The Puerto Rico Telecommunication Regulatory Board has granted authority to Dallas-based Blue Jay Wireless, LLC as an “eligible telecommunication carrier,” to offer wireless service to qualified low-income residents under the Lifeline Program, company officials announced Thursday.
With the go-ahead, Blue Jay Wireless is expanding outside the continental U.S. for the first time.
“I am really excited about our new opportunity in Puerto Rico” said Blue Jay President David Wareikis. “We have always been vigilant in our goal to take our services across the country, but there is something special about expanding beyond our normal borders to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico ”.
Blue Jay believes cellphone service has become a “basic necessity that all Americans should have access to.”
“Therefore, Blue Jay Wireless subscribes to the mission of the Lifeline Program and continues to strive in its goal to reach qualified low-income consumers across the country in order provide affordable and superior wireless service to those in need,” the company said in a statement.
Created in 1985 under the Reagan administration, the Lifeline Program was designed to ensure all low-income Americans have phone access to connect to jobs, family and emergency services. In 2005, as the proliferation of cellphones had increasingly replaced landlines, the Lifeline Program was expanded to include wireless service in addition to traditional landline services.
Available in every state, territory, commonwealth, and on Tribal lands, the Lifeline program is available to eligible low-income consumers, and allows for only one Lifeline phone per household. Eligibility criteria vary by state.
In Puerto Rico, qualified consumers must either have an income that is at or below 135 percent of the federal Poverty Guidelines or participate in one of the approved federal assistance programs such as Food Stamps, Medicaid, or federal Public Housing (Section 8).