From The Sip Trunking Experts

TMCNet:  Homeless to get cell phones under program expansion

[December 16, 2012]

Homeless to get cell phones under program expansion

Dec 16, 2012 (The Modesto Bee - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- California's homeless soon will have easier access to one of society's modern conveniences: the cell phone.

The federal Lifeline program, which provides affordable land-line and cell phone service to the poor, has expanded its serv-ice to include the homeless.

The expansion, approved last week by the California Public Utilities Commission, undoubtedly will be controversial, officials acknowledged. But backers said they believe it will improve the quality of life for millions of Californians.

"In this day and age, having access to communications is not a luxury," said Jayne Wallace, whose company, Assurance Wireless, will organize phone distribution in the state. "Having a cell phone can make a huge difference in the lives of many people." Assurance Wireless is an arm of the telephone company Sprint.

The logistics of how and when cell phones will be distributed have not been worked out, but the program could be in place as early as the first of the year.

That was good news Friday for the homeless men and women eating lunch at The Salvation Army's Modesto Citadel Corps. They could use the cell phones to stay in touch with family, access services, find work and stay safe.

"If you can't buddy up, people see you as a single woman on the streets, you're a victim," said Lisa Pajarillo, 43, as she finished her lunch of pizza, green beans, chili and cling peaches.

Ken Hopper, 45, said he would feel safer if he had a cell phone.

"I sleep out on the streets," he said. "If I had a phone, then I could access help. That's one of the main reasons to have a phone." Both said a cell phone would make it easier to stay in touch with family.

"When you're out here," Pajarillo said, " ... you lose contact." Pajarillo and Hopper said they now use the phones at hospitals, social service agencies and other organizations when they need to make a call.

Brad Wilson, Modesto Gospel Mission's development director, said he has mixed feelings about the program.

He acknowledged that cell phones are a necessity now that pay phones have all but disappeared from the landscape. But he called giving cell phones to the homeless "one more silly Band-Aid from Uncle Sam" in light of the more pressing needs of the homeless that go unaddressed.

California has helped pay phone bills for poor people since 1985 through the Lifeline program and serves about 1.5 million people.

Lifeline is funded through contributions by telephone companies to the Universal Service Fund. Companies can recoup part of their contributions through fees to paying customers.

Several months ago, the Federal Communications Commission changed the Lifeline program to include poor people living in temporary shelters, such as homeless shelters, those who don't have permanent addresses and those living in group housing, such as nursing homes, said Jack Pflanz, an Alliance spokesman.

Wallace said her company is considering various options for handing out phones, including working with nonprofit groups, social service agencies and retailers.

Participants might have to pay $20 for their phones when they apply for the program but will receive refunds if they are deemed eligible, she said.

Those who qualify will get basic cell phones, plus 250 voice minutes and 250 text messages per month. Participants who want more minutes and messages can pay for them.

Eligibility will last for a year, after which it will be reviewed.

For information about the federal Lifeline program, go to

Bee staff writer Kevin Valine can be reached at or (209) 578-2316.

___ (c)2012 The Modesto Bee (Modesto, Calif.) Visit The Modesto Bee (Modesto, Calif.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

[ Back To SIP Trunking Home's Homepage ]

Subscribe here for your FREE
SIP TRUNKING enewslettter.

Featured Partner

Featured Whitepapers

SIP Security for the Enterprise
Voice over IP (VoIP) is incorporated into a variety of computer networks, both public and private, and used for everyday transactions and communications among carriers, businesses, government agencies...

Making A Broadband Purchase Decision
Businesses today have many options for broadband connectivity. Clarifying your particular business needs prior to selecting a broadband provider will ensure an optimal match of broadband service to your requirements.

Voice-Optimized Network Delivers Premier Call Experience
Customers equate call quality with business quality. Real-time communication, interpersonal interaction, and the cordial tone of a call center representative can create a positive impression of your business that no email can match.

Featured Case Studies

Business Telecom Expenses Reduced 50%
A small to medium sized company in the midwest was interested in migrating to IP Communications, but in today's economy, they were hesitant to upgrade their communication system due to their perception that the cost would outweigh the benefits.

Multi-State Company Cuts Telecom Costs 50%
A multi-site, multi-state company with extensive monthly long distance fees and toll-free charges did not have adequate broadband for Broadvox SIP Trunking requirements, nor did they have a SIP enabled telephone system.

Discover Leisure Connects Remote Users to its IP-PBX
Discover Leisure is one of the largest resellers of caravans and motor homes in the UK. With 15 branch of?ces all over the country, the company spent a great deal of money every month just on internal phone calls.

Featured eBOOKS

Internet+: The Way Toward Global Unified Communication
Connecting the telephony of the enterprise PBX or Unified Communications (UC) system using SIP trunks instead of conventional telephone lines has been very successful in recent years.

What is SIP Trunking? Edition 2
SIP trunking is becoming more of a focus for service providers. One key issue many service providers face when deploying SIP trunks is NAT, or Network Address Translation, traversal.

What is SIP Trunking? Edition 1
A vast resource for information about all things SIP - including SIP, security, VoIP, SIP trunking and Unified Communications.

Featured Videos

Broadvox VAR Testimonial VAR 1:
Part 1 of the VAR (Value Added Reseller) Partner Program Testimonials for Broadvox...

E-SBCs AS The Demarcation Point:
Ingate's Steve Johnson talks to Erik Linask about the role session border controller plays as the demarcation point at...

Demystifying DPI
How can deep packet inspection protect your SIP traffic as well as your entire network?

Featured Resources

Partner Program Overview:
Over 4,000 VARs, Master Agents, Solution Providers, and Independent IT Professionals trust Broadvox. We offer customized services and solutions to fit seamlessly into any company's business model. And when you partner with Broadvox, every member of our team stands behind you and your customers 100%...

SIP Trunk UC Summit

What's New

Presenting the New Ingate/Intertex Website:
Internet+ is an extended Internet access allowing high quality SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) based real-time person-to-person communication, everywhere and for any application. It applies to both fixed and mobile networks ...

Featured Blogs

Featured Webinars

Secure SIP Trunking:
What You Need to Know

Successfully Deploying Enterprise SIP Trunking:
Tools and Techniques for Overcoming Common Roadblocks

Featured Podcasts

Getting the Most Out of Your SIP Trunks:
Ingate's Steve Johnson and TMC's Erik Linask discuss how best practices forgetting the most out of SIP Trunking services and common pitfalls to avoid.

Featured Datasheets

Ingate SIParator E-SBCs
Adopting SIP is a simple process with the Ingate SIParator, the secure enterprise session border controller (E-SBC). The SIParator makes secure SIP communications - including VoIP,SIP trunking and more - possible while working seamlessly with your existing network firewall.

Ingate Firewalls
Everyone is talking about enterprise usage of VoIP, instant messaging and other types of realtime communications including presence and conferencing.

SIP Trunk Solutions for Service Providers
The award-winning Ingate Firewall and Ingate SIParator deliver a high quality, reliable SIP trunk connection between the customer's IP-PBX and the service provider network, and solve interoperability issues to simplify deployments and support for remote diagnosis of reported issues.