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SPRINT, RELAY RHODE ISLAND CELEBRATE ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY

 KANSAS CITY, Mo., July 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Aug. 1 marks the first anniversary of Relay Rhode Island, which provides telephone relay service to people who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech-impaired and to those who want to communicate with them.
 Sprint, Gov. Bruce Sundlun, and Relay Rhode Island's advisory committee will host a ceremony today at 2 p.m. at the State House Executive Chamber Room to celebrate. Sundlin will issue a proclamation.
 The Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission awarded the service contract to Sprint, the industry's largest relay service provider, in May 1991.
 To use Relay Rhode Island, a customer who is deaf, hard of hearing or speech-impaired dials 1-800-745-5555 via their Text Telephone -- also known as a Telecommunications Device for the Deaf, or TT/TDD -- to reach a specially trained communications assistant. The TT/TDD user then types in the name and number of the person they want to call and the communications assistant places the call.
 After the connection is established, the communications assistant views the typed message on a computer terminal and verbally communicates it to the hearing party. The hearing party listens, then responds to the message. The communications assistant then converts the verbal response into written form and relays it back through the TT/TDD system.
 Users of the service are not billed for calls placed in their local service area, while charges for long distance calls are billed at discounted rates. The service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
 "The first year of usage in Rhode Island has been phenomenal," said Dan Evanoff, senior vice president of Sprint's Diversified Brands Group. "Call volumes have increased 201 percent from August 1991, which indicates a great need for telephone access for the approximately 60,000 deaf, hard of hearing, and speech-impaired Rhode Islanders and those who want to communicate with them."
 In addition to Rhode Island, Sprint provides relay service to residents in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming as well as the federal government.
 Sprint (NYSE: FON) is a diversified international telecommunications company with more than $10 billion in annual revenues and the United States' only nationwide all-digital, fiber-optic network. Its divisions provide global long distance voice, data and video products and services, local telephone services to nearly 6 million subscriber lines in 19 states, and cellular operations that serve 42 metropolitan markets and more than 50 rural service areas.
 -0- 7/28/93
 /CONTACT: Steve Dykes, 202-828-7435 or, after hours, 703-242-1769, or Angela Peacock, 202-828-7415 or, after hours, 301-865-3766, both of Sprint/
 (FON)


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KD-TW -- DC015 -- 7197 07/28/93 10:42 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jul 28, 1993
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