As of July 31, 2015, Virginia Relay welcomes Hamilton Relay as the new Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) provider for Virginia. To help you understand what to expect with this transition, here are responses to a few Frequently Asked Questions:
Is Virginia Relay closing?
No, quite the opposite! Virginia Relay, the free public service that enables people who are deaf, hard of hearing, DeafBlind or have difficulty speaking to communicate with standard telephone users, is still available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We have simply chosen a new service provider. As of July 31, 2015, we begin a new 5-year contract with Hamilton Relay as Virginia’s provider of Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS).
Who is Hamilton Relay?
Hamilton Relay is a division of Hamilton Telecommunications, a diversified telecommunications service provider headquartered in Aurora, Nebraska. Hamilton Relay has provided telecommunications relay services for individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, DeafBlind, or have difficulty speaking since 1991. Including Virginia, Hamilton Relay currently provides TRS and/or CapTel service in 18 states, as well as the District of Columbia and the island of Saipan.
Why did Virginia Relay choose Hamilton Relay as its new service provider?
We chose Hamilton Relay because they have been providing high-quality TRS services across the country for 24 years. And with Hamilton Relay as our TRS provider, we are able to offer Virginia Relay users a host of new features, including 7-1-1 routing and a Speech-to-Speech User Training Line. Hamilton Relay also has a well-established presence in the deaf and hard of hearing community, both nationwide and here in Virginia, as they have been providing CapTel service in Virginia since 2011. With Hamilton Relay as our service provider, we are confident that Virginia Relay will continue to offer our users the highest quality TRS and customer service.
When I dial 7-1-1 to place a Virginia Relay call, who will answer my call?
Now, every Virginia Relay call is routed to one of five Hamilton Relay call centers located across the U.S., and answered by the first available Communication Assistant (CA). All Hamilton Relay CAs receive the same training and follow the same rules and protocols for call handling. That means you can expect each and every call made through Virginia Relay to accommodate personal calling preferences and be processed promptly, professionally and accurately by our specially-trained CAs.
Will I need to create a new Virginia Relay Choice Profile?
No. All of your calling preferences as established in your existing Virginia Relay Choice Profile have been transferred and are automatically available to the Hamilton Relay CA every time you make or receive a call. To create your Virginia Relay Choice Profile, please visit www.varelay.org. To make updates to an existing profile, contact Virginia Relay Customer Care at the number below.
Will Hamilton Relay offer any new features?
Yes! With Hamilton Relay as our TRS provider, Virginia Relay is able to offer more features than ever before. New available features include: 7-1-1 routing, a Speech-to-Speech User Training Line, and Remote Conference Captioning (coming soon). A complete list will soon be available at www.varelay.org.
Will there be a charge for these new features?
No. All of the services and features available from Virginia Relay continue to be free public services, including TRS, and CapTel. Charges still apply to long distance calls.
How do I place a Virginia Relay call?
As always, anyone can make a Virginia Relay call just by dialing 7-1-1. Or, you can use the following phone numbers to reach any of these specific services:
Have more questions?
Feel free to contact Virginia Relay Customer Care:
Please note that under Hamilton Relay’s rules and policies, Communication Assistants (CA) are required to relay all comments shared between the calling parties, and are not permitted to respond to comments or questions directed to the CA, or to have side conversations with either party. For assistance in using Virginia Relay, please contact Virginia Relay Customer Care.