More Wisconsinites using phone subsidies

The number of low-income people using phone and Internet subsidies has grown significantly in Wisconsin, according to state offiicals.

State regulators speculate that increased awareness about the subsidies and continued struggles with the economy are the primary reasons participation grew nearly 50 percent from 2010 to 2011.

State residents who meet income guidelines can get a $10 credit on cell or landline phone costs through the Lifeline Affordable Telephone Service program.

Also the Link Up program provides a one-time discount of up to $30 for activating a cell phone or installing a landline.

The Green Bay Press-Gazette reported the number of people participating in the program grew from about 130,000 in 2010 to nearly 190,000 last year.

The federal programs were set up to help low-income residents with access to employment opportunities and health care.