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Telephone Carrier Program Requirements


TAP, Lifeline, and Link-Up are programs that offer a discount on telephone service for qualifying low-income consumers in Minnesota. As a carrier providing local service, you have the obligation to provide one or more of these programs. Of the three programs, TAP is the only program created by the state. Lifeline and Link-Up were created by the FCC. TAP is administered by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission and Minnesota Department of Commerce. Eligibility criteria are the same for the TAP and Lifeline progrms and are listed on the Department's  section for consumersThe Link-Up program is available for qualifying residents of Tribal lands.

TAP offers a monthly discount of $3.50 and must be offered by all local service providers.

Lifeline offers a monthly discount of $9.25 and must be offered by Eligible Telecommunications Carriers (ETCs).

Link-Up offers a 100 percent reduction, up to $100, off installation charges to qualifying residents of Tribal lands, and must be offered by ETCs.

For a more detailed explanation on which programs each type of carrier must offer, download the Who Offers document.

The TAP program is established under Minnesota Statutes sections 237.70 through 237.711. As a local service provider, some of your obligations under this program include:

  • Assessing the TAP surcharge on your customers;

  • Collecting the surcharge and remitting it to the Department of Public Safety;

  • Filing a TAP report with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission 

  • Notifying your residential customers of the availability of the program;

  • Accepting applications from your customers and enrolling them in the program until they notify you that they are no longer eligible.

This list does not include all of a carrier's responsibilities under the TAP program; Review Minnesota Statutes sections 237.70 through 237.711, and Minnesota Rules Chapter 7817. Contact the Department of Commerce at telecom.commerce@state.mn.us if you have further questions.

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission sets both the TAP surcharge and TAP credit. Occasionally, the Commission may choose to change either the surcharge or the credit. When the Commission makes a change in the surcharge or credit, you will receive correspondence from the Commission instructing you to make the required change.

If you have questions regarding TAP, call Diane Dietz at 651-539-1876 or send an e-mail to telecom.commerce@state.mn.us.

If you have questions regarding the TAP reporting form, contact Theresa Staples at theresa.staples@state.mn.us, 651-201-2202.