News roundup: FCC points finger at Sprint over 'outrageous' misuse of US taxpayer cash
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News roundup: FCC points finger at Sprint over 'outrageous' misuse of US taxpayer cash

Sprint siphons money from US taxpayers, FCC says

The Federal Communications Commission has launched an investigation into US telecommunications company Sprint, accusing the company of taking millions of taxpayer funds reserved for subsidising phone and internet services for low-income Americans. Sprint is accused of claiming monthly credits associated with the subsidy program—known as ‘Lifeline'—for up to 885,000 customers, despite those customers not actually using the service.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said it was "outrageous that a company would claim millions of taxpayer dollars for doing nothing".

"This shows a careless disregard for program rules and American taxpayers. I have asked our Enforcement Bureau to investigate this matter to determine the full extent of the problem and to propose an appropriate remedy," Pai said.

Sprint issued a statement saying that the issue was caused by an error in the systems used to calculated customer eligibility for Lifeline, blaming the error on regulatory changes to the program in 2016. 

"When the error was discovered, we immediately investigated and proactively raised this issue with the FCC and appropriate state regulators," a Sprint spokesperson said.

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Pat Martlew

Patrick Martlew is a technology enthusiast and editorial guru that works the digital enterprise beat in London. After making his tech writing debut in Sydney, he has now made his way to the UK where he works to cover the very latest trends and provide top-grade expert analysis.

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