Time Warner Cable has begun participating in the FCC program that provides credits to individuals in order to afford home telephone service.

The Lifeline program, administered by the FCC and supported by the Universal Service Fund (USF), grants eligible individuals per household a monthly credit on their residential home phone bill. Eligible customers can now apply for the home phone discount.

TWC’s Lifeline program for Home Phone customers is now available as a pilot program throughout its footprint in New York State. The company said it has plans to roll out Lifeline across all markets at a later date.

The USF has been under attack for years as being subject of waste, fraud, and abuse. Smaller cable operators complain that the fund is too frequently used to finance competitive overbuilders. Reform has been argued for several years, and the current plan is to rename it the “Connect America Fund,” include broadband and wireless connectivity as options, and put some safeguards in place to minimize waste, fraud, abuse, and the financing of competitive overbuilds.

Meanwhile, the program as is continues to help less affluent people continue to have vital phone service.

To be eligible for TWC’s Lifeline program, the person qualifying must be a Time Warner Cable Home Phone customer and participate in a government-assistance program, such as Medicaid or Food Stamps, or meet income eligibility requirements. The Lifeline credit applies for one year. After one year, customers will need to verify their information and continued eligibility. 

Jeff Lindsay, Time Warner Cable’s group vice president and general manager for phone, said, “Home Phone is still a vital communications tool. By offering the Lifeline credit, our Home Phone service is even more affordable for current and new customers who want to stay connected and in touch with loved ones.”

Time Warner Cable serves New York State including the areas of Albany/Capital Region, Buffalo, Central New York, Hudson Valley (Orange, Sullivan, Ulster Counties and parts of Dutchess, Greene and Delaware Counties), Rochester, four New York City boroughs (Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island and western Brooklyn) and Mount Vernon.