SSW Blog

Confusion of 10-digit Numbers for Videophone

Posted on | December 8, 2008 | No Comments

Since we listened to some representatives from VRS providers; Sorenson VRS, Sprint Relay, CSDVRS and Purple (alias HandsOn VRS), unfortunately we had received more questions than answers relating to 10-digit numbers (alias TN) or the representatives call it as Local Numbers (LN).

Originally we thought we could acquire new TN or LN from one of any VRS providers of our choice but we are not sure about our TTY or landline local numbers. Although we had used our toll free numbers as given by these VRS providers for direct calls from hearing callers through the VRS agents, we continue using our TTY local numbers for our deaf friends or other people directly to call by videophone. At this time we had acquired three different numbers; new LN, TTY local number and toll free number.

Several reasons about the need to acquire new local number are that we will be able to receive or call direct videophone from and to both hearing or deaf callers, respectfully, regardless of going through the VRS agent and to reach enhanced 911 service. However there are several disadvantages that we will lose our TTY local numbers, and some hearing callers from out of state will pay the cost if using new LN.

Some VRS representatives call our TTY local number as “proxy” LN while provide new LN as “real” LN.  If we decide to stay with TTY or landline local number for some reasons such as frequent power outages in rural area we will live with three or more ten-digit numbers in case that videophones will not work.

We are required to contact one of VRS providers before the end of this month, December 31, 2008 to register for new LN in order to make our videophone devices properly functioning. Otherwise we may not be able to use the VP device.

In my personal opinion I thought it is ridiculous that we are “forced” to register with any of VRS providers of our choice before December 31st. I was surprised to learn from one of the VRS representatives about possibly of losing our rights to access to E911 through our VP or even if we did not request a new LN from one particular VRS provider who had manufactured the VP device, then our VP device would become obsolete due to lack of upgrades as “premium” users.  The particular VRS representative’s announcement sounded as if it was a threat but he awkwardly changed his statement and informed that we will expect a new upgrade as downloading automatically to our VP devices, no matter.  By his action I was not sure whether to trust him but I suspected there will be some unexpectedly surprises ahead down the road.

In spite of our concerns about the confusion of “real” or “proxy” LNs, VRS representatives ignored our questions by promoting their new videophone devices, explaining if we like to register with one of them for new LN and promising us with new and excellent services.  In some ways to advertise about the new VP products they had behaved slickly on the stage we did not feel comfortable, decided not to further engage into our group discussion and let it go.

The organization host will consider planning the annual forum next Spring 2009 for clarification about how to use new LN and open discussion.