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Free Phones Costing Taxpayers $2.1 Billion Per Year

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posted on Jun, 14 2012 @ 05:26 PM
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Originally posted by stanguilles7

Originally posted by xuenchen
People who pay phone bills get taxed to fund this.


The program's costs are covered by a tax included on every monthly phone bill called the Universal Service Charge.


It's a tax.

I think.



Again, no. IT. IS. Not. A Tax.



It is a fee levied on consumers by the phone company. Not the Government. Stop saying 2+2= 22


Rather, it is funded through the Universal Service Fund, which is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company, an independent, not-for-profit corporation set up by the Federal Communications Commission. The USF is sustained by contributions from telecommunications companies such as "long distance companies, local telephone companies, wireless telephone companies, paging companies, and payphone providers." The companies often charge customers to fund their contributions in the form of a universal service fee you might see on your monthly phone bill. The fund is then parceled out to companies, such as América Móvil, that create programs, such as SafeLink, to provide telecommunications service to rural areas and low-income households.


Wow, splitting hairs for whatever reason. You can call it a fee, I'll call it a tax. You are correct it is not the government applying the "fees", but a corporation collecting a tax, to give to a non profit to fund phones for needy people.




posted on Jun, 14 2012 @ 05:41 PM
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Because telephones provide a vital link to emergency services, to government services and to surrounding communities, it has been our nation’s policy to promote telephone service to all households since this service began in the 1930s. The USF helps to make phone service affordable and available to all Americans, including consumers with low incomes, those living in areas where the costs of providing telephone service is high, schools and libraries and rural health care providers. Congress has mandated that all telephone companies providing interstate service must contribute to the USF. Although not required to do so by the government, many carriers choose to pass their contribution costs on to their customers in the form of a line item, often called the “Federal Universal Service Fee” or “Universal Connectivity Fee”.


transition.fcc.gov...

It's a damn tax Government forced subsidy



posted on Jun, 15 2012 @ 11:36 AM
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Originally posted by DelMar

Originally posted by stanguilles7

Originally posted by Asktheanimals
Thanks for posting this.
These commercial for free phones have bothered me for a long time and I was curious how much it cost and who was paying for it.
It looks like I am.


Again, no. you are not paying for these phones. TracFone Wireless is.

www.factcheck.org...



Myabe I'm reading it wrong but if you have a phone that you pay for, yes you are paying for it. See bold
edit .. taken from your source



Rather, it is funded through the Universal Service Fund, which is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company, an independent, not-for-profit corporation set up by the Federal Communications Commission. The USF is sustained by contributions from telecommunications companies such as "long distance companies, local telephone companies, wireless telephone companies, paging companies, and payphone providers." The companies often charge customers to fund their contributions in the form of a universal service fee you might see on your monthly phone bill.



edit on 6/14/2012 by DelMar because: (no reason given)


Okay...so the Gov. doesn't pay for it, the phone companies do and they pass the cost along to other customers?

In that context the word "taxpayers" seems misleading if not outright inaccurate?

Isn't this capitalism? Consumer choice? Why not bitch at the private cell phone company that has chosen to charge customers this fee and provide lower income folks with service? There is no law or regulation that demands they do so.

Since when does "taxpayer" mean "Verizon or Teen Mobile" customer?

Don't like it? Find another cell phone provider that doesn't charge that fee or call them up and bitch about it.

Otherwise WTF? You want the government to intercede with a private corporation and make them stop?

Since these "free phones" have minimum features and only 250 minutes, I imagine that the cell phone companies that participate actually make money off the gig as people add minutes and internet accesss, texting etc, etc.

Either way...factcheck got it right when it pointed out this is NOT taxpayer money, but the cell phone providers that pay for it, and whetehr they itemize it on your bill makes no difference...think they will refund the money they don't spend for this purpose? C'mon...it's all money-in to them.

NOT TAXPAYER MONEY....UNLESS YOU CONSIDER YOUR CELL PHONE BILL A TAX.



posted on Jun, 15 2012 @ 12:20 PM
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Originally posted by neo96

A program called Lifeline provides free phones and free monthly minutes to anyone on food stamps, WIC, Medicaid, Head Start, and several other government programs


A free phone is a necessity for living today?

Seriously?


Yes it is. If you think otherwise you are seriously out of touch.



posted on Jun, 15 2012 @ 04:20 PM
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reply to post by Indigo5
 


Good point about bitching to the phone companies that charge the "fee".

What's extremely deceptive about this is the fact they don't explain what that "fee" is for.

Most people have no idea.

And the FCC DID set up the companies.
Very clever.


Rather, it is funded through the Universal Service Fund, which is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company, an independent, not-for-profit corporation set up by the Federal Communications Commission.



posted on Jun, 15 2012 @ 04:29 PM
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It would be great... IF it wasnt abused. The whole damned program is abused. We would have more money for our truly needy if we would cut the crap and get the users and generational welfare families off the dole. YES a phone is necessary for the elderly and disabled. YES the phone is necessary for those who actually want to get a job and not collect entitlements as a full time job. Things need to be completely retooled so that our needy and those who are the most vulnerable in our society CAN be helped and it not be sucked up by those fraudsters, lazy bums, and welfare families.

SO youre BOTH right.. those who hate the program and those who love it.. things are just so screwed up we cant come to a consensus on how to address the issue without harming those who need the help.



posted on Jun, 15 2012 @ 04:31 PM
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more info about the Universal Service Fund

and the Universal Service Administrative Company

some possible corruption as usual.


Following the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and the subsequent creation of the Universal Service Fund, the FCC designated the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) to manage the contribution of revenue to and distribution of funding from the Universal Service Fund. USAC is an independent corporation whose purpose is to impartially distribute funds from the USF in a manner that will best meet the goals of Universal Service set by the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

The USAC receives contributions from all companies providing interstate and international telephone and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service. Contributors send payments based on projected quarterly earnings. This revenue is deposited into a central fund, from which the USAC distributes money to the four central services at the core of the USF: High Cost, Low Income, Schools and Libraries, and Rural Health Care.

Over the years, questions have been raised regarding USAC's abuse of its delegated authority. See THE MIS-ADMINISTRATION AND MISADVENTURES OF THE UNIVERSAL SERVICE FUND

USAC reports quarterly revenue projections detailing what contributions are expected and detailing what actions are taken in the expansion and bolstering of Universal Service. While the USAC cannot act without Congressional approval, they can make recommendations, and such recommendations have resulted in expanding telecommunication resources, particularly broadband internet and mobile access to schools and libraries, and recognizing Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) as a form of interstate and international communication, which requires those companies providing VoIP services to contribute to the USF.

Universal Service Administrative Company







 
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