(1) Ensuring schools and libraries have affordable access to 21st Century broadband that supports digital learning;
(2) Maximizing the cost-effectiveness of E-rate funds; and
(3) Streamlining the administration of the E-rate program.
We also propose to adopt measures for each of the proposed goals.
In proposing to adopt specific goals and measures, we seek to focus available funds on the highest communications priorities for schools and libraries and, over time, to determine whether E-rate funds are effectively targeted to meet those goals.In Section III, we focus on the first proposed goal and seek comment on ways to modernize and reform the E-rate program to better ensure eligible schools and libraries have affordable access to high-capacity broadband. First, we propose to focus E-rate funds on supporting high-capacity broadband to and within schools and libraries, and we seek comment on updating the list of services eligible for E-rate support. Second, we seek comment on various options for ensuring equitable access to limited E-rate funding. Finally, we seek comment on what other measures we could take if these steps, combined with the other efficiency measures proposed elsewhere in this NPRM, appear insufficient to meet our program goals. In particular, we seek comment on potential options to focus additional state, local, and federal funding on school connectivity and to lower the costs of new high-capacity broadband deployment to schools and libraries. In Section IV, we focus on the second proposed goal and seek comment on maximizing the cost-effectiveness of E-rate purchases, including how we can encourage increased consortium purchasing; create bulk buying opportunities; increase transparency of spending and prices; amend the competitive bidding processes; and encouraging efficient use of funding. We also seek comment on a pilot program to incent and test more efficient purchasing practices. In Section V, we focus on the third proposed goal and seek comment on ways to streamline the administration of the E-rate program by, among other things, requiring electronic filing of all documents with the E-rate program Administrator, the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC); increasing transparency of USAC’s processes; speeding USAC’s review of E-rate applications; simplifying the eligible services list; finding more efficient ways to disburse E-rate funds; addressing unused E-rate funding; and streamlining the E-rate appeals process.In Section VI, we seek comment on several additional issues relating to the E-rate program that have been raised by stakeholders, including issues related to school and library obligations under the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA); identifying rural schools and libraries; changes to the National School Lunch Program; fraud protection measures; use of E-rate supported services for community Wi-Fi hotspots; and procedures for dealing with national emergencies.
In seeking comment on our proposed goals and measures, and on options to modernize E-rate to better align it with these goals, in addition to specific questions posed throughout, we encourage input from Tribal governments and ask generally whether there are any unique circumstances on Tribal lands that would necessitate a different approach. Similarly, we request comment on whether there are any unique circumstances in insular areas that would necessitate a different approach.
 State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA), The Broadband Imperative: Recommendation to Address K-12 Educational Infrastructure Needs, at 10 (rel. May 21, 2012), available at http://www.setda.org/web/guest/broadbandimperative ( last visited July 15, 2013) (SETDA Recommendation). See generally Charles M. Davidson and Michael J. Santorelli, The Impact of Broadband on Education: A Study Commissioned by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (December 2010) available at http://www.uschamber.com/sites/default/files/about/US_Chamber_Paper_on_Broadband_and_Education.pdf (last visited July 15, 2013).
 We use the term “high-capacity broadband” in this NPRM to describe the evolving level of connectivity schools and libraries need as they increasingly adopt new, innovative digital learning strategies.
 SETDA, The Broadband Imperative: Recommendation to Address K-12 Educational Infrastructure Needs, at 10 (rel. May 21, 2012), available at http://www.setda.org/web/guest/broadbandimperative (last visited July 15, 2013) (SETDA Recommendation).
 See U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Internet Access in U.S. Public Schools and Classrooms: 1994-2001 (2002), available at http://www.immagic.com/eLibrary/ARCHIVES/GENERAL/US_ED/NCES2018.pdf (last visited July 15, 2013); U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, Internet Access in U.S. Public Schools and Classrooms: 1994-2005, at 4-5, 16 (2006), available at http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2007/2007020.pdf (last visited July 15, 2013).
 See id. at 4-5.
 See Information Use Management and Policy Institute, College of Information, Florida State University, Public Libraries and the Internet 2006: Study Results and Findings, at 7 (2006), available at http://www.ii.fsu.edu/Solutions/Public-Libraries-The-Internet/Reports (last visited July 15, 2013).
 See, e.g., Foundation for Excellence in Education, Digital Learning Now! at 11-12 (rel. Dec. 1, 2010), available at http://www.digitallearningnow.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Digital-Learning-Now-Report-FINAL1.pdf) (last visited July 15, 2013).
 See American Libraries Association, Libraries Connect Communities: Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study 2011-2012, American Libraries Magazine, at 41 (rel. summer 2012), available at http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/4673a369#/4673a369/1 (last visited July 15, 2013) (ALA Summer 2012 Report).
 Letter from Emily Sheketoff, Executive Director, American Library Association, to the Honorable Barack Obama, President of the United States, CC Docket 02-6, at 1 (dated July 8, 2013).
 Id. at 2.
 Id. at 1.
 See Federal Communications Commission, 2010 E-rate Program and Broadband Usage Survey: Report, at 4-5 (Wireline Comp. Bur. 2011), 26 FCC Rcd 1, available at http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-10-2414A1.pdf (last visited July 15, 2013) (E-rate Program and Broadband Survey).
 Id. at 2, 9.
 See ALA Summer 2012 Report at 23.
 Id. at 23-24.
 See The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, ConnectED: President Obama’s plan for Connecting All Schools to the Digital Age available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/connected_fact_sheet.pdf (last visited July 15, 2013) (ConnectED Fact Sheet).
 See, e.g., Press Release, Jay Rockefeller, Promises Made, Promises Kept: Rockefeller Program that Expands Internet Access for WV Schools, Libraries Gets Major Boost (June 6, 2013), available at http://www.rockefeller.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?ID=2c487a72-7b98-456f-b723-278fc11a2202 (last visited July 15, 2013); Press Release, Statement of NCTA President & CEO Michael Powell Regarding the President’s ConnectED Initiative (June 6, 2013), available at http://www.ncta.com/news-and-events/media-room/article/2774 (last visited July 15, 2013); Press Release, AT&T Chairman & CEO Randall Stephenson, AT&T Response to President Obama's ConnectED Plan (June 6, 2013), available at http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/att-response-to-president-obamas-connected-plan-210464851.html (last visited July 15, 2013); Press Release, Verizon Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Government Affairs, Verizon Response to President Obama’s ConnectED Plan (June 6, 2013) (on file with Commission); Obama Pushes for Higher Speed Broadband in Schools, by Grant Gross, IDG News Service, (June 6, 2013) available at http://www.cio.com/article/734558/Obama_Pushes_for_Higher_Speed_Broadband_in_Schools (last visited July 15, 2013) (quoting Comcast’s Sena Fitzmaurice, vice president of government communications); John Chambers, Cisco Statement on White House E-Rate Announcement, Cisco Blog (June 6, 2013, 2:44 PM) available at http://blogs.cisco.com/news/cisco-statement-on-white-house-e-rate-announcement (last visited July 15, 2013); Press Release, Statement of LEAD Commission, Lee Bollinger, Jim Coulter, Margaret Spellings, Jim Steyer, Lead Applauds ConnectED Intiative (June 6, 2013), available at http://www.leadcommission.org/news/statement-lead-applauds-connected-initiative (last visited July 15, 2013); Press Release, CEO of NTCA Shirley Bloomfield, NTCA CEO Comments on White House ConnectED Initiative (June 6, 2013), available at http://www.ntca.org/2013-press-releases/ntca-ceo-comments-on-white-house-connected-initiative.html (last visited July 15, 2013); Press Release, CEO of ISTE Brian Lewis, International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Applauds President Obama’s ConnectED Initiative (June 6, 2013), available at http://www.iste.org/news/news-details/2013/06/06/international-society-for-technology-in-education-(iste)-applauds-president-obama-s-connected-initiative (last visited July 15, 2013); Press Release, CEO of Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) Keith Kruger, ‘Giant Leap” Forward with ConnectED (June 6, 2013), available at http://www.cosn.org/Portals/7/docs/Press%20Releases/2013/CoSNStatementConnectED6June13FINAL.pdf (last visited July 15, 2013); Press Release, National School Boards Association, NSBA Welcomes President’s Plan to Improve Schools’ Internet Access, (June 6, 2013) available at http://www.nsba.org/newsroom/press-releases/nsba-welcomes-presidents-plan-to-improve-schools-internet-access.html.aspx (last visited July 15, 2013); Press Release, American Library Association, ALA welcomes White House call for increased E-rate funding for libraries and schools, (June 6, 2013) available at http://www.ala.org/news/press-releases/2013/06/ala-welcomes-white-house-call-increased-e-rate-funding-libraries-and-schools (last visited July 15, 2013); Press Release, Council of Chief State School Officers, CCSSO Statement on ConnectED Initiative Announcement (June 6, 2013), available at http://www.ccsso.org/News_and_Events/Press_Releases/CCSSO_Statement_on_ConnectED_Initiative_Announcement.html (last visited July 15, 2013); Press Release, President of Alliance for Excellent Education Gov. Bob Wise, Gov. Bob Wise Comments on President Obama’s “ConnectED” Plan to Provide Schools with High-Speed Internet Access (June 6, 2013), available at http://www.all4ed.org/press_room/press_releases/06062013 (last visited July 15, 2013); Press Release, National Association of Secondary School Principals, Principals Believe Better Internet Access Will Open More Doors (June 6, 2013), available at http://www.nassp.org/Content.aspx?topic=Principals_Believe_Better_Internet_Access_Will_Open_More_Doors (last visited July 15, 2013).
 See Press Release, U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation, Rockefeller says E-rate Should Expand to Connect More Students to High Speed Broadband (June 6, 2013), available at http://www.commerce.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=5cb24ad3-281e-4abd-acd0-afb699008e3e&ContentType_id=77eb43da-aa94-497d-a73f-5c951ff72372&Group_id=505cc3fa-a767-40f4-8ac2-4b8326b44e94 (last visited July 15, 2013).
 See LEAD Commission, LEAD’s National Educational Technology Initiative – a Five Point Plan available at http://www.leadcommission.org/sites/default/files/LEAD%20Commission%20Blueprint.pdf (last visited July 15, 2013).
 Each funding year (FY) runs from July 1 of that year through June 30 of the following year.
 See Letter from Mel Blackwell, Vice President, USAC, to Julie Veach, Chief, Wireline Competition Bureau (April 22, 2013), available at http://www.usac.org/_res/documents/sl/pdf/tools/news/FY2013-Demand-Estimate.pdf (last visited July 15, 2013) (2013 USAC Demand Letter).
 See Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service, CC Docket No. 96-45, Report and Order, 12 FCC Rcd 8776, 9054-55 at paras. 529-31 (Universal Service First Report and Order). As discussed below, the Commission began indexing the cap to inflation in 2010, and in 2003 the Commission provided for unused funds for previous years to be carried forward to subsequent funding years. See infra paras. 59, 62-63; see also E-rate Funding Requested vs. Available and Disbursed Chart (FY 1998-2011) (Appendix C).
 Federal Communications Commission, Connecting America: The National Broadband Plan, (National Broadband Plan), available at http://www.broadband.gov/download-plan (last visited July 15, 2013); Schools and Libraries Universal Service Support Mechanism, A National Broadband Plan for our Future, CC Docket No. 02-6, GN Docket No. 09-51, Order, 25 FCC Rcd 18762 (2010) (Schools and Libraries Sixth Report and Order).
 Schools and Libraries Sixth Report and Order, 25 FCC Rcd at 18764-65, para. 6.
 Id. at 18765-73, paras. 8-19.
 Id. at 18773-77, paras. 20-27.
 Id. at 18783-87, paras. 41-50.
 See Connect America Fund et al., WC Docket No. 10-90 et al., Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 26 FCC Rcd 17663, 17681-17683, paras. 48-59 (2011) (USF/ICC Transformation Order); Lifeline and Link Up Reform and Modernization et al., WC Docket Nos. 12-23, 11-42, 03-109, CC Docket No. 96-45, Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 27 FCC Rcd 6656, 6671-77, paras. 27-43 (2012) (Lifeline Reform Order); Rural Health Care Support Mechanism, WC Docket No. 02-60, Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd 16678, 16696-99, paras. 34-43 (2012) (Healthcare Connect Fund Order).