The Lifeline Program
Access Wireless provides mobile phone service to income-eligible residents as part of the government-funded Lifeline Assistance program. Lifeline is intended to help individuals experiencing financial hardship stay connected to family members, schools and child care providers, as well as be reachable to potential employers and have a means of communicating in case of an emergency. The valuable service that Lifeline provides is designed to be a bridge for those striving for self-sufficiency.
Access Wireless provides customers with a free mobile phone and a free monthly allotment of minutes/text messages/data each month. For more details on what is included with Access Wireless, please click here.
History of Lifeline
Since 1985, the Lifeline program has provided a discount on telephone service to qualifying low-income households, beginning with wireline services in rural areas. In 2005, Lifeline discounts were expanded to include wireless service offerings, as demands in the consumer market shifted. In 2016, Lifeline discounts were further expanded to include broadband internet access service offerings. Currently, the Lifeline program provides discounts on monthly telephone or broadband Internet service for eligible low-income consumers to help ensure they have the opportunities and security these services afford, including being able to connect to jobs, school, family and 911 emergency services.
Lifeline is supported by the Universal Service Fund (USF). All telecommunications service providers contribute to the USF, including: wireline telephone companies, wireless telephone companies, and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers. Many telecommunications providers pass this charge along to its customers with a line item on their phone bill marked under "Universal Service." However, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) does not require that this charge be passed on to consumers.