IM this article to a friend!

November 22, 2005

Sprint Nextel News Release: Sprint Brings new relay Service enhancements to the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Community

From: Sprint Nextel - Nov 22, 2005

Media Contact:
Jennifer Bosshardt, 913-794-1130

Sprint Brings new relay Service enhancements to the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Community

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – Nov. 22, 2005 – Extending its leadership as the nation’s largest Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) provider, Sprint (NYSE: S) announced today that it is offering more choice and flexibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community through enhancements to Sprint IP Relay and Sprint Video Relay Service.

Today, Sprint IP Relay, an Internet relay service, launched a more user-friendly layout, a shorter Web address and faster user connectivity. On Nov. 1, Sprint launched two new Video Relay Service (VRS) enhancements to support sign language users, Sprint VRS Voice Carry Over (VCO) and Spanish VRS, and extended its VRS hours to 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“Sprint continually strives to augment its relay services to better meet customer needs and make them easier to use,” said Mike Ligas, director of Sprint Relay. “With the enhancements to Sprint IP Relay and Video Relay Services – two already popular assistive services, Sprint Relay is now more accessible to more people with more options for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community.”

Sprint IP Relay
Sprint IP Relay is a free service that allows people who are deaf or hard of hearing to enjoy the ease of communicating with hearing individuals from any computer without having to use traditional TTY equipment.

The new Web site,, offers convenient new features for customers as they use Sprint IP Relay, such as:
* Resizable windows to better manage multiple views on the computer screen
* Expansion to other browsers, such as Netscape and FireFox
* Ability to store user preferences, such as font sizes and colors
* Availability on other operating systems, including Mac computers


Sprint VRS VCO and Spanish VRS
Sprint VRS VCO allows a deaf or hard-of-hearing user, who prefers to voice for themselves, to speak directly to their party while a video interpreter signs what the hearing person is saying. Based on the VCO user’s communication preference, the video interpreter will use American Sign Language, English-based Sign Language or an English-based Sign Language (close up) option for those that benefit from speech reading to process their VRS call.

Through Spanish VRS, video interpreters can now translate sign language to spoken Spanish and vice versa. Operating hours for Spanish VRS are 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Central time, Monday through Friday.

Sprint VRS, now available any time day or night, enables users who use sign language to communicate via videoconferencing with a video interpreter through the Internet. The interpreter relays the signed conversation over a standard phone in real time to the hearing caller. By using sign language over the full-motion video, the sign language user can communicate in their natural language and convey facial expression and cues to ensure nothing gets lost in the translation. The sign language user needs a videophone with a television or a Web cam with a computer.

For more information on Sprint Video Relay Service, visit To access VRS VCO and Spanish VRS:
* Videophone users: or
* Web cam users: and click on VCO or Spanish

In addition, on Nov. 15 the company announced that Verizon Delaware has awarded a three-year TRS contract to Sprint to provide assistive communications services for deaf and hearing or speech-impaired customers. Effective Dec. 31, Sprint will replace AT&T as Delaware’s official provider of TRS. With the Delaware contract win, Sprint now offers relay services through an intelligent platform in 32 states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, New Zealand and to the federal government.

Sprint Relay Portfolio of Services
Sprint has more than 15 years of experience in providing relay services to persons who are deaf, hard of hearing or deaf-blind, or who have a speech disability to communicate with hearing persons on the phone. Sprint’s experience in the field provides the assurance that all Sprint Relay services will meet or exceed Federal Communications Commission requirements for telecommunications relay services (TRS). Relay service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with no restrictions on the number of calls placed or call length. For more information, visit


About Sprint Nextel
Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services to consumer, business and government customers. Sprint Nextel is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including two robust wireless networks offering industry leading mobile data services; instant national and international walkie-talkie capabilities; and an award-winning and global Tier 1 Internet backbone. For more information, visit