One Million Ohioans Use Free Phone Program Costing State $100 Million Each Year

Get your “free” phones–

(Speak with Authority)

One million Ohioans are using a free phone program costing the state nearly $100 million a year.
Dayton Today reported:

A program that provides subsidized phone service to low-income individuals has nearly doubled in size in Ohio in the past year — now covering more than a million people. At the same time, federal officials say they’re reining in waste, fraud and abuse in the program.

The Federal Communications Commission announced recently that reforms have saved $43 million since January and are expected to save $200 million by year’s end. In Ohio, savings are expected to be $2.9 million a year.

The savings were realized in part because the government gave out fewer cellphones to ineligible people and took steps to avoid issuing duplicate phones.

But the size of the program in the state — and profits to the increasing number of cellphone companies involved — has exploded in recent months, according to a Dayton Daily News analysis of program data.

The program in Ohio cost $26.9 million in the first quarter of 2012, the most recent data available, versus $15.6 million in the same timeframe in 2011. Compared to the first quarter of 2011, the number of people in the program nearly doubled to more than a million.

Growth could cost everyone who owns a phone. The program is funded through the “Universal Service Fund” charge on phone bills — usually a dollar or two per bill — and the amount of the fee is determined by the cost of this and other programs…A growth of $100 million in this program could result in an increased fee of a few cents on the average bill, according to officials from the agency that administers the program. The total cost of the program nationwide was $1.5 billion in 2011, up from $1.1 billion in 2010.

Growth in the program is fed by the 2008 decision to extend it to prepaid cellphone companies, which get up to $10 every month that someone is subscribed. The number of cellphone companies offering the service in Ohio grew from four in 2011 to nine currently, with seven more awaiting approval from the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.

Advocates for the poor say this growth is to be expected; eligibility is dependent on having a low income or being in a program such as food stamps or heating assistance, and that population is ballooning, they say.

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Gateway Pundit

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  • Campfollower

    We’re carrying a phone bill for a family of five users that tops $300 each month. I cannot even believe I am also subsidizing the nutty “Obamaphone” people. We do not have a large screen television, but I’ll bet they have at least one if not more.

    I also just saw my first NFL football game last week. At 51, I’ve never been able to attend one because of the prohibitive cost, but my daughter is a cheerleader this year (still had to pay). I looked around at the fans, some obviously low income people who had three little children there in the expensive seats, and realized that I’m probably paying their grocery bills so they could be regulars with $50 jerseys and everything. This really sucks.

  • MrGoodWench

    The savings were realized in part because the government gave out fewer cellphones to ineligible people and took steps to avoid issuing duplicate phones.
    Read this a few hundred times .

  • Sayitagain

    Great that this issue originates in Ohio. The video of the Cleveland Obama supporter, shamelessly boasting about her free “Obama” phone, should hit home to any working, self-respecting Ohio resident. If Romeny wins Ohio, this story will be he reason why.

  • snap boy

    Eligibility is determined by low income OR food stamps or heating assistance… and this costs not just Ohio and its taxpayers but every person with a phone who PAYS THE BILL. I’m fed up with paying to house, clothe, feed, medicate, educate, communicate, warm/cool, transport people who refuse to get off their duffs and pay their own way. These people have kids sporting Michael Jordan shoes, big screen TV’s, and tooth jewelry; they can buy their own phones or do without – which is what the rest of us do when we can’t afford something.



  • That is a bit under 1 in 10 of the residents of Ohio…makes me sick

  • serfer52

    And the predominate race recipents are…?

  • Finncrisp

    Can you hear me now? This is crap. What ammendment guarantees one a cell phone? I think this started out as phones for the homeless. Good grief, I thought we we were broke.

  • dwd

    That photo says it all

  • jb books

    Vote buying Obama style. Gee, I wonder what the ownership demographic looks like? I can only pray that these people are the least likely to get out of their houses to actually vote.

  • mark

    This is not a race issue- lets not go there. We’re not like those vulgarians and bigots on the left. Its about the promotion of a dependency culture. It is hitting every racial and ethnic group in this country. Unfortunately, some groups have been effected more, and as a result have suffered immensely by this self perpetuating cycle of dependency and permanent poverty.

  • Patricia

    What a coincidence that there are so many free phones given out in a swing state!

  • Gaston

    Yep, FREE stuff costs money. A lotta money actually.

  • pink tie Republican

    Will you raycists shut up? Low income brothas and sistahs need their cellphones. Next up we will be givin’ dem a new car, groceries and a home (oh wait, we already doin’ dat).

  • Robert

    $1.5 billion in 2011, up from $1.1 billion in 2010.

    That’s a 36% rise in government spending.
    Completely ridiculous and out of control.

    The entire budget of the FCC should be cut in half.

  • mark #11 … exactly. I know many NON blacks who have the entitlement mentality. The sickness is spreading and it does not contain itself within any certain race.

    This is not acceptable. Our great Nation is on a vary rapid path to destruction. *IF* any of this is slowed down or stopped, there is going to be an ugly response. If it continues on… we are done. Nobody will have anything. Either way, prepare for some very rough roads.

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  • we are going to have more people that vote for a living than work for a living.

    “the power to tax is the power to tyrannize.”

  • dwdude

    “The savings were realized in part because the government gave out fewer cellphones to ineligible people and took steps to avoid issuing duplicate phones. the “savings” equal 2.9 million on a 100 million dollar program”…so regular phone users are on the hook for 97.1 million a year! this is how savings works in government. they overspend astronomically, then cut back a tiny bit to convince the economic morons and the devoted comrades that they are being good stewards with our money…we real patriots need to take our government away from these economic saboteurs!

  • Bigkahuna

    Freaking parasites….cancel it all its a waste of $100 million

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  • If this is in any way subsidized by or under the control of the state of Ohio, why isn’t Governor John Kasich putting an end to it?

  • billntwrk


  • Trina

    #11 Mark

    You are correct…we are promoting a dependency culture, which is morally criminal. And that the economy is hitting everyone is also true. But it sounds like you are “equalizing” the numbers of people “taking”, which I don’t believe is true. The lining up for freebies is a mentality…some groups factually are more inclined to do this than others. I live in a state where there are INNUMERABLE people of one “group” who are on the dole, many of whom are employed. Knowing there are finite resources to be distributed, (see #4 snap boy’s list who lays it out well), what is it other than mentality that would, not only take advantage, but in many cases, break the law?

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  • atticcellar

    Upon returning home the other day I found an offical looking letter (even having delivery confirmation attached) in my mail box.. It was address to “Resident” so I knew it was advertising.. Upon opening I discovered it was from a “free phone” provider.. It’s like they are pushing all this communisim directly in our faces.. I think I will join the Lakota!

  • retire05

    Here is what most people don’t know: a cell phone can be programed to only all 911 calls. No incoming calls; no outgoing calls. 911 only.

    If the concept is to provide phone service for the poor so they have it in case of an emergency, all these free cells phones need to be preprogramed to allow for 911 calls only.

  • Look-Out

    Here’s more info on the whole program…

    In 2011, the FCC estimated the cost (page 153) of the program would be $2.1 billion and said it would reach $3.3 billion by 2014 absent major reforms. The FCC also found that part of the problem with the program was rampant fraud:

    [O]ur ongoing oversight has revealed that a substantial number of subscribers are receiving duplicative Lifeline support, which includes individuals receiving two or more Lifeline benefits from ETCs as well as two or more individuals in a household receiving benefits from multiple ETCs.

    How bad is the fraud? A survey conducted by the FCC across 17 states and territories found that, on average, 9% of phone recipients were ineligible (page 243). In some states like Alabama, New Hampshire, and West Virginia, the ineligibility rate was 18-19%. And all of that is based on a survey to which 27% of users refused to respond to questions.

  • bg
  • jony101

    where in the constitution it say taxpayer has to buy free phone for the poor or that the poor has to have a free phone?
    You got no job why you need a phone?

  • atticcellar

    To talk to my Hommies!

  • kato

    Yep. Weez gots lotsa dem subprime pair-a-site in Ohio.

  • Revolutions start in the oddest places. There is this moment where the camel’s back snaps when the last innocuous straw is placed upon the pile.

    In Vietnam it was the photo of the naked girl running from the burning village. In NYC, it was the photo of the man coming out of the dust of WTC, a walking gray statute of despair and disbelief. In WWII it was the overturned Arizona. In Somalia it was the bodies of the two SF guys being drugged naked down the street by “skinnys”. In 2008 most of us winced when we saw that black woman proclaim all her bills would be paid now that Obama was President, knowing nothing would be the same because he made it into power.

    At some point, if we still have the power and the numbers to respond, we’ll reach that moment today.

    This year I’ve really seen three. One is the videos from Egypt and Libya with the people tearing up the flag in Cairo and the body of the Ambassador being carried away. It created a slow burn that Obama and his people are trying to stamp out with the lies “a video did it.”

    In Kansas we have the high school kids do a parody of Michelle’s “Marie Antoinette let them eat cake” moment. It went from 65,000 hits when I ran across it, to 654,000 hits in two days and featured on FOX and the websites.

    And now we have another black woman, the living loud mouthed example of Romney’s 47% comment. The stereotypical welfare queen. The person we see as sucking the energy out of the nation, as she is a taker not a contributor. This video I think lit a fire in many. I’ve heard more “you have got to be FREAKING kidding me!” in the last week than I’ve heard in a long time.

    People are pissed. The question is, as I’ve said before, is Obama’s nonchalant attitude based on he doesn’t care, or that he knows the tipping point has passed and we’re done as a nation of free citizens.

    A million people lined up to get free phones in Ohio alone. The feds claim seven percent was fraudulent. In my opinion, a million people are fraudulent because the government has decided two false points- One- the people “deserve” the phone for whatever reason, and Two- the government thinks it has the right to tax you for their benefit.

    Amazing… Simply Amazing.

  • Limousine Barry

    I think I can really provide a full service cell phone package for Ohio voters – be they dead or alive!

    Axelrod is rolling a two 4 one giveaway! You will get two free pre-filled-out absentee ballots for every one free cell phone you sign up for. What a deal!

    Vote early and vote often. And, this is super important! Send me $3.00 before midnight! That will help cover the printing costs of the fraudulent absentee ballots. Good day.

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  • radioone

    It doesn’t matter what WE think, the Cell Phone companies, that make a tremendous amount of money on this program will have their Lobbyists spread a bunch of cash around, and the corrupt politicians will vote to continue to fund, and expand, the program. This is just another snapshot of the future to see how Obamacare will expand, and due to its size and scope bankrupt the country.

  • colint

    In Canada all CITIZENS have AFFORDABLE (I pay $ 64/month for Drs & Hosp) health care but we do NOT have “FREE” cell or or other telephones.

  • FedUpWithZero
  • nickel

    “Archer52” An excellent comment. Please continue to post often and spread the word before this coming election that we all NEED TO VOTE THIS GOVERNMENT OUT. We need more clear voices like yours. Thanks for your contribution to our survival.

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