ANCHOR: There are new questions tonight about a government program that’s given away millions of free cell phones and service to people with low incomes and those in rural areas. The cost and demand are skyrocketing. Who pays? Chances are you do.
ANCHOR: ABC7′s Ben Bradley is joining us tonight with what it’s costing you.
REPORTER: The money comes from the Federal Universal Service Charge on your phone bill. It has its roots all the way back in the 1930s. The goal was make sure people in rural areas and the poor had access to telephone service. In the 1980s and 90’s it expanded to include wireless phones. Since then the numbers have exploded. The cost of the program is now more than a billion dollars a year. The FCC, along with some democrats and republicans, are trying to rein it in.
REPORTER: On an abandoned West Side lot, a sign on a bright green tent advertises a deal too good for many to resist.
CITIZEN: My daughter told me about it.