,000 for construction) must submit a subcontracting plan that provides maximum practicable opportunities for the above named concerns. Specific elements required to be included in the plan are specified in section 8(d) of the Small Business Act and are implemented in FAR Subpart 19.7.

    In conjunction with the subcontracting plan requirements, contractors must submit an annual summary of subcontracts awarded by prime and subcontractors for a specific Federal Government agency that required an individual subcontracting plan for the previous fiscal year. This is accomplished through the use of the Summary Subcontract Report (SSR), submitted through the Electronic Subcontracting Reporting System (eSRS). The eSRS streamlines the small business subcontracting program reporting process and provides the data to agencies in a manner that enables them to more effectively manage the program.

    The SBA made regulatory changes in its final rule at 78 FR 42391, dated July 16, 2013 regarding subcontracting plan requirements and the associated reporting requirements. The SBA final rule is being implemented in the FAR at Subpart 19.7 and clause 52.219-9 Small Business Subcontracting Plan through FAR case 2014-003, Small Business Subcontracting Improvements. FAR case 2014-003 revised the FAR to require a subcontracting plan for modifications of any value if the modification will cause the contract to exceed the threshold for requiring a plan and when subcontracting opportunities exist as well as to give contracting officers the discretion to require a plan when a small business prime contractor rerepresents as an other than small on the contract. These revisions to the FAR required revisions to the existing information collections associated with subcontracting plan requirements and the associated reporting requirements.

    B. Annual Burden Hours

    Based on the proposed revisions to the FAR as well as a more accurate basis for estimation, a downward adjustment is being made to the number of respondents (i.e., summary subcontracting reports). Since the proposed revisions to the FAR does not require additional information in the Summary Subcontract Report, the estimated preparation hours per response remains unchanged. As a result, a downward adjustment is being made to the estimated annual reporting burden since the notice regarding an extension to this clearance published in the Federal Register at 78 FR 17668, on March 22, 2013.

    Respondents: 59,336.

    Responses per respondent: 1.

    Total responses: 59,336.

    Average burden hours per response: 9.0.

    Total Burden Hours: 534,024.

    C. Public Comments

    Public comments are particularly invited on: Whether this collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of functions of the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR), and whether it will have practical utility; whether our estimate of the public burden of this collection of information is accurate, and based on valid assumptions and methodology; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and ways in which we can minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, through the use of appropriate technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    Obtaining Copies of Proposals: Requesters may obtain a copy of the information collection documents from the General Services Administration, Regulatory Secretariat (MVCB), 1800 F Street NW., Washington, DC 20405, telephone 202-501-4755. Please cite OMB Control Number 9000-0007, Summary Subcontract Report, in all correspondence.

    Edward Loeb, Acting Director, Federal Acquisition Policy Division, Office of Governmentwide Acquisition Policy, Office of Acquisition Policy, Office of Governmentwide Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27553 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6820-EP-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION [OMB Control No. 9000-0189; Docket No. 2015-0055; Sequence 52] Submission for OMB Review; Identification of Predecessors AGENCY:

    Department of Defense (DOD), General Services Administration (GSA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

    ACTION:

    Notice of request for public comments regarding a new OMB clearance.

    SUMMARY:

    Under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act, the Regulatory Secretariat Division will be submitting to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) a request to review and approve a new information collection requirement concerning Identification of Predecessors. A notice was published in the Federal Register at 79 FR 71975, on December 4, 2014. Two comments were received.

    DATES:

    Submit comments on or before November 30, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit comments regarding this burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden to: Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs of OMB, Attention: Desk Officer for GSA, Room 10236, NEOB, Washington, DC 20503. Additionally submit a copy to GSA by any of the following methods:

    • Regulations.gov: http://www.regulations.gov. Submit comments via the Federal eRulemaking portal by searching for OMB control number 9000-0189, Identification of Predecessors. Select the link “Submit a Comment” that corresponds with “9000-0189; Identification of Predecessors.” Follow the instructions provided at the “Submit a Comment” screen. Please include your name, company name (if any), and “9000-0189; Identification of Predecessors” on your attached document.

    Mail: General Services Administration, Regulatory Secretariat Division (MVCB), 1800 F Street NW., Washington, DC 20405. ATTN: Ms. Flowers/IC 9000-0189, Identification of Predecessors.

    Instructions: Please submit comments only and cite Information Collection 9000-0189, in all correspondence related to this case. Comments received generally will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal and/or business confidential information provided. To confirm receipt of your comment(s), please check www.regulations.gov, approximately two to three days after submission to verify posting (except allow 30 days for posting of comments submitted by mail).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Cecelia L. Davis, Procurement Analyst, Federal Acquisition Policy Division, at 202-219-0202 or email [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: A. Purpose

    This final rule implements section 852 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 to include in the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS), to the extent practicable, identification of any immediate owner or subsidiary, and all predecessors of an offeror that held a Federal contract or grant within the last three years. The objective is to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the performance and integrity of the corporation before awarding a Federal contract.

    B. Discussion and Analysis

    The Civilian Agency Acquisition Council and the Defense Acquisition Regulations Council (the Councils) reviewed the comments in the development of the final rule. A discussion of the comments is provided as follows:

    A. Summary of Significant Changes in Response to Public Comments

    There were no changes made in the final rule in response to the public comments received.

    B. Analysis of Public Comments

    Comment: One respondent commented that it would be helpful if the relevant FAR provisions and FAR clause 52.204-WW clarified whether the three year “lookback” period starts on the effective date of when the predecessor merged or was acquired by the successor or the date the contracts of the predecessor were novated from the predecessor to the successor.

    Response: The “lookback” period starts on the date the offeror signs the representation. If, within the three years prior to signing the representation, there was a merger or acquisition, it shall be reported. The date of novation is not relevant for purposes of this rule. Comment: One respondent supported the statute because it requires that information be provided to the contracting officers to aid in making responsibility determinations, and supported the position that the “further the distance between entities, the less relevant the information is likely to be for establishing responsibility of the offeror.”

    Response: Noted.

    Comment: One respondent commented that the proposed rule's requirement to report data on all predecessors of the offeror that received a Federal contract or grant within the last three years would apply an undue burden on prospective contractors and not achieve the Government's stated objective of providing a more comprehensive understanding of a potential contractor's performance and integrity. The respondent proposed that publicly traded companies subject to SEC requirements be exempt from this requirement because it instills a burden without benefit to the Government.

    Response: The statute does not allow for this exemption.

    Comment: One respondent commented that large multi-national organizations many times reorganize business units in order to effectively respond to changing needs of the marketplace. These reorganizations can include alternate legal structures. The assets of one legal entity may pass through three or four more before landing at the new entity. The respondent proposed that where the ultimate owner remains the same before and after a transaction, the contractor be exempted from providing information on predecessor entities. According to the respondent, this is consistent with the Government's exclusion of a “new offices/divisions of the same company” from the definition of “successor.”

    Response: This recommendation does not meet the requirements of the statute.

    Comment: One respondent commented that contracting officers and their counsel perform a rigorous review and analysis to deal with the novation process and feels that there should be no requirement to identify prior owners within the FAPIIS because the required responsibility determination would have been conducted through novation.

    Response: The statute requires collection of information on predecessor, regardless of any novation action by the Government.

    Comment: The respondent commented that the reporting of the ultimate owners became effective on November 1, 2014, and believe that agencies should allow contractors and contracting officers time to implement and evaluate the results of this new requirement before adding more requirements that may not aid contracting officers in responsibility and integrity evaluations.

    Response: The statute does not allow the Government to delay the implementation of this Act.

    Comments: The respondent feels that commercially available off-the-shelf (COTS) items should be excluded from this requirement.

    Response: The Administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy has determined that this rule applies to COTS items.

    C. Annual Reporting Burden

    Respondents: 413,800.

    Responses per Respondent: 1.

    Total Annual Responses: 413,800.

    Hours per Response: .1.

    Total Burden Hours: 41,380.

    Public comments are particularly invited on: Whether this collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of functions of the FAR, and whether it will have practical utility; whether our estimate of the public burden of this collection of information is accurate, and based on valid assumptions and methodology; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and ways in which we can minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, through the use of appropriate technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    Obtaining Copies of Proposals: Requesters may obtain a copy of the information collection documents from the General Services Administration, Regulatory Secretariat Division (MVCB), 1800 F Street NW., Washington, DC 20405, telephone 202-501-4755.

    Please cite OMB Control Number 9000-0189, Identification of Predecessors, in all correspondence.

    Edward Loeb, Acting Director, Federal Acquisition Policy Division, Office of Government-wide Acquisition Policy, Office of Acquisition Policy, Office of Government-wide Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27554 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6820-1EP-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request AGENCY:

    Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice announces the intention of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to request that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approve the proposed information collection project: “Online Application Order Form for Products from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP).” In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501-3521, AHRQ invites the public to comment on this proposed information collection.

    This proposed information collection was previously published in the Federal Register on August 20, 2015 and allowed 60 days for public comment. No substantive comments were received. The purpose of this notice is to allow an additional 30 days for public comment.

    DATES:

    Comments on this notice must be received by November 30, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Written comments should be submitted to: AHRQ's OMB Desk Officer by fax at (202) 395-6974 (attention: AHRQ's desk officer) or by email at [email protected] (attention: AHRQ's desk officer). Copies of the proposed collection plans, data collection instruments, and specific details on the estimated burden can be obtained from the AHRQ Reports Clearance Officer.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Doris Lefkowitz, AHRQ Reports Clearance Officer, (301) 427-1477, or by email at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Proposed Project Online Application Order Form for Products From the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP)

    The Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) is a vital resource helping the Agency achieve its mission to produce evidence to make health care safer, higher quality, more accessible, equitable, and affordable. HCUP is a family of health care databases and related software tools and products developed through a Federal-State-Industry partnership and sponsored by AHRQ. HCUP includes the largest collection of longitudinal hospital care data in the United States, with all-payer, encounter-level information beginning in 1988. The HCUP databases are annual files that contain anonymous information from hospital discharge records for inpatient care and certain components of outpatient care, such as emergency care and ambulatory surgeries. The project currently releases seven types of databases created for research use on a broad range of health issues, including cost and quality of health services, medical practice patterns, access to health care programs, and outcomes of treatments at the National, State, and local market levels. HCUP also produces a large number of software tools to enhance the use of administrative health care data for research and public health use. Software tools use information available from a variety of sources to create new data elements, often through sophisticated algorithms, for use with the HCUP databases.

    HCUP's objectives are to:

    • Create and enhance a powerful source of National, State, and all-payer health care data.

    • Produce a broad set of software tools and products to facilitate the use of HCUP and other administrative data.

    • Enrich a collaborative partnership with statewide data organizations (that voluntarily participate in the project) aimed at increasing the quality and use of health care data.

    • Conduct and translate research to inform decision making and improve health care delivery.

    This project is being conducted by AHRQ through its primary contractor and subcontractor, Truven Health Analytics and Social & Scientific Systems, Inc., pursuant to AHRQ's statutory authority to conduct and support research on health care and on systems for the delivery of such care, including activities with respect to the quality, effectiveness, efficiency, appropriateness and value of health care services and with respect to quality measurement and improvement. (42 U.S.C. 299a(a)(1) and (2).)

    Method of Collection

    The HCUP releases seven types of databases for public research use:

    (1) The National Inpatient Sample (NIS) is the largest all-payer inpatient care database in the United States, yielding national estimates of hospital inpatient stays. The NIS approximates 20 percent of the discharges from all U.S. community hospitals and contains data from approximately 8 million hospital stays each year. NIS data releases are available for purchase from the HCUP Central Distributor for data years beginning in 1988.

    (2) The Kids' Inpatient Database (KID) is the only all-payer inpatient care database for children in the United States. The KID was specifically designed to permit researchers to study a broad range of conditions and procedures related to child health issues. The KID contains a sample of 2 to 3 million discharges for children age 20 and younger from more than 3,500 U.S. community hospitals. KID data releases are available every third year starting in 1997.

    (3) The Nationwide Emergency Department Sample (NEDS) is the largest all-payer Emergency Department (ED) database in the United States. It is constructed to capture information both on ED visits that do not result in an admission and on ED visits that result in an admission to the same hospital. The NEDS contains more than 25 million unweighted records for ED visits at about 1,000 U.S. community hospitals and approximates a 20-percent stratified sample of U.S. hospital-based EDs. NEDS data releases are available beginning with data year 2006.

    (4) The State Inpatient Databases (SID) contains the universe of inpatient discharge abstracts from data organizations in 46 States and the District of Columbia that currently participate in the SID. Together, the SID encompasses approximately 96 percent of all U.S. community hospital discharges. Most States that participate in the SID make their data available for purchase through the HCUP Central Distributor. Files are available beginning with data year 1990.

    (5) The State Ambulatory Surgery and Services Databases (SASD) contain encounter-level data from ambulatory surgery and other outpatient services from hospital-owned facilities. In addition, some States provide data for ambulatory surgery and outpatient services from nonhospital-owned facilities. Currently, 34 States participate in the SASD. Files are available beginning with data year 1997.

    (6) The State Emergency Department Databases (SEDD) contain data from hospital-owned (ED) for visits that do not result in a hospitalization. Currently, 29 States participate in the SEDD. Currently, 32 States participate in the SEDD. Files are available beginning with data year 1999.

    (7) A new database called the Nationwide Readmissions Database (NRD) is planned for release in late 2015. The NRD is designed to support various types of analyses of national readmission rates. This database addresses a large gap in health care data—the lack of nationally representative information on hospital readmissions. The NRD is a calendar-year, discharge-level database constructed from the HCUP State Inpatient Databases (SID).

    To support AHRQ's mission to improve health care through health services research, HCUP databases and software tools are disseminated to users outside of the Agency through the HCUP Central Distributor at https://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/tech_assist/centdist.jsp. The HCUP Central Distributor assists qualified researchers to access uniform research data across multiple states with the use of one application process. The HCUP databases disseminated through the Central distributor are referred to as “restricted access public release files”; that is, they are publicly available, but only under restricted conditions.

    This information collection request is for the activities associated with the HCUP database application process not the collection of health care data for HCUP databases.

    The activities associated with this application include:

    (1) HCUP Application. All persons requesting access to the HCUP databases must complete an application at https://distributor.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/. Applications for HCUP State databases require a brief description of the planned research use to ensure that the intended use is consistent with HCUP policies and with the HCUP Data Use Agreement. Paper versions of all application packages are also available for downloading at http://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/tech_assist/centdist.jsp.

    (2) HCUP Data Use Agreement Training. All persons wanting access to the HCUP databases must complete an online training course. The purpose of the training is to emphasize the importance of data protection, reduce the risk of inadvertent violations, and describe the individual's responsibility when using HCUP data. The training course can be accessed and completed online at http://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/tech_assist/dua.jsp.

    (3) HCUP Data Use Agreement (DUA). All persons wanting access to the HCUP databases must sign a data use agreement. As an example, the DUA for the Nationwide databases is available at http://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/team/NationwideDUA.jsp.

    HCUP databases are released to researchers outside of AHRQ after the completion of required training and submission of an application that includes a signed HCUP DUA. In addition, before restricted access public release state-level databases are released, AHRQ must review and approve the applicant's statement of intended use to ensure that the planned use is consistent with HCUP policies and with the HCUP DUA. Fees are set for databases released through the HCUP Central Distributor depending on the type of database. The fee for sale of State-level data is determined by each participating Statewide Data Organization and reimbursed to those organizations. Information collected in the HCUP Application process will be used for two purposes only:

    1. Business Transaction: In order to deliver the HCUP databases and software contact information is necessary for shipping the data on disk (or any other media used in the future).

    2. Enforcement of the HCUP DUA: The HCUP DUA contains several restrictions on use of the data. Most of these restrictions have been put in place to safeguard the privacy of individuals and establishments represented in the data. For example, data users can only use the data for research, analysis, and aggregate statistical reporting and are prohibited from attempting to identify any persons in the data. Contact information on HCUP DUA is retained in the event that a violation of the DUA takes place requiring legal remedy.

    Estimated Annual Respondent Burden

    Exhibit 1 shows the estimated annualized burden associated with the applicants' time to order any of the HCUP databases. An estimated 1,300 persons will order HCUP data annually. Each of these persons will complete an application (10 minutes), the DUA training (15 minutes) and a DUA (5 minutes). The total burden is estimated to be 650 hours annually.

    Exhibit 2 shows the estimated annualized cost burden associated with the applicants' time to order HCUP data. The total cost burden is estimated to be $24,772 annually.

    Exhibit 1—Estimated Annualized Burden Hours Form name Number of
  • respondents
  • Number of
  • responses per
  • respondent
  • Hours per
  • response
  • Total burden
  • hours
  • HCUP Application Form 1,300 1 10/60 217 HCUP DUA Training 1,300 1 15/60 325 HCUP DUA 1,300 1 5/60 108 Total 3,900 na na 650
    Exhibit 2—Estimated Annualized Cost Burden Form name Number of
  • respondents
  • Total burden
  • hours
  • Average
  • hourly wage
  • rate *
  • Total cost
  • burden
  • HCUP Application Form 1,300 217 $38.11 $8,270 HCUP DUA Training 1,300 325 38.11 12,386 HCUP DUA 1,300 108 38.11 4,116 Total 3,900 650 na 24,772 * Based upon the mean of the average wages for Life Scientists, All Other (19-1099), National Compensation Survey: Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2014 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates United States, U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm#b29-0000.
    Request for Comments

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act, comments on AHRQ's information collection are requested with regard to any of the following: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of AHRQ health care research and health care information dissemination functions, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of AHRQ's estimate of burden (including hours and costs) of the proposed collection(s) of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information upon the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and included in the Agency's subsequent request for OMB approval of the proposed information collection. All comments will become a matter of public record.

    Sharon B. Arnold, Deputy Director.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27499 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4160-90-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Subcommittee for Dose Reconstruction Reviews (SDRR), Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health (ABRWH or the Advisory Board), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

    In accordance with section 10(a)(2) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub. L. 92-463), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), announces the following meeting for the aforementioned subcommittee:

    Time and Date: 10:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m., EDT, December 1, 2015.

    Place: Audio Conference Call via FTS Conferencing.

    Status: Open to the public, but without a public comment period. The public is welcome to submit written comments in advance of the meeting, to the contact person below. Written comments received in advance of the meeting will be included in the official record of the meeting. The public is also welcome to listen to the meeting by joining the teleconference at the USA toll-free, dial-in number at 1-866-659-0537 and the pass code is 9933701.

    Background: The Advisory Board was established under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act of 2000 to advise the President on a variety of policy and technical functions required to implement and effectively manage the new compensation program. Key functions of the Advisory Board include providing advice on the development of probability of causation guidelines that have been promulgated by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as a final rule; advice on methods of dose reconstruction, which have also been promulgated by HHS as a final rule; advice on the scientific validity and quality of dose estimation and reconstruction efforts being performed for purposes of the compensation program; and advice on petitions to add classes of workers to the Special Exposure Cohort (SEC).

    In December 2000, the President delegated responsibility for funding, staffing, and operating the Advisory Board to HHS, which subsequently delegated this authority to CDC. NIOSH implements this responsibility for CDC. The charter was issued on August 3, 2001, renewed at appropriate intervals, and will expire on August 3, 2017.

    Purpose: The Advisory Board is charged with (a) providing advice to the Secretary, HHS, on the development of guidelines under Executive Order 13179; (b) providing advice to the Secretary, HHS, on the scientific validity and quality of dose reconstruction efforts performed for this program; and (c) upon request by the Secretary, HHS, advise the Secretary on whether there is a class of employees at any Department of Energy facility who were exposed to radiation but for whom it is not feasible to estimate their radiation dose, and on whether there is reasonable likelihood that such radiation doses may have endangered the health of members of this class. The Subcommittee for Dose Reconstruction Reviews was established to aid the Advisory Board in carrying out its duty to advise the Secretary, HHS, on dose reconstruction.

    Matters for Discussion: The agenda for the Subcommittee meeting includes the following dose reconstruction program quality management and assurance activities: Current findings from NIOSH dose reconstruction blind reviews; dose reconstruction cases under review from Sets 14-18, including the Oak Ridge sites (Y-12, K-25, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Savannah River Site; preparation of the Advisory Board's next report to the Secretary, HHS, summarizing the results of completed dose reconstruction reviews.

    The agenda is subject to change as priorities dictate.

    Contact Person for More Information: Theodore Katz, Designated Federal Officer, NIOSH, CDC, 1600 Clifton Road, Mailstop E-20, Atlanta, Georgia 30333, Telephone (513) 533-6800, Toll Free 1 (800) CDC-INFO, Email [email protected]

    The Director, Management Analysis and Services Office, has been delegated the authority to sign Federal Register notices pertaining to announcements of meetings and other committee management activities, for both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

    Catherine Ramadei, Acting Director, Management Analysis and Services Office, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27561 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4163-19-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Board of Scientific Counselors, National Center for Environmental Health/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (BSC, NCEH/ATSDR)

    In accordance with section 10(a)(2) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub. L. 92-463), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), announces the following meeting of the aforementioned committee:

    Times and Dates:

    8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., EST, December 1, 2015.

    8:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m., EST, December 2, 2015.

    Place: CDC, 4770 Buford Highway, Atlanta, Georgia 30341.

    Status: Open to the public, limited only by the space available. The meeting room accommodates approximately 60 people.

    Purpose: The Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and by delegation, the Director, CDC and Administrator, NCEH/ATSDR, are authorized under Section 301 (42 U.S.C. 241) and Section 311 (42 U.S.C. 243) of the Public Health Service Act, as amended, to: (1) Conduct, encourage, cooperate with, and assist other appropriate public authorities, scientific institutions, and scientists in the conduct of research, investigations, experiments, demonstrations, and studies relating to the causes, diagnosis, treatment, control, and prevention of physical and mental diseases and other impairments; (2) assist states and their political subdivisions in the prevention of infectious diseases and other preventable conditions and in the promotion of health and wellbeing; and (3) train state and local personnel in health work. The BSC, NCEH/ATSDR provides advice and guidance to the Secretary, HHS; the Director, CDC and Administrator, ATSDR; and the Director, NCEH/ATSDR, regarding program goals, objectives, strategies, and priorities in fulfillment of the agency's mission to protect and promote people's health. The board provides advice and guidance that will assist NCEH/ATSDR in ensuring scientific quality, timeliness, utility, and dissemination of results. The board also provides guidance to help NCEH/ATSDR work more efficiently and effectively with its various constituents and to fulfill its mission in protecting America's health.

    Matters for Discussion: The agenda items for the BSC Meeting will include NCEH/ATSDR Office of the Director Updates; NCEH/ATSDR Program Responses to BSC Guidance and Action Items; Update on the NCEH/ATSDR Strategic Plan; Approach to Addressing Perfluorinated Chemicals (PFCs) at Hazardous Waste Sites; The Role of Environmental Health Services in Legionnaires Disease; Parking Prices and Active Commuting: an Ecological Analysis of U.S. Cities and updates from the National Institute for Environmental Health Services, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

    Agenda items are subject to change as priorities dictate.

    Supplemental Information: The public comment period is scheduled Tuesday, December 1, 2015 from 4:15 p.m. until 4:30 p.m., and Wednesday, December 2, 2015 from 10:30 a.m. until 10:45 a.m.

    Contact Person for More Information: Sandra Malcom, Committee Management Specialist, NCEH/ATSDR, 4770 Buford Highway, Mail Stop F-45, Chamblee, Georgia 30345; Telephone 770/488-0575 or 770/488-0577, Fax: 770/488-3377; Email: [email protected] The deadline for notification of attendance is November 24, 2015. The Director, Management Analysis and Services Office, has been delegated the authority to sign Federal Register notices pertaining to announcements of meetings and other committee management activities for both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

    Catherine Ramadei, Acting Director, Management Analysis and Services Office, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27562 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4163-18-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Disease, Disability, and Injury Prevention and Control Special Emphasis Panel (SEP): Initial Review

    In accordance with Section 10(a)(2) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub. L. 92-463), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announces a meeting for the initial review of applications in response to Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) PAR14-275, State Occupational Health and Safety Surveillance Program (U60).

    Times and Dates:

    5:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m., EST, December 8, 2015 (Closed) 7:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m., EST, December 9, 2015 (Closed) 7:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m., EST, December 10, 2015 (Closed)

    Place: Embassy Suites Alexandria-Old Town, 1900 Diagonal Road, Alexandria, Virginia 22314, Telephone: 703-684-5900.

    Status: The meeting will be closed to the public in accordance with provisions set forth in Section 552b(c) (4) and (6), Title 5 U.S.C., and the Determination of the Director, Management Analysis and Services Office, CDC, pursuant to Public Law 92-463.

    Matters For Discussion: The meeting will include the initial review, discussion, and evaluation of applications received in response to FOA “State Occupational Health and Safety Surveillance Program (U60), PAR14-275, initial review.”

    Contact Person for More Information: Donald Blackman, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, CDC, 2400 Century Center Parkway NE., 4th Floor, Mailstop E-74, Atlanta, Georgia 30345, Telephone: 404-498-6185, [email protected]

    The Director, Management Analysis and Services Office, has been delegated the authority to sign Federal Register notices pertaining to announcements of meetings and other committee management activities, for both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

    Catherine Ramadei, Acting Director, Management Analysis and Services Office, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27563 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4163-18-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Administration on Community Living Proposed Information Collection Activity; Comment Request; State Developmental Disabilities Council—Annual Program Performance Report (PPR) AGENCY:

    Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Administration for Community Living, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    A Plan developed by the State Council on Developmental Disabilities is required by federal statute. Each State Council on Developmental Disabilities must develop the plan, provide for public comments in the State, provide for approval by the State's Governor, and finally submit the plan on a five-year basis. On an annual basis, the Council must submit a Program Performance Report (PPR) to described the extent to which annual progress is being achieved on the 5 year state plan goals. The PPR will be used by (1) the Council as a planning document to track progress made in meeting state plan goals; (2) the citizenry of the State as a mechanism for monitoring progress and activities on the plans of the Council; (4) the Department as a stewardship tool, for ensuring compliance with the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act, as one basis for monitoring and providing technical assistance (e.g., during site visits), and as a support for management decision making.

    DATES:

    Submit written comments on the collection of information by November 30, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit written comments on the collection of information by fax 202.395.5806 or by email to [email protected], Attn: OMB Desk Officer for ACL.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Allison Cruz, Administration on Community Living, Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Office of Program Support, One Massachusetts Avenue NW., Room 4306, Washington, DC 20201, 202-357-3439.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    In compliance with the requirements of Section 506 (c)(2)(A) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Administration on Community Living is soliciting public comment on the specific aspects of the information collection described above. The Department specifically requests comments on: (a) Whether the proposed Collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the function of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information; (c) the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; (d) ways to minimize the burden information to be collected; and (e) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection technique comments and or other forms of information technology. Consideration will be given to comments and suggestions submitted within 30 days of this publication.

    Respondents: 56 State Developmental Disabilities Councils.

    Annual Burden Estimates Instrument Number of
  • respondents
  • Number of
  • responses per
  • respondent
  • Average
  • burden hours
  • per response
  • Total burden hours
    State Developmental Disabilities Program Performance Report (PPR) 56 1 138 7728

    Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 7728.

    Dated: October 23, 2015. Kathy Greenlee, Administrator and Assistant Secretary for Aging.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27511 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4154-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Administration for Community Living Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Small Business Innovation Research Program—Phase II AGENCY:

    National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation, Administration for Community Living (ACL), HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Administration for Community Living (ACL), National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDLRR) is announcing that the proposed collection of information listed below has been submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and clearance under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. This notice solicits comments on the information collection requirements relating to the Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR)—Phase II. Specifically, the information collection is the SBIR Application package, which provides information on requirements for the application including mandatory information provided via government- approved forms.

    DATES:

    Submit comments on the collection of information by November 30, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit comments on the collection of information by fax 202.395.5806 or by email to [email protected], Attn: OMB Desk Officer for ACL.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Brian Bard 202-254-7345 or [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Under the PRA (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), Federal agencies must obtain approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for each collection of information they conduct or sponsor. “Collection of information” is defined in 44 U.S.C. 3502(3) and 5 CFR 1320.3(c) and includes agency request or requirements that members of the public submit reports, keep records, or provide information to a third party. Section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)) requires Federal agencies to provide a 60-day notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information, including each proposed extension of an existing collection of information, before submitting the collection to OMB for approval. This information collection is the SBIR Application Package. To comply with this requirement, ACL/NIDILRR published a notice of the proposed collection of information set forth in this document, inviting comment on: (1) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of ACL/NIDILRR's functions, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) the accuracy of ACL/NIDILRR's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques when appropriate, and other forms of information technology. NIDILRR received one comment asking for more information on the method by which it calculated burden. The Application Package, including instructions and forms, has been in continuous use with minor modifications since it was first approved by OMB in FY2012. This request is for approval to extent the current form and instructions, with minor modifications to change the sponsoring agency from Department of Education to Department of Health and Human Services (per requirement of the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act) for three years, covering the FY 2015-2017 reporting periods.

    Dated: October 23, 2015. Kathy Greenlee, Administrator and Assistant Secretary for Aging.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27512 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4154-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration [Docket No. FDA-2009-D-0268] Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for Office of Management and Budget Review; Comment Request; Labeling of Certain Beers Subject to the Labeling Jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of availability.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is announcing that a proposed collection of information has been submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and clearance under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

    DATES:

    Fax written comments on the collection of information by November 30, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments as follows:

    Electronic Submissions

    Submit electronic comments in the following way:

    • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. Comments submitted electronically, including attachments, to http://www.regulations.gov will be posted to the docket unchanged. Because your comment will be made public, you are solely responsible for ensuring that your comment does not include any confidential information that you or a third party may not wish to be posted, such as medical information, your or anyone else's Social Security number, or confidential business information, such as a manufacturing process. Please note that if you include your name, contact information, or other information that identifies you in the body of your comments, that information will be posted on http://www.regulations.gov.

    • If you want to submit a comment with confidential information that you do not wish to be made available to the public, submit the comment as a written/paper submission and in the manner detailed (see “Written/Paper Submissions” and “Instructions”).

    Written/Paper Submissions

    Submit written/paper submissions as follows:

    • Mail/Hand delivery/Courier (for written/paper submissions): Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

    • For written/paper comments submitted to the Division of Dockets Management, FDA will post your comment, as well as any attachments, except for information submitted, marked and identified, as confidential, if submitted as detailed in “Instructions.”

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the Docket No. FDA-2009-D-0268. Received comments will be placed in the docket and, except for those submitted as “Confidential Submissions,” publicly viewable at http://www.regulations.gov or at the Division of Dockets Management between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

    • Confidential Submissions—To submit a comment with confidential information that you do not wish to be made publicly available, submit your comments only as a written/paper submission. You should submit two copies total. One copy will include the information you claim to be confidential with a heading or cover note that states “THIS DOCUMENT CONTAINS CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION.” The Agency will review this copy, including the claimed confidential information, in its consideration of comments. The second copy, which will have the claimed confidential information redacted/blacked out, will be available for public viewing and posted on http://www.regulations.gov. Submit both copies to the Division of Dockets Management. If you do not wish your name and contact information to be made publicly available, you can provide this information on the cover sheet and not in the body of your comments and you must identify this information as “confidential.” Any information marked as “confidential” will not be disclosed except in accordance with 21 CFR 10.20 and other applicable disclosure law. For more information about FDA's posting of comments to public dockets, see 80 FR 56469, September 18, 2015, or access the information at: http://www.fda.gov/regulatoryinformation/dockets/default.htm.

    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or the electronic and written/paper comments received, go to http://www.regulations.gov and insert the docket number, found in brackets in the heading of this document, into the “Search” box and follow the prompts and/or go to the Division of Dockets Management, 5630 Fishers Lane, rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

    Submit comments on information collection issues to the Office of Management and Budget in the following ways:

    • Fax to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, OMB, Attn: FDA Desk Officer, FAX: 202-395-7285, or email to [email protected]. All comments should be identified with the OMB control number 0910-0728. Also include the FDA docket number found in brackets in the heading of this document.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    FDA PRA Staff, Office of Operations, Food and Drug Administration, 8455 Colesville Rd., COLE-14526, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    In compliance with 44 U.S.C. 3507, FDA has submitted the following proposed collection of information to OMB for review and clearance.

    Labeling of Certain Beers Subject to the Labeling Jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration—OMB Control Number 0910-0728—Extension

    The definition of “food” under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the FD&C Act), includes “articles used for food or drink” and thus includes alcoholic beverages. See 21 U.S.C. 321(f). As such, alcoholic beverages are subject to the FD&C Act's adulteration and misbranding provisions, and implementing regulations, related to food. For example, manufacturers of alcoholic beverages are responsible for adhering to the registration of food facilities requirements in 21 CFR part 1 and to the good manufacturing practice regulations in 21 CFR part 110. There are also certain requirements for nutrition labeling on menus, menu boards, and other written materials for alcohol beverages served in restaurants or similar retail food establishments in 21 CFR part 101 (79 FR 71156 (December 1, 2014)). However, as reflected in a 1987 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between FDA and the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), TTB is responsible for the dissemination and enforcement of regulations with respect to the labeling of distilled spirits, certain wines, and malt beverages issued in the Federal Alcohol Administration Act (the FAA Act). In TTB Ruling 2008-3, dated July 7, 2008, TTB clarified that certain beers, which are not made from both malted barley and hops but are instead made from substitutes for malted barley (such as sorghum, rice, or wheat) or are made without hops, do not meet the definition of a “malt beverage” under the FAA Act. Accordingly, TTB stated in its Ruling that such products (other than sake, which is classified as a wine under the FAA Act), are not subject to the labeling, advertising, or other provisions of the TTB regulations issued under the FAA Act.

    In cases where an alcoholic beverage is not covered by the labeling provisions of the FAA Act, the product is subject to ingredient and other labeling requirements under the FD&C Act and the implementing regulations that we administer. In addition, as provided for under the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA), alcoholic beverages that are not covered by the labeling provisions of the FAA Act are subject to the provisions of the FPLA, which we administer.

    Therefore, the beers described in the TTB's Ruling as not being a “malt beverage” are subject to the labeling requirements under the FD&C Act and FPLA, and our implementing regulations. In general, we require that food products under our jurisdiction be truthfully and informatively labeled in accordance with the FD&C Act, the FPLA, and FDA's regulations. Furthermore, some TTB labeling requirements, such as the Government Health Warning Statement under the Alcoholic Beverage Labeling Act and certain marking requirements under the Internal Revenue Code, continue to apply to these products.

    In the Federal Register of December 23, 2014 (79 FR 77013), we announced the availability of a guidance entitled, “Labeling of Certain Beers Subject to the Labeling Jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration.” Persons with access to the Internet may obtain the guidance at http://www.fda.gov/FoodGuidances. This guidance is intended to assist manufacturers on how to label bottled or otherwise packaged beers that are subject to our labeling laws and regulations.

    Our food labeling regulations under parts 101, 102, 104, and 105 (21 CFR parts 101, 102, 104, and 105) were issued under the authority of sections 4, 5, and 6 of the FPLA (15 U.S.C. 1453, 1454, and 1455) and under sections 201, 301, 402, 403, 409, 411, 701, and 721 of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. 321, 331, 342, 343, 348, 350, 371, and 379e). Most of these regulations derive from section 403 of the FD&C Act, which provides that a food product shall be deemed to be misbranded if, among other things, its label or labeling fails to bear certain required information concerning the food product, is false or misleading in any particular, or bears certain types of unauthorized claims. The disclosure requirements and other collections of information in the regulations in parts 101, 102, 104, and 105 are necessary to ensure that food products produced or sold in the United States are in compliance with the labeling provisions of the FD&C Act and the FPLA.

    The primary user of the information to be disclosed on the label or labeling of food products is the consumer that purchases the food product. Consumers will use the information to assist them in making choices concerning their purchase of a food product, including choices related to substances that the consumer must avoid to prevent adverse reactions. This information also enables the consumer to determine the role of the food product in a healthful diet. Additionally, FDA intends to use the information to determine whether a manufacturer or other supplier of food products is meeting its statutory and regulatory obligations. Failure of a manufacturer or other supplier of food products to label its products in compliance with section 403 of the FD& C Act and parts 101, 102, 104, and 105 of FDA's food labeling regulations may result in a product being misbranded under the FD&C Act, subjecting the firm and product to regulatory action.

    In the Federal Register of August 12, 2015 (80 FR 48322), FDA published a 60-day notice requesting public comment on the proposed collection of information. No comments were received.

    Description of Respondents: The respondents to this collection of information are manufacturers of beers that are subject to our labeling laws and regulations.

    We estimate the burden of this collection of information as follows:

    Table 1—Estimated Annual Third Party Disclosure Burden 1 Reference Number of
  • respondents
  • Number of
  • disclosures per
  • respondent
  • Total annual disclosures Avg. burden per disclosure Total hours
    21 CFR 101.3 and 101.22 12 2 24 0.5 12 21 CFR 101.4 12 2 24 1 24 21 CFR 101.5 12 2 24 0.25 6 21 CFR 101.9 12 2 24 4 96 21 CFR 101.105 12 2 24 0.5 12 Section 403(w)(1) of the FD&C Act 12 2 24 1 24 Guidance document entitled “Labeling of Certain Beers Subject to the Labeling Jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration” 12 1 12 1 12 Total 186 1 There are no capital costs or operating and maintenance costs associated with this collection of information.

    Our estimate of the number of respondents is based on the number of regulatory submissions to TTB for beers that do not meet the definition of a “malt beverage” under the FAA Act. Based on its records of submissions received from manufacturers of such products, TTB estimates the annual number of respondents to be 12 and the annual number of disclosures to be 24. We adopt TTB's estimate of 12 annual respondents, and estimate an annual number of 2 disclosures per respondent, as reflected in table 1 above.

    Our estimate of the average burden per disclosure for each collection provision is based on our experience with food labeling under our jurisdiction. The estimated average burden per disclosure for §§ 101.3, 101.4, 101.5, 101.9, 101.22, and 101.105 in table 1 are equal to, and based upon, the estimated average burden per disclosure approved by OMB in OMB control number 0910-0381. We further estimate that the labeling burden of section 403(w)(1) of the FD&C Act, which specifies requirements for the declaration of food allergens, will be 1 hour based upon the similarity of the requirements to that of § 101.4. Finally, FDA estimates that a respondent will spend 1 hour reading the guidance document.

    Thus, we estimate that 12 respondents will each label 2 products annually, for a total of 24 labels. We estimate that the manufacturers will spend 7.25 hours (0.5 hours + 1 hour + 0.25 hour + 4 hours + 0.5 hour + 1 hour = 7.25 hours) on each label to comply with our labeling regulations and the requirements of section 403(w)(1) of the FD&C Act, for a total of 174 hours (24 labels × 7.25 hours = 174 hours). In addition, 12 respondents will each spend 1 hour reading the guidance document, for a total of 12 hours. Thus, we estimate the total hour burden of the proposed collection of information to be 186 hours (174 hours + 12 hours = 186 hours). The guidance also refers to previously approved collections of information found in our regulations. The collections of information in §§ 101.3, 101.4, 101.5, 101.9, 101.22, and 101.105 have been approved under OMB control number 0910-0381. Allergen labeling of these beers under section 403(w)(1) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. 343(w)(1)), which was added by the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (FALCPA), has been approved under OMB control number 0910-0792.

    Dated: October 26, 2015. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27588 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration [Docket No. FDA-2014-N-2033] Agency Information Collection Activities; Announcement of Office of Management and Budget Approval; Survey on Occurrence of Foodborne Illness Risk Factors in Selected Institutional Foodservice and Retail Food Stores Facility Types AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is announcing that a collection of information entitled “Survey on Occurrence of Foodborne Illness Risk Factors in Selected Institutional Foodservice and Retail Food Stores Facility Types” has been approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    FDA PRA Staff, Office of Operations, Food and Drug Administration, 8455 Colesville Rd., COLE-14526, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    On June 25, 2015, the Agency submitted a proposed collection of information entitled “Survey on Occurrence of Foodborne Illness Risk Factors in Selected Institutional Foodservice and Retail Food Stores Facility Types” to OMB for review and clearance under 44 U.S.C. 3507. An Agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. OMB has now approved the information collection and has assigned OMB control number 0910-0799. The approval expires on December 31, 2016. A copy of the supporting statement for this information collection is available on the Internet at http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAMain.

    Dated: October 23, 2015. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27556 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration [Docket No. FDA-2012-N-0280] Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for Office of Management and Budget Review; Comment Request; Financial Disclosure by Clinical Investigators AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is announcing that a proposed collection of information has been submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and clearance under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

    DATES:

    Fax written comments on the collection of information by November 30, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    To ensure that comments on the information collection are received, OMB recommends that written comments be faxed to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, OMB, Attn: FDA Desk Officer, FAX: 202-395-7285, or emailed to [email protected] All comments should be identified with the OMB control number 0910-0396. Also include the FDA docket number found in brackets in the heading of this document.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    FDA PRA Staff, Office of Operations, Food and Drug Administration, 8455 Colesville Rd., COLE-14526, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    In compliance with 44 U.S.C. 3507, FDA has submitted the following proposed collection of information to OMB for review and clearance.

    Financial Disclosure by Clinical Investigators OMB Control Number 0910-0396—Extension

    Respondents to this collection are sponsors of marketing applications that contain clinical data from studies covered by the regulations. These sponsors represent pharmaceutical, biologic, and medical device firms. Respondents are also clinical investigators who provide financial information to the sponsors of marketing applications.

    Under § 54.4(a) (21 CFR 54.4(a)), applicants submitting an application that relies on clinical studies must submit a complete list of clinical investigators who participated in a covered clinical study, and must either certify to the absence of certain financial arrangements with clinical investigators (Form FDA 3454) or, under § 54.4(a)(3), disclose to FDA the nature of those arrangements and the steps taken by the applicant or sponsor to minimize the potential for bias (Form FDA 3455).

    Under § 54.6, the sponsors of covered studies must maintain complete records of compensation agreements with any compensation paid to nonemployee clinical investigators, including information showing any financial interests held by the clinical investigator, for a time period of 2 years after the date of approval of the applications. Sponsors of covered studies maintain many records with regard to clinical investigators, including protocol agreements and investigator résumés or curriculum vitae. FDA estimates than an average of 15 minutes will be required for each recordkeeper to add this record to the clinical investigators' file.

    Under § 54.4(b), clinical investigators supply to the sponsor of a covered study financial information sufficient to allow the sponsor to submit complete and accurate certification or disclosure statements. Clinical investigators are accustomed to supplying such information when applying for research grants. Also, most people know the financial holdings of their immediate family and records of such interests are generally accessible because they are needed for preparing tax records. For these reasons, FDA estimates that it will take clinical investigators 15 minutes to submit such records to the sponsor.

    In the Federal Register of April 29, 2015 (80 FR 23803), FDA published a 60-day notice requesting public comment on the proposed collection of information. Although two comments were received, none were responsive to the four collection of information topics solicited and therefore will not be discussed in this document.

    FDA estimates the burden of this collection of information as follows:

    Table 1—Estimated Annual Reporting Burden 1 21 CFR Section Number of
  • respondents
  • Number of
  • responses per respondent
  • Total annual responses Average
  • burden per
  • response
  • Total hours
    Certification—54.4(a)(1) and (a)(2)—Form FDA 3454 1,000 1 1,000 1 1,000 Disclosure—54.4(a)(3)—Form FDA 3455 100 1 100 5 500 Total 1,500 1 There are no capital costs or operating and maintenance costs associated with this collection of information.
    Table 2—Estimated Annual Recordkeeping Burden 1 21 CFR Section Number of recordkeepers Number of records per recordkeeper Total annual records Average burden per recordkeeping Total hours Recordkeeping—54.6 1,000 1 1,000 0.25
  • (15 minutes)
  • 250
    1 There are no capital costs or operating and maintenance costs associated with this collection of information.
    Table 3—Estimated Annual Third-Party Disclosure Burden 1 21 CFR Section Number of
  • respondents
  • Number of disclosures per respondent Total annual disclosures Average burden per disclosure Total hours
    54.4(b)—Clinical Investigators 7,106 1 7,106 0.17
  • (10 minutes)
  • 1,208
    1 There are no capital costs or operating and maintenance costs associated with this collection of information.
    Dated: October 23, 2015. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27559 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration [Docket No. FDA-2013-D-0286] Agency Information Collection Activities; Announcement of Office of Management and Budget Approval; Guidance for Industry on Formal Meetings Between the Food and Drug Administration and Biosimilar Biological Product Sponsors or Applicants AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is announcing that a collection of information entitled “Guidance for Industry on Formal Meetings Between the Food and Drug Administration and Biosimilar Biological Product Sponsors or Applicant” has been approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    FDA PRA Staff, Office of Operations, Food and Drug Administration, 8455 Colesville Rd., COLE-14526, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    On June 25, 2015, the Agency submitted a proposed collection of information entitled “Guidance for Industry on Formal Meetings Between the Food and Drug Administration and Biosimilar Biological Product Sponsors or Applicant” to OMB for review and clearance under 44 U.S.C. 3507. An Agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. OMB has now approved the information collection and has assigned OMB control number 0910-0802. The approval expires on September 30, 2018. A copy of the supporting statement for this information collection is available on the Internet at http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAMain.

    Dated: October 23, 2015. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27558 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration [Docket No. FDA-2015-N-3579] Using Technologies and Innovative Methods To Conduct Food and Drug Administration-Regulated Clinical Investigations of Investigational Drugs; Establishment of a Public Docket AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice; establishment of docket; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or Agency) is announcing the establishment of a public docket to solicit input from a broad group of stakeholders on the scope and direction of the use of technologies and innovative methods in the conduct of clinical investigations. Specifically, FDA seeks information to understand individual and industry experiences with the use of such technologies to more efficiently conduct clinical research. FDA also seeks stakeholder perspectives on possible barriers to implementing these technologies and methods to conduct clinical investigations.

    DATES:

    Submit electronic or written comments by December 28, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments as follows:

    Electronic Submissions

    Submit electronic comments in the following way:

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. Comments submitted electronically, including attachments, to http://www.regulations.gov will be posted to the docket unchanged. Because your comment will be made public, you are solely responsible for ensuring that your comment does not include any confidential information that you or a third party may not wish to be posted, such as medical information, your or anyone else's Social Security number, or confidential business information, such as a manufacturing process. Please note that if you include your name, contact information, or other information that identifies you in the body of your comments, that information will be posted on http://www.regulations.gov.

    • If you want to submit a comment with confidential information that you do not wish to be made available to the public, submit the comment as a written/paper submission and in the manner detailed (see “Written/Paper Submissions” and “Instructions”).

    Written/Paper Submissions

    Submit written/paper submissions as follows:

    Mail/Hand delivery/Courier (for written/paper submissions): Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

    • For written/paper comments submitted to the Division of Dockets Management, FDA will post your comment, as well as any attachments, except for information submitted, marked and identified, as confidential, if submitted as detailed in “Instructions.”

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the Docket No. FDA-2015-N-3579 for “Using Technologies and Innovative Methods to Conduct FDA-Regulated Clinical Investigations of Investigational Drugs.” Please identify the specific question or issue that the comment addresses. Received comments will be placed in the docket and, except for those submitted as “Confidential Submissions,” publicly viewable at http://www.regulations.gov or at the Division of Dockets Management between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

    • Confidential Submissions—To submit a comment with confidential information that you do not wish to be made publicly available, submit your comments only as a written/paper submission. You should submit two copies total. One copy will include the information you claim to be confidential with a heading or cover note that states “THIS DOCUMENT CONTAINS CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION.” The Agency will review this copy, including the claimed confidential information, in its consideration of comments. The second copy, which will have the claimed confidential information redacted/blacked out, will be available for public viewing and posted on http://www.regulations.gov. Submit both copies to the Division of Dockets Management. If you do not wish your name and contact information to be made publicly available, you can provide this information on the cover sheet and not in the body of your comments and you must identify this information as “confidential.” Any information marked as “confidential” will not be disclosed except in accordance with 21 CFR 10.20 and other applicable disclosure law. For more information about FDA's posting of comments to public dockets, see 80 FR 56469, September 18, 2015, or access the information at: http://www.fda.gov/regulatoryinformation/dockets/default.htm.

    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or the electronic and written/paper comments received, go to http://www.regulations.gov and insert the docket number, found in brackets in the heading of this document, into the “Search” box and follow the prompts and/or go to the Division of Dockets Management, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Nicole Silva, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 51, Rm. 3341, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, 301-796-3419; Aaliyah K. Eaves, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 66, Rm. 5431, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, 301-796-2948; or Stephen Ripley, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 71, Rm. 7301, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, 240-402-7911.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background

    Clinical investigations that ensure the protection of the rights, safety, and welfare of trial participants and that yield reliable data are critical to FDA's mission to ensure that medical products are safe and effective. The clinical trial enterprise continues to evolve and become more complex, and the scientific and infrastructure challenges of conducting clinical investigations affect the cost and timeliness of medical product development. Challenges in recruiting and retaining sufficient numbers of trial participants to conduct an adequately powered investigation in a reasonable amount of time may contribute to the cost and complexity. Creative uses of technology in conducting clinical investigations have emerged over the previous decade and include advances that have the potential to improve recruitment, participation, and retention of trial participants. New technology and communication infrastructure allow for collection of data and communication wherever the trial participant is located, including at his or her health care provider's location, creating opportunities to overcome geographical and logistical barriers that otherwise might prevent a potential trial participant from participating in a clinical investigation, as well as facilitating the integration of research with clinical care. In addition to potential convenience for the trial participant, these tools and technologies may present sponsors with the opportunity to capture data more frequently and efficiently than would be feasible if data collection were only conducted when the trial participant visited the study site. This may enhance the sponsor's ability to understand the safety and effectiveness of drugs, biologics, and medical devices; increase additional meaningful data gathering; minimize missing data; and maximize trial participation and retention.

    Some of these technologies and methods may be used regardless of the trial participant's location and may include, for example, mobile health technology, telemedicine, and remote sensors. Use of these technologies and methods allows for more flexibility for the sponsor and clinical investigator in the oversight of clinical investigation conduct, data collection, and monitoring of trial participants and clinical sites. Other elements that may be incorporated into clinical investigations to improve trial participant recruitment include online/Web-based eligibility screening, informed consent, and communication between investigators and participants.

    II. Purpose of the Docket

    FDA is soliciting public input from a broad group of stakeholders regarding technologies and innovative methods for using technology to more efficiently conduct clinical research. FDA is interested in identifying new opportunities to study medical products, as well as receiving comments on barriers, challenges, and relevant considerations that may affect a medical product clinical investigation that uses these technologies and methods.

    III. Issues for Comment

    In addition to the general information requests in section II of this document, FDA is interested in obtaining information and public comment on the following specific issues:

    1. What technologies, communication infrastructure, or innovative methods are being used to conduct clinical investigations? FDA is aware of several groups conducting and interested in conducting clinical investigations using mobile technology and remote methods for data collection. FDA requests feedback on experiences with implementing such methods or models (for example, lessons learned), as well as information supporting the use of any suggested technologies, methods, or models, including any characteristics that would make the technology more or less desirable for use in clinical trials.

    2. What are ways FDA could encourage adoption of these technologies and innovative methods in the conduct of clinical investigations?

    3. Identify any clinical, cultural, business, regulatory, or other barriers perceived by stakeholders that serve as a disincentive to the use of technology to facilitate the conduct of clinical investigations.

    a. What challenges do stakeholders anticipate in adoption of these technologies or methods? Are there challenges in complying with regulatory requirements surrounding the conduct of clinical investigations that use such technologies or methods?

    b. What are the perceived barriers or challenges to obtaining and documenting informed consent or obtaining institutional review board review, approval, and oversight for clinical investigations utilizing these technologies or methods?

    4. FDA is interested in obtaining information on potential trial participant acceptance, privacy, and human subject protection issues that may occur as a result of the use of technologies and innovative methods for the conduct of clinical investigations. In particular, FDA is interested in assessing potential trial participants' interest, tolerance, concerns, and willingness to participate in clinical investigations that involve nontraditional settings or utilize new technologies. FDA is also interested in identifying the factors that affect trial participant awareness, acceptance, enrollment, and retention for these investigations.

    a. Are there specific patient groups or therapeutic areas that could particularly benefit from these types of technologies or methods?

    b. What new opportunities for the conduct of clinical investigations are created through the use of continuous or intermittent remote monitoring and data collection?

    c. What are some of the anticipated risks to trial participants that may occur as a result of the use of these technologies or off-site methods in clinical investigations?

    d. What are some of the anticipated benefits to trial participants that may occur as a result of the use of these technologies or off-site methods in clinical investigations?

    e. Are there perceived challenges to participation in clinical investigations utilizing these types of technologies or methods because of concerns regarding inadvertent disclosure of trial participants' information or breach of privacy? Are there concerns relating to the integrity of data collection or encryption or the secure transmission of information?

    f. Are there unique considerations for ensuring integrity of the source data, for example, authenticity and reliability?

    g. How should validation of participant-operated mobile devices be addressed?

    h. What are the challenges presented when data are collected using the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) model? BYOD in clinical investigations refers to the practice of trial participants using their own devices, such as smartphones or tablets, for data collection. For example, participants in a clinical investigation may use their own computer devices to access and respond to study-related questionnaires. What are the perceived barriers to pooling data collected from different devices provided by individual trial participants, as well as pooling data from the BYOD model with data collected at the investigational site or on paper forms? How should situations such as mid-study user device switches be handled?

    i. What are the challenges or special considerations with recruiting and/or retaining potential trial participants with low levels of computer literacy or individuals who may have limited or no access to mobile technologies, computer devices, or the Internet? How can these challenges or special considerations best be addressed?

    Dated: October 26, 2015. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27581 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration [Docket No. FDA-2014-D-2138] Agency Information Collection Activities; Announcement of Office of Management and Budget Approval; Guidance for Industry on Adverse Event Reporting for Outsourcing Facilities AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is announcing that a collection of information entitled “Guidance for Industry on Adverse Event Reporting for Outsourcing Facilities Under Section 503B of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act” has been approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    FDA PRA Staff, Office of Operations, Food and Drug Administration, 8455 Colesville Rd., COLE-14526, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    On August 4, 2015, the Agency submitted a proposed collection of information entitled “Guidance for Industry on Adverse Event Reporting for Outsourcing Facilities Under Section 503B of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act” to OMB for review and clearance under 44 U.S.C. 3507. An Agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. OMB has now approved the information collection and has assigned OMB control number 0910-0800. The approval expires on September 30, 2018. A copy of the supporting statement for this information collection is available on the Internet at http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAMain.

    Dated: October 23, 2015. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27557 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Health Resources and Services Administration Statement of Organization, Functions and Delegations of Authority

    This notice amends Part R of the Statement of Organization, Functions and Delegations of Authority of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) (60 FR 56605, as amended November 6, 1995; as last amended at 80 FR 44358 dated July 27, 2015).

    This notice reflects organizational changes in the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Office of Planning, Analysis, and Evaluation (RA5). Specifically, this notice: (1) Establishes the Office of Strategic Initiatives (RA59) within the Office of Planning, Analysis, and Evaluation.

    Chapter RA5—Office of Planning, Analysis, and Evaluation Section RA5—00, Mission

    The Office of Planning, Analysis, and Evaluation (RA5) provide HRSA-wide leadership on cross-agency initiatives and Departmental priorities.

    Section RA5-10, Organization

    Delete the organization for the Office of Planning, Analysis, and Evaluation in its entirety and replace with the following:

    The Office of Planning, Analysis, and Evaluation (RA5) is headed by the Director, who reports directly to the Administrator, Health Resources and Services Administration. The Office of Planning, Analysis, and Evaluation includes the following components:

    (1) Office of the Director (RA5);

    (2) Office of Policy Analysis (RA53);

    (3) Office of Research and Evaluation (RA56);

    (4) Office of External Engagement (RA57);

    (5) Office of Performance and Quality Measurement (RA58); and

    (6) Office of Strategic Initiatives (RA59).

    Section RA5-20, Functions

    This notice reflects organizational changes in the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Office of Planning, Analysis, and Evaluation (RA5). Specifically, this notice: (1) Establishes the Office of Strategic Initiatives (RA59).

    Establish the functional statement for the Office of Strategic Initiatives (RA59) within the Office of Planning, Analysis, and Evaluation (RA5).

    Office of Strategic Initiatives (RA59)

    (1) Provides HRSA-wide leadership on cross-agency initiatives and departmental priorities; (2) maintains liaison between the Administrator, other OPDIVs, Office of the Secretary staff components, and other Departments on priority initiatives; (3) provides technical assistance to Agency programs in order to help them respond to emerging issues affecting the health care safety net; (4) coordinates outreach to grantees and stakeholders on high profile public health initiatives; (5) establishes an infrastructure and strategic direction of priority initiatives and institutionalizes these efforts into HRSA programs; and (6) coordinates the Agency's long-term strategic planning process.

    Delegations of Authority

    All delegations of authority and re-delegations of authority made to HRSA officials that were in effect immediately prior to this reorganization, and that are consistent with this reorganization, shall continue in effect pending further re-delegation.

    This reorganization is effective upon date of signature.

    Dated: October 18, 2015. James Macrae, Acting Administrator.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27592 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4165-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Office of the Secretary Findings of Research Misconduct AGENCY:

    Office of the Secretary, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    Notice is hereby given that the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) has taken final action in the following case:

    Dr. Maria C.P. Geraedts, University of Maryland, Baltimore: Based on the report of an investigation conducted by the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) and analysis conducted by ORI in its oversight review, ORI and UMB found that Dr. Maria C.P. Geraedts, former postdoctoral fellow, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, UMB, engaged in research misconduct in research supported by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), National Institutes of Health (NIH), grant R01 DC010110.

    ORI found falsified and/or fabricated data included in the following two (2) publications:

    Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 303:E464-E474, 2012 (hereafter referred to as “AJP 2012”)

    Journal of Neuroscience 33(17):7559-7564, 2013 (hereafter referred to as “JN 2013”)

    As a result of the UMB investigation, JN 2013 and AJP 2012 have been retracted.

    ORI found that Respondent falsified and/or fabricated bar graphs in AJP 2012, by changing ELISA-based measurements to produce the desired result for secretion of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) from intestinal explants from various mouse strains in:

    • Figure 2 for GLP-1 release from duodenum (2A & D), jejunum (2B & E), and ileum (2C & F).

    • Figure 3 for GLP-1 release from colon (3A & C) and rectum (3D).

    • Figure 4 for GLP-1 release from ileum (4A) and colon (4C) in the presence or absence of an ATP-sensitive K+ channel inhibitor.

    ORI found that Respondent falsified and/or fabricated bar graphs in Figure 1, JN 2013 by changing ELISA-based measurements to produce the desired result for the secretion of peptides found in taste buds (GLP-1, glucagon, or neuropeptide Y) from mouse lingual epithelium exposed to various concentrations of stimuli (glucose, sucralose, MSG, polycose). These bar graphs also were included as Figure 7 in grant application R01 DC010110-06.

    Both the Respondent and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) want to conclude this matter without further expenditure of time or other resources and have entered into a Voluntary Settlement Agreement (Agreement) to resolve this matter. Respondent stated that she is not currently involved in U.S. Public Health Service (PHS)-supported research and has no intention of applying for or engaging in PHS-supported research or otherwise working with PHS. Dr. Geraedts has entered into a Voluntary Settlement Agreement with ORI and UMB, in which she voluntarily agreed to the administrative actions set forth below. The administrative actions are required for three (3) years beginning on the date of Dr. Geraedts employment in a position in which she receives or applies for PHS support on or after the effective date of the Agreement (September 22, 2015). If the Respondent has not obtained employment in a research position in which she receives or applies for PHS support within one (1) year of the effective date of the Agreement, the administrative actions set forth below will no longer apply. Dr. Geraedts has voluntarily agreed:

    (1) To have her research supervised as described below and notify her employer(s)/institution(s) of the terms of this supervision; Respondent agreed that prior to the submission of an application for PHS support for a research project on which her participation is proposed and prior to her participation in any capacity on PHS-supported research, Respondent shall ensure that a plan for supervision of her duties is submitted to ORI for approval; the supervision plan must be designed to ensure the scientific integrity of her research contribution; Respondent agreed that she will not participate in any PHS-supported research until such a supervision plan is submitted to and approved by ORI; Respondent agreed to maintain responsibility for compliance with the agreed upon supervision plan;

    (2) that any institution employing her shall submit in conjunction with each application for PHS funds, or report, manuscript, or abstract involving PHS-supported research in which Respondent is involved, a certification to ORI that the data provided by Respondent are based on actual experiments or are otherwise legitimately derived, and that the data, procedures, and methodology are accurately reported in the application, report, manuscript, or abstract; and

    (3) to exclude herself voluntarily from serving in any advisory capacity to PHS including, but not limited to, service on any PHS advisory committee, board, and/or peer review committee, or as a consultant for period of three (3) years beginning on September 22, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Acting Director, Office of Research Integrity, 1101 Wootton Parkway, Suite 750, Rockville, MD 20852, (240) 453-8200.

    Donald Wright, Acting Director, Office of Research Integrity.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27587 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4150-31-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health Center For Scientific Review; Amended Notice of Meeting

    Notice is hereby given of a change in the meeting of the Center for Scientific Review Special Emphasis Panel, November 17, 2015, 11:00 a.m. to November 17, 2015, 5:00 p.m., National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892 which was published in the Federal Register on October 22, 2015, 80 FR 64007.

    The meeting notice is amended to change the date of the meeting from November 17, 2015 to December 3, 2015. The meeting time and location remains the same. The meeting is closed to the public.

    Dated: October 23, 2015. Anna Snouffer, Deputy Director, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27584 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health NIH Pathways to Prevention Workshop: Total Worker Health®—What's Work Got To Do With It? SUMMARY:

    The National Institutes of Health (NIH) will host a workshop about Total Worker Health® on December 9-10, 2015. The workshop is free and open to the public.

    DATES:

    December 9, 2015, from 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. and December 10, 2015, from 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

    ADDRESSES:

    The workshop will be held at the NIH, Masur Auditorium, Building 10 (Clinical Center), 9000 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, Maryland 20892. Registration and workshop information are available on the NIH Office of Disease Prevention (ODP) Web site at https://prevention.nih.gov/twh.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For further information concerning this workshop, contact the ODP at [email protected], 6100 Executive Blvd., Room 2B03, MSC 7523, Bethesda, MD 20892-7523; Telephone: 301-496-1508; FAX: 301-480-7660.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    A Total Worker Health (TWH) approach is defined as policies, programs, and practices that integrate protection from work-related safety and health hazards with promotion of injury and illness prevention efforts to advance worker well-being. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) launched the Total Worker Health program to improve worker health and workplace safety.

    One hundred forty-five million Americans are workers, and most spend at least 50% of their active time at the workplace. Despite improvements in occupational safety and health over the last several decades, workers continue to suffer work-related illnesses, injuries, and deaths. In 2007, it is estimated that there were over 53,000 deaths caused by work-related illnesses, and the estimated total cost of occupational injuries, illnesses, and fatalities was $250 billion. Furthermore, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2013, more than 4,500 U.S. workers died from work-related injuries, and more than 3 million workers had a nonfatal occupational injury or illness. Also in 2013, according to the NIOSH, 2.8 million workers were treated in emergency departments for occupational injuries and illnesses, and approximately 140,000 workers were hospitalized.

    TWH builds upon a foundation of protecting workers from work-related exposures and hazards by championing a holistic understanding of the myriad of factors that influence safety, health, and well-being. An integrated approach recognizes that risk factors in the workplace can contribute to many health problems previously considered unrelated to work, including cardiovascular disease, obesity, depression, and sleep disorders. With wide variation in the landscape of the workplace (e.g., workplace culture, organization of work, working conditions, size of the employer) and the workforce (e.g., age, gender, access to preventive health care), this often translates to diversity in the safety and health risks for each industry sector and the need for tailored, comprehensive interventions.

    Traditionally, workplace systems addressing worker safety, health, and well-being have operated separately. An integrated approach would address the overall influences that the nature and conditions of the work itself (e.g., stress levels, work schedules, trip or fall hazards) have on worker health. TWH promotes the integration of diverse relevant programs, including occupational safety and health, worksite health, disability management, workers' compensation, and human resource benefits. There is evidence that combining efforts through integrated workplace interventions helps safeguard the well-being of workers.

    Although the benefits and synergistic possibilities of an integrated approach may seem obvious, integrated programs have not been sufficiently validated by the current research. To better understand the benefits of an integrated approach, the NIH will engage in a rigorous assessment of the available scientific evidence. The NIOSH, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and the NIH Office of Disease Prevention (ODP) are sponsoring the December 9-10, 2015, Pathways to Prevention Workshop: Total Worker Health®—What's Work Got to Do With It? The workshop will evaluate the current state of knowledge on integrated approaches to worker safety, health, and well-being and will plot the direction for future research. Specifically, the workshop will seek to clarify the following questions:

    • What studies exist assessing integrated interventions?

    • What are the known benefits and harms of integrated interventions?

    • What are the characteristics of effective integrated/combined interventions and programs?

    • What factors influence the effectiveness of integrated interventions?

    • What are the key evidence gaps?

    Initial planning for each Pathways to Prevention workshop, regardless of the topic, is coordinated by a Content-Area Expert Group that nominates panelists and speakers and develops and finalizes questions that frame the workshop. After the questions are finalized, an evidence report is prepared by an Evidence-based Practice Center, through a contract with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. During the 11/2-day workshop, invited experts discuss the body of evidence, and attendees provide comments during open discussion periods. After weighing evidence from the evidence report, expert presentations, and public comments, an unbiased, independent panel prepares a draft report that identifies research gaps and future research priorities. The draft report is posted on the ODP Web site for public comment. After reviewing the public comments, the panel prepares a final report, which is also posted on the ODP Web site. Approximately 6-8 months after the workshop, the ODP convenes a Federal Partners Meeting to review the panel report and identify possible opportunities for collaboration.

    Please Note:

    As part of measures to ensure the safety of the NIH employees and property, all visitors must be prepared to show a photo ID upon request. Visitors may be required to pass through a metal detector and have bags, backpacks, or purses inspected or x-rayed as they enter the NIH campus. For more information about the security measures at NIH, please visit http://www.nih.gov/about/visitorsecurity.htm.

    Dated: October 22, 2015. Lawrence A. Tabak, Deputy Director, National Institutes of Health.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27627 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed Meetings

    Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.), notice is hereby given of the following meetings.

    The meetings will be closed to the public in accordance with the provisions set forth in sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), Title 5 U.S.C., as amended. The grant applications and the discussions could disclose confidential trade secrets or commercial property such as patentable material, and personal information concerning individuals associated with the grant applications, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    Name of Committee: Center for Scientific Review Special Emphasis Panel; Neural injury and Neurodegeneration.

    Date: November 12, 2015.

    Time: 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892, (Virtual Meeting).

    Contact Person: Laurent Taupenot, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 4188, MSC 7850, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301-435-1203, [email protected].

    Name of Committee: Center for Scientific Review Special Emphasis Panel; Application Re-Review: Neurobiology of the Cochlear.

    Date: November 18, 2015.

    Time: 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892, (Telephone Conference Call).

    Contact Person: Wei-Qin Zhao, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 5181 MSC 7846, Bethesda, MD 20892-7846, 301-435-1236, [email protected].

    (Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 93.306, Comparative Medicine; 93.333, Clinical Research, 93.306, 93.333, 93.337, 93.393-93.396, 93.837-93.844, 93.846-93.878, 93.892, 93.893, National Institutes of Health, HHS)
    Dated: October 23, 2015. Anna Snouffer, Deputy Director, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27583 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health Submission for OMB Review; 30-Day Comment Request; A Multi-Center International Hospital-Based Case-Control Study of Lymphoma in Asia (AsiaLymph) (NCI) SUMMARY:

    Under the provisions of Section 3507(a)(1)(D) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the National Institutes of Health, has submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) a request for review and approval of the information collection listed below. This proposed information collection was previously published in the Federal Register on August 28, 2015, page number 52325 and allowed 60-days for public comment. One public comment was received. The purpose of this notice is to allow an additional 30 days for public comment. The National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Institutes of Health, may not conduct or sponsor, and the respondent is not required to respond to, an information collection that has been extended, revised, or implemented on or after October 1, 1995, unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

    Direct Comments to OMB: Written comments and/or suggestions regarding the item(s) contained in this notice, especially regarding the estimated public burden and associated response time, should be directed to the: Office of Management and Budget, Office of Regulatory Affairs, [email protected] or by fax to 202-395-6974, Attention: NIH Desk Officer.

    DATES:

    Comment Due Date: Comments regarding this information collection are best assured of having their full effect if received within 30 days of the date of this publication.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    To obtain a copy of the data collection plans and instruments, or request more information on the proposed project, contact: Nathaniel Rothman, Senior Investigator, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, 9609 Medical Center Drive MSC 9776 Room 6E134, Rockville, MD 20850 or call non-toll-free number (240) 276-7169 or Email your request, including your address to: [email protected]

    Proposed Collection: A Multi-Center International Hospital-Based Case-Control Study of Lymphoma in Asia (AsiaLymph) (NCI), 0925-0654, Expiration Date 10/31/2015—REVISION, National Institutes of Health (NIH).

    Need and Use of Information Collection: Incidence rates of certain lymphomas have increased in the United States and in many other parts of the world. The contribution of environmental, occupational, and genetic factors to the cause of lymphoma and leukemia has generated a series of novel findings from epidemiological studies conducted in the United States that have attempted to explain this increase. However, none of the chemical associations have been conclusively established and the identification of the key, functional alleles in gene regions associated with risk of lymphoma requires further elucidation. Further, the ability to follow-up, confirm, and extend these observations in the United States is limited by the low prevalence and limited range of several important chemical and viral exposures and the high to complete linkage disequilibrium among key candidate genetic loci in Western populations. To optimize the ability to build on and clarify these findings, it is necessary to investigate populations that differ from those in the West in both exposure patterns and underlying genetic structure. A multidisciplinary case-control study of lymphoma in Asia, where lymphoma rates have also risen, provides an opportunity to replicate and extend recent and novel observations made in studies in the West in a population that is distinctly different with regard to patterns of key risk factors, including range of exposures, prevalence of exposures, correlations between exposures, and variation in gene regions of particular interest. It will also improve the ability to understand the causes of certain types of rare lymphoma tumors in the United States that occur at much higher rates in Asia. As such, AsiaLymph will confirm and extend previous findings and yield novel insights into the causes of lymphoma and leukemia in both Asia and in the United States. The major postulated risk factors for evaluation in this study are chemical exposures (i.e., organochlorines, trichloroethylene, and benzene) and genetic susceptibility. Other factors potentially related to lymphoma, such as viral infections, ultraviolet radiation exposure, medical conditions, and other lifestyle factors will also be studied. Patients from 11 participating hospitals will be screened and enrolled. There will be a one-time computer-administered interview, and patients will also be asked to provide a one-time blood and buccal cell mouth wash sample and cases with lymphoma or leukemia will be asked to make available a portion of their pathology sample.

    OMB approval is requested for 3 years. There are no costs to respondents other than their time. The total estimated annualized burden hours are 3,262.

    Estimated Annualized Burden Hours Table A.12-1—Estimates of Annual Burden Hours Types of respondents Instrument Number of
  • respondents
  • Frequency of response Time
  • per response
  • (hours)
  • Annual
  • burden
  • hours
  • Potential Study Subjects Screening Questions 2,110 1 5/60 176 Eligible Potential Study Subjects Consent Form 1,801 1 5/60 150 Consented Patient Cases Core Questionnaire & Occupational Job Module 967 1 105/60 1,692 Consented Patient Controls Core Questionnaire & Occupational Job Module 300 1 105/60 525 Study Pathologists Pathology sample request and tracking form 10 97 5/60 81 Interviewers Tracking forms 15 85 30/60 638
    Dated: October 16, 2015. Karla Bailey, Project Clearance Liaison, National Cancer Institute, NIH.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27586 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health Notice of Opportunity for Public Comment on the Dietary Supplement Label Database SUMMARY:

    The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) at the National Institutes of Health, in partnership with the National Library of Medicine (NLM), has developed a Dietary Supplement Label Database (DSLD) that is compiling all information from the labels of dietary supplements marketed in the United States. ODS welcomes comments about features to add and functionality improvements to make so the DSLD may become a more useful tool to users.

    A federal stakeholder panel for the DSLD will consider all comments received. The ODS requests input from academic researchers, government agencies, the dietary supplement industry, and other interested parties, including consumers. The DSLD can be accessed online at http://dsld.nlm.nih.gov.

    DATES:

    To ensure full consideration, all comments must be received by 11:59 p.m. EST, November 27, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Interested individuals and organizations should submit their responses to [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Richard Bailen MBA, MHA., Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health, 6100 Executive Boulevard, Room 3B01, Bethesda, MD 20892-7517, Phone: 301-435-2920, Fax: 301-480-1845, Email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The DSLD is a free resource that captures all information present on dietary supplement labels as provided by the seller, including contents, ingredient amounts, and any health-related product statements, claims, and cautions. It also provides a downloadable photo of each label. Users can search for and organize this information in various ways. Research scientists, for example, could use the DSLD to determine total nutrient intakes from food and supplements in populations they study. Health care providers can learn the content of products their patients are taking. Consumers might use the DSLD to search for and compare products of interest.

    The DSLD currently contains 50,000 labels, and it is expected to grow rapidly over the next three years to include most of the estimated 75,000+ dietary supplement products sold to American consumers. The DSLD is updated regularly to include any formulation changes and label information in a product. It also includes the labels of products that have been discontinued and are no longer sold. More information about the DSLD and its current capabilities is available at http://www.dsld.nlm.nih.gov and at Dwyer et al., 2014.1

    1 Dwyer JT, Saldanha LG, Bailen RA, et al. A free new dietary supplement label database for registered dietitian nutritionists. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2014;114(10):1512-7.

    ODS would like would like to receive ideas and suggestions for how the DSLD might evolve. What features might be added, improved, or enhanced—for example, in capabilities related to search, sorting, organization, and downloading of information—that would make it a more valuable tool for users?

    Dated: October 23, 2015. Lawrence A. Tabak, Deputy Director, National Institutes of Health.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27625 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Notice of Closed Meeting

    Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.), notice is hereby given of the following meeting.

    The meeting will be closed to the public in accordance with the provisions set forth in sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), Title 5 U.S.C., as amended. The grant applications and the discussions could disclose confidential trade secrets or commercial property such as patentable material, and personal information concerning individuals associated with the grant applications, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    Name of Committee: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Special Emphasis Panel; Mechanisms of Immune Protection from TB among HIV-Infected Individuals (R01).

    Date: November 24, 2015.

    Time: 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: National Institutes of Health, Room 8H200 A/B, 5601 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20892 (Telephone Conference Call).

    Contact Person: Robert C. Unfer, Ph.D. Scientific Review Officer, Scientific Review Program, DEA/NIAID/NIH/DHHS, 5601 Fishers Lane, Room 3F40, MSC 9823, Rockville, MD 20892-9823, 240-669-5035, [email protected]

    (Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 93.855, Allergy, Immunology, and Transplantation Research; 93.856, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Research, National Institutes of Health, HHS)
    Dated: October 26, 2015. Natasha Copeland, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27582 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Federal Emergency Management Agency [Internal Agency Docket No. FEMA-4241-DR; Docket ID FEMA-2015-0002] South Carolina; Amendment No. 7 to Notice of a Major Disaster Declaration AGENCY:

    Federal Emergency Management Agency, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice amends the notice of a major disaster declaration for the State of South Carolina (FEMA-4241-DR), dated October 5, 2015, and related determinations.

    DATES:

    Effective Date: October 20, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dean Webster, Office of Response and Recovery, Federal Emergency Management Agency, 500 C Street SW., Washington, DC 20472, (202) 646-2833.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The notice of a major disaster declaration for the State of South Carolina is hereby amended to include the following areas among those areas determined to have been adversely affected by the event declared a major disaster by the President in his declaration of October 5, 2015.

    Fairfield and Marion Counties for Individual Assistance (already designated for Public Assistance).

    Clarendon, Dorchester, Horry, Orangeburg, and Sumter Counties for Public Assistance (Categories C-G) (already designated for Individual Assistance and debris removal and emergency protective measures [Categories A and B], including direct federal assistance, under the Public Assistance program).

    Lee County for Public Assistance (already designated for Individual Assistance).

    The following Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Numbers (CFDA) are to be used for reporting and drawing funds: 97.030, Community Disaster Loans; 97.031, Cora Brown Fund; 97.032, Crisis Counseling; 97.033, Disaster Legal Services; 97.034, Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA); 97.046, Fire Management Assistance Grant; 97.048, Disaster Housing Assistance to Individuals and Households In Presidentially Declared Disaster Areas; 97.049, Presidentially Declared Disaster Assistance—Disaster Housing Operations for Individuals and Households; 97.050 Presidentially Declared Disaster Assistance to Individuals and Households—Other Needs; 97.036, Disaster Grants—Public Assistance (Presidentially Declared Disasters); 97.039, Hazard Mitigation Grant.

    W. Craig Fugate, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27464 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111-23--P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Indian Affairs [167 A2100DD/AAKC001030/A0A501010.999900] Revision of Agency Information Collection for Loan Guarantee, Insurance and Interest Subsidy Program AGENCY:

    Bureau of Indian Affairs, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice of submission to OMB.

    SUMMARY:

    In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is submitting to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) a request for approval for the collection of information for the Loan Guarantee, Insurance, and Interest Subsidy Program. The information collection is currently authorized by OMB Control Number 1076-0020, which expires October 31, 2015.

    DATES:

    Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before November 30, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments on the information collection to the Desk Officer for the Department of the Interior at the Office of Management and Budget, by facsimile to (202) 395-5806 or you may send an email to: [email protected] Please send a copy of your comments to: James R. West, Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development, 1849 C Street, NW., Washington, DC 20240; email: [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    James R. West, phone: (202) 208-7253. You may review the information collection request online at http://www.reginfo.gov. Follow the instructions to review Department of the Interior collections under review by OMB.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Abstract

    The Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development (IEED) is seeking renewal of the approval for the information collection conducted under 25 CFR part 103, implementing the Loan Guarantee, Insurance, and Interest Subsidy Program, established by 25 U.S.C. 1451 et seq. The information collection allows IEED to determine the eligibility and credit-worthiness of respondents and loans and otherwise ensure compliance with Program requirements. This information collection includes the use of several forms. A response is required to obtain and/or retain a benefit.

    II. Request for Comments

    On July 14, 2015, IEED published a notice announcing the renewal of this information collection and provided a 60-day comment period in the Federal Register (80 FR 41054). There were no comments received in response to this notice.

    The IEED requests your comments on this collection concerning: (a) The necessity of this information collection for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden (hours and cost) of the collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) ways we could enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways we could minimize the burden of the collection of the information on the respondents.

    Please note that an agency may not conduct or sponsor, and an individual need not respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a valid OMB Control Number.

    It is our policy to make all comments available to the public for review at the location listed in the ADDRESSES section. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

    III. Data

    OMB Control Number: 1076-0020.

    Title: Loan Guarantee, Insurance, and Interest Subsidy, 25 CFR 103.

    Brief Description of Collection: Submission of this information allows IEED to implement the Loan Guarantee, Insurance, and Interest Subsidy Program, 25 U.S.C. 1451 et seq., the purpose of which is to encourage private lending to individual Indians and Indian organizations by providing lenders with loan guarantees or loan insurance to reduce their potential risk. The information collection allows IEED to determine the eligibility and credit-worthiness of respondents and loans and otherwise ensure compliance with Program requirements. This information collection includes the use of several forms. A response is required to obtain and/or retain a benefit.

    Type of Review: Revision of a previously approved collection.

    Respondents: Lenders, including commercial banks, and borrowers, including individual Indians and Indian organizations.

    Number of Respondents: 315.

    Frequency of Response: On occasion, as needed.

    Obligation to Respond: Response required to obtain a benefit.

    Estimated Time per Response: Ranging from 0.5 to 2 hours.

    Estimated Total Annual Hour Burden: 2,654 hours.

    Estimated Total Annual Non-Hour Dollar Cost: $0.00

    Elizabeth K. Appel, Director, Office of Regulatory Affairs and Collaborative Action—Indian Affairs.
    [FR Doc. 2015-27534 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4337-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Office of the Secretary [XXXD4523WD DWDFSE000.RV0000 DS68664000] Privacy Act of 1974, as Amended; Notice To Amend an Existing System of Records AGENCY:

    Office of the Secretary, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice of an amendment to an existing system of records.

    SUMMARY:

    Pursuant to the provisions of the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, the Department of the Interior is issuing a public notice of its intent to amend the system of records titled “Oracle Federal Financials (OFF), DOI-91.” The system provides the Interior Business Center customer agencies with a web-based financial accounting application for financial management purposes such as for budgeting, purchasing, procurement, reimbursement, and reporting and collection functions. This amendment will update the system name, system location, categories of records, authority, routine uses, system manager and address, safeguards, retention and disposal, notification procedures, record access procedures, contesting record procedures, and provide additional information about the system.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received by November 30, 2015. The amendments to the system will be effective November 30, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Any person interested in commenting on this amendment may do so by submitting written comments to Teri Barnett, Departmental Privacy Officer, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street NW., Mail Stop 5547 MIB, Washington, DC 20240; hand-delivering comments to Teri Barnett, Departmental Privacy Officer, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street NW., Mail Stop 5547 MIB, Washington, DC 20240; or emailing comments to [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Chief, Application Management Section, Finance and Procurement Systems Division, Interior Business Center, U.S. Department of the Interior, 7401 West Mansfield Avenue, Mail Stop D-2782, Denver, CO 80235-2230; or by telephone at (303) 969-5023.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background

    The Department of the Interior (DOI) Interior Business Center (IBC) maintains the “Oracle Federal Financials (OFF), DOI-91” system of records. The IBC is a service provider that performs services for other Federal government agencies, both inside and outside the DOI. The IBC's service offerings include providing and maintaining various types of business management systems for its clients, including human resources and financial management applications. The Oracle Federal Financial (OFF) system includes the OFF and OFF-VE applications, which are components of the Oracle eBusiness Suite. The OFF system provides IBC clients with a web-based application that contains customizable financial management modules that combine to provide a comprehensive financial software package to support budgeting, purchasing, Federal procurement, accounts payable, fixed assets, general ledger, inventory, accounts receivable, reimbursement, reporting, and collection functions.

    The IBC hosts the OFF system and is responsible for system administration functions. Each client agency retains control over its data in the system and has one or more designated managers who are responsible for maintaining client agency data in the OFF system. While DOI records generated and maintained in OFF are covered under this system of records notice, each client agency that maintains records within the system has published system notices that cover these financial management activities. Therefore, individuals seeking access to or amendment of their records under the control of a client agency should follow the access procedures outlined in the applicable client agency system of records notice or send a written inquiry to that agency Chief Privacy Officer.

    Additionally, the records maintained within the OFF system may also be covered by existing government-wide system of records notices, including GSA/GOVT-3, Travel Charge Card Program; GSA/GOVT-4, Contracted Travel Services Program; and GSA/GOVT-6, GSA SmartPay Purchase Charge Card Program, and may be subject to handling and disclosure requirements under published routine uses pursuant to the government-wide notices as applicable. Client agencies are responsible for ensuring the handling, use, and sharing of their records in OFF is in compliance with the Privacy Act of 1974, including the provisions regarding notice, access, collection, use, retention, and disclosure of records from this system. The Oracle Federal Financials (OFF), DOI-91 system of records notice was last published in the Federal Register on September 10, 2013, 78 FR 55284.

    The amendments to the system will be effective as proposed at the end of the comment period (the comment period will end 30 days after publication of this notice in the Federal Register), unless comments are received which would require a contrary determination. DOI will publish a revised notice if changes are made based upon a review of the comments received.

    II. Privacy Act

    The Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, embodies fair information practice principles in a statutory framework governing the means by which Federal agencies collect, maintain, use, and disseminate individuals' personal information. The Privacy Act applies to information that is maintained in a “system of records.” A “system of records” is a group of any records under the control of an agency for which information about an individual is retrieved by the name or by some identifying number, symbol, or other identifying particular assigned to the individual. The Privacy Act defines an individual as a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident. As a matter of policy, DOI extends Privacy Act protections to all individuals. Individuals may request access to their own records that are maintained in a system of records in the possession or under the control of DOI by complying with DOI Privacy Act Regulations located at 43 CFR part 2, subpart K.

    The Privacy Act requires each agency to publish in the Federal Register a description denoting the type and character of each system of records that the agency maintains and the routine uses of the information in each system in order to make agency record keeping practices transparent, notify individuals regarding the uses of their records, and assist individuals to more easily find these records within the agency. Below is the description of the “Oracle Federal Financials (OFF), DOI-91” system of records.

    In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552a(r), DOI has provided a report concerning this system of records to the Office of Management and Budget and to Congress.

    III. Public Disclosure

    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment, including your personal identifying information, may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

    Dated: October 23, 2015. Teri Barnett, Departmental Privacy Officer. SYSTEM NAME:

    Oracle Federal Financials (OFF), DOI-91.

    SECURITY CLASSIFICATION:

    Unclassified.

    SYSTEM LOCATION:

    The system is located and managed at (1) U.S. Department of the Interior, Interior Business Center, Finance and Procurement Systems Division, 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, MS-206, Reston, VA 20192; and (2) U.S. Department of the Interior, Interior Business Center, Finance and Procurement Systems Division, 7401 West Mansfield Avenue, MS D-2782, Denver, CO 80235-2230.

    CATEGORIES OF INDIVIDUALS COVERED BY THE SYSTEM:

    Individuals covered by the system include employees of various Federal agencies that are Interior Business Center (IBC) clients using OFF, as well as employees or agents for third party vendors, contractors and suppliers who provide OFF clients with related financial services. This system also contains information about individuals, either employees or non-employees, who owe debts to the Federal agencies that use the system. Records relating to corporations and other business entities contained in this system are not subject to the Privacy Act, only records relating to individuals containing personal information are subject to the Privacy Act.

    CATEGORIES OF RECORDS IN THE SYSTEM:

    (1) Accounts receivable for OFF clients, including individuals who may be employees or non-employees and employees who owe money to OFF clients and are the subject of collections actions. Information in the system may include first and last names, home addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, employee identification numbers, and Social Security numbers.

    (2) Accounts payable information about non-employee individuals and sole proprietors, including individuals who provide services to OFF clients. Information may include names, home or business addresses, phone or fax numbers, email addresses, Tax identification numbers, Social Security numbers, banking account numbers for electronic fund transfer payments, invoices and claims for reimbursement.

    (3) Employees of OFF clients who submit claims for reimbursable expenses. Information may include names, employee identification numbers, Social Security numbers, work addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, receipts and claims for reimbursement.

    (4) Employees of OFF clients who hold government bank or debit cards for purchases or travel. Information may include names, employee identification numbers, Social Security Numbers, home or work addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, card numbers and purchase histories.

    The system contains additional business and financial records for OFF clients that do not include personal information. Records in this system are subject to the Privacy Act only if they are about an individual within the meaning of the Privacy Act, and not if they are about a business, organization, or other non-individual.

    AUTHORITY FOR MAINTENANCE OF THE SYSTEM:

    31 U.S.C. 3512, Executive Agency Accounting and Other Financial Management Reports and Plans; 5 U.S.C. 4111, Acceptance of Contributions, Awards, and Other Payments; 5 U.S.C. 5514, Installment deduction for indebtedness to the United States; 5 U.S.C. 5701, et seq. Travel and Subsistence Expenses, Mileage Allowances; 31 U.S.C. 3512, Executive agency accounting and other financial management reports and plans; 31 U.S.C. 3711, Collection and Compromise; and the Office of Management and Budget Circular A-127, Policies and Standards for Financial Management Systems.

    ROUTINE USES OF RECORDS MAINTAINED IN THE SYSTEM, INCLUDING CATEGORIES OF USERS AND THE PURPOSES OF SUCH USES:

    The primary purpose of the system is to support financial management for Federal agencies by providing a standardized, automated capability for performing administrative control of funds, general accounting, billing and collecting, payments, management reporting, and regulatory reporting.

    In addition to those disclosures generally permitted under 5 U.S.C. 552a(b) of the Privacy Act, disclosures outside DOI may be made as a routine use under 5 U.S.C. 552a(b)(3) as follows:

    (1) (a) To any of the following entities or individuals, when the circumstances set forth in paragraph (b) are met:

    (i) The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ);

    (ii) A court or an adjudicative or other administrative body;

    (iii) A party in litigation before a court or an adjudicative or other administrative body; or

    (iv) Any DOI employee acting in his or her individual capacity if DOI or DOJ has agreed to represent that employee or pay for private representation of the employee;

    (b) When:

    (i) One of the following is a party to the proceeding or has an interest in the proceeding:

    (A) DOI or any component of DOI;

    (B) Any other Federal agency appearing before the Office of Hearings and Appeals;

    (C) Any DOI employee acting in his or her official capacity;

    (D) Any DOI employee acting in his or her individual capacity if DOI or DOJ has agreed to represent that employee or pay for private representation of the employee;

    (E) The United States, when DOJ determines that DOI is likely to be affected by the proceeding; and

    (ii) DOI deems the disclosure to be:

    (A) Relevant and necessary to the proceeding; and

    (B) Compatible with the purpose for which the records were compiled.

    (2) To a congressional office in response to a written inquiry that an individual covered by the system, or the heir of the individual if the covered individual is deceased, has made a written request to the office.

    (3) To the Executive Office of the President in response to an inquiry from that office made at the request of the subject of a record or a third party on that person's behalf, or for a purpose compatible for which the records are collected or maintained.

    (4) To any criminal, civil, or regulatory law enforcement authority (whether Federal, state, territorial, local, tribal or foreign) when a record, either alone or in conjunction with other information, indicates a violation or potential violation of law—criminal, civil, or regulatory in nature, and the disclosure is compatible with the purpose for which the records were compiled.

    (5) To an official of another Federal agency to provide information needed in the performance of official duties related to reconciling or reconstructing data files or to enable that agency to respond to an inquiry by the individual to whom the record pertains.

    (6) To Federal, state, territorial, local, tribal, or foreign agencies that have requested information relevant to hiring, firing or retention of an employee or contractor, or the issuance of a security clearance, license, contract, grant or other benefit, when the disclosure is compatible with the purpose for which the records were compiled.

    (7) To representatives of the National Archives and Records Administration to conduct records management inspections under the authority of 44 U.S.C. 2904 and 2906.

    (8) To state and local governments and tribal organizations to provide information needed in response to court order and/or discovery purposes related to litigation, when the disclosure is compatible with the purpose for which the records were compiled.

    (9) To an expert, consultant, or contractor (including employees of the contractor) of DOI that performs services requiring access to these records on DOI's behalf to carry out the purposes of the system.

    (10) To appropriate agencies, entities, and persons when:

    (a) It is suspected or confirmed that the security or confidentiality of information in the system of records has been compromised; and

    (b) The Department has determined that as a result of the suspected or confirmed compromise there is a risk of harm to economic or property interest, identity theft or fraud, or harm to the security or integrity of this system or other systems or programs (whether maintained by the Department or another agency or entity) that rely upon the compromised information; and

    (c) The disclosure is made to such agencies, entities and persons who are reasonably necessary to assist in connection with the Department's efforts to respond to the suspected or confirmed compromise and prevent, minimize, or remedy such harm.

    (11) To the Office of Management and Budget during the coordination and clearance process in connection with legislative affairs as mandated by OMB Circular A-19.

    (12) To the Department of the Treasury to recover debts owed to the United States.

    (13) To a commercial credit card contractor(s) for the accounting and payment of employee obligation for travel, purchasing and fleet management credit card usage.

    (14) To OFF clients, for the purpose of processing, using and maintaining their agency's data in the OFF system.

    (15) To the Department of Justice or other federal agency for further collection action on any delinquent debt when circumstances warrant.

    (16) To the General Accounting Office, Department of Justice, or a United States Attorney, for actions regarding debt and attempts to collect monies owed.

    (17) To the news media and the public, with the approval of the Public Affairs Officer in consultation with counsel and the Senior Agency Official for Privacy, where there exists a legitimate public interest in the disclosure of the information, except to the extent it is determined that release of the specific information in the context of a particular case would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    DISCLOSURE TO CONSUMER REPORTING AGENCIES:

    Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(b)(12), disclosures may be made to a consumer reporting agency as defined in the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681a(f)) or the Federal Claims Collection Act of 1996 (31 U.S.C. 3701(a)(3)).

    POLICIES AND PRACTICES FOR STORING, RETRIEVING, ACCESSING, RETAINING AND DISPOSING OF RECORDS IN THE SYSTEM: STORAGE:

    Electronic records are maintained on servers located at IBC's data centers in Denver, CO and Reston, VA. Records are accessed only by authorized personnel who have a need to access the records in the performance of their official duties. Paper records are contained in file folders stored in file cabinets in accordance with 383 Departmental Manual 8.

    RETRIEVABILITY:

    The personal identifiers that can be used to retrieve information on individuals are name, Social Security number, employee identification numbers, bank account number, government travel/small purchase bank card number, employee number and supplier number.

    SAFEGUARDS:

    The records contained in this system are safeguarded in accordance with 43 CFR 2.226 and all other applicable security rules and policies. Manual or paper records are maintained in locked file cabinets located in secure facilities under the control of authorized personnel. Security controls to prevent unauthorized access include network access security limits, physical and logical access controls for the data center hosting the system, operating system controls, application passwords, and application data group security levels. Access to servers containing system records is limited to authorized personnel with a need to know the information to perform their official duties and requires a valid username and password.

    Unique user identification and authentication, such as passwords, least privileges and audit logs are utilized to ensure appropriate permissions and access levels. Access to the system is also limited by network access or security controls such as firewalls, and system data is encrypted. Facilities that host the system are guarded and monitored by security personnel, cameras, ID checks, and other physical security measures. Server rooms are locked and accessible only by authorized personnel. DOI personnel authorized to access the system must complete mandatory Security, Privacy, and Records Management training and sign the DOI Rules of Behavior. A privacy impact assessment was conducted to ensure appropriate controls and safeguards are in place to protect the information within the system.

    RETENTION AND DISPOSAL:

    Each Federal agency client maintains records in the system in accordance with records retention schedules approved by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), and agency clients are responsible for the retention and disposal of their own records. Financial management records are retained in accordance with General Records Schedule (GRS) 1.1, and records are destroyed six years after final payment or cancellation. While the IBC provides system administration and management support to agency clients, any records disposal is in accordance with client agency approved data disposal procedures.

    DOI records are maintained under Departmental Records Schedules and GRS that cover administrative and financial management records, and retention periods may vary according to the subject matter and needs of the agency. Approved disposition methods include shredding or pulping for paper records, and degaussing or erasing electronic records in accordance with NARA Guidelines and 384 Departmental Manual 1.

    SYSTEM MANAGER AND ADDRESS:

    Chief, Application Management Section, Finance & Procurement Systems Division, U.S. Department of the Interior, Interior Business Center, 7401 West Mansfield Avenue, MS D-2782, Denver, CO 80235-2230.

    NOTIFICATION PROCEDURES:

    An individual requesting notification of the existence of DOI records on himself or herself should send a signed, written inquiry to the System Manager identified above. The request envelope and letter should be clearly marked “PRIVACY ACT INQUIRY.” A request for notification must meet the requirements of 43 CFR 2.235.

    Individuals seeking notification of records under the control of a client agency serviced by IBC under a cross-servicing agreement for financial management services should follow the notification procedures outlined in the applicable client agency system of records notice or send a written inquiry to that agency Chief Privacy Officer.

    RECORDS ACCESS PROCEDURES:

    An individual requesting access to DOI records on himself or herself should send a signed, written inquiry to the System Manager identified above. The request envelope and letter should be clearly marked “PRIVACY ACT REQUEST FOR ACCESS”. The request letter should describe the records sought as specifically as possible. A request for access must meet the requirements of 43 CFR 2.238.

    Individuals seeking access to their records under the control of a client agency serviced by IBC under a cross-servicing agreement for financial management services should follow the access procedures outlined in the applicable client agency system of records notice or send a written inquiry to that agency Chief Privacy Officer.

    CONTESTING RECORDS PROCEDURES:

    An individual requesting corrections or contesting information contained in DOI records must send a signed, written request to the System Manager identified above. A request for corrections or removal must meet the requirements of 43 CFR 2.246.

    Individuals seeking to contest their records under the control of a client agency serviced by IBC under a cross-servicing agreement for financial management services should follow the procedures outlined in the applicable client agency system of records notice or send a written inquiry to that agency Chief Privacy Officer.

    RECORD SOURCE CATEGORIES:

    Information in the system is obtained from IBC's Federal agency clients, as well as third party vendors, contractors and suppliers who provide related financial services to the clients using the system.

    EXEMPTIONS CLAIMED FOR THE SYSTEM:

    None.

    [FR Doc. 2015-27595 Filed 10-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4334-63-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Office of the Secretary [Docket No. FWS-HQ-FAC-2013-0118; FXFR13360900000-156-FF09F14000] National Environmental Policy Act: Implementing Procedures; Addition to Categorical Exclusions for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (516 DM 8) AGENCY:

    Department of the Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice of Final National Environmental Policy Act Implementing Procedures.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice announces the addition of a new categorical exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act to be included in the Department of the Interior's Departmental Manual for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The categorical exclusion pertains to adding species to the injurious wildlife list under the Lacey Act. This action will improve the process of listing species by regulation as injurious wildlife and thereby help to prevent their introduction into and spread within the United States.

    DATES:

    The categorical exclusion is effective October 29, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    To obtain a copy of the new categorical exclusion, contact Susan Jewell, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS FAC, 5275 Leesburg Pike, VA 22041; telephone 703-358-2416. You may review the comments received on the proposed categorical exclusion and other supporting materials online at http://www.regulations.gov in Docket No. FWS-HQ-FAC-2013-0118.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Susan Jewell, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS FAC, 5275 Leesburg Pike, VA 22041; telephone 703-358-2416. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf, please call the Federal Information Relay Service at 800-877-8339.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    Under the National Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq., NEPA), Federal agencies are required to consider the potential environmental impact of agency actions. Agencies are generally required to prepare an Environmental Assessment (EA) or an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) or both. However, when a Federal agency identifies categories of actions that under normal circumstances do not have a significant environmental impact, either individually or cumulatively, Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations allow the agency to establish a categorical exclusion and not complete an EA or an EIS when undertaking those actions (40 CFR 1507.3(b); 40 CFR 1508.4. See also Department of the Interior (Department) NEPA regulations at 43 CFR 46.205). When appropriately established and applied, categorical exclusions serve a beneficial purpose. They allow Federal agencies to expedite the environmental review process for proposals that typically do not require more resource-intensive EAs or EISs (CEQ 2010).

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service or we) has determined that it is appropriate to provide for a categorical exclusion for the Federal action of adding species to the list of injurious wildlife under the Lacey Act (18 U.S.C. 42, as amended; the Act). The Act authorizes the Secretary of the Interior, as delegated to the Service, to prescribe by regulation those wild mammals, wild birds, fish, mollusks, crustaceans, amphibians, and reptiles, and the offspring or eggs of any of the aforementioned, that are injurious to human beings, or to the interests of agriculture, horticulture, or forestry, or to the wildlife or wildlife resources of the United States. The provisions of the Act regarding injurious species protect human health and welfare and the human and natural environments of the United States by identifying and reducing the threat posed by certain wildlife species. Listing these species as injurious under the Act subsequently prohibits individuals of the species from being imported into the United States or transported across State (including U.S. territories) lines. The Act does not restrict export from the United States (provided transport across State lines is not involved), transport within a State or territory, or possession of an animal already imported.

    The lists of injurious species are codified in title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) in part 16. The listing of species as injurious is, as an agency action, subject to environmental review under NEPA procedures. The Service has generally prepared EAs for rulemaking actions to add species to the injurious species lists at 50 CFR part 16. In each case, the agency has determined that adding a species to the list of injurious wildlife has no significant effect on the environment. A categorical exclusion would allow the Service to exercise its authority to protect human health and welfare, certain human and natural environments, and wildlife resources from harm caused by injurious species more effectively and efficiently by precluding the need to conduct unnecessary and redundant environmental analyses.

    In 2002, in promulgating two listing rules, the Service used an existing departmental categorical exclusion for policies, directives, regulations, and guidelines of an administrative, financial, legal, technical, or procedural nature, or that have environmental effects too broad, speculative, or conjectural to lend themselves to meaningful analysis and will later be subject to the NEPA process (43 CFR 46.210(i)). Upon further review, the Service believes that this description is not the best representation of why injurious species listings do not have a significant effect on the human environment. Therefore, the Service is adding a new categorical exclusion for the listing of injurious species under the Act. The categorical exclusion will be included in the Departmental Manual in Part 516: National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 in Chapter 8: Managing the NEPA Process—U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (516 DM 8).

    Comments on the Proposal

    The Service solicited comments from the public on the proposed new categorical exclusion through three comment periods totaling 120 days. The original notice was published in the Federal Register on July 1, 2013 (78 FR 39307) and provided for a 30-day public comment period. Following requests to extend the public comment period, the Department published a notice on August 16, 2013, reopening the public comment period for an additional 60 days (78 FR 50079). The Department published another notice on January 22, 2014 (79 FR 3612), reopening public comment for an additional 30-days. All comments sent to either [email protected] or to http://www.regulations.gov have been considered.

    Congressional interest led to an oversight hearing on September 20, 2013, by the House Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans, and Insular Affairs. The Service's Assistant Director for Fish and Aquatic Conservation testified.

    The Service received more than 5,000 public comments, including a citizen petition of approximately 600 duplicate comments but excluding comments that were inadvertently posted multiple times. The range of comments varied from those that provided general supporting or opposing statements with no additional explanatory information to those that provided extensive comments and information supporting or opposing the proposed designation. The majority of comments were related to the listing of specific species as injurious (whether the Service should list or not), but not about the subject of this notice, which is about the NEPA process relative to a listing as injurious. The Service received comments from three Federal entities, five State governments, commercial and trade organizations, conservation organizations, other nongovernmental organizations, and private citizens. A summary of the comments follows.

    Federal Agency Comments

    Comment 1: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) believes that the proposed categorical exclusion will result in better prevention by the Service of entry of more invasive species into the United States by precluding the need to conduct redundant and costly environmental analyses and that it serves a beneficial purpose. USDA is particularly concerned about injurious species that can negatively affect human beings, agriculture, horticulture, and forestry. USDA agrees with the three justifications for the categorical exclusion submitted by the Department of the Interior and the Service in the July 1, 2013, notice (78 FR 39307).

    Response: The Service agrees that the categorical exclusion will make adding species under the Lacey Act more efficient by eliminating the need to develop unnecessary and redundant EAs under NEPA. A more efficient listing process should allow the Service to better prevent the introduction of species that are injurious to the interests listed in the Act.

    Comment 2: The Small Business Administration expressed concern that the categorical exclusion would remove transparency to the public. Furthermore, it was unclear why the Department of the Interior would propose a categorical exclusion for the Service's listings under the Lacey Act based upon the premise that those listings will have no environmental impact when, by statute, all wildlife that is proposed to be listed under the Lacey Act must be shown to have an injurious environmental impact.

    Response: The Service spoke with the commenter after this comment was submitted and explained that all other aspects of the listing process under the Lacey Act, including the injurious species analysis, economic analysis, and Regulatory Flexibility Act analysis (for small businesses), would still be prepared, and the public would have an opportunity to comment under these various laws and Executive Orders. The Service also explained that species that are injurious would have a negative environmental impact if they were not listed, not if they were listed. The commenter requested that the Service post that information so that the commenter could refer future questioners to that clarifying information. The Service subsequently posted clarifying information on its Web site.

    Comment 3: The National Park Service supports a new categorical exclusion for the listing of species as injurious in the interest of expediting the listing process and addressing nonnative species threats as early as possible to minimize the scale and scope of adverse impacts. Nonnative species represent one of the greatest emerging threats to the integrity of National Park Service ecosystems. Listing under the Lacey Act provides Federal and State agencies with legal and regulatory tools to prevent the import, spread, and introduction of some of the most harmful species.

    Response: The Service agrees that conducting NEPA review through the categorical exclusion process should make listing species under the Lacey Act more efficient by eliminating the need to produce unnecessary EAs. This in turn should help protect wildlife and wildlife resources, such as those in the National Park system.

    Comments From States

    Comment 4: The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA), which represents North American fish and wildlife agencies, received comments from their Invasive Species Committee and other members of AFWA. All comments from the Committee indicated some level of support for measures to make the listing process more efficient. However, AFWA members were also concerned about the unintended consequences of the categorical exclusion on economic impacts to States, industries, and others. AFWA did not take a formal stance on the categorical exclusion. Instead, they stated their concerns related to the Federal listing of species as injurious, which they believe erodes the States' authorities to manage fish and wildlife. Their recommendations for the Service include: Working with the State fish and wildlife agencies to identify the States' priorities for injurious wildlife concerns; implementing methods outside of NEPA to reduce the time required to complete listings; and ensuring that NEPA analyses include the human environment, specifically the economic impact that the States would incur with respect to eradications and restoration following introductions of injurious wildlife, including impacts due to unintended consequences as a result of listing.

    Response: The Service signed a memorandum of understanding in June 2013 with AFWA and the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council to help identify high-risk species more rapidly and to provide the States and pet industry with scientific information needed for them to help prevent importations of high-risk species under their own regulations and voluntary measures. The Service has already made summaries of this scientific information for some high-risk species available to the public on its Web site and is working on hundreds of more summaries, which the Service will also post publicly when completed. Therefore, the Service is working with AFWA to address priority species by providing States with the information they can use for their own injurious prevention methods and to streamline the listing process by using new methods to rapidly screen and prioritize species for listing or other risk management actions, either by the Service or any State.

    The Service interprets AFWA's concern about ensuring through NEPA that the economic impact of not listing (thus incurring need by the States to expend funds for eradication and restoration) or of listing (with unintended consequences) to mean that economic effects of injurious species listings should be clear. Under other laws and Executive Orders not related to NEPA, the Service will continue to provide required analysis on the economic effects of listing a species under the Lacey Act, including effects on small businesses and governments if appropriate, and any other required determinations. To the extent AFWA is concerned about losing NEPA analysis on economic impacts to States, industries, and others, the purpose of an EA is to determine whether to prepare a finding of no significant impact or an EIS (see 43 CFR 46.300). The Service has always found and foresees that it would generally find that listing a species as injurious would have no significant impact on the environment and therefore no EIS is required. CEQ regulations clarify that economic and social effects of an agency action by themselves cannot require preparation of an EIS (see 40 CFR 1508.14), and therefore NEPA is not the appropriate means of considering purely economic impacts of an agency's proposed action. Finally, the comment regarding whether Federal listing of injurious species erodes States' authority to manage resident fish and wildlife is beyond the scope of this action, which addresses the appropriateness of a categorical exclusion under NEPA.

    Comment 5: Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) opposes the categorical exclusion because of unintended consequences of not considering alternatives. FDACS gives, as an example, its potential interest in undertaking research on control of schistosomiasis, a devastating disease of tropical countries, using triploid sterile black carp. FDACS states that the current process listing “injurious species” precludes the development and use of these black carp as a tool to improve human health. FDACS recommends that the Service reassess the application of NEPA relative to listing injurious species from the perspective that certain nonnative species are utilized or can be utilized to the benefit of humans and human and natural environments.

    Response: The Service recognizes that even some injurious species may provide benefits to humans and human environments. The Lacey Act provides that species listed as injurious wildlife may be imported and transported by permit for scientific, medical, educational, or zoological purposes. Research such as the commenter describes may be eligible for such a permit. The addition of the categorical exclusion will not affect the permitting process. In addition, the existence of a categorical exclusion is not the end of NEPA review. The Service will still have to determine, on a case-by-case basis, whether the listing of any species as injurious would trigger one of the “extraordinary circumstances” found at 43 CFR 46.215, in which case a normally excluded action would require additional analysis through an EA or EIS. One of the extraordinary circumstances is when an action may have significant impacts on public health or safety.

    Comment 6: FDACS recommends that the “agency implement Environmental Assessments or Environmental Impact Analysis processes to determine alternative courses of action and not for the sole purpose of supporting a species listing decision.”

    Response: As explained above, even with the categorical exclusion in place, the Service will consider each potential listing on a case-by-case basis to determine whether the listing of that particular species would trigger one of the extraordinary circumstances found at 43 CFR 46.215, in which case a normally excluded action would require additional NEPA analysis through an EA or EIS, which would include reasonable alternatives. In other cases, a categorical exclusion is appropriate and necessary to reduce delays in the Lacey Act listing process for listings that do not have significant individual or cumulative effects on the environment.

    Comment 7: FDACS provides citations for guidance on risk assessments for listings.

    Response: The Service appreciates FDACS's contributions.

    Comment 8: The Indiana Department of Natural Resources supports the categorical exclusion. The agency