Video Relay Service is a form of Telecommunications Relay Service that enables persons with hearing disabilities who use American Sign Language to communicate with voice telephone users through video equipment, rather than through typed text. Video equipment links the VRS user with a TRS operator – called a communications assistant, or CA – so that the VRS user and the CA can see and communicate with each other in signed conversation. Because the conversation between the VRS user and the CA flows much more quickly than with a text-based TRS call, VRS has become an enormously popular form of TRS. For more information about other forms of TRS, see the FCC’s consumer guide
VRS, like other forms of TRS, allows persons who are deaf or hard-of-hearing to communicate through the telephone system with hearing persons. The VRS caller, using a television or a computer with a video camera device and a broadband (high speed) Internet connection, contacts a VRS CA, who is a qualified sign language interpreter. They communicate with each other in sign language through a video link. The VRS CA then places a telephone call to the party the VRS user wishes to call. The VRS CA relays the conversation back and forth between the parties – in sign language with the VRS user, and by voice with the called party. No typing or text is involved. A voice telephone user can also initiate a VRS call by calling a VRS center, usually through a toll-free number.
The VRS CA can be reached through the VRS provider’s Internet site, or through video equipment attached to a television. Currently, around ten providers offer VRS. Like all TRS calls, VRS is free to the caller. VRS providers are compensated for their costs from the Interstate TRS Fund, which the FCC oversees. (Information taken from the Federal Communications Commission’s website).
Video Relay Service Providers
There are a number of video relay services available to Deaf and hearing callers. These services are offered free of charge to both hearing and Deaf callers. If you are hearing, and would like to contact a Deaf caller, and you have the Deaf caller’s VP (videophone) number, you can simply call that number as you would any other, and then the interpreter will connect the call and relay the conversation between you.
If you are Deaf and would like to apply to receive a free videophone and video phone number, you can contact any of the providers listed below (NOTE: Hearing individuals are NOT allowed to receive free videophones under the programs offered by video relay services.)
Video Relay Service (SVRS) https://www.sorensonvrs.com/
Convo Relay Service https://www.convorelay.com/
Global VRS https://www.globalvrs.com
There may be other local or state VRS providers in your area that are not listed here. These are the four nationwide VRS services that are funded by the FCC/FTC.