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FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS

COMMISSION

WASHINGTON

OF FIC E OF

THE CHAIRMAN

The Honorable Edward J. Markey

United States Senate

218 Russell Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator Markey:

Thank you for your recent letters expressing your views on modernizing theE-rate

program. Like you, I am deeply committed to ensuring that the E-rate program continues to

serve the purpose for which, under your leadership, it was established and remains strong and

sustainable well into the future. Your views are very important to me, particularly given your

critical role as a founding father of this vital program. I will ensure that your letters are placed in

the record of the proceeding, and given all due consideration as the Commission moves forward

withE-rate modernization.

As you know, in July the Commission adopted a Report and Order and Further Notice of

Proposed Rulemaking ("Order" and "Further Notice," respectively) in which we took critical

steps to modernize the E-rate program. Your views were a critical input to shaping what the

Commission adopted. For example, you raised concerns that adopting a single flat rate ofE-rate

funding per square foot may not result in adequate wireless coverage for schools and libraries.

Rather, you recommend that the Commission consider a wide range of factors including the

number of users, connections from wireless in other buildings, architectural impediments, inside

cabling, and the speed of access to the buildings.

Based on the record before us, the Order established a multi-year budget for internal

connections, such as Wi-Fi, that will serve our goal of ensuring affordable access to high-speed

broadband for schools and libraries as we continue to evaluate long term program needs.

Specifically, over the next two funding years, libraries may request E-rate support of up to $2.30

(pre-discount) per square foot for internal connections services over a five-year period,

consistent with a recommendation by the American Library Association and data submitted by

numerous individual library systems. Schools will be eligible forE-rate funding on purchases of

up to $150 (pre-discount) per student. Moreover, to ensure these budgets are sufficient to meet

the minimum demand that certain libraries and schools might have regardless of size, the Order

establishes a pre-discount funding floor of$9,200 for each library or school. These figures were

arrived at based on the best available data to the Commission and will continue to be assessed

over time.

The Commission declined to adopt other metrics at this time due to a lack of available

data sources on these metrics for all libraries, as well as a concern that many of these metrics

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Page 2-The Honorable Edward J. Markey

may vary dramatically and could be difficult to measure. However, the Further Notice seeks to

build a record on whether we should adopt another metric in addition to, or instead of, square

footage to set library budgets. We also seek additional comment on the appropriate funding

amount for each library because some commenters suggest that a $2.30 per square foot pre-

discount budget is insufficient.

In the joint letter you sent with Senator Rockefeller, you raised several other issues. For

example, you suggest that basic Internet connectivity requests should be honored before Wi-Fi

funding is available, and you raise the issue of increasing the E-rate funding cap to meet present

and future broadband needs of schools and libraries. With respect to the former, the Order

ensures that adequate funding will be available for broadband connectivity to schools and

libraries before funding is made available for Wi-Fi. With respect to the latter, the Further

Notice specifically asks for comment about long-term program funding needs to meet the goals

and funding targets established in the Order.

E-rate modernization is one ofthe most important issues before the Commission today.

We have an opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of millions of students. However,

more remains to be done in order to secure a sustainable future for E-rate. As always, I look

forward to working with you toward our mutual goal of increased access to high-speed

broadband in our nation' s schools and libraries.

~heeler

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