Millions could lose low-cost phone service under FCC reforms
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Millions could lose low-cost phone service under FCC reforms

The Center for Public Integrity |
September 5, 2018

Government wants to cut Lifeline program citing waste, fraud and abuse


Suffering heat stroke on an un-air-conditioned Tulsa, Oklahoma, transit bus, Sweet Paula Ogans-Recess’ cell phone may very well have saved her life. Losing consciousness as her complexion flushed, she dialed 911. First responders traced her call, found her, and administered aid.

“I would have died. … If it wasn’t for the phone, I wouldn’t be here,” said Ogans-Recess.

It’s why she never leaves home without her phone. A phone which Ogans-Recess has because she participates in the Lifeline program, a Reagan-era subsidy initiative.

But now, her participation in the program might be at risk, as she is one of more than 7 million low-income households threatened to be disconnected from their phone service under a government proposal to curtail the federal subsidy program.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai, appointed to the post by President Donald Trump, wants to remove a majority of wireless providers that participate in the Lifeline program, in an attempt to eliminate “waste, fraud and abuse.”

If such a move were made, the “chaos would be magnificent,” said David Dorwart, the chairman of the National Lifeline Association (NaLA), a trade organization that represents Lifeline businesses.

Credit by - The Center for Public Integrity

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