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Veteran Advisor

Free cell phones

Well, since all the other problems of the world are solved, and there is all this extra money floating around, that no one knows how to spend, they came up with a new one.  Cell phones are now a CIVIL RIGHT, in some areas.  If you want a cell phone, and don't have the money, one will be provided for you, totally FREE!  I wonder who winds up paying for them????

 

 

http://www.nypost.com/p/blogs/capitol/free_cell_phones_are_civil_right_htTMcKQFrjdvyl9A6NHPdP

 

 

11 Replies
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Veteran Advisor

Re: Free cell phones

There's more to it than this piece.  Have you researched it at all?  Try http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/s_749344.html

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Free cell phones

It is one thing to help someone in a wheelchair, it is another entirely to give free cell phones out just because people are poor.  Drug addicts qualify, just as much as the wheelchair bound elderly.  It would be one thing if the government had extra money lying around with nothing to do with it, but is this something they should be spending money on, in this day and age?

I grew up without a cell phone at all, and only one pay phone in the whole town, and guess what, I'm still alive.

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Free cell phones

Did you read the link?  As I said, there is more to it and it has been going on for years.  Since I suspect that you didn't read any thing other than the rant that someone posted bitching about it, I copied this segment from the Universal Service Fund that the telecommunication companies contribute.  It covers far more that those low-life, lazy bums you hate so much.

 

The Universal Service Fund (USF) is one fund withfour programs.

The four programs are:

  • High Cost - This support ensures that consumers in all regions of the nation have access to and pay rates for telecommunications services that are reasonably comparable to those in urban areas.
  • Low Income - This support, commonly known as Lifeline and Link Up, provides discounts that make basic, local telephone service affordable for more than 7 million low-income consumers.
  • Rural Health Care - This support provides reduced rates to rural health care providers for telecommunications and Internet services so they pay no more than their urban counterparts for the same or similar telecommunications services.
  • Schools & Libraries - This support, commonly referred to as E-rate support, provides affordable telecommunications and Internet access services to connect schools and libraries to the Internet. This support goes to service providers that provide discounts on eligible services to eligible schools, school districts, libraries, and consortia of these entities.

 

In the past, only long distance companies made contributions to support the federal Universal Service Fund. In 1996, Congress passed a law that expanded the types of companies contributing to the Universal Service Fund. 

Currently, all telecommunications companies that provide service between states, including long distance companies, local telephone companies, wireless telephone companies, paging companies, and payphone providers, are required to contribute to the federal Universal Service Fund. Carriers providing international services also must contribute to the Universal Service Fund.

Telecommunications companies pay contributions into one central fund. USAC makes payments from this central fund to support the four Universal Service Fund programs.

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Free cell phones

Yes, I read the link.  I still say that providing someone with a cell phone, just for the sake of them having a cell phone, with other people's money isn't the best thing to do in this day and age. 
I didn't say anything else about any other part of the program.

 

I'll ask the question again:  Do you think it is a good idea for others to pay for cell phones for the poor, just for the sake of them having a cell phone?

 

The link has a nice heart-wrenching story about a lady in a wheelchair, who can't get around by herself, and the cellphone is a GODsend (the word used in the story, emphasis mine - just to be onery).  To me, that is not a bad thing.  However, I think if we are paying for other people's cell phones, it should only be those of special needs, not just anyone poor.  I'm not at all against giving poor people cell phones if you want to, either, but I don't want to pay for cell phones for the drug addicts, or the able bodied who don't feel like working.

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Senior Contributor

Re: Free cell phones, great for big cell companies

I think it's great for the cell phone companies. Who else can you have for a customer that is more credit worthy than the federal government? What a deal for them, instand bill paying, and pay any amount they are billed. Perhaps free cable TV should be included to help the satellite companies grow. Who said these liberal spending programs were geared to help the impoverished?

 

 

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Free cell phones

Where in your bill does it list your contributions to all the 4 items that the Universal Service Fund gives services to?

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Free cell phones

I don't know, I really haven't looked.

I do know that the money didn't fall from the sky, it had to come from, or be borrowed from, somewhere.  Free never really is free.

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Free cell phones

Then either you lied when you said you read the article or you didn't understand it.  The only part that is free are the phones and the phone companies give those phones away to everyone who wants that plan.  Then the Universal Service fund gives the phone cos. $10 a month to buy about 250 minutes of air time.  The phones are what the very first phones were--no camera, no internet, no  mms, no nothing but the ability to call and talk for 250 minutes.  All of the telecommunication firms donate to this fund as part of their good will programs.  So until you find the item on your phone bill, you don't know if you are paying for part of it at all.  Therefore, don't say you are.

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Free cell phones

I read the article, and understood it. It clearly stated that all PAYING (emphasis mine) cell phone users pay into the USF (universal service fund), to provide free cell phones for others. 

When you asked where on my bill it was listed, I was being honest, saying I didn't know exactly where on the bill, but that is had to be somewhere.  I really didn't think it was such a big deal that I had to go upstairs to my file cabinet, pull out a cell phone bill, read through it, just to be able to tell you exactly WHERE it was. 

Well, to make you happy, and since I hate being called a liar, here is your answer:

 

The Universal Service Fund tax on my phone bill is located on page four of my phone bill, 5 5/8 inches down from the top of the page, margined in about 5/8 of an inch from the left side of the page (happy now?) .  And guess what?  It adds up to 16% of my cell phone bill, which is somewehre between 1/4 and 1/5 of my total bill.

So I AM paying for it.  Therefore, don't say that I'm not.