The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) today approved the 2008-2009 budget for the Florida Relay Service (FRS), keeping the rate at last year’s level. The FRS provides critical access to basic telecommunications services for Florida’s deaf, hard of hearing, deaf/blind, and speech impaired citizens by using special telephone equipment and a communications assistance operator to relay information.
“The Florida Relay Service gives the gift of telecommunication to those who could not otherwise use the telephone,” said PSC Chairman Matthew M. Carter. “Through the program, Florida’s nearly three million impaired residents are connected to vital emergency and community services, offering peace of mind to their families.”
Florida telephone customers finance the program through an 11-cent charge on their bill, which the Commission voted to keep at the same level for fiscal year 2008-2009.
Available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, FRS facilitates telephone calls between people with hearing and speech disabilities and other individuals. The impaired person uses a Telecommunications Device for the Deaf which includes a keyboard and screen to contact a communications assistant, who then voices the message to the receiving party. The reverse process completes messages to the hearing impaired person. An FRS call may be initiated by a person with or without a hearing or speech disability.
For information on how to obtain the special equipment, call FTRI at 1-800-222-3448 (Voice) or 1-888-447-5620 (Text Telephone/TTY) or visit http://www.ftri.org.
The PSC is committed to making sure that Florida's consumers receive their electric, natural gas, telephone, water, and wastewater services in a safe, affordable, and reliable manner. The PSC exercises regulatory authority over utilities in the areas of rate base/economic regulation; competitive market oversight; and monitoring of safety, reliability, and service.
For additional information, visit www.floridapsc.com.