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Guide

IP Relay Service

Internet Protocol Relay Service allows persons with a hearing or speech disability to use Telecommunications Relay Service through a computer or web-enabled device to communicate through the telephone system with hearing persons.

How IP Relay Service works

IP Relay is accessible through the Internet rather than a TTY or telephone, allowing users to communicate by text. 

Unlike traditional TRS - where a TTY user contacts a TRS center via telephone lines and a communications assistant calls the receiving party via voice telephone - the first leg of an IP Relay call goes from the caller's computer or other Web-enabled device to the IP Relay Center via the Internet, usually through a webpage interface. The second leg of the call, as with traditional TRS, is from the communications assistant to the receiving party via voice telephone through the public switched telephone network.

There are no additional costs to consumers for IP Relay beyond a computer or Web-capable device and an Internet connection. IP Relay service providers are compensated from the Interstate TRS Fund, which the FCC oversees.

10-digit geographic numbers

Users must register with an IP Relay provider to receive a ten-digit geographic number from which they can make or receive calls. The ten-digit number enables location information to be included with calls to 911 operators, helping them route calls to the nearest emergency services providers.

Benefits of IP Relay

There are several consumer benefits of IP Relay:

  • Availability – IP Relay is available to anyone who has access to the Internet via a computer or Web-capable telephone or device.
  • Convenience – Consumers do not need to use a separate TTY, nor must they log off the Internet to use a TTY telephone line. IP Relay lets consumers make relay calls even when there is no TTY handy. IP Relay permits much faster typing and allows users to see much more of the conversation on their computer screens than they can see with a TTY LCD window and also allows users to print out and save conversations.
  • Multiple Calls – IP Relay users can initiate multiple calls simultaneously, make conference calls or browse the Internet while making a call.
  • Quality – Call transmission may be faster via IP Relay than TTY.
  • Multivendoring – Like users of most other telecommunications services, users can choose from multiple IP Relay providers that compete for consumers, enhancing competition for improved service quality.

Filing a complaint

If you have a problem with IP Relay Service, first try to resolve it with the provider. If you are unable to resolve it directly, you have multiple options for filing a complaint with the FCC:

  • File a complaint online
  • By phone: 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322); TTY: 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322)
  • By mail (please include include your name, address, contact information and as much detail about your complaint as possible):

Federal Communications Commission
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau
Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, DC 20554

For more information

To learn more about FCC programs to promote access for people with disabilities, visit the FCC's Disability Rights Office website.

Accessible formats

To request this article in an accessible format - braille, large print, Word or text document or audio - write or call us at the address or phone number above, or send an email to fcc504@fcc.gov

Updated: November 25, 2014
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