The Federal Communications Commission has adopted use of the 711 dialing code for access to Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS). TRS permits persons with a hearing or speech disability to use the telephone system via a text telephone (TTY) or other device to call persons with or without such disabilities. For more information about the various types of TRS, see the FCC’s consumer guide, or visit the website of our Disability Rights Office (DRO).
Making TRS Calls
If you want to call someone using TRS, use your TTY or dial 711 on your telephone, and you will automatically be connected to a TRS operator. If you’re a TRS user traveling out of state and want to make a call, there is no longer a need to learn the state’s TRS provider’s telephone number. Just dial 711. It’s fast, functional and free.
The 711 code is not just for use by persons with disabilities. Both voice and TRS users can initiate a call from any telephone, anywhere in the United States, without having to remember and dial a seven or ten-digit access number. For persons who have been using TRS for years, the convenience of dialing three digits is obvious.
711 dialing access does not work for Video Relay Service (VRS), Internet Protocol (IP) relay or IPCTS Relay calls, because such calls are initiated through the Internet. Hearing persons initiating a VRS or IP Relay call may do so by calling a provider’s 800 number. IPCTS users just call their party directly, and a Communications Assistant (CA) is automatically connected to the call.
Dialing 711 From a Private Branch Exchange
FCC rules require all telephone companies (including wireline, wireless and payphone providers) that operate private branch exchanges (PBXs) to implement three-digit 711 dialing for access to TRS. A PBX is a private telephone system within an organization that switches calls between internal users and allows users to share a certain number of external phone lines. PBX operators are required to modify their equipment to enable 711 dialing to ensure that everyone benefits from abbreviated dialing and consumers have easy access to TRS.
Callers from locations served by PBXs may be required to dial 9 or another prefix before entering the 711 code or placing an outside call. The FCC encourages PBX operators to work with telephone companies and TRS providers to facilitate 711 dialing for users.
The FCC recently determined that providers of interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service also must offer 711 abbreviated dialing.
911 and 711
Dialing 911 is the most familiar and effective way Americans have to find help in an emergency. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires all Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) to provide direct, equal access to their emergency response services for people with disabilities who use TTYs or other devices. Therefore, in the event of an emergency, TTY users should call 911 directly and not make a TRS call via 711.
Filing a Complaint with the FCC
If you are unable to reach a TRS operator by dialing 711, you can file a complaint with the FCC. There is no charge for filing a complaint. You can file your complaint using an online complaint form. You can also file your complaint with the FCC’s Consumer Center by calling 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) voice or 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322) TTY; faxing 1-866-418-0232; or writing to:
Federal Communications Commission
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau
Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20554
What to Include in Your Complaint
The best way to provide all the information the FCC needs to process your complaint is to thoroughly complete the online complaint form. When you open the online complaint form, you will be asked a series of questions that will take you to the particular section of the form you need to complete. If you do not use the online complaint form, your complaint, at a minimum, should indicate:
- your name, address, email address and phone number where you can be reached;
- whether you are filing a complaint on behalf of another party, and if so, the party’s name, address, email address, day time phone number and your relationship to the party;
- preferred format or method of response (letter, fax, voice phone call, email, TRS, TTY, ASCII text, audio recording or Braille);
- that your complaint is about accessing TRS;
- the name, address and telephone number (if known) of the company or companies involved with your complaint; and
- a brief description of your complaint and the resolution you are seeking, and a full description of the equipment or service you are complaining about, including date of purchase, use or attempt to use.
For More Information
For information about other communications issues, visit the FCC’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau website, or contact the FCC’s Consumer Center using the information provided for filing a complaint.