FCC Aims to Increase Awareness of Lifeline, Link Up Programs

Broadband's Impact, FCC, Tribal Broadband, Universal Service September 14th, 2010

, BroadbandBreakfast.com

WASHINGTON, September 14, 2010 – This week is the second annual “National Lifeline and Link Up Telephone Discount Awareness Week” brought to you by the Federal Communications Commission, National Association of Regulatory Commissioners and the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates.

The week kicked off with a congressional briefing, where members of the telecom community outlined for lawmakers efforts being made to promote awareness of the two telephone assistance programs.

Various state and local agencies throughout the country are participating in the awareness week with outreach activities and events.  The Lifeline and Link Up programs are designed to help ensure that all Americans can get basic telephone service by providing discounts to consumers who might not otherwise be able to afford service.  Statistics show that of the 25.7 million eligible, 8.2 million households participate, or roughly a 32 percent national participation rate for 2009, according to the FCC.

Lifeline involves discounts on monthly charges for a primary residential telephone line, which might be wireless service.  Link Up involves a discount on the cost of initiating the primary telephone service for a residence, including the activation of a wireless phone that serves as the primary residential telephone. The discounts are available throughout the country, including an enhanced discount on tribal lands.  In general, consumers at or below 135 percent of the federal poverty guidelines, or who participate in one or more of a number of other assistance programs, are eligible for Lifeline and Link Up.

More information about the programs and how to apply is available at www.lifeline.gov or http://www.usac.org/li/low-income/apply-for-support.aspx.

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