1 million Ohioans using free phone program
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 reiningin 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 Newsanalysis 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.
(Excerpt) Read more at daytondailynews.com …