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December 13, 2004

America Online and MCI Enable Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Individuals to Receive Incoming Calls Anywhere, Anytime Using Their Own, Unique Phone Number

From: Business Wire (press release), CA - Dec 13, 2004

DULLES & ASHBURN, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 13, 2004--America Online, Inc., and MCI (NASDAQ:MCIP)

-- New AOL(R) Instant Messenger(TM) (AIM(R)) Service Extends Value of My IP Relay and AIM Relay Services to Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Community

-- Together, Companies Introduce First Service to Assign Local Telephone Numbers for Stationary and Mobile IP Relay

America Online, Inc., and MCI (NASDAQ:MCIP) today announced an expanded partnership to launch the new My IP Relay Number service. This service, developed by MCI, provides deaf and hard of hearing individuals with a unique local number, giving them the ability to receive telecommunication relay calls on any stationary or mobile computing device that features the AOL(R) Instant Messenger(TM) (AIM(R)) service.

My IP Relay Number is one of the first products that enables deaf and hard of hearing individuals to use their own, unique local phone number to receive incoming calls anywhere, anytime via any computing device with AIM access. This new service essentially turns any AIM enabled computing device into a "phone" for My IP Relay Number customers.

The service works in conjunction with the AIM(R) Relay Service, which already offers users the ability to initiate relay calls directly from their AIM(R) Buddy List(R) feature.

"One of our top priorities is serving the needs of AOL members and AIM users who have disabilities," said Tom Wlodkowski, Director of Accessibility at America Online. "We are very excited to be working with MCI to expand the AIM Relay Service to enable incoming calls. The ability to receive a relay call via the AIM service is a great resource that will help our members who are deaf or hard of hearing to stay connected while on the go."

"This innovative new service is a great example of the convergence of IP Communications," said Steven Johnson, vice president MCI Enhanced Services. "Working with AOL, we are harnessing the power of IP to enable people with hearing disabilities to make and receive calls while on the go."

How It Works

The AIM Relay Service, together with MCI, already facilitates telephone communication for users who are deaf or hard of hearing to place a call by connecting with an MCI relay operator directly from their AIM Buddy List feature on any AIM-enabled computer or wireless device. The MCI relay operator then places the outbound telephone call and relays the conversations back and forth between the two parties, reading the deaf caller's instant messages to the hearing recipient and typing the recipient's voiced responses back.

Beginning today, deaf users can also receive relay calls via the AIM service as well, by simply adding the My IP Relay Screen Name (myiprelay) to their Buddy List feature and registering for a local telephone number through MCI.

Voice callers who wish to connect with a deaf user simply dial the user's local number to be connected with an MCI relay operator. The operator then instant messages the deaf user via the AIM service and the deaf user answers the call by instant messaging back, wherever they are logged on to the AIM service. The call then proceeds as a traditional AIM Relay service call.

Registration for the My IP Relay Number is free at After confirming registration, customers will receive their My IP Number to share with others. Additional charges for text messaging may apply for users accessing their My IP Relay Number service over a wireless device. Users should contact their wireless service provider for details., powered by MCI, is the one-stop site for every relay calling need. Deaf and hard of hearing persons can sign their conversations via IP-RELAY Video Relay Service (VRS), receive calls from voice users via IP-RELAY Voice/NexTalk, communicate with any voice user through IP-RELAY Text in addition to a host of other communication options. MCI was the first company to offer IP-based relay service and is committed to providing the most convenient, confidential and technologically advanced ways to keep people connected.

The AIM Relay Service is available free of charge to AOL members and AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) service users as well as Apple(R) iChat(R) users. It launched this summer at the National Association of the Deaf conference, and more than 100,000 calls were placed through the service in the first 30 days of operation. The service can be accessed from any computer or wireless device running the AOL or AIM service(1).

AOL's AIM Relay Service is an extension of AOL's Accessibility Policy, a company-wide priority that aims to address and meet the technology needs of people with disabilities. More information on AOL's accessibility efforts is available at

(1)Wireless service data plan required to access the AIM Relay Service on mobile devices. Additional charges from the wireless service provider may apply.

About America Online, Inc.

America Online, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Time Warner Inc. Based in Dulles, Virginia, America Online is the world's leader in interactive services, Web brands, Internet technologies and e-commerce services.

About MCI

MCI, Inc. (NASDAQ:MCIP) is a leading global communications provider, delivering innovative, cost-effective, advanced communications connectivity to businesses, governments and consumers. With the industry's most expansive global IP backbone, based on the number of company-owned points of presence, and wholly-owned data networks, MCI develops the converged communications products and services that are the foundation for commerce and communications in today's market. For more information, go to

America Online
Lainie DeCoursy, 646-805-2035
Natasha Haubold, 703-886-4979

© Business Wire 2004