Federal rules

Federal rules prohibit eligible consumers from receiving more than one Lifeline service per household

Lifeline Wireline Service

With approval by the Federal Communications Commission, wireless telephone service providers have begun offering Lifeline service to eligible low-income customers. Several have received Public Utilities Commission approval to operate in order to offer Lifeline service in Rhode Island. The terms offered by these providers vary. Consumers should compare terms to determine which provider is best suited to their needs. These Lifeline accounts are limited to one per household. In addition, applicants cannot currently receive Lifeline service on their household phone.

For Wireless Service Providers

FCC Lifeline Public Service Announcements

Rules and Regulations Governing the Certification and Verification Procedures for Telecommunications Carriers Eligible to Receive Payments From the Federal Universal Service Fund

Requirements Package for Telecommunication Providers

Contains complete documentation of all requirements, fees, and taxing authorities for all classifications of telecommunication provider

Note: If a Class VI application is being filed for the sole purpose of seeking ETC designation in RI, once the ETC Application is filed, an additional fee to cover the cost of advertising the application in the Providence Journal will apply.  The cost is typically between $600-$800.

Wireless carriers approved to provide Lifeline service in Rhode Island:

These links are offered to assist consumers in comparing service plans. Web addresses and site navigation may change from time to time, at the discretion of the service providers.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is Lifeline wireless service?

In recent years, wireless telecommunications providers have been granted Federal Communications Commission approval to be eligible for funds from the Universal Services Fee, which had earlier supported only wireline discounted telephone service for low-income customers. Eligible applicants can now receive discounted wireless service under the program through carriers approved by the PUC.

Who is eligible?

Generally, anyone who is receiving a form of state or federal public assistance such as Supplemental Social Security income, aid from the Family Independence Program, the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, as well as Medicaid eligibility.

Can I have more than one Lifeline account in my household?

No, the program is limited to one Lifeline account (either wireline or wireless) per household.

Are all calling plans the same?

No, applicants should review the plans offered by each carrier and determine which terms best suit their needs. For example, the number of minutes, activation fees, and features may differ.