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Chairman Response to Members of Congress Regarding E-Rate

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Released: June 6, 2014
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FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS

COMMISSION

WASHINGTON

OFFICE OF

May 16,2014

THE CHAIRMAN

The Honorable Bob Casey

United States Senate

393 Russell Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator Casey:

Thank you for your letter in support of maintaining web hosting as part of the Schools and

Libraries universal support mechanism (theE-rate program). Your views are very important and

will be included in the record of the proceeding and considered as part of the Commission's

review.

TheE-rate Modernization Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) sought comment on

phasing out support for supplemental or "ride-over" services that are not directly related to

connectivity, such as webhosting and email service. Specifically, the Commission sought

comment on whether E-rate funds should continue to be used to support services such as web

hosting and email at costly rates, when many such services are offered at lower prices or even for

free. It is important for the Commission to gather more information on these issues in light of

the fact that there are many schools that do not receive any E-rate support for critical

connectivity needs.

E-rate modernization is among the most important tasks currently facing the

Commission. My goal is for the Commission to adopt an Order this summer that would

implement fundamental structural and administrative changes, the results of which would go into

effect in FY 2015. 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. The Commission will take all views on this issue into

full consideration as we move forward with modernization of the E-rate program.

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

assistance.

s;:ft~i-

Tom Wheeler

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