Bobusnr

Uncatagorized

Millions Improperly Claimed U.S. Phone Subsidies

Welcome and thank you for stopping by. Please be aware and advised, this is a CONSERVATIVE BLOG. Here is some information and my rules:

 

1) I do not like Liberal Ideology;

 

2) Conservatives have the voice of reason on my blog;

 

3) I will delete any comments that are abusive, non-related to the “blog theme” and not debated in a civil manner;

 

4) I welcome input from all walks of life. However, this is my blog and I will make the “ultimate” decision on any/all comments.

 

I encourage “civil” discussion. We may not agree on “ideology”. However, we can agree on “respect” and at least listening to different perspectives. Thank you for visiting!

 

This is a Reblogged from WSJ.COM.

 

Posted by SPENCER E. ANTE

The U.S. government spent about $2.2 billion last year to provide phones to low-income Americans, but a Wall Street Journal review of the program shows that a large number of those who received the phones haven’t proved they are eligible to receive them.

WSJ’s Spencer Ante has details of a $2.2 billion government program to give cell phones to poor people that resulted in phones winding up in the hands of people ineligible for the program.

The Lifeline program—begun in 1984 to ensure that poor people aren’t cut off from jobs, families and emergency services—is funded by charges that appear on the monthly bills of every landline and wireless-phone customer. Payouts under the program have shot up from $819 million in 2008, as more wireless carriers have persuaded regulators to let them offer the service.

Suspecting that many of the new subscribers were ineligible, the Federal Communications Commission tightened the rules last year and required carriers to verify that existing subscribers were eligible. The agency estimated 15% of users would be weeded out, but far more were dropped.

A review of five top recipients of Lifeline support conducted by the FCC for the Journal showed that 41% of their more than six million subscribers either couldn’t demonstrate their eligibility or didn’t respond to requests for certification.

The carriers—AT&TT -0.37% Inc.; Telrite Corp.; Tag Mobile USA; Verizon CommunicationsVZ -0.43% Inc.; and the Virgin Mobile USA unit of Sprint NextelS +0.17% Corp.—accounted for 34% of total Lifeline subscribers last May. Two of the other largest providers, TracFone Wireless Inc. and Nexus Communications Inc., asked the FCC to keep their counts confidential. Results for the full program weren’t available.

The program is open to people who meet federal poverty guidelines or are on food stamps, Medicaid or other assistance programs, and only one Lifeline subscriber is allowed per household.

The program, which is administered by the nonprofit Universal Service Administrative Co., has grown rapidly as wireless carriers persuaded regulators to let people use the program for cellphone service. It pays carriers $9.25 a customer per month toward free or discounted wireless service.

Americans pay an average of $2.50 a month per household to fund a number of subsidized communications programs, including Lifeline.

image

 

image

For the carriers, the program is a chance for them to sign up more subscribers and make a small profit, plus more money if customers go over their small initial allotment and need to buy more minutes or text messages. Carriers can set prices for their Lifeline subscribers as the companies wish.

Until last year, FCC rules didn’t require carriers to certify to the FCC that subscribers were eligible. Consumers could self-certify, and in many states documentation wasn’t required.

Carriers said many of the disqualified subscribers simply didn’t reply when asked to prove their eligibility. They also said the FCC rules on self-certification, and the absence of a national database of participants, made it hard to keep ineligible people from signing up.

The FCC said it is investigating allegations that some Lifeline providers violated the rules, though it declined to comment on that probe. Carriers that don’t properly confirm eligibility can be fined up to $150,000 for each violation for each day of a continuing violation, up to a maximum of $1.5 million. In egregious cases, a carrier could lose its ability to participate in the program.

Telrite said it confirms Lifeline eligibility but said it had been difficult to verify the one-phone-per-household rule.

A Verizon spokesman said the “vast majority” of the subscribers removed from its rolls didn’t respond to eligibility checks. While Sprint found that some of its subscribers were no longer eligible, it, too, found that many others didn’t respond, a person familiar with the carrier’s operations said.

AT&T hadn’t detected the ineligible subscribers because customers self-certified under old rules and because some states required the company to provide Lifeline service to people enrolled in certain state assistance programs, according to a person familiar with the company’s thinking.

Tag Mobile didn’t respond to requests for comment.

TracFone Chief Executive F.J. Pollak declined to say how many customers his company shed. Nexus Communications didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Two years ago General Communication Inc. GNCMA -0.13% paid more than $1.5 million to settle allegations that Alaska DigiTel LLC, an Alaskan company it owns, submitted false claims to the FCC for more than four years. General Communication said the alleged misuse occurred before the company took day-to-day control of Alaska DigiTel.

Lifeline users have been a source of subscriber growth in the otherwise saturated U.S. market and helped fuel the expansion of companies like TracFone, now the fifth-largest U.S. wireless carrier.

The FCC until last year allowed consumers to self-certify, without requiring documentation, that they met federal poverty guidelines. Subscribers didn’t have to recertify once they were enrolled in the program, and there were few checks on whether households signed up for more than one cellphone.

“The program rules we inherited were designed for the age of the rotary phone and failed to protect the program from abuse,” FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said.

The agency pushed through new rules last year, requiring documentation when a Lifeline customer signs up. Consumers also must certify that no one else in their households is using the program. Carriers now have to check a state or federal social-service database to confirm eligibility and must reverify eligibility every year.

Carriers were required by Jan. 31 to report the number of subscribers they had removed from Lifeline as of the end of last year. The data reviewed by The Wall Street Journal came from those reports.

The FCC said new verification procedures saved nearly $214 million last year, and projected total savings over the next three years would reach $2 billion. Disbursements under the program began to drop in the third quarter after 12 consecutive quarters of increases.

Write to Spencer E. Ante at spencer.ante@wsj.com

 

Advertisements

Single Post Navigation

13 thoughts on “Millions Improperly Claimed U.S. Phone Subsidies

  1. Have you ever considered about including a little bit more than just
    your articles? I mean, what you say is fundamental and all.
    Nevertheless think about if you added some great visuals or videos to give your posts more, “pop”!
    Your content is excellent but with images and videos, this blog could undeniably be one of the very best in its field.
    Wonderful blog!

  2. Hi! This is kind of off topic but I need some help from an established blog.
    Is it tough to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty fast. I’m thinking about setting up my own but I’m not sure where to begin. Do you have any ideas or suggestions? With thanks

  3. I read this piece of writing completely regarding
    the comparison of hottest and earlier technologies, it’s awesome article.

  4. Hi there to all, for the reason that I am actually eager of reading this web site’s post to be updated on a regular basis. It includes fastidious data.

  5. I absolutely love your website.. Excellent
    colors & theme. Did you build this amazing site yourself?
    Please reply back as I’m planning to create my own personal blog and would love to know where you got this from or exactly what the theme is called. Kudos!

  6. I think this is among the most significant information for me.
    And i’m glad reading your article. But should remark on some general things, The website style is wonderful, the articles is really great : D. Good job, cheers

  7. Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this write-up and also the
    rest of the site is really good.

  8. What’s up i am kavin, its my first occasion to commenting anyplace, when i read this post i thought i could also create comment due to this sensible post.

  9. Excellent beat ! I wish to apprentice while you amend your site, how could i
    subscribe for a blog website? The account aided me a acceptable deal.
    I had been tiny bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered bright
    clear concept

  10. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and was curious what all is required to get setup? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny?
    I’m not very internet savvy so I’m not 100% sure. Any recommendations or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

  11. cool weblog over here! Thanks for posting…

  12. I used to be suggested this blog by means of my cousin. I am not sure whether this put up is written via him as nobody else recognise such distinctive approximately my trouble.
    You are incredible! Thank you!

Brittius

Honor America

China Daily Mail

News and Opinions From Inside China

sentinelblog

GOLD is the money of the KINGS, SILVER is the money of the GENTLEMEN, BARTER is the money of the PEASANTS, but DEBT is the money of the SLAVES!!!

Politically Short

The American Reality Outside The Beltway

My Opinion My Vote

America needs saving

America: Going Full Retard...

Word: They are acting. They are creating. They are framing their reality around you. And we … we bark at the end of our leashes. Our ambition for freedumb is at the end of our leash.

hillbillysurvival

The greatest WordPress.com site in all the land!

I am removing this blog and I have opened a new one at:

http://texasteapartypatriots.wordpress.com/

Reclaim Our Republic

Knowledge Is Power

Lissa's Humane Life | In Honor of George & All Targeted Individuals — END TIMES HARBINGER OF TRUTH ~ STANDING FIRM IN THE LAST HUMAN AGE OF A GENOCIDAL DARKNESS —

— Corporate whistle blower and workers’ comp claimant, now TARGETED INDIVIDUAL, whose claims exposed Misdeeds after the murder of my husband on their jobsite by the U.S. NWO Military Industrial Complex-JFK Warned Us—

Linux Power Wordpress.com

Just another WordPress.com weblog

redpillreport.wordpress.com/

The ‘red pill’ and its opposite, ‘blue pill,‘ are pop culture terms that have become symbolic of the choice between blissful ignorance (blue) and embracing the sometimes-painful truth of reality (red). It’s time for America to take the red pill and wake up from the fog of apathy.

The Mad Jewess

Mirror Site For Reflection

Freedom Is Just Another Word...

Rules?? What Are rules? I don't need no stinking rules!!!

sharia unveiled

illuminating minds

JUSTICE FOR RAYMOND

Sudden, unexplained, unattended death and a families search for answers

THE GOVERNMENT RAG BLOG

TGR Intelligence Briefing

Flyover-Press.com

Dedicated to freedom in our lifetimes

News You May Have Missed

News you need to know to stay informed

Automattic

Making the web a better place

%d bloggers like this: