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Rural Low-Income Consumers Program

The Low-Income Program provides discounts on telephone installation and monthly telephone service to qualifying consumers. The Low-Income Program is one of the components of the FCC's Universal Service Fund. There are two programs available to qualified low-income consumers:

Link-Up America helps consumers with telephone installation costs.

Lifeline provides discounts on monthly telephone service.

Additional discounts are available to qualified subscribers living on tribal lands. You can read more about the Low-Income Program eligibility criteria at The FCC's Universal Service Program for Low-Income Consumers.

Carrier Information on Providing Lifeline and Link-Up to Your Subscribers

Over 1500 telephone companies in the United States and its territories participate in the Federal Low-Income Program.

Many competitive and wireless telephone companies are eligible to provide Lifeline and Link-Up support.

In order to provide Lifeline and Link-Up, carriers must be designated as Eligible Telecommunications Carriers (ETCs) by their state commission or the FCC.

After receiving ETC designation, carriers must file a Form 497 each quarter with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) to receive support for the discounts they provide customers.

More Information

USAC - Low-Income Support Mechanism
Providing low-income support

USAC - Low-Income Forms
Forms and instructions to apply for the Low-Income Program

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Last reviewed/updated on 8/29/2003.


Rural Initiative Programs

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Rural Health Care Providers Program

Rural Low-Income Consumers Program

Rural High Cost Areas Program

Schools and Libraries Program
Tribal Land Bidding Credits Program

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Broadband Loan and Loan Guarantee Program

Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program

Telecommunications Loans

Rural Telephone Bank

Weather Radio Transmitter Grant Program


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