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FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS

COMMISSION

WASHINGTON

OFFICE OF

THE CHAIRMAN

May 20,2014

The Honorable Ruben Hinojosa

U.S. House of Representatives

2262 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Congressman Hinojosa:

Thank you for your letter regarding modernization of the Commission's rules governing

the Schools and Libraries universal service support mechanism- also known as the E-rate

program. I wholeheartedly agree with your views on the importance of the E-rate program to

school districts with a high percentage of economically disadvantaged students, such as those

you reference in south Texas.

Modernization ofthe E-rate program is among the most important tasks currently facing

the Commission. I am a strong advocate for and believe in the E-rate program and the need to

modernize its operation to emphasize high-speed broadband, as demonstrated in the two

speeches on the topic I've attached to this letter for your convenience. It is critical to America's

future to ensure that our schools and libraries have affordable access to modern high-capacity

broadband technologies, particularly, as you point out in your letter, school districts with a high

percentage of economically disadvantaged students. In order to help provide our students with a

21st century education, it is essential that we re-prioritize the current program resources to focus

on high-speed broadband connectivity both to schools and libraries and within schools and

libraries.

Commission staff is reviewing the record that has been developed in response to the July

2013 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, such as the views espoused by the South Texas

Association of Schools, and meeting with stakeholders to ensure that we have robust input from

all interested parties. Earlier this spring, the staff released a Public Notice seeking focused

comment on a handful of specific issues that have been raised by commenters. In addition, the

Commission held an E-rate Modernization Workshop on May 6, 2014, where Commission and

E-rate stakeholders discussed the challenge of delivering high-speed connectivity to and within

schools and libraries, highlighted successful strategies, and shared insights on these important

Issues.

My goal is for the Commission to adopt an Order that would implement fundamental

structural and administrative changes. We need to ensure that theE-rate program supports the

high-capacity broadband needed to give our students access to 21st century educational

opportunities, while simultaneously improving the efficiency and administration of the program

and establishing explicit program goals and measurements.

image02-00.jpg612x792

Page 2-The Honorable Ruben Hinojosa

I can assure you that as we proceed with reform of this important program, we will take

the views of all stakeholders into account, including those espoused by your constituents. We

also will include your letter in the record of the proceeding for Commission consideration.

I appreciate your interest in this matter. Please let me know if I can be of any further

assistance.

Tom Wheeler

Enclosures

image03-00.jpg612x792

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS

COMMISSION

WASHINGTON

May 20, 2014

OFFICE OF

THE CH A IR M AN

The Honorable Filemon Vela

U.S. House of Representatives

437 Cannon House Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Congressman Vela:

Thank you for your letter regarding modernization of the Commission's rules governing

the Schools and Libraries universal service support mechanism- also known as theE-rate

program. I wholeheartedly agree with your views on the importance ofthe E-rate program to

school districts with a high percentage of economically disadvantaged students, such as those

you reference in south Texas.

Modernization of the E-rate program is among the most important tasks currently facing

the Commission. I am a strong advocate for and believe in theE-rate program and the need to

modernize its operation to emphasize high-speed broadband, as demonstrated in the two

speeches on the topic I've attached to this letter for your convenience. It is critical to America's

future to ensure that our schools and libraries have affordable access to modem high-capacity

broadband technologies, particularly, as you point out in your letter, school districts with a high

percentage of economically disadvantaged students. In order to help provide our students with a

21st century education, it is essential that we re-prioritize the current program resources to focus

on high-speed broadband connectivity both to schools and libraries and within schools and

libraries.

Commission staff is reviewing the record that has been developed in response to the July

2013 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, such as the views espoused by the South Texas

Association of Schools, and meeting with stakeholders to ensure that we have robust input from

all interested parties. Earlier this spring, the staff released a Public Notice seeking focused

comment on a handful of specific issues that have been raised by commenters. In addition, the

Commission held an E-rate Modernization Workshop on May 6, 2014, where Commission and

E-rate stakeholders discussed the challenge of delivering high-speed connectivity to and within

schools and libraries, highlighted successful strategies, and shared insights on these important

1ssues.

My goal is for the Commission to adopt an Order that would implement fundamental

structural and administrative changes. We need to ensure that theE-rate program supports the

high-capacity broadband needed to give our students access to 21st century educational

opportunities, while simultaneously improving the efficiency and administration of the program

and establishing explicit program goals and measurements.

image04-00.jpg612x792

Page 2-The Honorable Filernon Vela

I can assure you that as we proceed with reform of this important program, we will take

the views of all stakeholders into account, including those espoused by your constituents. We

also will include your letter in the record of the proceeding for Commission consideration.

I appreciate your interest in this matter. Please let me know if I can be of any further

assistance.

Sincere!: /

r ~

~ rb,};t (;<;~

Torn Wheeler

Enclosures

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