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09/07/2017 Contact: 850-413-6482

Florida PSC Selects Sprint to Provide Florida Relay Service

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) today approved a three-year contract with Sprint Communications Company, L.P. (Sprint) to provide telecommunications relay service to the nearly three million hard-of-hearing, deaf, deaf/blind, and speech impaired Floridians. Sprint’s contract begins in March 2018.

Of the two companies bidding, Sprint received the highest technical rating and offered the lowest overall per-minute cost for service. Sprint was the only bidder proposing to hire an in-state Customer Relations Manager. Sprint also proposed to designate a Florida Relay Quality Manager.

“Florida’s relay service assures everyone has the ability to use the public telephone network and connect with their family and community,” said PSC Chairman Julie Brown. “We look forward to Sprint seamlessly continuing to offer this essential service.”

On May 4, 2017, Commissioners voted to issue a request for proposal (RFP) to select a relay service provider offering the most cost effective service for Florida’s citizens.  The RFP, issued May 16, 2017, included a clearly defined point system for proposal evaluations, and companies were required to submit their bids with charges per billable minute, assuming a three-year contract award, with the option of four one-year extensions. 

The PSC issued the RFP when Sprint informed the Commission it did not intend to extend the relay provider contract into the option periods at its current price. The current contract with Sprint expires on February 28, 2018. Sprint and Hamilton Telecommunications Company submitted proposals.

Florida Telecommunications Relay, Inc. (FTRI), a non-profit corporation, administers the statewide relay service. Available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, Florida’s relay service 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. A monthly surcharge of $.10 per landline funds the distribution of specialized telecommunications devices and interstate relay service.

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