Editor, Many of us take for granted that we can pick up our phone, dial our friends and family, and stay connected with the rest of the world. Phone service has become such a routine part of our lives that we hardly even think about it anymore.
But imagine what it would be like if you were suddenly laid off from your job and couldn’t afford to pay your phone bill. Imagine if you worked one or two jobs and barely made enough to pay the rent and had to sacrifice telephone service.
Unfortunately, too many people in the U.S. and in Georgia face this problem every day and do not have even basic telephone service. In our state, we know that many people cannot afford any kind of telephone service and are disconnected from friends, family and emergency services. These consumers cannot even dial 911.
There is good news, though. Many of these consumers may qualify for an assistance program — Lifeline — that discounts a portion of their telephone service. Lifeline provides qualified consumers a savings of $9.25 a month on basic monthly telephone service.
The Georgia Public Service Commission is participating in a national event to raise awareness of, and participation in, these important public-assistance programs. Our goal is to connect as many people as possible. We hope that by raising awareness of Lifeline, we can ensure that more consumers can call their friends, their families, and life-saving services. In today’s highly interconnected world, no one should be left out.
At the same time, the commission has taken steps to improve accountability in this program and prevent fraud. This is important to ensure the program remains in place for those who really need it.
For more information, contact the Commission at 404-656-4501 in metro Atlanta or toll free at 1-800-282-5813 or visit us on the web at www.psc.state.ga.us.
— Tim Echols, Georgia Public Service