If a disability prevents you from dialing Local or Regional (intraLATA) telephone calls yourself, you may be exempt from the added cost of having an Operator dial calls for you. If a disability makes it impossible for you to look up numbers in the telephone book, you may be eligible for exemptions from local Directory Assistance charges.
Customers with disabilities are encouraged to identify themselves so they can be informed of their rights, as appropriate to the circumstances.
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 requires all states to provide access to nationwide Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS). Through TRS, callers using Text Telephones (TTYs) are able to communicate with people who use standard voice telephones and vice versa. A specially trained Communications Assistant (CA) relays telephone conversations verbatim. The CA translates typed words into speech and spoken words into typed messages so that TTY users and voice telephone users can converse. The CA relays the entire conversation, leaving nothing out. Calls made through the relay service are entirely confidential. The TRS operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Local calls made using TRS are made at no extra charge, however, callers will be billed for any applicable direct-dial toll charges and operator assistance charges on their out-going call, just as if they had dialed it themselves. The customer may request that their long-distance company be used when placing long-distance calls.
To use the TRS, both TTY and non-TTY users simply dial 711. If you are not familiar with the use of TRS, tell the CA and you will be stepped through the process. NOTE: For emergency calls, users should dial 911.
The TRS provides many services: Voice Carry Over (VCO) is available for TTY users who can speak but are unable to hear. Hearing Carry Over (HCO) is available for TTY users who can hear but are unable to speak. Spanish language TRS is available as is Speech-to-Speech (STS).
Speech-to-Speech is a relay service mandated by the Federal Communications Commission that enables people with speech disabilities to use their own voice, voice prosthesis, or communication devise to place a phone call. Some people who have a speech disability cannot communicate by telephone, as others do not readily understand their speech.
A Speech-to-Speech telephone call is a relayed call. In a three-way call environment, the TRS CA relays the speech of one person to the other. The CA restates or revoices the words the person with a speech disability is saying, word for word. The CA can be “passive” (only revoicing when needed) or “active” (revoicing all communications from the speech-disabled individual). The customer instructs the CA as to how much assistance is needed.
Local and long-distance calls made using STS follow the same billing guidelines as TRS.