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Chairman Response Regarding Mergers

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Released: August 22, 2014
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FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

WASHINGTON

OFFICE OF

August 11 , 2014

THE CHAIRMAN

The Honorable Lindsey 0. Graham

United States Senate

290 Russell Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator Graham:

Thank you for your recent letter regarding telecommunications mergers. I appreciate the

opportunity to respond.

As you know, the Commission generally is tasked with reviewing the proposed transfer

of any FCC license and/or authorization to determine if such transfer is in the public interest.

The Commission' s task goes beyond looking only for competitive harms and includes whether

the proposal would enhance competition. We also examine the impact of the proposed merger

on the deployment of advanced services to all Americans, in addition to the diversity of

ownership and the diversity of information services available to the public. Our review is

separate -and our standard of review distinct- from those of the Department of Justice (DOJ)

and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), but the Commission staff does work closely with our

colleagues in those agencies, as necessary and appropriate.

Additionally, the Commission conducts all of our reviews in a transparent manner,

providing the public with a full opportunity to participate by submitting their views and

comments on the impact of any proposed merger. I encourage your constituents to take part in

any proposed merger proceeding that may impact them.

I fully agree with your views on the importance of this agency' s commitment to ensure

access to telecommunication services in rural South Carolina. Since the day I arrived at the

Commission, I made clear that ensuring access to high-speed broadband networks for all

Americans is one of the core elements of communications policy that must guide the work of the

FCC. Access denied is opportunity denied. The universal service program is one of the most

important tools at our disposal to ensure that consumers and businesses in rural America have the

same opportunities as their urban and suburban counterparts to be active participants in the

United States of the 21 st century. To that end, we are focused on updating the universal service

program to ensure that we are delivering the best possible voice and broadband experiences to

rural America within the confines of our Connect America budget, while providing increased

certainty and predictability for all carriers and a climate for increased broadband expansion.

I look forward to continuing the work of reforming and modernizing the Universal

Service Fund high-cost program- as well as other components of the Fund- and to working

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Page 2-The Honorable Lindsey 0. Graham

with stakeholders, including rural carriers and consumers, to ensure that all Americans have

access to robust voice and broadband services.

I hope this information is helpful.

Sincerely,

-;;;;;#{t

Tom Wheeler

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