The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) today approved a Request for Proposal (RFP) to provide a telecommunications relay service system in Florida. The RFP will be issued no later than May 2, 2011, and bidders are invited to submit proposals to the PSC by July 6.
Sprint’s contract--the current provider of Florida’s Relay Service (FRS)--expires May 31, 2012. FRS provides access to basic telecommunications services for more than 3 million Florida citizens who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf/blind, or speech-impaired. The following companies have expressed interest in the RFP: AT&T Services, Inc.; Hamilton Telephone Company; Healinc, LLC d/b/a Lifelinks, LLC; Sorenson Communications, Inc.; Sprint; and Stellar-Relay Division. A contract is expected to be signed in September 2011, and the selected provider’s system operational by June 1, 2012.
Florida Telecommunications Relay, Inc. (FTRI), a non-profit corporation, administers the statewide FRS system. Available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, FRS facilitates telephone calls between people with hearing loss or speech disabilities and other individuals by using special equipment and a communications assistance operator to relay information. A surcharge of up to $.25 per landline access line per month funds the distribution of specialized telecommunications devices and interstate relay service.
One FRS method uses a Telecommunications Device for the Deaf, which includes a keyboard and screen to contact a communications assistant, who then voices the message to the receiving party. The reverse process completes the message. FRS offers everyone the ability to use the public telephone network and connect with the community.
For information on how to obtain the special equipment, call FTRI at 1-800-222-3448 (Voice) or 1-888-447-5620 (Text Telephone/TTY) or visit http://www.ftri.org. For more information on the RFP, contact Ray Kennedy, c/o Ann Cole, Director, Office of Commission Clerk, Florida Public Service Commission, 2540 Shumard Oak Boulevard, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0850 and reference Docket No. 110013-TP.
The PSC facilitates safe and reliable utility services at fair prices for Florida's consumers. Primary responsibilities include setting fair rates, encouraging competition, and monitoring for safety and reliability.
For additional information, visit www.floridapsc.com.