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News Release
FCC Renews State Relay System Contract for Hearing and Speech Impaired Oregonians
June 6, 2003 (2003 - 014)
Contacts:  Roy Hemmingway, Chairman, 503 378-6611; Lee Beyer, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Bob Valdez, Public Information Officer, 503 378-8962
Salem, OR – The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has renewed Oregon’s Telecommunication Relay Services (OTRS) contract for another five years beginning July 26, 2003, and ending July 25, 2008.
Relay users dial 711 or 1-800-735-2900 to connect with an operator who translates conversations using a variety of devices such as a text telephone for hearing and speech impaired Oregonians. Such equipment is provided through the Telecommunication Devices Access Program (TDAP).
"Approximately 300,000 Oregonians have a hearing or speech disability and about 55,000 calls are made through the relay system each month," said Commission Chairman Roy Hemmingway. "This system is critical for the hearing and speech impaired community to communicate with businesses and providers of other critical services."
Oregon implemented the relay in 1989. Oregon was the sixth state in the nation to implement the relay before the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) required it. The act mandates that the 26 million persons who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, or speech-impaired have access to the nation's telephone system through a relay service that is functionally equivalent in cost and quality to the service afforded an individual without a hearing or speech impairment.
The TDAP program purchases and loans (at no cost to eligible recipients) special telecommunication devices to Oregonians who are deaf, hearing and or/speech impaired, or who have other physical disabilities that would prevent them from using a telephone. Special telecommunications devices such as a TTY (text telephone), visual signal, telebraille, remote-controlled speakerphone and voice-activated cellular phone are examples of the telecommunications equipment distributed under the program. It enables Oregonians to communicate more fully with family and friends, as well as with businesses, and to play a more active role in society.
To apply for equipment, obtain an application for OTAP (a telephone subsidy program) and/or Link-Up America (one-time reduction on the line hook up fees for qualifying participants), or for more information about the Residential Service Protection Fund Programs call 1-800-848-4442 or (503) 373-7171 in Salem. TTY users can call 1-800-648-3458, or write to:
Oregon Public Utility Commission
P.O. Box 2148
Salem, Oregon 97308-2148