New FCC Regulations Make Telephone Use and 911 Access More Efficient for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Speech Impaired
Georgia Relay, the free public service that enables people who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind and speech-impaired to place and receive calls via a standard telephone line, is announcing the availability of 10-digit telephone numbers for Video Relay Service (VRS) and Internet Protocol Relay (IP Relay) users. The 10-digit telephone numbers are being offered in response to new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules implemented in 2009 to make telephone communication and 911 access more efficient for people who are deaf, hard of hearing and/or speech impaired.
Under the new FCC regulations, every VRS and IP Relay user nationwide must have a 10-digit phone number registered with a Relay service provider and updated with a current physical address by March 31, 2009. After June 30, 2009 VRS and IP Relay services will not be available for anyone without a registered 10-digit number.
There are two main benefits of a 10-digit telephone number for VRS and IP Relay users. First, it is now easier for voice telephone users to place calls to VRS and IP Relay users. Voice telephone users are now able to simply dial a VRS or IP Relay user’s 10-digit phone number – just as in standard voice telephone service – to reach that person directly through his or her relay provider, as opposed to first dialing a relay provider and giving the current IP address of the user to a communications assistant who would then place the call.
The second main benefit of a 10-digit telephone number is that every user’s number is assigned to his or her physical geographic location. In the event that a VRS or IP Relay user places an emergency call to 911, the user’s address will automatically route to the 911 call center operator, who will be able to dispatch emergency services to the appropriate location more quickly. In an emergency, this will save valuable time previously spent relaying location information to the operator.
Any Georgia Relay user who needs to obtain a 10-digit telephone number for VRS or IP Relay must register that number with a current address. To learn more please contact Georgia Relay at either V/TTY 1-886-694-5824 or www.georgiarelay.org.
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