FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 9, 2017
BURLINGTON TELECOM BECOMES FIRST ISP IN VERMONT TO ADD INTERNET TO LIFELINE BENEFITS
New Offering Will Make Broadband More Affordable for Low-Income Burlington Residents
Burlington Telecom announces it has become the first Internet Service Provider in Vermont to offer high-speed, symmetrical internet to eligible Lifeline customers.
Since 1985, the Lifeline program has helped make telephone service affordable for low-income Americans. Currently, there are nine Eligible Telecommunications Carriers in the State of Vermont offering telephony services through Lifeline. In 2016, the Federal Communications Commission modernized and reformed the program to recognize the American consumer’s need to access the 21st Century’s most vital communications network: the internet. According to the FCC, 43 percent of nation’s poorest households say they can’t afford modern broadband service.
In an effort to help close this digital divide, Burlington Telecom has created a new service tier of symmetrical internet to customers eligible for the Lifeline program. Whereas the Federal program requires a speed threshold of only 10/1 (10Mbps download / 1Mbps upload), BT will offer 25/25 Mbps.
“Any time we can expand access to services, such as the internet, it is beneficial for the state and this program supports my goals to protect our most vulnerable and create more opportunity for Vermonters. Lifeline has provided connectivity for low-income families for decades, and the expansion to include internet represents an important step towards modernization that will support many in the Burlington community.” – Governor Phil Scott
“Burlington Telecom’s participation as a Lifeline Eligible Telecommunication Carrier will enable low-income Burlington residents to share in the economic opportunities that access to the internet provides and enhance our ongoing efforts to close the digital divide.” – Mayor Miro Weinberger
“Our belief is that internet connectivity is as essential to a person’s well-being as utilities like electricity and water. This program is one example of how we can contribute to the overall quality of life in our community and build upon Burlington’s reputation as a leader in fiber broadband technology.” – Stephen Barraclough, Burlington Telecom General Manager
All Vermont residents may be eligible for the Lifeline program if they receive phone or internet service through a participating provider and meet income requirements or get at least one of the following benefits: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Federal Public Housing Assistance, Fuel Assistance*, Medicaid, Reach Up*, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Veterans Pension/Survivors Pension.
Beginning August 9th, Lifeline eligible Burlington Telecom customers may apply for the BT Lifeline internet service of 25 Mbps for $9.95 per month or apply a discount of $9.25 to any landline telephone or fixed broadband service.
“Internet access is integral to communication with the world, finding jobs, and accessing resources. This expanded program will allow a broader group of our community to have affordable internet access to allow them to meet their needs. – Noelle MacKay, Community Economic Development Office Director
“Internet connectivity is a path to greater opportunity. In today’s world, broadband access is access to the world’s knowledge. It helps to promote skill development, and build stronger and more connected communities. This program will provide an important service to the disadvantaged citizens of Burlington.” Ali Dieng, City Councilor and Parent University Manager
“The addition of broadband to the Lifeline program through Burlington Telecom will be helpful for our patients when they need to communicate through our online Patient Portal, enroll in VT Health Connect and find info on our website. This will serve as a great tool for upward mobility and I’m excited that CHCB can offer it to our patients when they meet with our Patient Support staff regarding all of the available community programs and services.” Kim Anderson, Community Health Centers of Burlington Director of Development & Communications
Lifeline is a federal program that provides a monthly discount on phone or internet service to eligible households. Only one Lifeline benefit is allowed per household: either phone (landline or wireless) or internet (home or mobile data) service. For more information about Lifeline benefits and eligibility, visit: www.burlingtontelecom.com/rates/#lifeline
*As of November 1, 2017, Fuel Assistance or Reach Up will no longer be able to be used to prove your eligibility for Lifeline.
Burlington Telecom’s mission is to provide every customer with an exceptional service experience that you can only expect to receive from a local business, while providing you with access to the benefits of the most advanced fiber optic network in the US. To apply for Lifeline benefits through Burlington Telecom, visit www.burlingtontelecom.com/rates or call 802-540-0007.