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ADA TRS Rules Go Into Effect (1993 – 1998)

(1993) Title IV of the ADA takes effect with 24/7 telecommu­nication relay services (TRS) in every state. The Televi­sion Decoder Circuitry Act also takes effect mandating decoder chips in all sets 13” in diameter or more, and preserves captioning functions whenever television technology is upgraded. Illinois installs payphones with TTYs in 11 rest areas on interstate highways. Sprint awarded contract to operate Federal Relay Service. Canada reserves three-digit number 7-1-1 for TRS calls. The NAD forms the Telecommunication Advocacy Net­work to lobby for access in telecommunications.

(1994) Miss Alabama, Heather Whitestone (McCallum), who is deaf, was chosen as first Miss America with a disabil­ity.

(1995) The FCC establishes the Disabilities Issues Task Force to ensure that the needs of TTY users are consid­ered along with other needs of disability groups in rela­tion to all telecommunication issues. FCC initiates TRS campaign with Heather Whitestone-McCallum. Sprint conducts video relay interpreting trials in Texas.

(1996) President William J. Clinton signs Telecommuni­cations Act of 1996 into law, paving the way for telecom­munications industry to consolidate operations within the local and long distance telephone sectors. FCC issues hearing aid compatibility regulations for regular and cordless telephones but exempts wireless handsets temporarily.

(1997) FCC makes available the 7-1-1 number for easier dialing access to TRS; issues regulations on captioning in accordance with the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and requires wireless carriers to forward all 9-1-1 calls. New databases allow TTY users to develop profiles of personal preferences and long distance billing information to speed TRS calls.

(1998) FCC reconsiders portions and strengthens cap­tioning regulations in Section 713 of the Telecommunica­tions Act of 1996, and demonstrates Speech-to-Speech (STS) relay for speech-impaired.