Now that the 2012 Presidential Election is behind us, we hope to see government start moving again. During the election campaign, we see a lot of progress in government stop because people who have their position on the line are afraid that they could be seen in a bad light and lose votes. Most decisions that the government makes have both good and bad repercussions so there is inevitably someone who will be in disagreement. The result of that is to just make no decisions. It’s unfortunate and it seems like the public is being deceived. Its like the politicians are saying “we know that you’re not going to like what we are going to do to you so, we’ll wait and do it after you vote in favor of me”.
We see this in the progress of the FCC on reviewing compliance plans for wireless ETCs. Since the long overdue reform of the Lifeline program by the FCC in February, they have implemented a method of making sure that the companies who provide Lifeline services are making an effort to comply with the new rules. Each company seeking to get a piece of the Universal Service Fund through Lifeline reimbursements must submit a compliance plan to the FCC. This compliance plan outlines what that company will do to make sure that the funds are used properly in the manner in which it is intended. After submitting the plan, the company must wait for a hearing in which they appear before the FCC to answer any questions that the FCC might have in regards to the plan they submitted. Once that is done, the FCC reviews the results and will either approved or deny the request to become a wireless ETC.
Enter the Obama Phone Lady. You may have seen her in a campaign ad. You may have heard about her on the news. The Obama Phone Lady is a video making it’s way around the internet where a woman is campaigning for President Obama because “he gave us a phone”. It implies that if you are a minority Obama is giving you a free government cell phone. It looks really bad for the Lifeline program and the current administration. So, the FCC stopped the process of reviewing the compliance plans. This was great news for all of the companies like Safelink Wireless and Assurance Wireless since they already had their Wireless ETC status. The FCC put the brakes on creating any competition for those who had already been approved.
Now it’s time to get the ball rolling again. Since the presidential campaign is behind us we should see the FCC get back to doing their job of reviewing the compliance plans of companies waiting to become a wireless ETC and start providing free mobile phone plans to those in need.