The comments are directed on behalf of the most vulnerable members of American society--homeless persons and migrant workers.
The Telecommunications Act of 1996 requires the FCC to adopt rules that ensure nondiscriminatory access to basic and advanced telecommunications services for all Americans. In the case of the homeless, telecommunications services can provide an effective means of obtaining jobs, housing, medical care and access to social services. For migrant workers such services have helped them to earn their livelihood, keep their families together, and obtain access to basic social services. For the children in both groups, telecom services have been used to improve their ability to obtain an education.
Most Americans need not worry about how they will communicate with employers, landlords, government officials, or family members. But shelters often have only one phone to serve all of their clients: the ratio is often more than 50 people per phone. In addition, a stigma often attaches to giving out a shelter number as a place to be reached.
Access to voice mail, increases opportunities for employment, learning and training. Computers promise to help keep homeless children connected to their schools. Migrant workers spend about half of the year traveling; they cannot contact a prospective landowner to determine whether the crop is ready or whether they should delay their travels.
Possible solutions to these problems that the FCC should examine in its rulemaking are: