• If you are having problems logging in please use the Contact Us in the lower right hand corner of the forum page for assistance.

What about the Norwegians? Or the Swedes?

Help Support Ranchers.net:

A

Anonymous

Guest
Tribal members rush to get discounted cell service
By JARED MILLER
Tribune Staff Writer


WOLF POINT — Just a few years ago, cell phones were considered a luxury item. Today they're as central to mainstream America as SUVs and bottled water.

But not everyone is aboard the wireless bandwagon. The poor and those who live on the nation's Indian reservations are less likely to own a cell phone than most.

In Montana, that may change now that the Public Service Commission has approved two wireless companies to offer reduced-rate cell service to Medicaid recipients and rates as low as $1 a month for Native Americans.

The deal is a hit on the Fort Peck Reservation, where locals lined up outside the Sagebrush Cellular store in Wolf Point last week for phone deals.

Sagebrush Cellular's parent company, Nemont Telephone Cooperative, last month became the second wireless provider in the state to offer the reduced-rate service. Cellular One secured approval about six months ago.

Poplar resident Lisa Perry, who picked up her first ever cell phone last week, said she can now call for a ride or phone her boss if she's running late for work.

"A lot of people who qualify for these phones could never have had one in the past," Perry said.

The phone discounts are available through federal programs called Link-up, Lifeline and Enhanced Lifeline. They also apply to conventional phones.

Link-up pays half the cost of initial telephone hookups for those on Medicaid. Lifeline is a monthly rate discount of around $11 for Medicaid recipients.

Enhanced Lifeline is tailored specifically for American Indians, who are more than twice as likely to live in households without basic phone service than non-Indians are.

Native Americans who qualify for tribal assistance or whose income falls below 135-percent of the federal poverty guidelines — about $24,800 for a family of four — can receive phone service for $1 a month.

The Federal Communications Commission created the Lifeline and Link-up programs two decades ago to make good on its mandate to ensure telephone service for "all the people." It added Enhanced Lifeline in 2000.

"This nation has the idea that telephone access is important," said Martin Jacobson, staff attorney for the PSC in Helena. "And that it's so important that all people in the nation should have at least reasonable access to it."

All cell phone users in the Sagebrush Cellular calling area in northeastern Montana will benefit from the programs, said Nemont's general manager Shawn Hanson.

That's because the PSC requires companies that provide Enhanced Lifeline to guarantee reception across 98 percent in their coverage areas.

To comply, Sagebrush has agreed to erect 17 new cell towers in the next three years. The company currently owns 25 towers.

"There are some holes, and there are some unserved areas," Hanson said. "Through this designation, we've stepped up our commitment to improve the coverage."

Hanson declined to say how many customers have signed up for the Lifeline and Enhanced Lifeline, but he said business has picked up since they began offering the discounts Dec. 15.

Cellular One officials did not return calls for comment.

All three telephone programs are paid for by a national pot of money called the Universal Fund, which is sustained by a 50-cent monthly charge to telephone subscribers nationwide.

Jeremy Marmon of Wolf Point signed up for the $1-a-month wireless plan last week.

Marmon, a part-time cook, already had a cell phone, but he paid between $40 and $50 a month on his old plan — a big drain on his budget.

"There's a lot of people who don't have jobs here, but everybody has a cell phone now," 27-year-old Marmon said.
 

Mike

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 10, 2005
Messages
28,482
Reaction score
0
Location
Montgomery, Al
I knew those votes were for something!


If you haven’t heard of the "Gore tax," you’re probably missing an important battle over the nature of American democracy and the American economy. The battle has two fronts and the public is losing on both. On one front, the methodical centralization of power in the hands of unelected bureaucrats moves forward. On the other, the burdening of our economy continues.

Here are the details of the current skirmish:

For decades, Congress mandated that telecommunications companies ensure universal telephone service to the poor and to high-cost rural areas. In 1996, Congress passed the Telecommunications Act, which included a provision championed by Al Gore to expand the definition of "universal service" to include high-tech services, and endow the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with a broad mandate to furnish schools, libraries, and health-care providers with affordable service.

Since then, the FCC has filled in the details. Every telecommunications company must pay large sums of money into the Universal Service Fund. School districts and libraries then receive discounts ranging from 20 to 90% on all available communications services, based on the proportion of area students that qualify for the federal lunch aid program. The discounts are funded by the Universal Service Fund, and the entire program is run by the Schools and Libraries Corporation, the Universal Service Administration Corporation, and the Rural Health Care Corporation.

No one should be fooled. Consumers are being taxed to fund a large government program. We’re taxed once with noticeably higher phone bills to pay for the $3.3 billion-a-year fund. We’re taxed again through increased prices for Internet connections, wireless communications, etc. And we’re taxed yet again when we pay higher income taxes to support the bureaucratic administration of the program. As though this level of taxation wasn’t high enough, the Universal Service budget is projected to grow to over $10 billion a year by 2003.

That’s a lot of taxes to pay, especially since our congressional representatives didn’t really have a say in the matter. The FCC, a regulatory commission staffed entirely by unelected bureaucrats with enormous power, expanded its jurisdiction — perhaps unconstitutionally — by reading the right to tax into the vagueness of the Telecommunications Act. Regardless of how the government uses revenue, taxes should be levied only after public deliberation by elected officials accountable to constituents.

This is not merely bureaucratic empire-building. It is also a shameful example of why regulatory bureaucracies are nefarious. Regulation such as the Gore tax purposefully hides the cost of government. When AT&T started itemizing the government-mandated additional cost on phone bills, people noticed and complained. The FCC’s initial reaction was to pressure AT&T not to itemize the cost, supposedly even threatening regulatory favoritism toward AT&T’s competitors. The FCC’s solution to consumer complaints was to try to trick the consumer.

Unfortunately, this behavior is not new. The entrenched federal bureaucracy saddles virtually every aspect of the economy with hidden surcharges (taxes) and complex rules and restrictions. It is a bureaucracy that invariably seeks to expand its influence and mandate. Industry knows this all too well. Public utilities commissions exercise broad control over private utility companies, forcing them to collect user fees, line charges, and other taxes, while controlling the rates the companies can charge.

Invariably, when consumers realize they are being taxed, as in the case of the Gore tax, they get angry, because there is a lot at stake. Deregulating the electricity industry alone could mean consumer benefits of more than a hundred billion dollars a year. But efforts to deregulate the industry are spoiled by special interests scrambling for all sorts of pet projects funded by rate-payers. It all results in bad economics, and everyone except the bureaucrats suffers. The cost of government is hidden as companies are forced to divert resources into the business of tax collection, work the government should be doing. And consumers can’t get what they want. They should not have to pay any cost above and beyond the actual price of a commodity. Adding miscellaneous charges to any good disturbs the market so that it denies consumers the quantity and quality they desire.

The Gore tax is symptomatic of a serious, self-imposed problem facing America. The federal bureaucracy has resorted to trickery to reap a hoard of cash from the American people for a huge program of questionable worth and certain waste. And that is the norm, not the exception. Bureaucratic regulation harms us in many ways, from the momentous to the minuscule, surreptitiously robbing us of our self-government and our hard-earned money. Congress should reverse this decades-old trend, making all tax-collecting activities transparent to the public, debating all major initiatives, and controlling the activist bureaucracy.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Big Muddy rancher said:
OT did you get your phone? Are they going to give Internet hook up next?

I'm the wrong tribe :wink: Should help cut down on the meth dealers "overhead".....
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Big Muddy rancher said:
It's not fair, Your son qualifies for the IRA but you don't for a phone. What's wrong with this world.

IRA? International Rodeo Association :???:
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Mike said:
Oldtimer said:
Big Muddy rancher said:
It's not fair, Your son qualifies for the IRA but you don't for a phone. What's wrong with this world.

IRA? International Rodeo Association :???:

Irish Republic Army?

Being a Norwegian from Montana he didn't know all the "rules" of the deep south-- said he caused a little discontent from some when this summer he started travelling with a black bull rider (who scored a 95 on an unridden bull while they were travelling together)...
 

Mike

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 10, 2005
Messages
28,482
Reaction score
0
Location
Montgomery, Al
black bull rider

I didn't know you could choose the color of bulls you rode? :wink:

An Irish, Norwegian, Montanan, choosing the color of the bulls he rides? :???:
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Mike said:
black bull rider

I didn't know you could choose the color of bulls you rode? :wink:

An Irish, Norwegian, Montanan, choosing the color of the bulls he rides? :???:

That sounds politically correct :wink:
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Big Muddy rancher said:
How many boys you got? I thought you told us he worked for the railroad in Montana or Wyoming somewhere.

Thats my only son- Working mostly out of Glendive or Glasgow now..This is my "adopted son"...Hes a young fellow I raised for several years when his Dad was on a 20 year drunk......
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Big Muddy rancher said:
So when you posted pictures of you and your son riding broncs was that your son or your "adopted"son?

That was the "adopted son"- do you want pictures of the son too? Altho all he did was mostly bulls and bull dogging... Then he got too big for the bulls later- and stayed with football-6'2" 230-250 when he played in College- linebacker-defensive end--- Blew a knee, which I tried to keep him from doing with the dogging.......
I still pump iron with him some- except he has left me pitifully far behind-- I don't have the legs to do it all anymore... :(
 

Big Muddy rancher

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 10, 2005
Messages
22,053
Reaction score
131
Location
Big Muddy valley
Oldtimer said:
Big Muddy rancher said:
So when you posted pictures of you and your son riding broncs was that your son or your "adopted"son?

That was the "adopted son"- do you want pictures of the son too? Altho all he did was mostly bulls and bull dogging... Then he got too big for the bulls later- and stayed with football-6'2" 230-250 when he played in College- linebacker-defensive end--- Blew a knee, which I tried to keep him from doing with the dogging.......
I still pump iron with him some- except he has left me pitifully far behind-- I don't have the legs to do it all anymore... :(


Sure post some pictures. It is always nice to see cowboys in action.
 

mrj

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 21, 2005
Messages
4,609
Reaction score
1
Location
SD
Did I miss it, or did no one mention the probability that "the rest of us" who don't qualify for these sweetheart deals on our cell phones are going to be picking up the actual costs for all those who get the dollar a month rates?

I wondered what sort of program was picking up the costs for every kid I saw at the high native american schools carrying cell phones. Now I know!

MRJ
 

Latest posts

Top