Florida’s Public Service Commission (PSC) today approved a reduced annual budget for Florida Telecommunications Relay, Inc. (FTRI), keeping the monthly surcharge—applied to landline customer bills—at its current 10 cents. FTRI administers the Florida Relay System (FRS) that provides basic telecommunications access to Florida citizens who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, or speech impaired.
The PSC reduced FTRI’s proposed budget by almost $60,000, decreasing its legal and insurance expenses, and authorized the transfer of $261,469 from its Reserve Account to cover any projected budget shortfall. Florida law requires the PSC to approve an annual FTRI budget.
“FRS provides a vital service to keep Florida’s deaf, hard-of-hearing, or speech-impaired consumers connected to family, friends, and businesses,” said PSC Chairman Art Graham. “Today’s budget reductions are a step in the right direction to better position FTRI to operate within a changing telecommunications industry, and also meet the needs of those depending on them.”
Available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the FRS 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. Sprint Communications Company, L.P., is the current FRS provider.
FTRI is a non-profit organization which contracts with 28 Florida regional distribution centers to assist consumers with specialized phone needs. For information on how to obtain the special equipment, call FTRI at 1-800-222-3448 (Voice) or 1-888-447-5620 (Text Telephone/TTY) or visit ftri.org.
For additional information, visit floridapsc.com.