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WISCONSIN CHOOSES MCI AND SOCIETY'S ASSETS TO PROVIDE RELAY SERVICES FOR DEAF, HARD OF HEARING AND SPEECH IMPAIRED

WISCONSIN CHOOSES MCI AND SOCIETY'S ASSETS TO PROVIDE RELAY SERVICES FOR
 DEAF, HARD OF HEARING AND SPEECH IMPAIRED
 MADISON, Wis., June 8 /PRNewswire/ -- The State of Wisconsin has chosen MCI Communications Corporation (NASDAQ: MCIC) to provide relay services that will allow deaf, hard of hearing and speech impaired residents for the first time to place telephone calls anywhere in the country and internationally.
 Under a $15 million, five-year contract awarded by the state's Department of Administration MCI will team with Society's Assets Inc., the Racine, Wis.-based non-profit center for independent living, to provide telecommunications relay services (TRS) for Wisconsin's deaf, hard of hearing and speech impaired residents.
 This service allows users of text telephones to communicate via communications assistants employed by a relay center to users of standard voice phones, and vice versa. Previously, text telephone users could send messages only to other users of text telephones or through the local message relay services. The message relay services have been restricted due to funding and technology limitations. (Text telephones are devices with keyboards, screens and acoustic couplers, and are also known as telecommunications devices for the deaf, TDDs.)
 "The TRS service being implemented by the State of Wisconsin will open a whole new world to residents who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired," Gov. Tommy Thompson said. "Disabilities no longer will preclude them from full use of their telephones. Effective August 1, all residents, regardless of a hearing or speech impairment, will be able to access the standard telecommunications network in a functionally equivalent manner."
 According to James Klauser, secretary of the state's Department of Administration, the TRS will be available 24-hours a day, seven days a week to Wisconsin residents, and meets or exceeds the requirements identified in the Americans With Disabilities Act. "The TRS will be available to people who do not need a text telephone for everyday calling needs, therefore this service is for everyone, not just people who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired."
 "This service will enhance the quality of life for all of Wisconsin's citizens," said Jack Reich, MCI's vice president of large accounts. "MCI's track record of superior products, service and technology, combined with Society's Assets' expertise in providing human services to the deaf community, will make TRS a beneficial service."
 "We are very excited about being able to offer Wisconsin residents the first fully accessible, comprehensive telecommunications relay service," said Bruce Nelsen, executive director of Society's Assets Inc.
 MCI, headquartered in Washington, D.C., offers a full range of domestic and global telecommunications services through one of the world's largest all-digital networks. The company, with 1991 revenue of approximately $9.5 billion, is the second largest long distance provider in the United States and has more than 60 overseas offices in 55 countries.
 -0- 6/8/92
 /CONTACT: Pam Wegner, 608-267-7996, or Tom Sanew, 608-267-0613, both of the State of Wisconsin; Rick Aspan of MCI, 312-938-4732; or Bruce Nelsen of Society's Assets, 414-637-9128/
 (MCIC) CO: MCI Communications Corporation; State of Wisconsin; Society's
 Assets Inc. ST: Wisconsin; Washington D.C. IN: TLS SU: JVN


AL -- MN013 -- 8009 06/08/92 14:44 EDT
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Date:Jun 8, 1992
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