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SPRINT OPENS RELAY COMMUNICATIONS CENTER IN SACRAMENTO

 SPRINT OPENS RELAY COMMUNICATIONS CENTER IN SACRAMENTO
 KANSAS CITY, Mo., March 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Sprint (NYSE: FON) announced it will begin providing complete telephone communication service to Californians who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech- impaired through its new relay center in Sacramento, Calif., on March 11.
 When California Relay Service (CRS) begins full operations, Sprint will process more relay calls than any other service provider in the industry. The company began converting traffic to its network on Feb. 27.
 The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) awarded the relay service contract to Sprint in October 1991, based largely on a recommendation by the Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program Administrative Committee (DDTPAC). AT&T was the previous relay service provider.
 "The DDTPAC-Sprint contract marks a victory for DDTPAC and the California deaf community," said Gerald "Bummy" Burstein, DDTPAC chairman. "The DDTPAC was the first consumer group in the nation to envision a statewide professional telephone service for the deaf, hard of hearing and speech-impaired.
 "It has taken us five years to bring this telephone relay program to the level of excellence now anticipated from the Sprint service," Burstein said. "At our urging, during these five years, the CPUC formed powerful oversight committees that focus on consumer involvement and vendor accountability. Last year this foresight resulted in the development of a 'Request For a Proposal' (RFP) that now is being used by other states as a guide to quality relay service.
 "We are impressed that Sprint has promised a level of quality beyond that demanded in this RFP, and we expect California to be a model for the nation," Burstein said.
 To communicate with the relay center, customers who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech-impaired will use a Text Telephone (TT) to type their messages. A specially trained relay agent will view the typed message and communicate it to the hearing party. The agent then will listen to the verbal response, convert it into written form, and relay it back through the TT system.
 Users of the service will not be billed for calls placed in their local service area. Charges for long distance calls will be billed at a special discounted rate. Callers can reach the center by dialing toll-free 1-800-735-2929 (TT) or 1-800-735-2922 (voice).
 "Sprint is pleased to provide such an important service to California residents who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech- impaired," said Dan Evanoff, Sprint's senior vice president -- Diversified Brands. "Our company won this contract because we convinced the CPUC that we could provide relay service better than anyone else, but now we'll be able to prove our service commitment to our customers."
 There will be no restrictions on the length or number of calls placed through CRS. All calls will be transported over the Sprint fiber-optic network. Monthly call volumes have been averaging about 300,000, according to Evanoff.
 The center, located at 1625 North Market Blvd. in The Old Arco Arena, is equipped with state-of-the-art technology and will be operational 24 hours each day. More than 400 Sprint relay agents and other personnel will be employed at the facility.
 In addition to California, Sprint provides relay service to Colorado, Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Texas. The company is scheduled to begin service to Oregon and South Carolina in April.
 Sprint is a diversified international telecommunications company with $8.8 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, and local telephone services to more than four million subscriber lines in 17 states.
 -0- 3/10/92
 /CONTACT: Steve Dykes, 202-828-7435 or, after hours, 703-242-1769; or Angela Peacock, 202-828-7415 or, after hours, 301-564-4984, both of Sprint/
 (FON) CO: Sprint ST: California IN: TLS SU:


SB -- DC010 -- 6769 03/10/92 10:03 EST
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Date:Mar 10, 1992
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