By Celia Kang Washington Post, August 9
The Federal Communications Commission on Friday approved rules to overhaul skyrocketing prison phone rates, dealing a blow to the handful of companies that dominate the market. In a 2-1 decision, the agency voted to immediately cap how much prison phone-service providers can charge the recipients of an inmate’s call at 25 cents per minute so that a 15-minute long-distance call won’t exceed $3.75. The FCC also banned the providers from charging extra fees to connect a call or use a calling card.
The federal order affects a previously unregulated segment of the telecommunications industry and aims to end the explosion of prison call costs have reached as much as $20 for a15-minute call in some states.