GSA seeking telecom services for the hearing impaired

The General Services Administration is recompeting its Federal Relay Services contract, a vehicle for agencies to procure telecommunications services for the deaf and hard of hearing and for people with speech disabilities.

Sprint holds the contract, but its term is nearing expiration. GSA expects to award the follow-on contract in November. At the heart of the service is a group of interpreters who receive the communication from users with disabilities and relay it to the other individual on the call, and vice versa. However, the technology through which that is accomplished is advancing, said Kathy Kemerer, branch chief of quality assurance and lead for the Federal Relay Services at GSA. "We started out with just text where individuals used the old TTY [text telephone] devices and the interpreter would turn around and speak," she said. "We've evolved into more advanced applications, such as video relay." Callers now can use sign language over the video link, which the interpreters pass on using spoken words. Other technologies, including text messaging, will be part of the new Federal Relay Services contract, she said. "We want to see at a minimum the current technologies we have available. We have a provision in the contract that, as new technologies are matured, we'll add them to the contract."

Featured

  • Telecommunications
    Stock photo ID: 658810513 By asharkyu

    GSA extends EIS deadline to 2023

    Agencies are getting up to three more years on existing telecom contracts before having to shift to the $50 billion Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions vehicle.

  • Workforce
    Shutterstock image ID: 569172169 By Zenzen

    OMB looks to retrain feds to fill cyber needs

    The federal government is taking steps to fill high-demand, skills-gap positions in tech by retraining employees already working within agencies without a cyber or IT background.

  • Acquisition
    GSA Headquarters (Photo by Rena Schild/Shutterstock)

    GSA to consolidate multiple award schedules

    The General Services Administration plans to consolidate dozens of its buying schedules across product areas including IT and services to reduce duplication.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.