I like to think that I am a reasonably charitable person, especially with those charities that I can identify with personally. But what about a program, sponsored by the U.S. Federal Government with phones provided by a mobile phone provider, designed to provide telephone access for those who are considered poor? Think it could never happen? Think again.

As it turns out, a concept called SafeLink Wireless is acting as a joint project between TracFone and the U.S. Federal Government. Now before we derail into some big political debate, realize the following things beforehand.

1) The phones are paid for by TracFone, not the Feds.

2) This is considered an update to the existing 1984 program from the FCC to make phones available to the poor. In short, it’s the same program with a new tech-savvy update.

3) The same subsidized funds designed for POTS service for low income users is being used for the “minutes” for this phone program. In other words, the claim to fame is that no new costs are being incurred.

Sounds like a great deal for the poor who are looking for work, need voicemail access for potential employment, among other challenges such as meeting the needs of the new homeless. So with this, I am fine with the “theme” of this idea.

Unfortunately one area I am confused with is why texting is included. Again, I get the value of voicemail and state to state long distance. Both of those affect the potential for landing a new job. But I am lost as to how texting is anything other than a fluff-feature? Help me out here… perhaps there is another value here that I am not following?

At the end of the day, I think it’s great to see technology empowering people to be connected, regardless of their ability to pay. And props to TracFone for supplying the technology to make it happen.