[ Text | Word97 ]


Federal Communications Commission
445 12th St., SW
Washington, D.C. 20554
News media information 202 / 418-0500
Fax-On-Demand 202 / 418-2830
Internet: http://www.fcc.gov
TTY: 202/418-2555

February 18, 2000

FCC To Convene A Public Forum on
Telecommunications Relay Services

The FCC invites interested persons to a Public Forum to discuss telecommunications relay services (TRS). The Forum will offer an opportunity for consumers and industry representatives to exchange ideas with the Commission and state relay administrators. The participants will share information on the current provision of TRS, common concerns of TRS administrators, consumers, and providers, and variations among states' approaches to TRS, and will discuss whether other technologies, services, and features should be made available to TRS users.

Telecommunications relay services are required by Title IV of the Americans with Disabilities Act (Section 225 of the Communications Act of 1934). TRS now utilizes a variety of services to facilitate telephone communication between persons with hearing or speech disabilities and persons who use voice telephones. Relay services between TTY and voice users utilize a relay operator, called a Communications Assistant (CA), to read what the TTY user types to a voice telephone user, and to type responses back to the TTY user throughout the duration of a telephone call. Speech-to-speech relay utilizes CAs trained in understanding certain speech patterns to relay conversations for people with speech disabilities. Video relay interpreting utilizes CAs skilled in sign language to relay conversations for users of American Sign Language.

The Forum will be held on Friday, March 10, 2000 from 9:00-12:30, in the Commission Meeting Room, Room TW-C305, at 445 12th St. S.W., Washington, D.C. 20554. Parties interested in making presentations at the Forum should contact Jenifer Simpson, (202) 418-0008 (voice), (202) 418-2555 (TTY), jsimpson@fcc.gov, or Janice Wise, (202) 418-8165 (voice), (202) 418-2555 (TTY), (202) 418-2297 (fax), jwise@fcc.gov, or write to the Federal Communications Commission, Consumer Information Bureau, Consumer Education Office, 445 12th St. S.W., Room 4-C766, Washington, D.C. 20554. Parties should provide a brief summary of their proposed presentation and biographical data, including their title and affiliation.

Persons unable to attend the Forum may listen to it live over the Internet through Real Audio from the FCC web site at http://www.fcc.gov/realaudio/ or hear it via telephone, for a fee, from the National Narrowcast Network, (202) 966-2211(voice) or (202) 966-1770 (fax). The Forum also will be captioned on the Internet. Persons may provide their views or questions during the Forum to TRS2000@fcc.gov.

Any materials that are distributed at this forum from in person presenters will be posted on the Internet at the Consumer Information Bureau's Disability Rights Office web page at http://www.fcc.gov/dtf and at the Common Carrier Bureau's Network Services Division web page at http://www.fcc.gov/ccb/nsd. Distributed materials also will be available for purchase from the FCC's duplicating contractor, International Transcription Services, Inc. (ITS), 1231 20th St., N.W., Washington, DC 20036, at (202) 857-3800 (voice), (202) 293-8810 (TTY), (202) 857-3805 (fax), or service@itsdocs.com (e-mail).

A transcript of the forum will be available 10 working days after the forum on the FCC's website at http://www.fcc.gov/dtf and http://www.fcc.gov/ccb/nsd. Transcripts may also be obtained from ITS. Audio and video tapes of the Forum may be purchased from Infocus, 341 Victory Drive, Herndon, VA 20170, at (703) 834-0100 (voice/TRS), (703) 834-0111 (fax).

Requests for reasonable accommodations at the Forum and for distributed materials or transcripts of the Forum in accessible formats can be directed to Janice Wise at (202)418-8165 (voice), (202) 418-2555 (TTY) (202) 418-2297 (Fax), or jwise@fcc.gov. Additional information about the Forum also can be obtained by contacting Pam Gregory at (202) 418-2498 (voice), (202) 418-1169 (TTY) or pgregory@fcc.gov.