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Ayotte calls again for FCC reform


U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire on Wednesday again called on the Federal Communications Commission to reform how it distributes money through its “E-Rate” program to provide assistance to schools and libraries in obtaining improved telecommunications and Internet access.

The FCC is set to vote Friday on proposed changes to the E-Rate program, which Ayotte said shortchanges New Hampshire. She said the state ranks last in the country on return of contributed E-Rate funds, as the state contributed $10.3 million to the program in 2012, but got back just $2.6 million.

“School and libraries in New Hampshire, especially rural areas, are in dire need of communications services,” Ayotte, R-N.H., wrote to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. “Minor tweaks to the current system will fail to address these urgent needs.”

Ayotte, a member of Senate Commerce Committee, called on the FCC to enact reform that simplifies the application process and gives schools the ability to spend money on technologies directly benefitting students.

Last year, Ayotte introduced a bill that would reform the Universal Service Fund to ensure that a rural state is guaranteed to receive at least 75 cents for every dollar it contributes.

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