Millions of Americans Who Didn't Qualify Claimed U.S. Lifeline Phones
February 13, 2013 9:53 AM
comment(s) - last by
Carriers say most people drop simply didn't respond to requests
The United States government has collected a tax on phone lines under the Lifeline program that began back in 1984. The purpose of this tax was to provide phone service for people who were unable to afford it on their own to ensure that these people weren't cut off from emergency services, jobs, or family. Every American citizen who has a phone line has paid into this Lifeline program.
Payouts in the program in 2008 amounted to $819 million. In 2012, the U.S. government spent $2.2 billion providing free phone service to low-income Americans.
In an effort to squash government waste, the FCC believed that many of the Americans who were claiming the free phone service were not eligible so it tightened the rules last year forcing carriers to verify that existing subscribers were in fact eligible.
Wall Street Journal
reports that far more subscribers to the program were dropped than expected. A review has shown that the top five carrier recipients of Lifeline support had a total of 41% of over 6 million subscribers that couldn't demonstrate their eligibility or simply didn't respond to requests for certification.
These top five carriers were AT&T, Telrite Corp, Tag Mobile USA, Verizon, and Virgin Mobile. Together these carriers account for 34% of all Lifeline subscribers as of May 2012. The Lifeline program is open to subscribers that meet the federal poverty guidelines, are on food stamps, Medicaid, or other assistance programs.
Previous program rules allowed consumers to certify themselves for free phone service without having to prove they met federal poverty guidelines.
Wall Street Journal
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
2/14/2013 9:46:27 AM
The texting part is basically free.
I think what you mean is the texting part should be free. It is an insignificant amount of data and is piggybacked on the tower maintenance signals. However, the truth is that it is not free. Lets take a look at two of the top five carriers involved in lifeline support: AT&T and Verizon (because they are well known).
AT&T offers two plans $20 unlimited and $.20 per message.
Verizon's lowest cost plan is $10 for 500 out of network texts.
While 300 free texts/mo may cost almost nothing to the carrier, the cheapest way to get there on Verizon is $10. On AT&T you're looking at at least $20.
Now I'm not sure exactly where these two rank on the list as there is no given ranking, but that's pretty expensive for two of the top five. If for some reason the government gets this for free or near so, then they should really be launching investigations to find out how these companies justify charging these prices to regular customers and end the pricing collusion.
"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins
Retiree Sues Apple For $7,500 for Wiping Honeymoon Photos From His iPhone
November 30, 2015, 10:23 AM
iPhone 7 May Pack 3-4 GB Memory, More Storage; 4-Inch Comeback is Rumored
November 20, 2015, 10:12 PM
OnePlus One, OnePlus 2 Will Receive Android Marshmallow in Q1 2016
November 16, 2015, 9:58 AM
Lenovo Whoa: Motorola Droid MAXX 2 and Turbo 2 Break Cover in Leaks
October 26, 2015, 3:12 PM
Leak: Apple Preps for First Real Android App Foray With New Apple Music App
October 24, 2015, 1:59 PM
Pepsi Smartphone? Empty Calories Coming Soon to the Midrange
October 12, 2015, 11:41 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information