The Federal Communication Commission (FCC), the comms regulator for the USA, has set itself a 2012 target of eliminating USD200M of waste, fraud and abuse suffered by its Lifeline program. Lifeline provides free phones and minutes to rural and needy customers, at a cost of over 2 billion dollars a year. The Lifeline program was initiated in the mid-80’s, but take-up and costs have risen sharply in recent years. In response, the FCC found a need to improve audits of recipient eligibility. In their report, the FCC estimated
…that up to 15 percent of current Lifeline subscribers may be ineligible for the program, potentially representing as much as 360 million dollars of support per year.
Measures to be implemented include a national database to ensure the same subscriber is not enrolled via more than one carrier, and independent audits of carriers receiving more than USD5M p.a. in support. The full FCC report is available from here.