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July 1, 2003

Sprint launches services for disabled

From: Pacific Business News, HI - Jul 1, 2003

Sprint has launched expanded communication services for Hawaii's deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind and speech-disabled.

Telecommunication relay services will enable people with hearing or speech disabilities to communicate with the hearing through traditional text telephone devices, as well as online and video services.

The new services, which are free to users, include video relay, Internet relay, hearing and voice carryover, and others. Required equipment, such as a computer and video camera, are paid for by a public utilities universal fund.

Video relay service enables a hearing-impaired user to communicate with sign language with a Web camera instead of typing. A user connects online with the video interpreter who then translates the sign into speech for a hearing individual on the other end.

The Internet relay uses an operator who reads aloud typed messages from a disabled user to a hearing user. Internet emoticons in sign language also are available.

Currently, Sprint is providing these services through mainland offices. A Hawaii-based operation center is scheduled to open in October with about 20 local relay communications assistants and administrative staff.

For more information, call (317) 876-9301.

© 2003 American City Business Journals Inc.