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November 26, 2003

Sprint Wins State Deal

From: Arkansas Business Online, AR - Nov 26, 2003

By Arkansas Business staff, Daily Report

The state of Arkansas has signed a three-year deal with Sprint to provide telecommunications relay services for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community.

The contract goes into effect Jan. 1, and services will be available by dialing 711 or other toll-free numbers. It will allow the deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind or speech disabled to communicate with hearing people on the phone through traditional, online or video relay services.

"We're pleased Arkansas has placed their trust with Sprint for these critical services," said Mike Ligas, regional vice president for Sprint Relay in a written statement. "We have over a dozen years' experience in providing these types of services to citizens and believe this experience and the quality of Sprint services will improve the lives of the citizens of Arkansas."

Traditional relay services use relay operators as intermediaries on phone calls between deaf and non-deaf users. The TRS operator speaks words typed by a deaf user on a text telephone or via the Internet and relays the hearing person's spoken response by typing back to the deaf person.

A similar process is used for video relay services, but deaf users communicate in American Sign Language on a computer equipped with a Web camera rather than typing.

Sprint provides the service to 30 other states and Puerto Rico and provides local telecommunications services in 39 states and Washington, D.C.

Copyright © 2003, Arkansas Business Publishing Group. All rights reserved.