Senators Call on FCC to Reverse NY Exclusion from Broadband Fund

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New York’s Senators, Democrats Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, have complained to the FCC that the state was unfairly shut out of the first phase of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, which will distribute $20.4 billion over a decade. The agency plans to vote on rules for the fund’s auction this week.

The FCC cited previously established programs when omitting New York, as well as Alaska, but Gillibrand says in a letter her state, “shouldn’t be penalized for helping its rural communities get online.”

ISPs from 48 states are eligible for funding, Inside Towers reported. Phase 1 will distribute $16 billion of the total amount.

The agency said it blocked New York and Alaska from Phase 1 “because of previously established programs to fund rural broadband in these states,” according to Ars Technica. The agency previously established a separate funding program for Alaska of $1.5 billion over 10 years. New York previously got $170 million, according to the account.

Schumer and Gillibrand say New York has only gotten its fair share of nationwide Commission programs, rather than extra money. Gillibrand stated the FCC’s “justification” is “unacceptable.” Both she and Schumer urged the agency to reverse the decision.

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