How can they charge a fee for a program that the FEDERAL government pays for?
(Reuters) - Georgia on Tuesday became the first U.S. state that will begin charging low-income residents $5 per month for cell phone service now provided for free by federal taxpayers.
The new fee is already under court challenge by the cell phone industry trade association, which filed suit against Georgia months ago even before the measure received final approval on Tuesday.
The fee is designed to reduce fraud in the federally subsidized Lifeline program, state Public Service Commissioner Doug Everett said. Each household that qualifies gets 250 minutes per month of free air time.
Funding for the program, which was launched in 1985 to expand phone service for the poor, comes from the Universal Service Fee charged to land line and cell phone customers.
However, some telephone companies providing the free service are failing to adequately check household income and are not enforcing the one-per-household limit, Everett said.
So if the telephone carriers aren't doing their job, why not penalize THE TELEPHONE CARRIERS?
He said the number of Lifeline customers in Georgia jumped from around 100,000 a decade ago to more than a million in 2011, but is now back down to around 740,000.
Once again, anyone with active brainwaves can see a correlation between the damn Recession, real estate meltdown and jobs crisis and the need for these phones. But not Georgia. "Those people" are getting free stuff, and that HAS to stop.
The $5 monthly fee, scheduled to start January 31, will require that telephone companies send customers a bill each month. Telephone companies will keep the $5 monthly fee, but it will not fully cover the administrative costs of sending out bills, the commissioner added.