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November 1, 2006

Captioned Telephone Service Coming Soon To Hard Of Hearing And Deaf Community

From: Sprint - Nov 1, 2006

Media Contact:
Sukhi Sahni, 703-592-7779


OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – Nov. 1, 2006 – The New York Public Service Commission, New York Relay and Sprint (NYSE: S) today announce that the New York Relay Captioned Telephone Service will be available beginning Jan. 1, 2007. The New York Relay Captioned Telephone Service is an assistive technology aimed at easing communications for the more than 24 million Americans who are hard of hearing, have experienced hearing loss later in life or deaf individuals who prefer to use their own voice.

In July 2006, the New York Commission approved captioned telephone service. New York Public Service Commission Chairman William M. Flynn noted that New York's proposed rollout of 300 captioned phones per month would be the largest monthly installation rate of the service in the country.

Lou Piazza, New York Relay administrator, added, “New York Relay is pleased to come to agreement with Sprint to add Captioned Telephone to the variety of services provided by the New York Relay today.”

The New York Relay Captioned Telephone Service is a leading-edge technology developed by Ultratec, Inc. of Madison, Wis., that also requires a special CapTelTM-equipped phone in order to place a call to the New York Relay Captioned Telephone Service. The CapTel phone works like any traditional phone with callers talking and listening to each other, but with one very significant difference – captions are provided live for every call. The captions are displayed on the CapTel phone’s built-in screen so the user can read the words while listening to the voice of the other party. This allows conversations to flow more naturally, allowing for normal interruptions and expressed emotions. Captioned Telephone services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, and there is no charge for the service.

“Partnering with the New York Public Service Commission and New York Relay to offer Captioned Telephone Service is important to our strategy of providing communications options for individuals who are hard of hearing or deaf,” said Mike Ligas, director of Sprint Relay. “Captioned Telephone service is appealing for many individuals as it allows them to communicate more naturally with family and friends.”

CapTel phones are available on a first-come, first-served basis, one per household at a cost of $99 each. This includes a no-risk 90-day guarantee; if individuals are not completely satisfied, the phone can be returned within 90 days for a full refund. For questions regarding the New York Relay Captioned Telephone or the order process or to receive an order form, please contact 800-233-9130 V/TTY. Individuals may also learn more on the Web at or 

How CapTel works
As the user dials the phone number of the person they wish to call, the CapTel phone automatically routes their call through the Captioned Telephone call center and connects them to their called party. At the call center, a specially trained operator uses a customized voice-recognition computer and re-voices whatever is said by the called party. The voice-recognition software transcribes the operator’s voice into captions that appear on the bright display screen on the CapTel phone for the user to read. The user also hears the other party’s voice on the phone to the best of their ability, just like any other amplified phone.

New York Relay services are funded by all the regulated telecommunications companies that operate in the state of New York. Sprint has been providing relay service in the state of New York since 1997.

Sprint Relay Portfolio of Services
Sprint has 16 years of experience in providing relay services to persons who are deaf, hard of hearing or deaf-blind or have a speech disability to communicate with hearing persons on the phone. Sprint’s experience in the field assures users of Sprint Relay receive quality service no matter what type of Relay service they are using. 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 bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including two robust wireless networks serving more than 51 million customers at the end of third quarter 2006; 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