For Immediate Release - September 08, 2010

Patrick-Murray Administration's Department of Telecommunications and Cable Launches Outreach Tour for Low-Income Phone Programs

Lifeline, Link-Up programs offer discounts on telephone service to eligible residents

BOSTON - September 8, 2010 - The Patrick-Murray Administration's Department of Telecommunications and Cable is launching a tour the week of Sept. 13 promoting the Lifeline and Link-Up services, federal programs offering discounts on telephone service to low-income residents.

Lifeline and Link-Up are federally-funded programs overseen by the Department that help eligible households reduce the cost of phone service. Link-Up offers a 50 percent discount, up to $30, for connecting phone service; and Lifeline gives eligible consumers an average discount of $16 on the monthly phone bill for basic service.

Households who participate in one of a number of state-sponsored programs are eligible for Lifeline and Link-Up. Those programs are: Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled and Children; Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (fuel assistance); MassHealth or Medicaid; Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps); Supplemental Security Income; Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children; and low-income families or individuals in tribal lands who participant in some Indian Affairs programs.

"Even in these times where people can communicate through so many different methods, having access to a telephone is still vital for everyone," said Geoffrey Why, the Commissioner of the Department of Telecommunications and Cable. "A telephone is an essential link to the outside world, whether it is for emergencies or setting up a ride to the doctor or grocery store. These programs ensure more people have access to this necessity."

The Department has been committed to promoting the program by working with the agencies that operate eligible programs, and has distributed a brochure on the programs to cities and towns across the Commonwealth. The outreach effort the Week of Sept. 13 will visit the following communities:

  • Boston, MBTA subway station at North Station, Monday, Sept. 13, 2-6 p.m.
  • Boston, South Station Commuter Rail Concourse, Tuesday, Sept. 14, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • Lowell, Lowell Senior Center, 276 Broadway St., Wednesday, Sept. 15, 10 a.m.-noon
  • Brockton, Brockton Council on Aging, 10 Father Kenney Way, Friday, Sept. 17, 9 a.m.-noon
  • Holyoke, Holyoke Mall, 50 Holyoke St., Saturday, Sept. 18, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

"Approximately 210,000 people are signed up for these programs, but there are thousands more who can take advantage of this benefit," said Barbara Anthony, the Undersecretary of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. "We continue to do work across the state to get as many people as possible into these programs."

Households that may be eligible for Lifeline and Link-Up can find an application to the program on the DTC Website. The program is operated through cooperation with local telephone companies, and a list of the companies is also available on the Website.

The Patrick-Murray Administration's Department of Telecommunications and Cable regulates the telecommunications and cable industries, promotes competition, and protects consumers' interests. The Department is part of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, which can be found at its website, blog, and on Twitter @Mass_Consumer.