November 14th, 2002 Press Release
Lormar Logic Company Requests TRS Reimbursement Opinion From FCC
KNOXVILLE, Tennessee – November 14, 2002 – Lormar Logic Company, a two-year-old Knoxville-based software company, which specializes in communication software for the deaf and hard-of-hearing (D/HH), recently requested an opinion from the Disability Rights Office of the U. S. Federal Communications Commission regarding reimbursement from the National Exchange Carrier Association, Inc.’s Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) Fund for Relay Operator calls passed through Lormar’s system.
Lormar’s system provides a link between 2-way pagers (wireless internet/e-mail devices) and the text telephones (TTY's) used by the D/HH community. This includes access to Relay Operators, which is a federally mandated system for providing a link between the hearing and D/HH communities. Lormar’s service is offered through alliances with national paging companies. With the service and a 2-way pager, the D/HH have the equivalent of a cellular phone.
Currently, Lormar’s customers pay for the link to Relay Operators. But since the FCC ruled last Spring (http://ftp.fcc.gov/cgb/news/trscostrecovery.html) that Relay Operator calls passed over the Internet (from a personal computer) are reimbursable [subsequently most major telecoms began offering this service], those Relay calls involving the new wireless devices and the Internet should also be reimbursable.
As stated by K. Dane Snowden, Chief of FCC’s Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau, "Our IP relay decision illustrates that the FCC is willing and interested in looking at different applications and methods -- so long as they provide the critical functionality of allowing people with hearing or speech disabilities to communicate with people without those disabilities. That is the essence of relay, and this Commission is committed to making sure that relay users are able to take advantage of new technologies as they become available.”
If the FCC agrees with Lormar’s position, Lormar plans to extend the wireless Relay Operator link to the entire deaf community, free of charge. Lormar estimates the potential users to number in the millions. ‘This may be one of the most significant improvements in access that the deaf and hard-of-hearing community has seen in years,” said Jon B. Sharpe, President of Lormar.
Since Lormar can direct Relay Operator calls to whichever Relay Operator provider they choose, ATT, MCI, Sprint, etc., who get reimbursements themselves based on call volume, Mr. Sharpe sees discussions with them in the near future. “One way or another, we’ll be hearing from them.”
About Lormar Logic
Lormar Logic Company is a provider of software-based telecommunication solutions and industrial controls.
Jon B. Sharpe – Lormar Logic Company
Lormar Logic Company
P.O. Box 12823
Knoxville, Tennessee 37912-0823