Photo: Flickr / AngelaArcher.com
For several years, the Lifeline program has provided free cell phones to Americans in need. But a recent audit found lax regulation caused as many as 269,000 subscribers to receive free phones and services from more than one carrier, Businessweek’s Todd Shields reports.
Established in 1985, Lifeline serves people with incomes equal to or below 135% of federal poverty guidelines. This year, Americans living in single-person households must earn less than $15,080 to qualify.
Those who benefit from programs like Medicaid, the National Free Lunch program, food stamps or Section 8 Housing are also eligible to sign up.
In other news, the FCC said it hopes to expand its services by offering Internet to low-income Americans.
“Broadband … has gone from being a luxury to a necessity in the 21st century,” said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. “It’s increasingly essential for finding a job, for example, as job postings have moved online, and for landing a job, as companies increasingly require basic digital skills.”