7 CFR 2201.11 - Application requirements.
A completed application consists of the following information:
(a) An executive summary of the Project. The Applicant must provide the Board with a general Project overview that addresses each of the following six categories:
(1) A general overview of the system to be developed and description of the Project including the types of equipment, technologies, and facilities to be used;
(2) An explanation of how the Applicant will provide Local Television Broadcast Signals to Nonserved Areas and Underserved Areas;
(3) A short description of the Applicant including a written narrative describing its demonstrated capability and experience in providing access to Local Television Broadcast Signals for households;
(4) An explanation of the total Project cost including a breakdown of the Loan required and the source of funding for the remainder of the Project, if a portion of the Project is to be paid with non-Loan funds;
(5) The name of the Lender or Agent (including a listing of other participating Lenders, if applicable) and a description of the financing structure of the proposed Loan; and
(6) A general description of the geographic area to be served.
(b) Background information. General information concerning the Applicant, its Affiliates, and its Lender or Agent, including a description of any financial and contractual arrangements among the parties. Specific information required of all Applicants is as follows:
(1) Evidence of legal authority and existence of the applicant. The Applicant must provide evidence of its legal existence and authority to execute the Loan Documents under the proposed Loan and perform the activities proposed under the Project. Such evidence must include Articles of Incorporation and bylaws for incorporated Applicants; other types of Applicants should submit appropriate documentation for their forms of organization. If the Applicant is a special purpose entity (SPE) formed for the purpose of the Project, then the Applicant must provide a copy of the Deed of Partnership or Articles of Organization for the SPE.
(2) Affiliates descriptions. A listing of all Affiliates of the Applicant including a description of the nature of the Applicant's relationship to each Affiliate. Any existing or proposed contractual arrangements with each Affiliate should be described.
(3) Legal name. The legal name and form of organization of the proposed Lender or Agent.
(4) Cover Form. A signed copy of Standard Form 424.
(5) Management Credentials. A description of the experience and capabilities of the Applicant's management to carry out the Project.
(c) A business plan. A plan, satisfactory to the Board, presenting in detail the fundamentals of the business and providing sufficient financial data to indicate that the business will be economically sustainable. The business plan should include, at a minimum:
(1) Risk Assessments. An assessment of the risks related to construction, performance, demand, and financing structure, including a narrative statement detailing planned risks mitigation strategies;
(2) Plans. A comprehensive operations and maintenance plan, as well as a marketing strategy;
(3) Economic and Financial Analysis. A review of economic and financial factors affecting the business in general and the Project in particular. Applicants should refer to economic and financial conditions in the past three years, and also discuss expectations of such conditions in the future, including:
(i) The adequacy and stability of the business' customer base. Applicants should provide information on the number of subscribers, subscriber churn, subscriber acquisition cost or cost per gross added, subscriber penetration, geographic concentration of customers, nature of the terms of customer contracts, customer technical support, customer satisfaction and retention;
(ii) The demand for services;
(iii) The sensitivity of the business to economic cycles;
(iv) Future capital needs;
(v) The adequacy, competitiveness and affordability of service fees;
(vi) An overview of the prevailing economic and demographic trends in the target service area; and
(vii) Information on programming content and costs.
(4) Project Market Analysis. A breakdown of the key elements of the Project, including:
(i) All proposed services to be offered, including High-speed Internet Service, and whether a Separate Tier of Local Television Broadcast Signals will be provided;
(ii) The total number of households, by DMA, and by Nonserved and Underserved Area, which will have access to Local Television Broadcast Signals under the Project;
(iii) The total number of households, by DMA, and by Nonserved and Underserved Area, which will have access under the Project to any other services as described pursuant to paragraph (c)(4)(i) of this section, including an explanation if this number is greater than the total identified in paragraph (c)(4)(ii);
(iv) Estimates of the number of households identified in paragraphs (c)(4)(ii) and (c)(4)(iii) which will subscribe to each of the services identified in paragraph (c)(4)(i) of this section by DMA, including a breakdown of Nonserved and Underserved households;
(v) A breakdown of the Applicant's proposed pricing coupled with an evaluation of any competitor's services offerings and pricings; and
(vi) A service deployment plan and a deployment performance schedule, by DMA, for the services to access the Local Television Broadcast Signals.
(d) Financial forecast and information. The Applicant must demonstrate its financial ability to complete and maintain the Project and repay its obligations. The financial data must include the following:
(1) Audited financial statements. Income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements for at least the last three years or from the date of inception if less than three years. If the Applicant is an SPE, then the Applicant must provide at least the last three years of audited financial statements of the shareholders or partners of the SPE. If an Affiliate has been designated by the Applicant as a source of credit support, then at least three years audited financial statements for the Affiliate must be submitted as well.
(2) Plan of finance. An identification and explanation of all sources and uses of funds throughout the proposed loan period, including, but not limited to, any payments to Affiliates or shareholders of the Applicant, estimated Project costs, and proposed terms.
(3) A Pro-forma financial forecast covering the life of the proposed loan, including balance sheets, income statements and cash flow statements, with an explanation of assumptions. These Projections must be prepared in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and should discuss such issues as the effects of inflation, competition, ongoing repair and replacement needs, technological obsolescence, working capital requirements, and other factors that may affect the Applicant's ability to meet its debt service obligations.
(4) Project budget. A detailed cost breakdown of all facilities to be constructed as part of the Project. This breakdown should be on a per unit basis. It should also clearly show what will be financed with guaranteed loan funds and what will be financed with other funds, consistent with the plan of finance in paragraph (d)(2) of this section.
(5) Commitments. The Applicant must disclose all reasonably foreseeable financial obligations, contingent liabilities, or other commitments that could affect its financial health over the proposed financing term. At the Board's request, the Applicant must take all reasonable measures to insulate the Project and the Loan from external factors that could affect timely payment of principal and interest. The Board may ask for additional detailed information on commitments where it is deemed necessary.
(6) Credit enhancement. In cases where an Affiliate provides credit enhancement, the Applicant must provide documentation demonstrating the Affiliate is sufficiently capitalized and evidencing the strength, extent, limitations, and priority of the credit enhancement relative to the other obligations of the Affiliate.
(e) A certified system plan, technical analysis, and design. Prepared by qualified personnel on the Applicant's staff or by a licensed consulting engineer, consisting of the following:
(1) A detailed description of the proposed service area including maps of the service area;
(2) A TV Signals Coverage Diagram and detailed description of all existing and proposed facilities. The diagram must include proposed route miles of cable plant, if applicable, the estimated area served, types of facilities to be deployed (terrestrial microwave or satellite microwave, wireless, translator, fiber optic cable or coaxial cable, electronic equipment, etc.), the capacity of the facilities (number of fibers, size of the cables, and intended number of channels, frequencies used, bandwidth capacity, etc.), and the serving area of the proposed facilities;
(3) The intended capabilities of the Project's facilities, including bandwidth, proposed television signal topology, standards, and television signal transmission protocols. In addition, the Applicant must explain the manner in which the transmission facilities will deliver the proposed Local Television Broadcast Signals, including any equipment necessary to receive the signals which will be located at the subscribers' premises, and/or, near or on the subscribers' television sets;
(4) A listing of all regulatory approvals required to operate facilities, including licenses, permits, and franchises and the status of any required approvals not obtained at the time of the application. For any approvals not yet received, the Applicant should provide details on the nature of the needed approval, the justification for expecting such an approval, the track-record of the Applicant in obtaining such approvals, and the contingency plan in the event the approval is delayed;
(5) A description of the television signal sources (including, but not limited to local, regional and national television signal broadcasters, other television signal providers, content providers, cable television operators and providers, enhanced service providers, providers of satellite services, and the anticipated role of such providers in the proposed Project);
(6) The results of discussions, if any, with local television broadcasters serving the Project area;
(7) An identification of all Local Television Broadcast Signals that will be carried by the Project;
(8) An identification of the digital signal quality and capacity in megabits per second (Mb/s) that will be required to digitally broadcast all Local Television Broadcast Signals to be provided by the Project;
(9) An identification of the net usable bandwidth, in Mb/s, that are surplus to the provision of the Local Television Broadcast Signals to be provided by the Project and that will be used to provide High Speed Internet Service; and
(10) A description of the extent to which the Project will enable the delivery of Local Television Broadcast Signals by a means reasonably compatible with existing systems or devices predominantly in use for the reception of television signals.
(f) Lender information - (1) Lender. The Application shall include the information described in § 2201.13(b), (c) and (d) of this part concerning the Lender or Lenders.
(2) Term Sheet. The Application shall include a signed Term Sheet.
(3) Lender's Analysis. The Applicant shall submit the Lender's detailed analysis of the creditworthiness of the transaction at the time of application and any supporting due diligence documentation, including a complete underwriting analysis of the Project (assessing Applicant creditworthiness and Project feasibility) exercising the Lender's standard of care as set forth at § 2201.26(a).
(4) Certification. The Lender must certify that the information provided pursuant to paragraphs (f)(1), (2) and (3) of this section is true and accurate.
(5) Additional Information. The Board will request any other information the Board deems material to its assessment of the Lender.
(g) Other Financial Information - (1) Collateral. The Applicant shall provide a detailed description and valuation of all Collateral to be used to secure the Loan. This valuation shall be supported by an independent, third party appraisal for existing Assets, and/or adequate cost substantiation for Assets to be constructed for purposes of the Project, and in all cases shall be acceptable to the Board. Such a valuation should address, at a minimum, pledged Assets of the Applicant, any designated Affiliate of the Applicant, or both as identified in the Loan Documents, including primary Assets to be used in the delivery of the service for which the Loan sought would be guaranteed. The Applicant also must provide a depreciation schedule (as classified under and in accordance with GAAP) for the major Assets in order for the Board to determine the economically useful life of the primary Assets to be used in delivery of the signals concerned. Appraisals of real property must be prepared by State licensed or certified appraisers, and be consistent with the “Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice,” promulgated by the Appraisal Standards Board of the Appraisal Foundation.
(2) Credit Opinion. With respect to applications for a Loan of $15 million or more, the Applicant is required to obtain and submit to the Board a preliminary credit rating opinion letter on the proposed transaction at the time of application, prepared by a nationally recognized statistical rating organization (rating agency) approved by the Board. This preliminary credit rating opinion shall be based on the financing structure proposed by the Applicant for the Project absent the Federal Guarantee, without regard to recovery expectations. The Board will utilize this preliminary credit assessment to assist in evaluating the creditworthiness of the proposed transaction and determining whether it provides a reasonable assurance of repayment. In addition, applicants for loans less than $15 million that have a credit rating shall provide that credit rating to the Board. The Board will utilize this preliminary credit assessment (for loans over $15 million) or an existing credit rating (for loans less than $15 million) to assist in evaluating the creditworthiness of the proposed transaction and determining whether it provides a reasonable assurance of repayment. The Board may approve a Guarantee over $15 million only if it receives a final credit rating opinion letter from the rating agency on the Loan that is in form and substance acceptable to the Board.
(3) Evidence of Lack of Credit Elsewhere. The Applicant shall provide the information required pursuant to § 2201.12(b)(2)(v) of this part.
(h) Compliance with other Federal statutes, regulations and Executive Orders. The Applicant must certify compliance with other applicable Federal statutes, regulations, and Executive Orders.
(i) Environmental impact. The Applicant must provide information describing the Project's impact on the environment as required pursuant to § 2201.16 of this part. The application may be submitted prior to final determination of a Project's environmental impacts; however, a Guarantee shall not be made and no Loan funds will be advanced prior to such determination and demonstrated compliance with all environmental statutes, regulations and executive orders.
(j) Federal debt certification. The Applicant must provide a certification that it is not delinquent on any obligation owed to the government (7 CFR parts 3016 and 3019). No Guarantee will be made if either the Applicant or Lender has an outstanding, delinquent Federal debt until:
(1) The delinquent account has been paid in full;
(2) A negotiated repayment schedule is established and at least one payment has been received; or
(3) Other arrangements, satisfactory to the agency responsible for collecting the debt, are made.
(k) Supplemental information. The Applicant should provide any additional information it considers relevant to the Project and likely to be helpful in determining the extent to which the Project would further the purposes of the Act.
(l) Additional information required by the Board. The Applicant must provide any additional information the Board determines is necessary to adequately evaluate the application.
(m) Application Fee. For an application to be considered complete, the Applicant must submit a check payable to the United States Treasury in the amount of the application fee as set forth in § 2201.21(a) of this part.
(n) Incomplete application. An incomplete application, including any fee submitted therewith, will be returned to the Applicant without action.