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Ajit Pai Faces Heat Over Proposal To Take Away Poor People's Broadband Plans (arstechnica.com) 196

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Democratic senators yesterday asked Ajit Pai to abandon a proposal that the senators say would take subsidized broadband plans away from "millions of Americans." The Federal Communications Commission chairman's plan for the Lifeline subsidy program would force most users of the program to find new providers. But such users could have trouble finding replacement plans or similar prices because Pai's proposal would prevent all telecom resellers from offering Lifeline-subsidized service. "Your proposal impacts over 70 percent of current Lifeline-recipient households by eliminating their wireless providers from the program, leaving less affordable and fewer Lifeline options, while making it more difficult for the companies trying to serve Lifeline customers," Senate Democrats wrote in the letter to Pai yesterday. "Instead of cutting the program, we should ensure Lifeline reaches more Americans in need of access to communication services." The letter was written by Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Cory Booker (D-NJ).
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Ajit Pai Faces Heat Over Proposal To Take Away Poor People's Broadband Plans

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  • by will_die ( 586523 ) on Friday March 30, 2018 @04:58PM (#56355387) Homepage
    For those interested in the truth, the reason for the change was because

    "A new GAO report found massive fraud within the Federal Communications Commission's Lifeline program, which subsidizes cellular and broadband service for low-income Americans. The agency's three-year audit of the Lifeline program, begun in June 2014 to May 2017, found that more than one-third (36%) of Lifeline customers could not be confirmed as actually eligible for the program. The GAO also found that $1.2 million annually went to fictitious identities or recipients who were dead."
    As said by Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo, but ignored in this piece of brillent and honest reporting, âoeWeâ(TM)re currently letting phone companies cash a government check every month with little more than the honor system to hold them accountable, and that simply canâ(TM)t continue.â
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      could not be confirmed

      So, what you're saying is that we need to confirm everyone and we're good? Damn, that sounds like a plan to me.

      Of course, that's not what you are implying, is it? Why is that?

      • by will_die ( 586523 ) on Friday March 30, 2018 @06:24PM (#56355935) Homepage
        I did not mention any solution, just like the people who wrote the original article. I just put out the reason why Pai is looking at solutions, unlike what the original did.
        There are a couple of other solutions and some actual criticisms about the Pai is putting out, but those were reasonable and came about around two weeks ago when this first came out.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Find out of the person is a US citizen.
      Do they pass a means test https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] as a US citizen for eligibility?
      That would stop a lot of the fraud.
      Prove citizenship. Prove the income. Then a US citizen gets some support for a phone service.
    • "could not be confirmed as eligible" does not mean in my book "are fraud". Sounds to me you interpret it that way when the report does not explicitely state it.
  • There are a TON of places you can get free wi-fi...just because someone can't afford broadband, why should I have to pay for it? I can't afford a bunch of things, but I'm not asking for anyone else to pay for it. The problem with these programs, the ones that REALLY could benefit from it, aren't the one's TAKING ADVANTAGE of it!
    • I can't afford a bunch of things, but I'm not asking for anyone else to pay for it.

      Why not? If you cannot afford food, shelter, medicine, the ability to travel to work, electricity, water, heat, internet, phone service, texting, or other basic need, you should absolutely ask (and expect) the someone to provide it.

  • Sorry. (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by argStyopa ( 232550 )

    I don't believe it's my responsibility as a taxpayer to give poor people broadband. Seriously.
    If they need to watch YouTube that bad, go to the public library.

    • Re:Sorry. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by 110010001000 ( 697113 ) on Friday March 30, 2018 @05:47PM (#56355701) Homepage Journal
      I don't believe it is my responsibility as a taxpayer to fund wars in other countries. Suck it up snowflake. The entire budget it the cost of one fighter jet.
      • I don't believe it is my responsibility as a taxpayer to fund wars in other countries.

        You're wrong. If there's one thing that you as a taxpayer have had the responsibility to pay for throughout the history of mankind, it's war. You may as well not believe that fire is hot, or that water is wet.

    • Ala carte taxes sounds like a great idea, what could go wrong?
    • Have you ever had to collect Unemployment benefits?
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      your lack of empathy is built on the asumption that they are poor because they didn't try hard, yet circumstance is the most significant factor in determining an individuals wealth and even after that it can be easily modelled probabilistic. It's a common fallacy for anyone with any kind of success, they attribute it to personal effort and skill (not that substantial success can't be done with either, but they alone are not enough).

    • So...honesty=flamebait.

      Good ol' slashdot. Being reddit before it was kewl.

      • We have POWER and PHONES in the rural areas because of taxes placed on the city folk who have larger numbers but did not prevent the taxes imposed upon them to help the redneck racist inbred buggers who constantly preach about picking themselves up by their own bootstraps. City dwellers seem to have empathy and a better grasp on reality; not all, we have plenty of isolated selfish pricks that manage to not learn anything despite having more opportunities to open their eyes.

        The phone taxes were shifted to pa

        • "Some old 56k modem is not going to get you thru a lot of online job application forms"
          I would cheerfully contribute my taxes to a single study just to refute this ridiculous claim, trotted out everytime someone wants to justify free internet for poor people.

          Exactly what % of the packet traffic on their computers is "filling out job applications" LOL? You could literally mow 2 people's lawns in a month and get 5 meg broadband around here. That's maybe 3-4 hours work. They can afford broadband.

          (Hint: they

          • Yes, the USA is messed up in a lot of ways and refuses to intelligently discuss anything; maybe in the past, but no longer.

            I have a cabin. It's in a rural area that didn't even get cell service until about 8 years ago. There is no internet, just a lousy old noisy phone line. I doubt dial-up would even go full speed. Maybe some slow cell internet is possible up there now but it's not that cheap. The locals seem to have many accidental fires and thefts and I'm beginning to think it's the two primary sources

    • Shit like that is why I can't go to the public library anymore. I'm not interested in being panhandled.

  • So in 2016, the UN Human Rights Council forgot to Cc Ajit Pai on the condemnation of "intentional disruption of internet access by governments", and that "the same rights people have offline must also be protected online" (source [wikipedia.org]).

Always leave room to add an explanation if it doesn't work out.

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