The Florida Public Service Commission’s (PSC) annual report on Lifeline Assistance (Lifeline) and Link-Up (Link-Up) Florida shows a 47 percent participation increase in the discount telephone programs. As of June 30, more than 943,000 eligible Florida telecommunications customers participated in the Lifeline program.
Reasons vary for the participation jump, including the slumping economy, PSC outreach to unemployed Floridians during this year’s “Get Connected and Get a Job” Lifeline Awareness Week events, automatic enrollment through Florida’s Department of Children and Families, and program marketing by wireless companies. Twenty-seven telecommunication companies, including four wireless carriers, participate in the programs.
“With the current economy, I’m pleased that more Floridians are aware of, and benefiting from, the Lifeline and Link-Up programs,” said PSC Chairman Art Graham. “Telephone service is a basic necessity that can help residents connect with potential employers, vital community services, as well as family and friends.”
The federal Lifeline program offers customers who participate in certain public assistance programs a basic telephone service discount of at least $13.50 per month, or $162 per year. Link-Up provides a 50 percent reduction in the telephone service installation charge, up to a maximum of $30, for qualifying households that do not currently have telephone service.
Applying for Lifeline is easy. Florida residents can call their local phone company, the PSC at 1-800-342-3552, or the Office of Public Counsel at 1-800-540-7039 for assistance. Information is also available at www.floridapsc.com and www.floridaopc.gov/lifeline.cfm.
The PSC’s annual report, Number of Customers Subscribing to Lifeline Service and the Effectiveness of Procedures to Promote Participation, will be sent to the Governor and Legislature this month, as required by Section 364.10, Florida Statutes.
For additional information, visit www.floridapsc.com.
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