UPDATE: According to Chairman Eaton’s office, despite opposition from regulated entities and perhaps some others, the below initiative has passed. The PSC has required providers to charge Lifeline users $5/month, taking a real step to rid this essential program of fraud. Link to come.
Just a bit of a bump…
Right now, the Georgia Public Service Commission is hearing arguments for and against the imposition of a $5 minimum charge on Lifeline telephone service. As previously discussed here, the Lifeline program is funded by the Federal Universal Service Fund and provides a $9.25 discount to low-income individuals that qualify for other Federal programs. Certain phone companies have used the Federal program, which is administered by the PSC, to offer free cell phones and a small bucket of minutes. The program is rife with fraud and abuse and the $5 minimum charge would cure these problems while keeping the program in place for those that need it.
However, the powers that be would like to continue to loot the fund at a rate of $9.25 per line, and it is in their interest to keep giving out “free” phones that are never used. And it is in the best interest of the “consumer” to get as many phones as possible. So between the two of them, we are finding out where exactly Quantity Demanded goes when Price hits Zero. This vote was pushed back for months, not sure why, but it gives the commissioners a second chance to do the right thing. Hint: it’s not the thing Tracfone wants them to do.