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RULE §16.36Application Process Generally

(a) No award for competitive grant funding will be disbursed by the office except pursuant to an application submitted in accordance with this subchapter.

(b) An application for funding under this subchapter shall be submitted on the forms and in the manner prescribed by the office. The office may require that applications be submitted electronically.

(c) Prior to publication of application information pursuant to Government Code, §490I.0106(e), the office may undertake an examination to determine whether the application appears on its face to comply with applicable program requirements. The office may reject and take no further action on an application that does not appear to comply with applicable program requirements on its face.

(d) The office shall for a period of at least 30 days publish on its website information from each accepted application, including the applicant's name, the project area targeted for expanded broadband service access or adoption by the application, and any other information the office considers relevant or necessary. The information will remain on the website for a period of at least 30 days before the office makes a decision on the application.

(e) During the 30-day application protest period described by subsection (d) of this section for an application, the office shall accept from any interested party a written protest of the application relating to whether the applicant or project is eligible for an award or should not receive an award based on the criteria prescribed by the office. A protest of an application must be submitted as provided under §16.41 of this subchapter.

(f) Notwithstanding any deadline for submitting an application, if the office upholds a protest on the grounds that one or more of the broadband serviceable locations in a project area is not eligible to receive funding, the applicant may resubmit an amended application as provided under §16.41 of this subchapter without the challenged broadband serviceable locations not later than 30 days after the date that the office upheld the protest. An amended application may not include additional areas or broadband serviceable locations not already included in the original application.

(g) If the office upholds a protest and the applicant resubmits an application in accordance with subsection (f) of this section, the resubmitted application is not subject to further protest.

(h) For the purposes of this section "interested party" means a person, including an individual, corporation, organization, government or governmental subdivision or agency, business trust, estate, trust, partnership, association, or any other legal entity, that resides, is located, or conducts business in the project area subject to protest and also includes a broadband service provider that is not located in the project area but who proposes to provide broadband service in the project area.

(i) Notwithstanding subsection (e) of this section, a broadband service provider who has not provided information requested by the office under Government Code, §490I.0105 or §490I.01061, may not submit a protest of an application made under this subchapter.

Source Note: The provisions of this §16.36 adopted to be effective February 19, 2023, 48 TexReg 685; amended to be effective March 24, 2024, 49 TexReg 1956

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