SafeLink Wireless to Aid Low-Income Households in Illinois
|Today, TracFone Wireless, Inc., America's leading prepaid cell phone provider announced its launch of SafeLink Wireless in Illinois. SafeLink Wireless is the first and only completely free offering of Lifeline; a U.S. government supported program for income eligible households that ensures telephone service is available and affordable for eligible low-income households.|
The SafeLink Wireless service will provide eligible low-income households a free cell phone, mobile access to emergency services and free 60 minutes of airtime, monthly, for one year. The cell phone offers in-demand features: voicemail, text, call waiting, international calling to over 60 destinations and caller ID.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) created the Lifeline program in 1984 and worked to update the service after the crises of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, as well as the tragedy of September 11th. At the dawn of the 21st century, modern universal telephone service is necessary not only to ensure that the U.S. maintains a rapid, efficient, nationwide communications network, it is important for the purpose of national defense and to promote safety of life and property.
By approving the SafeLink Wireless program, the FCC took action to enhance its Lifeline program and keep the right to communicate in pace with technology.
The Funding and Delivery of Lifeline
Lifeline is part of the Low Income Program of the Universal Service Fund (USF), which is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) and is designed to ensure that quality telecommunications services are available to low-income customers at just, reasonable, and affordable rates. Over 1700 carriers are eligible to provide the program but TracFone is the first pre-paid company to have elevated the program to modern day communications. The Lifeline program is not funded from federal taxpayer dollars, but rather from contributions to the USF by telecommunications carriers collected in part from the Universal Service Charge billed to cell phone users.
By FCC design, telephone carriers deliver Lifeline assistance to low-income communities and traditionally, Lifeline customers receive a simple discount on their monthly landline telephone bill. The SafeLink program reshapes the Lifeline model by applying the USF subsidy towards a wireless minute allocation that becomes free monthly airtime for the customer. As TracFone provides the mobile handset at its own expense and does not require contracts or monthly bills, SafeLink customers now have access to a completely free offering of the Lifeline program.
If a customer wishes to use additional minutes beyond their monthly allotment on their Tracfone prepaid cell phones, minutes can be added through prepaid SafeLink airtime cards and TracFone airtime cards that can be purchased at local retailers. The prepaid feature gives customers the freedom to control the cost of their monthly telephone expense. Unused minutes do not expire and automatically rollover.
SAFELINK WIRELESS SERVICE ELIGIBILITY OVERVIEW BY CITY
Top 10 Illinois state counties with the most eligible Lifeline participants:
Counties LOW-INCOME POPULATION
St. Clair 29,651
To qualify for Lifeline in the state of Illinois, a household must participate in one of the following:
- Federal Public Housing Assistance/ Section 8
- Food Stamps
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- National School Lunch (free program only)
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
To learn more about the SafeLink Wireless service, including eligibility requirements, please call 1-800-SAFELINK (1-800-723-3546), or visit www.safelink.com.
|& get our news delivered to your in-box!|