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November 15, 2006

New Service for Those with Reduced Hearing in Rhode Island

From: Hamilton Relay - Nov 15, 2006

For Immediate Release

Contact: Beth Slough, 402-694-3656 v/TTY
TRS Contract Manager/Senior Editor
Hamilton Relay, Inc.

The Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission Awards Contract to Hamilton to Provide Telecommunications Relay Service

On October 6th the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission (PUC) awarded Hamilton Telecommunications the contract to provide Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) to Rhode Island. This is the second consecutive contract the PUC has awarded to Hamilton Telecommunications.

"Hamilton will continue to deliver reliable service, advanced technology, many features and services, and complete customization and responsiveness, while ensuring the provision of high quality relay service Rhode Island consumers have grown accustomed to. Hamilton will work to meet the needs of individuals who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing or Speech Disabled in Rhode Island," says Dixie Ziegler, Vice President of Hamilton Relay.

The PUC has approved an important upgrade to the Rhode Island Relay Service. The PUC’s commitment to quality service will result in Hamilton offering a new statewide service for individuals with hearing loss.

New Service for Those with Reduced Hearing in Rhode Island
On November 1st the State of Rhode Island began offering a new service designed for individuals who have difficulty hearing on the telephone. CapTelTM is a captioned telephone service similar to the closed captioning provided on most television programs.
CapTel is a new technology developed by Ultratec, Inc., Madison, Wisconsin that allows individuals with hearing loss to view word-for-word captions of their telephone conversations. This device is perfect for individuals who have understandable speech but do not hear well over the phone.

Similar to a traditional telephone, the CapTel phone allows hard of hearing callers to talk and listen to individuals using a traditional phone. While listening to the voice of the other party, the CapTel phone also allows the user to read word for word captions of the other party’s conversation on the CapTel’s built-in screen.. Captions are provided by a specially trained operator who "re-voices" everything heard from the hearing user into the voice-recognition technology, converting speech into text so that it can be read on the CapTel phone’s screen. The captions appear almost simultaneously with the spoken word, allowing CapTel users to understand everything that is said - either by hearing it or by reading it. CapTel allows individuals who are hard of hearing the ability to enjoy natural flowing, interactive conversations. The CapTel phone features adjustable levels of amplification (up to an additional 35 dB that work in conjunction with a hearing aid’s telecoil) along with simultaneously transmitted captions for complete confidence. The CapTel is not a TTY; rather it is a telephone designed to allow the user to have natural back and forth conversations with the support of captions.

"Hamilton Relay constantly strives to provide customers with the latest developments in telecommunications and technology, resulting in services that are functionally equivalent to traditional telephone services. Hamilton is pleased to offer this level of service to its customers and state relay program in Rhode Island," says Ziegler.

To apply for a CapTel phone:
The Rhode Island Adaptive Telephone Equipment Program (ATEL) provides equipment to qualified individuals who have hearing and/or speech disabilities, or who suffer from neuromuscular damage or disease, enabling them to use the telephone. The CapTel telephone was added to the ATEL program on November 1st. Beginning January 1, 2007, qualification to receive assistive telecommunications equipment will be based on income so now is the time to get your CapTel telephone! Individuals interested in receiving a CapTel phone are strongly encouraged to immediately sign up to receive a CapTel phone now before the guidelines change. For more information on how to sign up to receive a CapTel phone, contact:

Denise Corson, Program Coordinator
(401) 276-0875 Voice
(401) 861-6677 TTY

Mitchell Levy, Account Manager
Rhode Island Relay
1-866-703-5485 Voice/TTY

About Hamilton Relay
Hamilton Relay offers a variety of services including Internet Relay, Video Relay, Wireless Relay and CapTel. All services are available at Hamilton Relay also provides traditional relay services to 11 states, the District of Columbia, the Island of Saipan and the Virgin Islands.

About ATEL
The Adaptive Telephone Equipment Loan Program (ATEL) was created under Rhode Island Department of Human Services in the 1980’s. ATEL is designed to provide equipment to qualified individuals who have hearing and/or speech impairments, or who suffer from neuromuscular damage or disease, which inhibit them from using a standard telephone. For answers about the program, applications or for more information about the phone/devices we have available, get in touch with us today or visit our website at

CapTel is a trademark and service mark of Ultratec, Inc.

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