Phone service for those in need

TDS® provides affordable phone service to income-eligible customers through Federal Lifeline and Tribal Link-Up programs; helps phone service remain affordable.

To certify no Americans are left without access to the opportunities and security that phone service offers, Lifeline and Tribal Link-Up are available. TDS Telecom (TDS®), along with other local phone companies across the country, offers these federal programs in the areas they serve. The goal is to ensure all customers can connect with family, employers, and emergency services.

Lifeline provides a discount to eligible consumers for one traditional landline or wireless service plan into a home. For 25 years Lifeline has helped tens of millions of low-income Americans afford basic phone service. Similar to Lifeline, Tribal Link-Up provides phone discounts for qualified residents living on tribal land.

Qualifications for Lifeline and Tribal Link-Up vary by state. However, they are typically available to those below 135 percent of the federal poverty guidelines — or most people who receive federal or state assistance.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau there were 46.5 million Americans living in poverty in 2012. The poverty rate increased for certain groups from 2011 to 2012, including people aged 65 and older, people living in the South and people living outside metropolitan statistical areas. In addition, the Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity initiative reveals more than one-in-four Native Americans lives in poverty.

“Telephone service is something all people deserve,” says Kevin Hess, TDS Executive Vice President. “At a time when poverty in the United States is more prevalent than ever before, Americans should not have to forfeit the crucial benefits of owning a telephone in order to obtain the bare essentials for their families. By making Lifeline and Tribal Link-up available to our customers in need, phone service can continue to be a resource rather than a burden. If you know someone who’s struggling to get by, encourage them to contact TDS or their local phone company for information.”

As poverty rates remain high, TDS continues to support Lifeline and Tribal Link-Up in order to help those in need. Lifeline and Link-Up are government assistance programs funded through the Universal Service Fund program. They are non-transferable. Only eligible consumers may enroll in either program; limit of one discount per household. For more information, to check on eligibility or to request an application visit or 888-CALL-TDS.

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Reporters/Media: for more information contact Cindy Tomlinson, Associate Manager – PR / TDS Telecom / 608-664-4471 /

TDS Telecommunications LLC (TDS Telecom/TDS®) delivers high-speed internet, TV entertainment, and phone services to a mix of small to mid-sized urban, suburban and rural communities throughout the U.S. With 1.2 million connections, TDS is a rapidly growing technology company. Powered by fiber-optics and new industry-leading technologies, TDS delivers up to 8 Gigabit internet speeds and offers internet-protocol based TV entertainment solutions along with traditional phone services. TDS also offers businesses VoIP advanced communications solutions, dedicated internet service, data networking, and hosted-managed services. Visit

TDS Telecom, headquartered in Madison, Wis., employs 3,400 people and is a subsidiary of Telephone and Data Systems, Inc. [NYSE: TDS], a Fortune 1000® company. Founded in 1969, Telephone and Data Systems provides wireless, broadband, video and voice; and hosted and managed services to approximately 6 million connections nationwide through its businesses: UScellular, TDS Telecom, and OneNeck IT Solutions. Visit

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