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Staying connected to local resources and emergency services can improve and possibly save many lives, say state regulators.

Access to local emergency services and community resources is vital to our low-income and elderly residents. The Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Cable (DTC) wants residents to “stay connected” and is reaching out to those who need phone service but can’t afford it. During “Lifeline Awareness Week,” September 9-15, the DTC is promoting the Lifeline Assistance Program which offers discounts to help residents have access to basic local telephone service. Lifeline helps low income consumers connect to the nation’s communications networks, find jobs, access health care services, connect with family, and call for help in an emergency.

Under the federal Lifeline program, telephone customers who participate in or are eligible for certain public assistance programs are entitled to receive a basic telephone service discount of at least $9.25 per month.  More information on program eligibility, rules and key messages is available at http://www.fcc.gov/lifeline/outreach.

To apply for benefits contact your local telephone company or the Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Cable. The DTC is the state agency in charge of regulating the rates and services of telephone companies operating in Massachusetts. Learn more at the DTC’s website, at www.mass.gov/dtc.

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