Another Subsidy Turned Into Waste

With FCC Commissioner Pia’s discovery that the current universal telephone service subsidy may contain one-half billion in waste, it is time for the FCC to rethink using this telephone subsidy as a model for broadband services.  To read about this issue is detail, visit our piece in FORBES.

The Cost of Free Phones

Last week, a video made the rounds of a woman screaming at the top of her lungs for the re-election of President Obama because, according to her, Obama had given her a free cell phone.  The video made for great fodder for bloggers, with each side of the partisan divide giving their take.  But many […]

Universal Service Fund Not Designed to Help Consumers: New report shows it is not always clear who benefits from funding

WASHINGTON– While the Universal Service Fund (USF) was originally developed to provide all Americans with ubiquitous access to telephone services at reasonable prices, there have been questions about the extent to which this funding actually helps consumers. According to a new report authored by Steve Pociask, the president of the American Consumer Institute Center for […]

Digital Privacy and Security to Protect It – Part 4: Improper Access to Your Telephone Accounts

This blog is the fourth in series on digital and communications privacy and security.  Earlier, I addressed 1) anti-virus protections, 2) online nuisances and 3) the risks of online financial scams.  In this blog, I will discuss how some are gaining unauthorized access to your communications accounts.  Indeed, some privacy and security issues have been […]

Universal Service Funding in Need of Serious Reforms

In the past, we’ve detailed the many problems and issues with the Universal Service Fund.  For those unaware, the Universal Service Fund (USF) applies a tax to the phone bill of every customer in the US who utilizes interstate telephone services. This means just about everyone pays into it.  This tax, generating roughly $8 billion […]

Need for Universal Service Reforms

ITEM: TELECOM SUBCOMMITTEE TO HOLD UNIVERSAL SERVICE REFORM (USF) REFORM HEARING Universal service has long enjoyed widespread support in principle as an objective of US telecommunications policy. However, changes in technology, regulation and markets over the years have complicated its pursuit and raised serious questions about best to define its objectives and to fashion rules […]

Phone Scam Raids Consumer’s Wallets

Our last ConsumerGram analyzed the hidden telephone fees that consumers pay as a result of an outdated system of regulated payments between telephone companies. We concluded then that these payments represent subsidies that hurt consumers, are inefficient, and are not sustainable in the face of increasing competition. Moreover, the subsidy scheme works to discourage investment […]

Bye-Bye Telephones?

We recently conducted an online survey of consumers asking the following question: “What communications device is most important in meeting your communications needs?”  The general direction of consumer preferences was not surprising, but the spread of their preferences for different devices tends to corroborate and magnify our impressions of the directions being taken under the influence of […]

Subsidies for Companies Are Not in Consumers’ Interest:

  This ConsumerGram draws on conclusions from research done by academics and public policy analysts inside and outside government.  It addresses the current scheme of subsidizing some telephone companies by making other companies pay fees well above costs.  These fees represent hidden taxes that consumers ultimately pay.  This “tax and subsidy” scheme has a long […]