Hawk Relay Proposes New Deaf-Blind Relay Service
Hawk Relay has a petition before the FCC requesting they allow reimbursement of relay services geared towards deaf-blind people. Deaf-blind people are left out of access to telecommunications–even with the presence of Telecommunications Relay Services and Video Relay Services. This new service would allow deaf-blind people to join mainstream America in enjoying the ease and convenience of telecommunications.
Sioux Falls, SD (PRWEB) May 18, 2007 — Hawk Relay today submitted a proposal to the Federal Communications Commission for a new Deaf Blind Relay Service which would effectively plug in the final gap in the continuum of
relay services that is required by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
To date, deaf and hard of hearing people have enjoyed access to the telephone network via Telecommunications Relay Services utilizing text telephones and then, more recently, via Internet-based TRS and also via Video Relay Services. These enhancements have served to empower a large percentage of the deaf and hard of hearing community–except those who are deaf and blind. As Sam Hawk, President of Hawk Relay, states, “Many
deaf-blind people communicate most effectively through either tactile or up-close sign communication. Obviously, both these options are not available with traditional TRS or VRS. Therefore, we at Hawk Relay felt we needed to
develop an innovative solution which enables deaf-blind people to join the telecommunications mainstream.”
Jamie Pope, the Executive Director of the American Association of the Deaf-Blind, adds, “As a national voice for Americans with dual hearing and vision loss, the AADB gives two ‘thumbs up’ for Hawk Relay’s effort to open
the doors to full telephone access by deaf-blind individuals. It is time that no deaf-blind be left behind in the wonderful world of telecommunications.”
Hawk Relay’s DBRS will work by utilizing Communication Facilitators who are physically present with the deaf-blind user and act as the go-between for the deaf-blind person and the hearing person they are conversing with on the
telephone. Communication Facilitators will be housed at ten different regional DBRS Centers across the nation, as well as will be dispatched to the deaf-blind user’s location–be it office, home, library, or other place.
“We at Hawk Relay hope the FCC moves expeditiously with this proposal,” Hawk continues. “We are ready to almost immediately begin providing this service,
pending FCC approval. After all, we are talking about upwards of 60 or 70 thousand deaf-blind people who are not able to effectively utilize the telephone network–even more than 15 years after ADA-mandated TRS services
began to be established.”
Hawk Relay was established in 2006 and provides VRS and internet-based TRS services. Its mission is to provide deaf and hard of hearing people with the necessary tools to achieve full and equal telecommunications access.
This is a great step fowards technology equality for the Deaf-Blind. I knew Sam Hawk from when he was an assistant to the director of Campus Activities. I applaud him and his company for being the very first Relay service to step forward and fight alongside us. I look forward to the result.
Thanks to Ronise for the heads-up.