by Jerry Ellig
October 22, 2013
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) subsidizes phone service for low-income households, funded by the universal service charge assessed on all consumers’ phone bills. The cost of this program ballooned from $819 million in 2008 to $2.19 billion in 2012. Controlling costs while continuing to serve low-income households will likely require some combination of a reduction in the per-line subsidy, a program participation fee for all households, and a cap on the program’s budget.