IURC targets TerraCom after prior problems in Oklahoma

Hearing set for July in Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS - State regulators expect officials with TerraCom to come to Indianapolis and answer questions about their business practices.

For every person approved for a free phone, TerraCom received taxpayer-funded dollars.

The Oklahoma-based company is one of nine in Indiana approved to offer the Lifeline program, which connects low-income families with access to a mobile phone.

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission is set to hold a hearing involving TerraCom in July.

The commission was concerned with TerraCom's previous problem in Oklahoma where ineligible people received phones and the company collected $416,000 that it was later forced to repay.

The company's attorney said they are prepared to defend their practices in the Hoosier state.

"The company is extremely confident in it verification process," said TerraCom lawyer Nikki Shoultz. “It's a triple audit process where they go through a rigorous amount of scrutiny to make sure that no customer gets Lifeline unless they qualify under federal law."

State regulators also want to know how TerraCom signed up 30,000 people in about a year, surpassing several competitors who have been in business much longer.

"It's important that they are all playing by the rules. I think that's what is at the crux of this case," said the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor spokesman Anthony Swinger.

Shoultz said the company will show they have been operating in full compliance of the law.

State regulators will send questions to TerraCom so the company will be prepared to answer all questions during the July hearing.

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