posted on Mar, 1 2011 @ 05:29 PM
I actually went to look for the info on this and got it from their website.
LIFELINE/SAFELINK FACT SHEET
There is no "Obama phone" or other newly created federal program to provide free cell phones. As you may know, this is a myth that is now
circulating on the Web via email and blog sites. It has been thoroughly debunked by independent groups. (See for example: FactCheck.org at
which notes: "Low-income households have been eligible for discounted telephone service for more
than a decade. But the program is funded by telecom companies, not by taxes, and the president has nothing to do with it."
The federal "Lifeline" program was created during the Reagan Administration. Lifeline is a federal program created by the Reagan era Federal
Communications Commission (FCC) in 1984. The program was enhanced under Telecommunications Act of 1996, which was supported on a broadly bipartisan
basis in Congress. The FCC’s Low Income Program of the Universal Service Fund, which is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company
(USAC), is designed to ensure that quality telecommunications services are available to low-income customers at just, reasonable, and affordable
rates. Lifeline support reduces eligible low-income consumers' monthly charges for basic telephone service.
Thanks to SafeLink, Lifeline support is now available for wireless phones. Traditionally, the Lifeline program was only available as a discount on a
consumer’s landline telephone bill. SafeLink Wireless was created by TracFone Wireless, Inc. when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
recently approved the company to offer Lifeline -- a public assistance program that ensures telephone service is available and affordable for
low-income subscribers. SafeLink Wireless applies the Universal Service Fund subsidy to an allotment of free airtime minutes and TracFone provides the
wireless handset at the company’s expense. Instead of receiving a subsidized monthly telephone bill for Lifeline service, SafeLink converts the
total amount of discounted service into minutes each month for one year. The cell phone offers in-demand features: voicemail, text, three-way calling,
call waiting, caller ID and access to 911.
SafeLink phones are not paid for by taxpayers or the federal government. TracFone Wireless pays for the phones and also the cost of promoting its
SafeLink program to make sure that eligible consumers know about the program.