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News Release
Commission Awards Telephone Relay Contract to Sprint
June 2, 2004 (2004 - 017)
 
Contacts:  Lee Beyer, Chairman, 503 378-6611; John Savage, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Ray Baum, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Bob Valdez, Public Information Officer, 503 378-8962
 
Salem, OR – The Oregon Public Utility Commission has awarded a $2.8 million two-year contract to Sprint to provide Telecommunications Relay Services that allows the deaf, hard-of-hearing and speech-impaired Oregonians to call and communicate with regular telephone users.
 
Relay Services connects an individual using a text telephone (TTY), which looks like a small computer, to regular telephone users. The user types their side of the conversation, then routes it through a Sprint call center, where an operator reads it to the person on the end of the line.
 
Sprint was selected from among three bidders.
 
"Containing costs while maintaining a high level of service was the intent of the bid process," said Damara Paris, Oregon Telephone Relay Services (OTRS) Manager at the Oregon Public Utility Commission.
 
Approximately 50,000 calls or 140,000 billable minutes go through the relay system each month.
 
Sprint has operated the relay system in Oregon for the past 12 years. "We’re pleased that Sprint, which offers statewide, confidential service 24 hours a day will continue to provide telecommunications access for deaf, hard-of-hearing and speech-impaired Oregonians," Paris added.
 
About 10 percent of Oregonians are deaf or hard of hearing.
 
Sprint will also provide the new CapTel Relay for people who are deaf or hard of hearing and are able to use their own voice.
 
The Sprint relay system is also accessible by dialing 711, 1-800-735-2900 TTY or 1-800-735-1232 Voice.
 
Oregon was the sixth state to set up a relay program in 1989, four years before the Americans with Disabilities Act mandated relay services in 1993.
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