Viable Praises FCC and Announces 9-1-1 Calling Methods for ViableVRS

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9-1-1 emergency call handling options announced for deaf and hard of hearing people who use video relay services.

Viable Inc., a provider of video relay services (VRS) for deaf and hard of hearing people, is pleased to announce convenient 9-1-1 options for ViableVRS customers. The FCC required emergency access through Internet-based relay services effective May 21, 2008, a decision that Viable strongly endorses.

(Watch our announcement in American Sign Language at http://www.viable.net/vrs/911)

"I have always said that the quality of life for deaf and hard of hearing people is tied to communication access, and we must thank the FCC for requiring all relay service providers to offer 9-1-1 call handling capability," said John T.C. Yeh, president and founder of Viable. "All our trained interpreters are ready to assist ViableVRS callers with their emergency situations."

People who need to call 9-1-1 via ViableVRS can choose from several connection methods:

  • Dialing 911.ViableVRS.tv via Viable Vision and the VPAD
  • Dialing 911.ViableVRS.tv via D-Link DVC-1000, Sorenson VP-100, or the Ojo
  • Dialing ecall.ViableVRS.tv via Sorenson VP-200

In a VRS call, deaf and hard of hearing people for whom American Sign Language is their native language use video technology to connect to a Video Interpreter (VI), who will dial out to another party then interpret their conversation. ViableVRS callers are placed in a queue in the order their calls were received.

However, all 9-1-1 calls made through ViableVRS will receive priority treatment and receive the next available video interpreter (VI). As soon as the VI appears on screen, the ViableVRS caller will be asked for name, street address, and a brief description of the emergency. Afterwards, the VI will contact our special emergency center, get the local phone number for emergency response, connect to that number, and relay the conversation.

Viable chose Dash Carrier Services as its VOIP partner for 9-1-1 provisioning. "We are excited to have the expertise and resources of a company like Dash, especially one that highlights E911 support for VoIP service providers among its integrated portfolio offerings," said Yeh. Dash will query its database of 9-1-1 emergency centers and connect to the appropriate local emergency response center for each 9-1-1 call placed through ViableVRS.

ViableVRS operates 24/7 throughout the year. Although ViableVRS callers can expect prompt responses and the highest standard of performance, VRS callers are advised to use their TTYs to directly contact 9-1-1 because direct calling enables automatic address identification and remains the quickest way to reach emergency responders.

About Viable, Inc.
Viable provides next-generation video relay services for deaf and hard of hearing persons that can be accessed wherever there is Internet or wireless connectivity, opening them to a world of communication possibilities. Founded in 2006, Viable is a private, deaf-owned company, and the majority of its employees are deaf and hard of hearing and are personally vested in the innovation and development of the company's products and services. Further information is available at http://www.viable.net.    

About Telecommunications Relay Services
Mandated by Title IV of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, telecommunications relay services (TRS) enables individuals with hearing or speech disabilities to achieve functional equivalence by accessing telephone systems to place or receive calls through an intermediary known as a relay operator or relay interpreter. Emergent IP technology has given rise to video-based solutions, which are known as video relay services (VRS). VRS options include using a webcam or a videophone to connect to a video relay interpreter, and allow deaf and hard of hearing callers for whom sign language is native to fully achieve the ideal of functional equivalence.

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Glenn Lockhart
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