FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 5, 1996
Philadelphia, PA -- Bell Atlantic has introduced two plans to help make telephone service even more affordable for its low-income customers in Pennsylvania.
The company's new Lifeline program provides low-income residential customers with a $5 credit on monthly phone bills and a 50-percent reduction on the line connection charge. The second plan -- the Universal Telephone Assistance Program (UTAP) -- helps Lifeline customers pay their basic phone charges in times of crisis.
"Today, more than 97 percent of Pennsylvania's citizens have telephone service, the highest in the nation," said Bill Mitchell, Bell Atlantic vice president of external affairs. "These two programs will help preserve and improve that high level."
To qualify for Lifeline Service, a customer must be a participant in one of three Department of Welfare programs: Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC); General Assistance (GA); or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Applicants whose annual income is at or below the poverty level established by U. S. Census Bureau income guidelines are also eligible.
UTAP helps qualified, low-income residential customers pay for basic telephone service charges in critical times. The program is available only to certified Lifeline customers. While Bell Atlantic will pay for the program, it will be administered by The Salvation Army, which will verify customers' eligibility and determine the amount of assistance to be provided.
Although certain optional services will not be offered to Lifeline customers, they will have access to the long distance network, emergency 911 service and toll-free 800 numbers. For safety and security, Lifeline customers also may subscribe to Touch-Tone service, and they may use Call Trace on a per-call basis.
Bell Atlantic estimates there are 640,000 Pennsylvania customers who are eligible for Lifeline service.
Bell Atlantic customers interested in Lifeline Service may call 1-800-272-1006. To apply for new service, call 1-800-640-4155.
Bell Atlantic Corporation (NYSE: BEL) is at the forefront of the new communications, entertainment and information industry. In the mid-Atlantic region, the company is the premier provider of local telecommunications and advanced services. Globally, it is one of the largest investors in the high-growth wireless communication marketplace. Bell Atlantic also owns a substantial interest in Telecom Corporation of New Zealand and is actively developing high-growth national and international business opportunities in all phases of the industry.
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