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KELLY A. AYOTTE

144 RuSSELL BUILDING

NEW HAMPSHIRE

WASHINGTON, DC 20510

1200 ELM STREET, SUITE 2

COMMITTEES:

MANCHESTER, NH 03101

ARMED SERVICES

1anitrd ~tatrŝrnatr

144 MAIN STREET

NASHUA, NH 03060

COMMERCE

HOMELAND SECURITY &

WASHINGTON, DC 20510

14 MANCHESTER SOUARE, SUITE 140

GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS

PORTSMOUTH, NH 03801

(202) 224-3324

BUDGET

19 PLEASANT STREET, SUITE 13B

BERLIN, NH 03570

AGING

July 9, 2014

The Honorable Tom Wheeler

Chairman, Federal Communications Commission

445 12th Street SW

Washington, DC 20554

Dear Chairman Wheeler:

As the FCC prepares to vote this Friday on proposed changes to the E-Rate

program, I am writing to renew my call for meaningful reform that distributes E-

Rate funds more equitably, simplifies the application process and reduces

administrative burdens, and gives schools greater flexibility to spend funds on

technologies that directly benefit students.

Schools and libraries in New Hampshire, especially rural areas, are in dire need of

communications services. Minor tweaks to the current system will fail to address

these urgent needs.

The intent of E-Rate is to provide rural, urban, and suburban students the same

access to quality communications services. But the current E-Rate distribution

formula fails states like New Hampshire, where many schools and libraries remain

unserved or underserved despite the fact that we are proportionally the largest

donor state in the country. In fact, New Hampshire ranks 50 out of 50 states when

it comes to return on our E-Rate dollar. For example, in 2012, New Hampshire

contributed over $10.3 million, but received only $2.6 million -

amounting to a

return of only 25.2 cents on the dollar.

To give students in New Hampshire and other rural states a fairer shake, we need

real E-Rate reform. That means simplifying the process by reducing the paperwork

needed to apply for funding. It also means distributing aid to schools on a more

equitable per-student basis (rather than the complex discount formula that the

program now uses). Moreover, this means giving schools the flexibility to spend E-

Rate funds on technologies that directly benefit students, instead of a complicated

system of technology priorities dictated by Washington.

A final, critical point: Unless and until reforms like these are adopted, the FCC

should not consider an increase in the size of the E-Rate budget. Without

substantial operational changes to the program, and adequate time to study the

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effectiveness of those changes, any budget increase would be both premature and

harmful to the consumers who would have to pay for it.

As you finalize your rulemaking, the Commission must work in a bipartisan

manner that will deliver true reform and equity to the program -

not just tinker

around the edges. Working in partnership with all five commissioners will also

increase the credibility of E·rate and the reforms undertaken. This is an important

opportunity to work in a collaborative manner to achieve the E-Rate reforms that so

many rural communities desperately need. I look forward to working with you and

your FCC colleagues to achieve this objective.

Sincerely,

~~a. ~

Kelly A. Ayotte

U.S. Senator

Cc:

Commissioner Mignon Clyburn

Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel

Commissioner Ajit Pai

Commissioner Michael O'Rielly

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