Phone Service Program for Low Income Customers Offers New Benefits

Phone Service Program for Low Income Customers Offers New Benefits

Improvements Made to Bell Atlantic-Pennsylvania Lifeline Program

April 7, 1998

Media contact:

Sharon Shaffer,

PHILADELPHIA -- Low income customers qualify for new benefits and
lower prices as a result of improvements to Bell Atlantic -
Pennsylvania's Lifeline telephone service.

Lifeline Service is a program that makes local phone service more
affordable to low-income customers by offering a monthly credit on
their basic telephone service and connection charges.

Changes in the program were made in response to new requirements from
the Federal Communications Commission and the Pennsylvania Public
Utility Commission. All eligible Bell Atlantic Lifeline customers in
Pennsylvania now will receive:

  • a $9 credit on their monthly phone bill, an increase of $4;

  • a residence phone line with Touch-Tone service. A Touch
    Tone-equipped phone is needed to take full advantage of Touch-Tone
    dialing capabilities;

  • a Standard Usage Package which replaces the Budget Service Package
    as the minimum calling plan offered. Customers with the Standard
    Usage Package are charged for each local call and receive a $4
    monthly allowance toward their local calls. They also can subscribe
    to a Local Area Unlimited Usage Package which offers unlimited local

  • the option to voluntarily restrict toll calls to help control their
    long distance costs.

Lifeline Service is available to low-income customers who are in the
General Assistance,

Supplemental Security Income or Temporary Assistance for Needy
Families state welfare programs or whose income meets the Lifeline
Service guidelines. Lifeline customers cannot be claimed as a
dependent by someone else unless they are age 60 or older.

Customers can apply for Lifeline Service by calling their Bell
Atlantic - Pennsylvania business office.

No action needs to be taken by current Lifeline customers unless they
wish to change to the Unlimited Usage Package or sign up for the
Lifeline Service voluntary toll restriction feature.

In addition to Lifeline Service, Bell Atlantic offers two other
programs to help low-income customers afford phone service. The
Universal Telephone Assistance Program helps low-income customers pay
their overdue bills for basic phone service. Link Up America pays 50
percent of the cost of connecting phone service. Customers who also
qualify for Lifeline Service can get the connection charge waived.

Bell Atlantic - formed through the merger of Bell Atlantic and NYNEX -
is at the forefront of the new communications, information and
entertainment industry. With 40.5 million telephone access lines and
six million wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are
premier providers of advanced wireline voice and data services, market
leaders in wireless services and the world's largest publishers of
directory information. Bell Atlantic companies are also among the
world's largest investors in high-growth global communications markets,
with operations and investments in 21 countries.