Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) in the USA
The TRS in the USA started as a voluntary effort in the 1970’s and expanded through the 1980’s. California became the first state to require mandated provision of the TRS which was subsidized by a surcharge on every telephone subscriber’s telephone bill in the state. As a result of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, TRS became mandated for every state and territory by July 26, 1993.
Some of the following is from the Federal Communication Commission’s Fact Sheet website at http://ftp.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/trs.html
How does TRS work?
TRS uses operators, called ‘communications assistants’ (CAs) to facilitate telephone calls for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or late deafened, or people with speech disabilities. The FCC rules require telephone companies to provide TRS nationwide on a 24 hour a day, 7 days a week basis, at no extra call to callers. Conversations are relayed in real-time and CAs are not permitted to disclose the content of any converstion. Relay callers are not limited in the type, length, or nature of their calls.