Free cell phone for low income people
This is a good program for the poor and will not cost us tax payers a penny. I think everyone should have the capabilities to call emergency numbers when needed.
On the Wolfeboro Politics Website http://home.myfairpoint.net/vze702hp/wolfeboropolitics/ the author states that the taxpayers are funding this program; and this is just not true.
Below is an article in the Union Leader that talks about the program:
Certain low-income households in New Hampshire are now eligible for free cell phones, and 66 free minutes a month, through a government-backed program.
TracFone Wireless, a major company of prepaid cell phones, recently launched its SafeLink Wireless service in the state.
The company said it is the first and only completely free offering of Lifeline, a program supported by the Federal Communications Commission for eligible low-income households.
The FCC has traditionally provided services to give low-income households in the form of a discount on monthly telephone bills.
Lifeline is not funded through federal taxpayer money, but from contributions to the "Universal Service Fund," which telecommunications carriers collect in part from the charge billed to cell phone customers.
More than 100,000 households in New Hampshire qualify for the Lifeline services, according to TracFone, which provides the mobile handsets at its own expense.
"It's an evolution," said Jose Fuentes, director of government relations for TracFone.
The FCC approved the wireline to wireless expansion of Lifeline last year. TracFone now offers the service in 16 states.
Other companies in other states are leveraging wireless benefits via the Lifeline program, but Fuentes said TracFone is the only wireless company offering cell services 100 percent free to consumers.
"It's a necessity," he said. "Economic times are tough these days, we recognize that."
The cell phone offers in-demand features: voicemail, text, call waiting, international calling to more than 60 destinations and caller ID. With TracFone, if a consumer runs over the allotted 66 minutes a month, they can add additional minutes through a pre-paid airtime card for the cell phone.
To qualify for Lifeline in New Hampshire, a household must participate in one of the federal low-income programs, including Section 8 public housing, food stamps, welfare, or if total household income is at or below 135 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.
Safelink Wireless will provide service up to one year, with one person per household receiving the free cell phone.