MANCHESTER, N.H. — U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte says New Hampshire is getting shortchanged by a program that is supposed to help expand broadband access in rural communities.

Ayotte has introduced legislation that would ensure that rural states get at least 75 cents for every dollar they contribute to the Universal Service Fund. The money is collected through telephone bills, but Ayotte says New Hampshire gets back only 37 cents for every dollar it sends.

Ayotte was joined at a news conference Wednesday by representatives from telecommunications companies, state economic development officials and the New Hampshire High Tech Council.

She said that in too many parts of New Hampshire, reliable broadband access is hard to come by, making it more difficult for businesses to compete globally.

In Maine, FairPoint Communications said in August that it’s planning to expand and upgrade broadband Internet service in 44 Maine towns in unserved locations or locations with low-speed access.

The announcement came after the Maine Public Utilities Commission approved an agreement with the company over the terms of how it would expand service in rural areas.

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