For the fourth year, the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) today approved the Florida Telecommunications Relay, Inc. (FTRI) annual budget, with no change in the 11-cent monthly surcharge paid by Florida telephone customers. FTRI administers the statewide Florida Relay System (FRS) that provides access to basic telecommunications services for more than 3 million Florida citizens who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf/blind, or speech-impaired.
“FRS provides access to critical communications services for the estimated 3 million Florida residents diagnosed with hearing loss or speech impairment,” said PSC Chairman Art Graham. “The program allows these customers to use the public telephone network and connect with the community.”
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.
One method used is 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. An FRS call may be initiated by a person with or without hearing loss or speech impairment.
FTRI is a non-profit organization with 23 Florida locations to assist consumers with specialized phone needs. 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.
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.
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