Petition Closed

The world’s richest man has a monopoly in Ohio and it’s hurting the elderly and low income families.

Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim’s cell phone company, Tracfone, is the only wireless service cleared to participate in the two programs that provide emergency phone access in Ohio. Since Tracfone can charge 50% more money per minute at Wal-mart, it has no incentive to promote the programs and save Ohio consumers money. 

Fortunately, there is a simple solution to this problem and you can help!  

Florida was facing the same problem and when businesses were forced to compete, participation increased over 230%.  The Public Utilities Commission decides who can participate in Ohio’s Lifeline Assistance and Link-up programs. Tell them to end Carlos Slim’s monopoly now.

They call Lifeline that for a reason – access to this program is about more than just saving money: 

    "I have 4 children and recently found out that my 7 month old has asthma. Well we did not have a phone and my daughter was having issues breathing fairly often. Not one month after receiving my Lifeline phone, and minutes, did my little one have an asthma attack at 3 am! Luckily I had the telephone to call for help or heaven knows what kind of situation we'd have had! At 3 in the morning I couldn't very well ask a neighbor for their phone, as they would be in bed. Thanks to lifeline my daughter received the help she needed…"

    . – Crystal Johnson, Maryland 

These are fully-funded programs that not only helps Ohioans save money but can literally save lives, help people find jobs and allow the elderly to remain independent. However, if no one knows about it, they can’t participate.

Let’s put an end to this by telling the PUCO to let other wireless companies compete.

Letter to
Chairman, Ohio PUCO Todd Snitchler
Commissioner, Ohio PUCO Paul Centolelia
Commissioner, Ohio PUCO Cheryl Roberto
and 2 others
Commissioner, Ohio PUCO Steven Lesser
Commissioner, Ohio PUCO Andre Porter
I recently became aware that Tracfone is the only wireless provider cleared to participate in Ohio’s Lifeline Assistance and Link-Up programs. When possible, companies should always be encouraged to compete and Ohio consumers are being underserved because of this monopoly.

Your website currently states that you have “allowed wireless telephone companies to begin providing Lifeline discounts to customers.” Please take the next step by allowing multiple wireless companies to participate in these programs.

Increasing participation would be a tremendous help for families with small children, those seeking jobs and the elderly, who without this service may have to move into a costly nursing home. Given our state’s budget situation, it only makes sense to increase participation in this fully funded federal program. We can do that at no cost by allowing other wireless companies to compete.


ProgressOhio started this petition with a single signature, and now has 773 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.