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March 7, 2005

Sprint Continues to Provide Relay Services to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Florida

From: Sprint - Mar 7, 2005

Media Contact:
Stephanie Taliaferro, 913-794-3658


Sprint Continues to Provide Relay Services to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Florida

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – March 7, 2005 – Building on a four-year relationship, Sprint (NYSE: FON) will continue to provide assistive communications services to individuals within Florida who are deaf or hard of hearing or have a speech disability through a new three-year contract awarded by the state of Florida. Sprint delivers approximately 750,000 minutes of assistive communications services each month in Florida.

Through the new contract, effective June 1, a one-year trial of Relay Conference Captioning (RCC) will be available. RCC, developed by Caption Colorado, is a free service that combines real-time captioning and standard relay service to provide relay conference captioning calls for deaf and hard of hearing individuals. By using an Internet Text Streaming platform supported by skilled captioners, RCC provides highly accurate real-time captioned text for any live conference call.

In June 2005, Sprint will open a new relay service center in Jacksonville, Fla., which will be dedicated to support Sprint RelaySM traffic in Florida. The new center will employ approximately 160 individuals who will serve as communication assistants, the intermediary for communications between a deaf user and a hearing party. Sprint also will employ an account manager who will be dedicated to serving and educating the Florida community about relay services.

"Assisting those who are deaf and hard of hearing to communicate effectively with family and friends and for business purposes through a variety of options is important to Sprint," said Mike Ligas, region vice president – Sprint Relay. "We've enjoyed a long relationship with the state of Florida and are now excited to bring additional services and new jobs to the community."

Since March 2004, CapTel Relay Service (Captioned Telephone), developed by Ultratec, Inc., has been available for those who are hard of hearing or have experienced hearing loss later in life or deaf individuals with good vocalization skills. CapTel allows nearly simultaneous voice and text captioning via a special, CapTel-equipped phone using a standard telephone line. The captions are displayed on the CapTel phone's built-in screen so the user can read the words while listening to the other party's voice.

Sprint's traditional relay service (TRS) is accessible throughout Florida by dialing 711 or one of several toll-free numbers. Florida citizens who are deaf, hard of hearing or deaf-blind or have a speech disability will continue to receive seamless communication with hearing persons on the phone through TRS, which involves a relay operator serving as an intermediary for phone calls between a deaf user and a hearing party. The TRS operator speaks words typed by a deaf user on a text telephone (TTY) or via the Internet and relays the hearing person's spoken response by typing back to the deaf user.

Sprint also offers Video Relay Service (VRS), which uses a similar process but enables the deaf user to communicate in American Sign Language through a video interpreter via a computer or television monitor equipped with a Web camera or videophone instead of typing. This allows for a much more natural-sounding conversation with the hearing party. Floridians may access VRS through, or with a D-Link videophone (used with television monitors) by entering the IP address ''. This service is currently funded by the Interstate TRS fund.

About Sprint Relay
Sprint provides FCC-compliant relay services for the federal government, 30 states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and New Zealand. Sprint Relay began in 1990 and provides state-of-the-art technology, a full range of features, and highly trained, professional staff to ensure users can communicate easily and effectively every time they place a relay call. Relay service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with no restrictions on the number of calls placed or call length. Information about Sprint Relay services is available at

Sprint Government Systems Division ( is based in Herndon, Va., and offers the full range of Sprint product and service offerings for federal and state government customers.

About Sprint
Sprint offers an extensive range of innovative communication products and solutions, including global IP, wireless, local and multiproduct bundles. A Fortune 100 company with more than $27 billion in annual revenues in 2004, Sprint is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying state-of-the-art network technologies, including the United States' first nationwide all-digital, fiber-optic network; an award-winning Tier 1 Internet backbone; and one of the largest 100-percent digital, nationwide wireless networks in the United States. For more information, visit