This article describes the accessibility features provided for Intermedia Unite users that allow those with temporary or permanent speech or hearing impairment to conduct telephone calls at no additional charge.

The following topics will be covered:

Description and Background

Accessibility is the term used for a suite of services that allow hearing and speech impaired persons to access telecommunications services.

For US and Canadian customers, Intermedia provides TTY/711 services. In Canada only Intermedia provides an additional IP-Relay service.  Canadian users also have access to a public video service VRS described below.

TTY

TTY/TDS service is based on the use of a special TTY telephone terminal (Teletypewriter) that allows a hearing or speech-impaired person to conduct audio telephone calls. The TTY (Teletypewriter) terminal incorporates a keyboard and screen that allows the user to send and receive text messages with a TRS operator (Telecommunications Relay Service). The operator relays the conversion in both or either direction between the impaired and non-impaired parties.

  • TTY - HCO (Hearing Carry Over) 
    HCO allows a speech-impaired person to take part in a conversation by typing their statements on the TTY. The TRS relay operator will read aloud for the person who cannot speak.
  • TTY - VCO (Voice Carry Over)
    VCO allows a hearing-impaired person to take part in a conversation by reading their counterpart’s statements on their TTY display. The TRS relay operator will listen and type for the person who cannot hear.

IP-Relay: Canada-Only

As the internet became more ubiquitous and powerful, users with speech or hearing disabilities often prefer to use a text chat service over a standard internet browser instead of the custom TTY terminal.  An IP-Relay call works in much the same way as a TTY Call, except that in an IP-Relay call, the connection is established through a standard web browser accessed through any device capable of accessing the Internet (e.g., computer, mobile wireless handset, web-capable telephone, etc.).

VRS (Video Relay Service): Canada-Only

VRS is a video-conferencing service that allows the hearing or speech impaired individual to use sign language (ASL/QLS) rather than text messaging to communicate with the translating intermediary. VRS service is provided free of charge for all Canadians. More details could be found via the link https://srvcanadavrs.ca/en/.

How to use TTY service

You dial 7-1-1 from your TTY terminal to connect to the TRS operator.  The TRS operator will facilitate the call setup and progress of your call using voice-to-text and text-to-voice translations on your behalf.

TTY/TDD Message Relay Process

Service operators receive a TTY originated call with signaling indicating that it is a TTY call.

When the operator answers the call, a TTY messaging prompt appears automatically and a text chat session is instituted.  The operator and the TTY caller can then communicate using typewritten messages.  In turn, the operator can then relay messages by voice to the person slated to receive the call.   In the event of an emergency the call can then be handled like any other emergency call and the appropriate dispatch will occur.

Should a person without hearing or speech impairment wish to communicate with a Intermedia Unite TTY user, the hearing person calls into our line (866) 230-7679 and communicates in a normal fashion to our Call Taker. The Call Taker then "Relays" the message to the hearing-impaired person via TTY.

E911 Emergency Calling via TTY

A hearing or speech impaired user can call Emergency 911 via their TTY device by directly dialing 9-1-1.

Note: refer to your company’s service agreement (MSA, E911 Policy and Product Schedule) for service and liability limitations)

How to request and use IP-Relay service

Any user requiring an IP-Relay service will contact the account administrator at their company responsible for the Intermedia Unite service.  Their customer admin will then contact Intermedia support and request the IP-Relay service for their user.

IP-Relay Service (or Web-based text relay service) Process

A user of the IP-Relay service signs on to the IP-Relay web portal at https://iprelay.northern911.com/ using the username and password provided in their confirmation email to initiate a text conversation with a TRS operator.

When the user clicks Chat the operator receives two notifications (audio and visual) that someone has initiated a chat session and replies to the message. The operator can then relay messages by voice to the person slated to receive the call. In the event of an emergency the call can then be handled like any other emergency call and the appropriate dispatch will occur.

Should a person without hearing or speech impairment wish to communicate with a Intermedia Unite IP-Relay user, the hearing person calls into our line (866) 230-7679 and communicates in a normal fashion to our Call Taker. The Call Taker then "Relays" the message to the hearing-impaired person via IP-Relay.

E911 Emergency Calling via IP-Relay

A hearing or speech impaired user can call Emergency 911 via the IP-Relay service. Once they have logged on to the IP-Relay site they will see three emergency buttons 911-Police, 911-Fire and 911-Ambulance.  Once the user selects any one of these buttons the operator will verify the user’s address, contact the appropriate 911 PSAP and stay on the line as long as necessary.

Note: refer to your company’s service agreement (MSA, E911 Policy and Product Schedule) for service and liability limitations)