What amazing men the Founding Fathers were. They were so prescient that they included the right to a free cellphone in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights!
Abby W. Schachter reports for the New York Post, August 1, 2011, that as a result of a federal government program called the Universal Service Fund, Pennsylvanians on public assistance now have a new ‘civil right’ — free cell phones.
Through Assurance Wireless and SafeLink from Tracfone Wireless these folks get a handset and 250 minutes a month for free — all paid for by cellphone users like you and me.
How this scheme works is as follows:
The telecommunications companies like Verizon and AT&T are funding the Universal Service Fund to the tune of $4 billion a year because the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says they have to. In order to recoup their money, the companies turn around and hike their fees to paying customers.
Those of use paying for the free service for “the poor” should just suck it up.
The FCC, whose chairman Julius Genachowski is Obama’s ol’ law school classmate, says: Between 14 million and 24 million Americans lack access to broadband. “The goal of reform is to provide everyone with affordable voice and broadband.”
For his part, Gary Carter, manager of National Partnerships for Assurance Wireless, tells us the Universal Service Fund “program is about peace of mind.” Free cell service means “one less bill that someone has to pay, so they can pay their rent or for day care…it is a right to have peace of mind,” Cater explained.
Assurance is a Lifeline Service Program powered by Virgin Mobile USA; A Division of Sprint. Assurance Wireless is free to eligible customers, offering a free phone and 250 minutes of nationwide wireless voice service each month.
The telecommunications companies aren’t happy about this and are trying to renegotiate the deal with the FCC.
I use one of those cheapo pre-paid cell phones with no doodads. How stupid of me. I can have one free! You can, too! Just send an e-mail to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski by going HERE.
You can also file a consumer’s complaint with the FCC here.
H/t beloved fellow Tina.