With all the publicity (good and bad) that the Lifeline Assistance free government ell phone program has received in recent years, we’re not sure that D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray needed to declare the second week of September as “District of Columbia Lifeline Awareness Week.”
While his intentions are no doubt good, he’s already drawn the attention of conservative websites such as in today’s post at Glenn Beck’s The Daily Blaze, which lambasted the program and all the fraud that has been discovered recently. The FCC has made changes to the program to reduce the fraud, but the program’s critics don’t like to acknowledge that fact.
In D.C., the Lifeline Program is known as Economy II Service, and follows the same eligibility rules as do the the participating states in the country.
According to Gray’s proclamation “a number of District of Columbia households still do not have access to telephone service.” Commissioner Joanne Doddy Fort of the Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia, an independent agency that regulates D.C. utilities, added “The goal of the Public Service Commission is to sign up as many eligible District consumers as possible. We hope that by raising awareness of the Lifeline Program, we can ensure that the District’s Economy II Service Program can reach more consumers. In today’s highly interconnected world, no one should be left out.”
Betty Ann Kane, chairman of the Public Service Commission summed it up: “For some, a local phone can be the difference between social connection and complete isolation.”
We certainly agree with Kane that everyone should have access to a phone. But naming a week after a program that the entire country knows exists might be a bit much.