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Connect America Fund, WC Docket No. 10-90; ETC Annual Reports and Certifications, WC

Docket No. 14-58.

Universal service is a cherished principle. But it is also a challenge. Advancing the deployment

of voice and broadband-capable networks in remote communities can mean tough terrain, difficult

weather, sparse populations, and real financial constraints. But getting rural, insular, and high-cost areas

connected with modern communications is important. More than that, it’s the law.

Today, we take a creative look at making sure broadband reaches rural America. We experiment.

Or more accurately, we announce rural broadband experiments. Specifically, we announce a framework

that will bolster our ongoing work to implement the Connect America Fund by testing new ideas for the

delivery of communications service to rural America. Furthermore, we will use this limited experiment to

test the broader use of competitive bidding in our universal service programs.

I look forward to seeing the applications that come in. I am excited by the creative possibilities

for service in rural areas. But most of all I am mindful that we must learn from this experiment so that it

informs our legal obligation to advance universal service going forward.

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