INDEPENDENT NEWS

Relay Services for Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Published: Sun 14 Nov 2004 04:50 PM
New Zealand Relay Services for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing Now Available from Sprint
OVERLAND PARK, Kan., Nov. 12 /PRNewswire-AsiaNet/ --
Beginning Nov. 15, 2004, New Zealand Relay (NZ Relay) services will be available from Sprint (NYSE: FON) for individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech-disabled in New Zealand. In July, the New Zealand Associate Communications Minister David Cunliffe and Disability Issues Minister Ruth Dyson announced that Sprint was chosen to provide NZ Relay and to manage the government-subsidized pool of relay equipment for customers known as textphones.
( Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20001013/SPRINTLOGO )
"We expect most of the estimated 7,000 New Zealanders who are deaf or have a severe hearing or speech impairment will potentially want to make use of the relay service," said Ruth Dyson. "It will give them more independence, access to business and employment opportunities, greater ability to participate in our communities and vital access to services in an emergency."
NZ Relay will help ensure that the telephone communication needs of deaf, hard of hearing and speech-impaired New Zealanders are met. TRS involves a relay assistant serving as an intermediary for telephone conversations between a deaf, hard-of-hearing and speech-disabled person and a hearing party. The NZ Relay Assistant speaks words typed by a deaf user on a text telephone (TTY) and relays the hearing person's spoken response by typing back to the deaf user. New Zealanders now have an opportunity to apply for a textphone. Information is available on the New Zealand Relay Web site at http://www.nzrelay.co.nz or by calling NZ RELAY Textphone/Equipment Services at 0800 4 716 716 TTY or 0800 4 717 717 Voice.
"This has been an exciting few months as we've prepared to offer relay services in New Zealand," said Mike Ligas, region vice president - Sprint Relay. "We've experienced first hand the importance of relay services to help individuals communicate more effectively with family and friends and to transact business. We're anxious to see the tremendous impact relay services will have on the lives of those who are deaf or hard of hearing in New Zealand."
About Sprint Relay
Sprint is a U.S.-based telecommunications service provider with extensive experience as the leading provider of relay services in the U.S. for over 14 years. Sprint also provides relay services in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. For more information on Sprint Relay, visit http://www.sprintrelay.com .
About Sprint Sprint is a global integrated communications provider serving more than 26 million customers in over 100 countries. With more than $26 billion in annual revenues in 2003, Sprint is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying state-of-the-art network technologies, including the United States' first nationwide all-digital, fiber-optic network and an award-winning Tier 1 Internet backbone.
Sprint provides local communications services in 39 states and the District of Columbia and operates the largest 100-percent digital, nationwide PCS wireless network in the United States. For more information, visit http://www.sprint.com .
ENDS

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