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NEWS RELEASE


05/05/2009 Contact: 850-413-6482

Florida Public Service Commission Approves Budget for Florida Relay Service


TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) today voted to keep the 2009-2010 budget for the Florida Relay Service (FRS) 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.  Florida telephone customers finance the program through an 11-cent charge on their monthly bill.

“Nearly three million residents in Florida use these services to connect with family, as well as to vital emergency and community services,” said PSC Chairman Matthew M. Carter II.  “The program helps ensure that all Florida citizens are able to utilize the landline telephone network.”

Today, the PSC also approved the Florida Telecommunications Relay, Inc. (FTRI) budget for 2009-2010, which includes a $1.3 million decrease in expenses from last year’s budget.  FTRI, a non-profit corporation, administers the statewide FRS system.

Available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, FRS facilitates telephone calls between people with hearing loss or speech disabilities and other individuals by using special equipment and a communications assistance operator to relay information.  One method used is 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 the message.  An FRS call may be initiated by a deaf, hard-of-hearing, or speech-impaired person or a person without hearing loss or speech impairment.

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.



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