Thursday, May 17, 2007

Troops may lose free calls, internet if non-profit provider shuts down

Above: Soldiers and civilian workers at an 'internet cafe' at a Foward Operating Base in Iraq.

A nonprofit foundation that has been giving about a million minutes of free phone calls a month to troops in Iraq, and hundreds of thousands of minutes of free Internet access, is running out of money and is in danger of shutting down.

“We’re within 30 days of being blacked out. We’re employing every trick in the book to keep going,” said John Harlow, founder and executive director of Freedom Calls Foundation, which has call centers at camps Taji, Fallujah and Victory, and at Al-Asad Air Base in Iraq.

A number of corporations have been long-time donors of equipment to set up call centers, even providing videocams for families back home. Since the foundation starting setting up its locations in Iraq in 2004, over $1 million, mostly in equipment and technology, has been donated.

Still, Harlow said, “We haven’t been able to get anyone to give us satellite services. It’s expensive,” said Harlow. Satellite services are costing tens of thousands of dollars each month, he said.

Read the rest at Marine Corps Times

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Freedom Calls Foundation

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