Florida PSC and FTRI discuss new technology use to benefit Floridians with speech or hearing disabilities


TALLAHASSEE — On Feb. 16, the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) met with Florida Telecommunications Relay, Inc. (FTRI) representatives and disability advocates to discuss how to improve access to the telecommunication services that are made available to Floridians with speech or hearing disabilities.

FTRI is a non-profit organization which contracts with 27 Florida regional distribution centers to assist consumers with specialized phone needs. The PSC approves the annual budget for FTRI, the non-profit that administers the Florida Relay System, which provides basic telecommunications access to Florida citizens with speech or hearing disabilities.

The Commission meeting included a discussion about how to best incorporate new technology into the current equipment distribution program. Commissioners also discussed ways to improve online access to program information for customers who do not have access to a phone line.

“With COVID 19 impacting how all of us communicate, the need for better telecommunication services is even more apparent for those with disabilities,” said PSC Commissioner Andrew Giles Fay. “I believe some of the proposed changes discussed today will provide consumers with greater access to friends, family, and other essential services in addition to better opportunities for employment.”

Available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the Florida Relay System facilitates telephone calls between people with hearing loss or speech disabilities and other individuals by using specialized equipment and a communications assistance operator to relay information.

For additional information, visit www.floridapsc.com.

Follow the PSC on Twitter, @floridapsc.