Wireless Lifeline Services Make A Critical Communications Link

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Two decades ago, wireless communications were still in their commercial infancy. Today, it is nearly impossible to imagine life without them. Much more than simple telephones, these devices also link to the Internet and provide instant access to social networking websites and data services. A small but important user segment of this system has been dedicated to cellular lifeline calling, providing a vital and necessary service for people in need.

Due to today's economic realities, many people cannot afford even the most basic calling plans. Often these individuals are the elderly surviving on limited fixed incomes and those who are forced to depend upon income assistance due to disability or other dire circumstances. For them, an affordable service brings not only vital communications but also a real sense of security through VoIP billing software.

Land-line based telephone service has provided a similar type of service for many years, made possible by small, mandatory charges to all users. It has helped to save many lives and with the advent of mobile technology, extending this program to cellular communications makes good sense. In a medical emergency, for example, calling from a landline may be difficult or impossible, due to location or circumstance.

Recognizing this need, governmental agencies have helped construct a mobile communications safety net. The calling plans offered are the opposite of extravagant and usually provide only a minimal number of minutes each month. Users can usually opt for more minutes if they have extra money and some companies allow the minutes to accumulate or roll over.

Users are also allowed access to 911 emergency calls and information services. Nation-wide providers often include free voice mail and other calling features that allow incoming callers to leave messages whenever necessary, especially in emergency situations. Most of us have read news accounts of people who may have perished if they had not had access to this kind of cell service in an emergency.

Qualifying individuals are able to make many of the voice calls and text messages most of us take for granted. The handset provided is usually a very basic, no-frills model, unlike many of the currently popular smart phones. Plan restrictions allow only those calls necessary for well being, including links to emergency services, family members and other essential people. Billing is also wireless, providing further savings.

In order to participate, applicants must meet the financial qualifications. In general, people who are currently living in subsidized housing, are participants in Medicaid and have an income low enough to be called poverty-level, will qualify. Local programs vary by state and services are not identical with each mobile service provider. To fill in the gaps, some cell phone service providers have established their own lifeline programs.

The people who may be qualified for these programs are often not aware that they exist. There has been a relatively small amount of advertisement and knowledge of these plans is not widespread. The reality is that no one, regardless of income, has to live in fear that they will not be able to communicate in times of trouble. Wireless lifeline services provide a humane and cost-effective way to give low-income individuals access to modern digital communications through VoIP billing.

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