American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

FCC Raises Standards for Speech-to-Speech Relay Service

(July 25, 2013)

During its July meeting, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) raised the standards for providers of Speech-to-Speech (STS) Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) in order to improve the experience for persons with a speech disability who need the service to make telephone calls using their own voices assistive voice devices. The order amends certain mandatory minimum standards to improve STS TRS. In addition, the FCC has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking and is seeking comments to improve efficiency of services in a number of areas, including whether to adopt other recommendations made by consumers to improve STS TRS for its users.

Background

Speech-to-Speech uses specially trained operators, Communications Assistants or "Cas," to relay a conversation back and forth between the individual with the speech disability and the other party on the call. Communications Assistants are trained to understand a variety of speech disorders; that knowledge enables them to repeat what the caller says in a manner that makes the caller's words clear and understandable to the other party.

Resources

For more information, visit the FCC's website or contact Catherine D. Clarke, ASHA's director of education and regulatory advocacy, at cclarke@asha.org or 800-498-2071, ext. 5611.


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