TracFone Wireless, announced the launch of SafeLink Wireless in most of Georgia. SafeLink Wireless will serve as the company’s distribution of Lifeline - a U.S. government supported program for income eligible households that ensures telephone service is available and affordable for eligible low-income households.
The SafeLink Wireless service will provide eligible low-income households a free cell phone, mobile access to emergency services and free 68 minutes of air time, monthly, for one year. The cell phone offers in-demand features: voicemail, text, call waiting, international calling to over 60 destinations and caller ID.To learn more about SafeLink Wireless, including eligibility requirements, please call 1-800-977-3768 or visit safelinkwireless.com. You can get refill your Tracfone Wireless Airtime here.
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prepaid SafeLink Wireless airtime cards or TracFone airtime cards, including double minute cards. Existing TracFone customers qualifying for the SafeLink Wireless service may keep their current cell phone, and receive bonus minutes (one-time bonus only) for choosing to keep their current cell phone.
The Funding of Lifeline
Lifeline is part of the Low Income Program of the Universal Service Fund (USF), which is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) and is designed to ensure that quality telecommunications services are available to low-income customers at just, reasonable, and affordable rates. 1700 carriers are eligible to provide the program but TracFone is the first pre-paid company to have elevated the program to modern day communications.
The Lifeline program is not funded from federal taxpayer dollars, but rather from contributions to the USF by telecommunications carriers collected in part from the Universal Service Charge billed to cell phone users. Instead of a discount on the user’s monthly bill, SafeLink applies the USF subsidy to free wireless minutes. Although a common misconception, TracFone provides the free wireless cell phone to the SafeLink program at the company’s expense, in order to make the program viable and attractive.
13 Georgia counties will not immediately benefit
As a condition to participate in the offering of Lifeline, the FCC mandated that SafeLink be certified E9-1-1 compliant by each 9-1-1 Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) within the state of Georgia. Of the 164 PSAPs in Georgia, PSAPs in the following 13 counties have not responded to repeated requests for certification: Bacon, Baker, Bleckley, Camden, Charlton, Echols, Emanuel, Hancock, Lowndes, McIntosh, Talbot, Terrell, and Twiggs counties.
Due to the lack of certification, 27,781 qualified households in the 13 Georgia counties will not immediately benefit until their corresponding PSAPs certify. To date, SafeLink efforts to secure statewide certification has included reaching out to Governor Sonny Purdue and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA), the agency that oversees emergency communications throughout the state. Both offices declined to assist stating that PSAP certifications were a local issue.
“The citizens of the 13 Georgia counties where SafeLink Wireless is not yet present is an unacceptable situation, as it is denying hard working, struggling families the basic right to communicate,” said Fuentes. “The Lifeline program at its core was created to benefit the very rural families that are being denied that service, which makes the refusal to provide E911 certification fundamentally wrong and irresponsible from an entity that is truly supposed to be a lifeline for all people in times of emergency and crisis.”