IRVING, Texas - Starting Oct. 1, Verizon Communications, the national telecommunications company formed by the merger of GTE and Bell Atlantic, will offer residents of tribal lands local phone service for as low as $1 a month when they qualify for Native American Lifeline service.
The low-cost phone service was made possible by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) which earlier this year approved a Native American Lifeline program for individuals with limited incomes who live on federally recognized tribal lands.
The program will improve access to telecommunications on tribal lands by providing basic local phone service at substantially reduced rates to those who qualify. By making low-cost service available, it is expected that more people will have phone service.
Those who qualify for the Lifeline service also will receive help in offsetting the cost of initiating new service, including installation and connection charges and the extension of lines to homes or construction of facilities. This will allow qualified residents on tribal lands currently without local phone service to save up to $100 when initiating new service.
To qualify for these programs, residents of tribal lands with limited incomes must meet federal or state Lifeline qualifications or receive assistance from one of the following programs: Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Tribally-administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Head Start Programs (for those meeting income requirements) and National School Lunch Program (free lunch program only).
Universal Lifeline Service has been available for several years and provides discounted basic local phone service to residential customers with limited incomes. This program is funded by the federal government and provides discounts on telephone service for qualifying customers.
The new Native American Lifeline program will provide an additional discount, reducing the rate for local phone service to as low as $1 per month for qualifying customers living on tribal lands.
States in which Verizon will offer this program include Arizona, California, Florida, Idaho, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin.
Beginning Oct. 1, tribal land residents can call 1-800-483-4000 toll free to sign up for local telephone service from Verizon and to find out if they qualify for Native American Lifeline service.
Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ), formed by the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE, is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with more than 100 million access line equivalents and 25.6 million wireless customers. A Fortune 10 company with more than 260,000 employees and approximately $60 billion in 1999 revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com .