August 18, 2009
Programs would expand access to affordable basic
telephone service says Senator Ketron
(NASHVILLE, TN), August 18, 2009 — Many low income citizens who are eligible for basic telephone service discounts in Tennessee have not applied for assistance according to State Senator Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro), Chairman of the Senate State and Local Government Committee. Ketron, the Directors of the Tennessee Regulatory Authority, and Governor Phil Bredesen would like to see more eligible Tennesseans sign up for the programs.
“Only 15 percent of eligible households in the state participate in the ‘Lifeline’ and ‘Link-up’ programs which offer tremendous benefits for low income consumers to make basic telephone service more affordable,” said Senator Ketron. “Many local citizens qualify for these programs but have not taken advantage of the discounts simply because they don’t know that they exist, what the qualification are, or how to apply for help. We are working to get the word out to these consumers so that we expand access to affordable basic local telephone service.”
Link-Up America provides a discount to eligible low income customers on the installation of telephone service in their homes. The Lifeline program provides a discount to eligible low income customers on their monthly phone bill. The discount is available for primary residential telephone service and may even be available on some wireless phones. Consumers qualify for Lifeline and Link-Up by participating in one of a number of federal assistance programs or by having income of 135 percent of the federal poverty level.
Governor Phil Bredesen recently named September 14-20 as Lifeline and Link-up Telephone Discount Awareness Week to educate residents about the telephone connectivity programs. The Tennessee Regulatory Authority and consumer advocates will also be calling attention to the availability of these programs during that time to ensure that more eligible consumers know how to apply for help.
For more information, consumers can call the Tennessee Regulatory Authority at 1-800-342-8359 or access the information online at http://www.tn.gov/tra/teleassist.html.