Bell Atlantic Begins Relay Service for Hispanic Community
Service Allows the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing to Talk on Telephones
November 17, 1997
WASHINGTON -- "Hola. Es un placer hablar con usted. [Hello. It's a
pleasure speaking to you.]
Hispanics living in the District who are deaf or hard-of-hearing will
be able to use the telephone to receive these words using Bell
Atlantic's new Spanish Relay Center.
The free service allows anyone-the hearing, deaf, deaf-blind or
hard-of-hearing-to communicate by phone in Spanish.
"We're meeting the needs of a growing Hispanic community," said
William M. Freeman, president and CEO of Bell Atlantic - Washington.
"Our English-speaking relay center handles close to 40,000 calls a
month. Now, the Spanish Relay Center enables us to serve even more
people, and we're providing the service at no cost to customers."
Bell Atlantic will not raise rates to pay for the center, Freeman
Telecommunications Relay Service [TRS] allows people to use phones or
typewriter-like devises linked to telephones, called text-telephones
or TTYs, to call Bell Atlantic's relay center. Communications
assistants in the relay center connect callers with the person they
want to reach, and then serve as a translator during the call.
A hearing person can use the relay center to contact someone who is
deaf or hard-of-hearing. When they call, a communications assistant
completes the call to the other party and types messages in Spanish on
a TTY or personal computer [PC].
Deaf or hard-of-hearing people also can initiate calls to the relay
center using TTYs or PCs. The communications assistant will use a
telephone to call people who can hear. While the person initiating
the call can communicate in English or Spanish, the communications
assistant will always relay the message in Spanish.
"This creates another wonderful opportunity for those of us who can
hear to communicate with deaf and hard-of hearing people," Freeman
said. "And this is a wonderful way to respond to the unique needs of
the entire Washington, D.C. community."
TTY or PC users who wish to communicate in Spanish should dial
1-800-546-7111. Hearing customers can use any phone to call the relay
center on 1-800-546-5111.
Bell Atlantic's new Spanish Relay Center handles all outgoing local,
national and international calls originating in the District of
Columbia, and local calls originating in Maryland and Virginia that
terminate in the District.
The Americans with Disabilities Act requires TRS to be available
nationwide. Bell Atlantic's English-speaking relay service began in
the District in May 1992.
The new Bell Atlantic - formed through the merger of Bell Atlantic and
NYNEX - is at the forefront of the new communications, information and
entertainment industry. With 40 million telephone access lines and
5.8 million wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are
premier providers of advanced wireline voice and data services, market
leaders in wireless services and the world's largest publishers of
directory information. Bell Atlantic companies are also among the
world's largest investors in high-growth global communications
markets, with operations and investments in 21 countries.