New Vendor Selected for MassRelay Telephone Service for People Who Have Hearing or Speech Disabilities

PITTSFIELD, Mass. - Massachusetts residents who have hearing or speech disabilities received some good news Monday (April 21) as Verizon announced its choice of a new vendor for the MassRelay telephone service.

Verizon has awarded a five-year contract to Hamilton Relay Service to operate the MassRelay service, effective July 1. The service enables hearing people to communicate by phone with people who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech-disabled.

Hamilton Relay will open a relay center here at 703 W. Housatonic St. and is hiring a staff of 50 full-time professionals who will provide the relay service.

"The MassRelay service makes it possible for thousands of people who are deaf, hard of hearing, late-deafened, or living with a speech disability to use the telephone and provides opportunities for full engagement with the world around them," said Heidi Reed, commissioner of the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. "All of us at the commission look forward to working with Hamilton Relay and to continued excellence in telephone relay services for residents of Massachusetts."

Hamilton Relay will provide its own staff, equipment, call center and service platform. MassRelay users will be able to continue to use the same telephone numbers (711 or 800-439-0183) and customer profiles.

Hamilton Relay has been working closely with the Economic Development Council of Western Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Office of Business Development to locate the relay center in Pittsfield.

Users with questions or concerns can post them on the MassRelay Web site: www.massrelay.com.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving nearly 66 million customers nationwide.  Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world, and Verizon Telecom, which brings customers the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of nearly 235,000 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of $93.5 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.