RICHMOND — Access to local emergency services and community
resources is vital to all Virginians. Being able to make a local phone call can
keep vulnerable Virginians from becoming totally isolated and can mean the difference
between life and death in an emergency.
Lifeline, a discounted telephone service program, is available through designated
wireline and wireless telephone companies to low-income Virginians and enables them
to stay connected to community resources. The State Corporation Commission (SCC)
encourages eligible Virginia residents who need local phone service but cannot afford
it to take advantage of this program. The plan makes basic wireline phone service
more affordable to those who need it.
The SCC is partnering with the Federal Communications Commission, the National Association
of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, and the National Association of State Utility
Consumer Advocates during “National Telephone Discount Lifeline Awareness Week”
September 10-16. The goal of this nationwide outreach effort is to increase awareness
about telephone service assistance available through state and federal programs
and to expand the number of qualified participants.
The Lifeline program in Virginia has been in existence since 1988. It has traditionally
been referred to as the Virginia Universal Service Plan for wireline telephone companies.
Implemented jointly by the SCC and the Federal Communications Commission, Lifeline
helps eligible consumers purchase more affordable telephone service. Telephone customers
who participate in or are eligible for one of seven medical or food public assistance
programs or meet an income requirement are entitled to receive a minimum basic telephone
service discount of $9.25 per month.
Designated wireline telephone companies in Virginia provide this assistance and
will help with enrollment. A number of wireless companies have also been designated
to provide discounted service to qualifying low-income consumers in Virginia. Lifeline
discounts are available to only one qualifying consumer of local telephone or wireless
service per household.
If you have more than one wireline or wireless local telephone provider in your
area, contact each company to verify which ones offer Lifeline support, because
not all companies are required to offer this program.
The SCC’s Division of Communications has regulatory authority over wireline telephone
companies operating in Virginia. Additional universal service plan information is
available on the SCC website at
or by contacting the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) at