Bell Atlantic Offers 7-1-1 Dialing For Telecommunications Relay Service in Massachusetts

Bell Atlantic Offers 7-1-1 Dialing
For Telecommunications Relay Service in

Commonwealth is Second in the Continental United States
With Three-Digit Dialing for Relay Service

Feb. 24, 2000


John Johnson,
617 743-3677

BOSTON, -- Starting tomorrow, it will be easier for Bell
Atlantic's Massachusetts customers to reach Telecommunications Relay
Service (TRS). All they'll need to do is dial three digits - 7-1-1.

Relay service allows people who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech
impaired and use text telephones (TTYs) to communicate over the
telephone network with people using standard telephones. The service is
offered through the combined efforts of Massachusetts Relay and Bell

Massachusetts joins Hawaii and Maryland as the only states that have 7-1-
1 dialing for relay service. Every state in the Bell Atlantic region will
have three-digit access to relay service by the end of the year.

Calls made using relay service are answered by operators. These operators
connect a person using a TTY with a standard phone user. Similarly,
standard phone users rely on the relay service to call friends, relatives,
business associates and others who communicate with a TTY.

A Massachusetts relay operator relays the conversation between the two.
The relay operator is trained to help conversations flow accurately and
with ease, and all calls are handled with the strictest confidentiality. There
is no limit on the number of times someone can use the service, which is
available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The current Massachusetts relay number, 1-800-439-2370 for TTY calls
and 1-800-439-0183 for voice calls, will continue to be available for calls
within the Commonwealth. However, all callers from outside the state
must use the "800" toll-free number.

This initiative is further evidence of Bell Atlantic's long-standing national
leadership in developing innovative solutions for the deaf and hard of
hearing communities.

Policies on telephone services for deaf and hard of hearing customers vary
across the country. The deaf and hard of hearing communities have asked
for a simpler way to access telecommunications relay services, and the
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has reserved 7-1-1 for that
purpose. Now, the FCC is examining setting national guidelines
governing the implementation of the service.

Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and information
industry. With nearly 44 million telephone access lines and 12 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 23 countries.