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Free Lunch, Cheap Internet

November 9, 2011
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Is internet access in your home a civil right?  Based on the cooperation of cable companies with the FCC, it appears that it is being elevated to that status.  The attached article gives the details of a new program to make internet service available for only $9.95 per month if your child already qualifies for free school lunch programs.

Access to computers and the internet is becoming vital in our changing world; there is no question about this fact.  What needs to be asked is should internet service be subsidized by those who can afford the service at full price?  Let’s be honest with ourselves here, prices for regular subscribers will have to be raised to offset the discount offered to those who qualify for this program.

So, what does it take to qualify for free lunch for your kids so you can get discounted internet?  The attached national wage scale outlines the requirements for free lunches.  But, here is the secret that is not well publicized: many school districts encourage parents to submit applications for free lunches even if they do not qualify since the districts also benefit from the number of applications submitted.  Then, the districts are only required to verify up to 3% of the applications for income qualification proof.  In the Los Angeles Unified School District, almost 90% of those who were asked for verification documents failed to return the required proof and were dropped from the system.  Yes, there is systematic fraud in the system as outlined in this article.

Your rates will increase to cover the program, dishonest people will game the system as they already do with the lunch program, and another incremental step towards re-distribution will be taken in the name of educating our children.  Here is the question that is not covered in the story: what forces were applied from the FCC to obtain the cooperation of all of the companies that offered so ‘willingly’ to join the program?  Our opinion is that there is more to this story that will come out in the future.

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