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Federal Communications Commission
445 12th St., SW
Washington, D.C. 20554
News media information 202 / 418-0500
Internet: http://www.fcc.gov
TTY: 1-888-835-5322

DA 02-756
Released: April 3, 2002


The Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau (CGB) of the Federal Communications Commission invites interested persons to a Public Forum and Technology Expo on Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) on Friday, May 3, 2002, from 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. in the Commission Meeting Room (Room TW-C305) and adjacent rooms, at 445 12th St., SW, Washington, DC 20554.

The purpose of this Forum and Expo is for TRS administrators, consumers, providers, and Commission staff to share information on, among other things, the current state of TRS, renewal of state TRS certifications and new TRS technologies. The Forum will offer an opportunity for everyone, including consumers and industry representatives, to exchange ideas with the Commission and TRS administrators and to have their comments become part of the formal public record in CC Docket 98-67. In conjunction with the Forum, the CGB will hold a Technology Expo to showcase TRS and other accessibility technologies.

The Forum agenda is tentatively as follows:

9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Technology Expo
10:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. Opening Remarks
10:30 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. Status of TRS and Current Issues
11:15 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Renewal of State TRS Certifications
12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. Expo Demonstrations (Lunch Break)
1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. Panel on TRS Technologies for the 21st Century
2:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Open Microphone
3:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Expo Demonstrations

TRS now utilizes a variety of services to facilitate telephone communication between persons with hearing or speech disabilities and persons who use voice telephones. Relay services between TTY and voice users utilize a relay operator, called a Communications Assistant (CA), to read what the TTY user types to a voice telephone user, and to type responses back to the TTY user throughout the duration of a telephone call. Speech-to-speech (STS) relay utilizes CAs trained in understanding certain speech patterns to relay conversations for people with speech disabilities. Video relay services (VRS) utilize CAs skilled in sign language to relay conversations for users of American Sign Language.

The Forum will provide an opportunity for a full exchange of ideas on the status of TRS. While time constraints limit the number of individuals who may make in-person presentations at the Forum, we encourage all interested individuals to submit written ex parte submissions, by May 10, 2002.

Ex parte submissions may be filed using the Commission's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) or by filing paper copies. See Electronic Filing of Documents in Rulemaking Proceedings, 63 Fed. Reg. 24121 (1998).

Submissions filed through the ECFS can be sent as an electronic file via the Internet to <http://www.fcc.gov/e-file/ecfs.html>. Generally, only one copy of an electronic submission must be filed. In completing the transmittal screen, commenters should include their full name, U. S. Postal Service mailing address, and the applicable docket or rulemaking number. Parties may also submit an electronic comment by Internet e-mail. To get filing instructions for e-mail comments, commenters should send an e-mail to ecfs@fcc.gov, and should include the following words in the body of the message, "get form <your e-mail address>." A sample form and directions will be sent in reply. Parties who choose to file by paper must file an original and four copies of each filing. All filings must be addressed to the Commission's Acting Secretary, William F. Caton, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20554. Filings can be sent first class by the US Postal Service, by an overnight courier or hand and messenger-delivered. Hand and messenger-delivered paper filings must be delivered to 236 Massachusetts Avenue, N.E., Suite 110, Washington, DC 20002. Overnight courier (other than U.S. Postal Service Express Mail and Priority Mail) must be sent to 9300 East Hampton Drive, Capitol Heights, MD 20743.

Those unable to attend the Forum can watch and listen to it live over the Internet with open captioning in Real Audio/Real Video format at: <http://www.fcc.gov/realaudio/> or hear it via telephone, for a fee, from National Narrowcast Network, (202) 966-2211 (voice/TRS) or (202) 966-1770 (fax). Individuals can send their views and/or questions before or during the Forum to: TRSFORUM@fcc.gov (e-mail). The e-mails should have the heading, "Ex Parte Submission in CC Docket 98-67." These views will be included in the record of the TRS proceeding.

A transcript of the forum will be available 10 business days after the event on the FCC's Internet site at the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau web page at <http://www.fcc.gov/cgb>. Transcripts may also be obtained from the FCC's duplicating contractor, Qualex International, 445 12th St., S.W., Room CY-B402, Washington, DC 20554, telephone 202-863-2893, facsimile 202-863-2898, or via e-mail qualexint@aol.com.

Audio and video tapes of the forum be purchased from Infocus, 341 Victory Drive, Herndon, VA 20170, by calling Infocus at (703) 834-0100 or by faxing Infocus at (703) 834-0111.

Sign language interpretation, open captioning and assistive listening devices will be provided. Meeting agenda and handout materials will be provided in accessible formats. The meeting site is fully accessible to people using wheelchairs or other mobility aids. Copies of the transcript in other alternative formats (computer diskette, large print, and Braille) are available to persons with disabilities by contacting Brian Millin (202) 418-7426 voice, (202) 418-7365 TTY, or bmillin@fcc.gov. Send requests for other reasonable accommodations to fcc504@fcc.gov, or contact Helen Chang, Section 504 Officer, 202-418- 0424, 202-418-0432 TTY, or hchang@fcc.gov.

For more information about the TRS Forum or Technology Expo, including how to exhibit at the Expo, please contact Suzanne Perrin at (202) 418-2874 (voice), (202) 418-1085 (TTY), or sperrin@fcc.gov.