More than 3.8 million calls were handled this fiscal year by Florida’s Relay Service (FRS), according to the Florida Public Service Commission’s (PSC) annual report on the Status of the Telecommunications Access System released today. FRS provides critical access to basic telecommunications services for hearing and speech impaired citizens throughout the state.
Florida is the fourth largest state and ranks second in the percentage of residents who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind, or speech impaired, with nearly three million citizens affected. The FRS system was established in 1991 to provide equitable basic telecommunications access for these citizens. A person with or without a hearing or speech disability can place a call through the FRS system 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
“Florida’s Relay Service provides quick and convenient telephone access to citizens who aren’t able to use standard telephone service,” said PSC Chairman Lisa Polak Edgar. “This service offers peace-of-mind for these residents and their families.”
FRS uses specialized telephone equipment and communications assistance operators to relay information. By using a Telecommunications Device for the Deaf, which includes a keyboard and screen, the consumer types a message to a communications assistance operator, who then voices the message to the receiving party. The reverse process then completes the message to the hearing impaired person.
The Report also shows 18,937 new speech and/or hearing impaired individuals were served throughout the state, and 41,337 pieces of specialized telecommunications equipment were distributed.
To call FRS, dial 7-1-1, or use the appropriate toll free numbers:
• 1-800-955-8771 (Text Telephone/TTY)
• 1-800-955-8770 (Voice)
• 1-800-955-1339 (ASCII)
• 1-877-955-8260 (Voice Carry Over-Direct)
• 1-877-955-5334 (Speech to Speech)
• 1-877-955-8773 (Spanish)
• 1-877-955-8707 (French Creole)
Florida Telecommunications Relay, Inc. (FTRI) is the statewide nonprofit organization that administers the Specialized Telecommunications Equipment Distribution Program. The equipment and ring signaling devices are loaned to all qualified permanent Florida residents for as long as they are needed, at no charge.
For information on how to obtain the specialized equipment, call FTRI at 1-800-222-3448 (Voice) or 1-888-447-5620 (Text Telephone/TTY) or visit http://www.ftri.org.
The PSC is committed to making sure that Florida's consumers receive their electric, natural gas, telephone, water, and wastewater services in a safe, affordable, and reliable manner. The PSC exercises regulatory authority over utilities in the areas of rate base/economic regulation; competitive market oversight; and monitors safety, reliability, and service.
For additional information, visit www.floridapsc.com.