Column: Low-income people are not entitled to Internet access

2013-04-10T00:00:00Z Column: Low-income people are not entitled to Internet accessEva Horn
April 10, 2013 12:00 am  • 

I just read in the April 4, 2013, issue of the Belleville News Democrat about a Metro East phone company that is launching a pilot program to provide computers and high-speed Internet service to low-income people in 35 counties in Western and Southern Illinois. There will be a nominal fee (big deal)! There are several other phone companies and agencies involved also.

I am incensed that my tax dollars are being used for this service. If low-income people don’t have a home computer, they can go to a public library and use one for free. We already furnish free food, subsidized housing, free medical care, free cell phones with texting and Internet surfing capabilities, etc., ad nauseam. What’s next? Free automobiles?

Fifty percent (one-half) of the population of the United States doesn’t pay any income taxes. Much more than that, I think it’s around 51 percent, is getting some kind of government assistance — and that doesn’t include Medicare or Social Security, which people are entitled to.

I called the telephone number (1-855-438-6693) the paper listed for residents who wanted to see if they qualified for this free program. After all, it’s my tax dollars they’re spending! They didn’t have any answers, so referred me to the Federal Communications Commission (1-888-225-5322), who then referred me to the Illinois Consumer Affairs Office (1-800-243-0618), and they referred me to the Governor’s Office. Gov. Quinn’s office said I should call Senator Dick Durbin (202-224-2152), since the FCC is getting involved and is contributing $1.5 million. Sounds like I’m getting the good ole’ runaround! Passing the buck — no one’s to blame! The senator will get back to me — of course!

What none of these people seem to realize is that no matter what agency the money is coming from, eventually it’s coming from you and me!

The point is, Illinois is broke with a capital B. The United States of America is broke with a capital B. Why are we giving away unnecessary money? High-speed Internet is not life-essential. In fact, neither are cell phones.

Nothing will get done unless we, the people, do it. Politicians don’t seem to realize that it’s our money they’re spending; they just think it’s “government” money. I urge you to call Sen. Durbin right away and express your concern.

Eva Horn is a Granite City resident.

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