The New York Public Service Commission, New York Relay, and Sprint announced that the New York Relay Captioned Telephone Service will be available beginning January 1, 2007. The New York Relay Captioned Telephone Service is an assistive technology aimed at easing communications for the more than 24 million Americans who are hard of hearing, have experienced hearing loss later in life or deaf individuals who prefer to use their own voice.

In July 2006, the New York Commission approved captioned telephone service. New York Public Service Commission Chairman William M. Flynn noted that New York’s proposed rollout of 300 captioned phones per month would be the largest monthly installation rate of the service in the country.

Lou Piazza, New York Relay administrator, added, “New York Relay is pleased to come to agreement with Sprint to add Captioned Telephone to the variety of services provided by the New York Relay today.”

The New York Relay Captioned Telephone Service is a leading-edge technology developed by Ultratec Inc, Madison, Wis, that also requires a special CapTel™-equipped phone in order to place a call to the New York Relay Captioned Telephone Service. The CapTel phone works like any traditional phone with callers talking and listening to each other, but with one very significant difference—captions are provided live for every call. The captions are displayed on the CapTel phone’s built-in screen so the user can read the words while listening to the voice of the other party. This allows conversations to flow more naturally, allowing for normal interruptions and expressed emotions. Captioned Telephone services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, and there is no charge for the service.

“Partnering with the New York Public Service Commission and New York Relay to offer Captioned Telephone Service is important to our strategy of providing communications options for individuals who are hard of hearing or deaf,” said Mike Ligas, director of Sprint Relay. “Captioned Telephone service is appealing for many individuals as it allows them to communicate more naturally with family and friends.”
CapTel phones are available on a first-come, first-served basis, one per household at a cost of $99 each. This includes a no-risk 90-day guarantee; if individuals are not completely satisfied, the phone can be returned within 90 days for a full refund.

For questions regarding the New York Relay Captioned Telephone or the order process or to receive an order form, contact (800) 233-9130 V/TTY. Individuals may also learn more on the Web at www.nyrelay.com or www.captionedtelephone.com/index.phtml.

[SOURCE: Business Wire, November 2006]