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Get Connected, Stay Connected!
The Lifeline and Link-Up Assistance programs are funded through the federal Universal Service Fund. Under the Lifeline program, telephone customers who participate or are eligible for certain public assistance programs are entitled to receive a basic telephone service discount. Link-Up can provide a 50 percent reduction on telephone service installation charges for qualifying households that do not currently have telephone service.
For more information on these programs, including eligibility requirements, visit www.lifelinesupport.org or contact the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) at 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322). To apply for Lifeline or Link-Up with Verizon Delaware, LLC call 1-800-837-4966, or visit Verizon's website and search for "Lifeline."
Role of the Commission
The role of the Delaware Public Service Commission ("DE PSC") has changed dramatically with the passage of HB96 and its amendments which became effective on June 26, 2013. This legislation was enacted to recognize the competitive choices consumers in Delaware have and give telecommunications service providers flexibility to compete, while protecting the interests of consumers. Telecommunications services now fall into 2 categories: (1) basic services which are still regulated include (a) individual residential dial tone line service and local usage in an area where there is no alternative provider available such as wireless, cable or other telecommunications service providers; and (b) switched access service; and (2) competitive services which are all the other intrastate telecommunications services, any bundled service and any new service other than switched access service offered after July 15, 2008. The DE PSC no longer regulates the rates, terms, and conditions of competitive services offered by telecommunications service providers. The legislation states that the Commission may not investigate or mediate retail customer complaints for competitive services. The Commission Staff can only direct your call to your telecommunications service provider for resolution of your complaint.
The DE PSC does require all telecommunications service providers to obtain a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity to provide intrastate telecommunications services before offering service to customers in Delaware.
Wireless and cell phone services are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission. The DE PSC does not regulate wireless and cell phone services or voice over the internet services. If you believe that there is possible fraud involved with any of these providers, you may contact the Federal Trade Commission or the Delaware Department of Justice's Fraud & Consumer Protection Division.
Delaware Public Service Commission Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Verizon's Customer Support page provides a variety of tools for its customers, such as billing options and requesting repairs. Verizon Delaware, Inc. has also created a listing and description of charges applicable to its Delaware customers (updated April 2007).
The following websites offer important consumer information about telecommunications issues:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) - The FCC is the primary regulatory body for telecommunication services. Complaints regarding wireless and cell phone service providers, which are not regulated by the Delaware PSC, should be filed with the FCC. Additionally, a number of consumer alerts and fact sheets relating to telecommunications are available on the FCC's website, including:
Early Termination Fees - The FCC has created a "tip sheet" to help cell phone users better understand "early termination fees" (the fees charged by a provider when ending a service contract before it expires). The Delaware PSC has no jurisdiction over wireless cell phone providers or the fees they charge.
Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) - Telephone services for hearing or speech disabled customers
Slamming - When your telephone service is switched without your permission
Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) - The USAC administers the Universal Service Fund (USF), which provides communities across the country with affordable telecommunication services. Visit the Lifeline and Link-Up for Customers in Delaware page for eligibility information and instruction for applying.
Price List Issued by Spectrotel, Inc. d/b/a Surftone d/b/a One Touch Communications d/b/a Touch Base Communications
Important or Pending Cases
In the Matter of the Investigation and Adoption of Rules to Govern Pay Phone Services within the State of Delaware (Reopened February 5, 2015) - PSC Regulation Docket No. 12
Commission Staff reopened these Rules to delete them in their entirety. Legislative revisions were made to Title 26 of the Delaware Code in July 2013. These revisions reduced the PSC's oversight of telecommunications service. Also, with the widespread availability and use of mobile or cell phones, pay phones are almost obsolete in Delaware. The PSC has received one comment in this matter. A public notice of an evidentiary hearing on May 19, 2015 has been published and the Commission will make a decision on this matter.
A complete list of any telecommunications related cases filed with the Commission is available on the Commission's Regulated Utility Filings page. Filings made after December 31, 2014 can be found on the Commission's DelaFile website.
Local, Regional and National Issues
Internet Voice or Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP): As described by the FCC in its consumer fact sheet, "Internet Voice", also known as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), is a technology that allows you to make telephone calls using a broadband Internet connection instead of a regular (or analog) phone line." While not currently regulated at the federal or state levels, the FCC has created an Internet Policy Working Group (IPEG) to examine potential policy issues relating to this technology.
Broadband is a generic term used to describe the high-speed transmission services that allow consumers to access the internet much higher speeds than traditional "dial-up" modems, and includes technologies such as Digital Subscriber Line(DSL) Services and Cable Modems (CM), as well as emerging wireless technologies. The FCC offers a consumer fact sheet on broadband which describes and compares the available technologies.