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Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - 6:00am

PSC Adopts $5 Charge On Subsidized Phones

Updated: 1 year ago.
Georgia will charge poor people $5 a month to get subsidized phone service, a move that one Republican regulator says will deter fraud. The state's Public Service Commission voted 3-2 on Tuesday to require that phone companies participating in the federal Lifeline program either collect the $5 fee or offer their customers at least 500 minutes of calling time. (Photo Courtesy of Anthony Dodd via Fotopedia.)

Georgia will charge poor people $5 a month to get subsidized phone service, a move that one Republican regulator says will deter fraud.

The state's Public Service Commission voted 3-2 on Tuesday to require that phone companies participating in the federal Lifeline program either collect the $5 fee or offer their customers at least 500 minutes of calling time.

Phone companies say they could not economically offer 500 minutes of calling time, meaning they must collect the fee or drop out of the market.

Industry officials say Georgia would be the only state to collect such a fee. The phone industry says it expects to renew a legal challenge against the plan in federal court.