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Types of Services


Captioned Telephone Service (CapTel™)


CapTel is an amplified telephone and relay captioning service that allows people who are hard of hearing to see word-for-word captions of their telephone conversation on a bright, easy-to-read display window built into the CapTel phone, while also listening to what is being said using their residual hearing (much like TV captioning).  The CapTel user speaks directly to the other person on the call, and the CA transcribes everything the other person says into written text.  To use CapTel relay you must have a CapTel phone.

To contact a person who uses a single-line CapTel, dial 1-877-243-2823 and then enter the telephone number of the CapTel user.

Two-Line CapTel

Two-line CapTel allows you to receive captions on all incoming calls – even if the other party does not call through the relay captioning service’s toll free number.


Like standard CapTel relay, two-line CapTel gives you live captions of everything your caller says during a phone conversation.  You can hear the caller and read captions of what they say.  With two-line CapTel, the conversation is carried on one telephone line and the captions are provided on the second line.  This gives two-line CapTel relay users the ability to caption any phone call – incoming or outgoing – at any point in the conversation.  Two-line CapTel also supports enhancements that you have purchased from your telephone service, including call-waiting.

For two-line CapTel you must have two phone lines with separate telephone numbers (one of the lines must be analog or DSL with a filter; the other may be analog, VoIP, or DSL with a filter).

To see a video of how CapTel relay works, or for information on purchasing a CapTel phone, visit the CapTel Minnesota website.  

Refer to the following instructions on making a CapTel (.pdf) or two-line CapTel (.pdf) relay call. 



Internet Based Captioned Telephone Services


Internet based Captioned Telephone Services are currently under the jurisdiction of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and are not a service of Minnesota Relay.

CapTel 840i

For people who have a standard analog or digital phone line and high speed Internet access.  The voice/audio part of the call is delivered over the telephone line, while the captions are delivered via the Internet connection.  People do not need to call you through the relay captioning service’s toll free number – they can call you directly.

For information on purchasing a CapTel 840i visit the CapTel Minnesota website.

Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Service (IPCTS)

IP Captioned Telephone Service is essentially a combination of two other forms of TRS: Captioned Telephone Service and IP Relay.  IPCTS uses the Internet, rather than the telephone network, to provide the captions of what the other party is saying.  Although this service can be provided in a variety of ways, the user (who generally can speak and has some residual hearing) may make a voice to voice call to another party on a standard telephone using the normal telephone network.  The called party’s response is directed from the user’s telephone to a personal computer or similar device that routes it to the IPCTS provider via the Internet.

For more information regarding IP Captioned Telephone Service visit FCC Internet Protocol (IP) Captioned Telephone Service site.


New FCC Required Changes for Internet Protocol-Based Captioned Telephone Services


Changes for CapTel 800i / CapTel 840i Users

A recent ruling by the FCC requires changes in the way that all Internet Protocol-based captioned telephones work.  Effective March 7, 2013, you will need to press the CAPTIONS button to turn captions on at the start of every call.  The captions will no longer come on automatically.  When people call you, you will need to turn the CAPTIONS button on in order to see captions of the call.

The CAPTIONS button will turn off again every time you hang up the handset.

Why does the FCC require these changes?

Some at the FCC believe there is a chance that people who do not need the Captioning Service may accidentally be getting captions during their calls, because the captions have appeared automatically.  By asking users turn captions on before each call, the FCC believes it will reduce the chance of people accidentally using the captioning service if they do not need it.

I use CapTel 800i/840i - How does this affect me?

If you use CapTel 840i or CapTel 800i (internet-based CapTel service), you will need to press the CAPTIONS button before every call in order to receive captions.  When people call you, you will need to press the CAPTIONS button as you pick up the handset or at any time during their call in order to see captions.

I use CapTel 800/840 – How does this affect me?

If you use CapTel 800 or CapTel 840 (non internet-based CapTel service), these changes do NOT affect you. Your CapTel 800 / CapTel 840 will continue to work as it always has.

How will I get captions on my calls?

At the start of every call, press the CAPTIONS button first to turn captions on.  If you begin a conversation and notice the captions are not on, simply press the CAPTIONS button.  Your CapTel phone will connect to the captioning service and you will begin receiving captions of the call.  Here are complete step-by-step instructions for making a call with captions (.pdf) and answering a call with captions (.pdf).

Will I still get captions on my answering machine messages?

Your CapTel 840i will still record voice answering machine messages.  If you need captions of your answering machine messages, press the Captions button while playing back your messages. Your CapTel 840i phone will connect to the captioning service and you will receive captions of the message.  Here are complete step-by-step instructions for getting captions on your answering machine messages (.pdf).

Do I have to press the CAPTIONS button at the start of a call?

You can press the CAPTIONS button at any time during a call to turn the captions on.  Captions will begin appearing once you turn the captions feature on.  The red light around the CAPTIONS button will glow to let you know when captions are turned on.

Can I go back to having captions turn on automatically like they always have?

Unfortunately, no.  The FCC ruling requires that all Internet Protocol-based captioned telephones must have the user turn captions on for each and every call.

Where can I find more information about this FCC Ruling?

FCC Takes Steps to Protect IP-Based Captioned Telephone Service 


WebCapTel

WebCapTel allows you to read word-for-word captions of you call on a web browser, while at the same time hearing the other person using any telephone.  WebCapTel does not require use of a CapTel phone; it works with your existing telephone (including cordless, landline, and wireless) and any Internet access device, such as a computer or smart phone.

For more information visit the WebCapTel site.

Mobile CapTel

New application software (apps) make it easy to get CapTel captions on your mobile devices; the apps deliver captions of everything your caller says, while you listen (with your residual hearing) and speak directly to your caller.

For more information visit Mobile CapTel site.



Computer (ASCII):  1-800-627-3529


Computer users can access Minnesota Relay directly.  Set your telecommunications software to the following protocols at speeds ranging from 300 to 2400; 8 Bits; No Parity; 1 Stop Bit; Full Duplex.  It may be helpful to set your “time out” to 100 seconds.  When calling at a rate of 300 or below, follow the above using Half Duplex.



Hearing Carry Over (HCO):  1-800-627-3529


Allows a person who can hear but who has very limited or no speech capability to make and receive phone calls.  Using  HCO relay and a specially designed telephone with a text display, an HCO user can listen directly to the voice of the other person on the call and type his/her response to the CA, who voices the response to the other person.  To use HCO relay you must have a TTY and a telephone.

Two-Line HCO:  1-800-627-3529

This enhanced relay feature offers you more control and allows for interactive conversation without the use of “GA” (go ahead) instructions.  You can respond in real time, and even interrupt, rather than wait for the other party to say “GA.”

In order to use two-line HCO you must have a voice telephone with its own telephone number, a TTY (or Internet access) with its own dedicated line, and subscribe to 3-way calling from your local service provider on the voice line.

For more information on HCO relay, please read the Hearing-Carry-Over-Brochure (.pdf).

Refer to the following instructions on making a HCO (.pdf) or two-line HCO relay (.pdf) call.



Internet Protocol (IP) Relay


IP Relay service is not a service of Minnesota Relay.  IP Relay Service is currently under the jurisdiction of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

IP Relay is a text-based form of TRS that uses the Internet, rather than traditional telephone lines, for the leg of the call between the person with a hearing or speech disability and the CA. Otherwise, the call is generally handled just like a TTY-based TRS call.  The user may use a computer or other web-enabled device to communicate with the CA.  IP Relay is offered by several TRS providers.

For more information regarding IP Relay visit FCC Internet Protocol (IP) Relay Service site. 


Spanish Relay:  1-877-627-5448


Allows a Spanish speaking person to use Minnesota Relay.  The CA relays calls between a Spanish speaking person with a hearing or speech disability and a Spanish speaking hearing person.



Speech-to-Speech (STS):  1-877-627-3848


STS relay allows a person who has difficulty speaking or being understood on the telephone to communicate using his or her own voice or voice synthesizer.  An STS communication assistant (CA) revoices the words of the person with a speech disability so the person on the other end of the phone call can understand them.

No special telephone equipment is needed to use STS, though some people may find it beneficial to use a speakerphone or hands-free telephone equipment.

NEW STS Enhancements

My Support (Speech-to-Speech Customer Service)


Dedicated customer services staff is standing by to assist STS users or organizations serving STS users with basic information about STS, filling out customer profiles, and other features designed to support STS customers and their callers.

The Sprint STS My Support number is 1-877-787-1989 (available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week).

My Profile (Customer Profile)

My Profile allows STS users to submit their user preferences such as:

  • contact information
  • emergency numbers
  • conversation preferences
  • speed dial
  • customer notes

The STS user has the flexibility to update their user preferences as needed.  User information is confidential and secure.

To complete your My Profile, call My Support at 1-877-787-1989.

My E-Mail Set-Up

This feature makes relay call set-up a piece of cake for STS users.

STS users may tire and speech may become more difficult during long calls.  In order to speed up the set-up of the call, Minnesota Relay offers My E-Mail Set-up.  STS users can e-mail call instructions or information 2 to 24 hours prior to the call.  This can include information such as the number to be dialed, the name of the person being called, the subject of the call, any special instructions, or anything that makes it easier for the STS user to complete the call.  This feature cannot be used to request a specific CA, schedule a STS call, or in lieu of placing a live call.

Before you use My E-mail Set Up, it is important to call My Support (1-877-787-1989). The customer service representative will fill out your profile, such as your name, address, username, password, and other information.  When your customer profile is completed, you are ready to use My Email Set Up.

My Saved Messages

Imagine spending time dictating a message for an answering machine and then getting a busy signal and being unable to leave that message.  This is even more frustrating for STS users who may take 15 minutes to dictate that message.

With My Saved Messages, upon request, the STS CA can copy any messages desired onto the customer’s profile for 24 hours.  When the STS user wants to try the call again, he/she simply redials STS and asks the CA to retrieve the saved message.  After 24-hours, the message copied into the profile is automatically deleted from the system.

My Name and My Places

With My Name and My Places, receiving calls is now easier than ever for STS users.

Once a STS user registers My Name, voice callers can simply call STS relay and ask for the STS user directly by name – without having to provide the telephone number.

STS users can also be reached at multiple numbers.  Simply add multiple telephone numbers and hours of availability and the relay will do the rest.  When voice users call, we will simply reference the STS user’s My Places to view the registered phone numbers.  Different numbers can be added for certain times of the day and days of the week.

My Style

STS users are able to determine how they would like Minnesota Relay to support them.  Whether the STS user would like the CA to re-voice the entire conversation, or simply repeat upon request, we will provide STS that meets the customers’ needs.

My Phonebook 

Minnesota Relay can store up to 30 speed dial numbers in a STS user’s phonebook (in their customer profile).  To place a call, the STS user simply asks for a caller by name.

For more information on STS relay, please read Speech to Speech brochure (.pdf).

Review the instructions on making a STS relay (.pdf) call. 



Standard Telephone (hearing user):  1-800-627-3529


A hearing person may use a standard telephone to place a relay call and easily converse with a person who is deaf, hard of hearing or speech disabled.

Review the following instructions on making a Minnesota Relay call (.pdf). 



Text Telephone (TTY):  1-800-627-3529


Allows a person who is deaf, hard of hearing, or speech disabled to use a TTY to communicate with the other person on the call.  The CA reads the TTY user’s words to the hearing person, and types the hearing person’s words for the TTY user to read. 



Voice Carry Over (VCO):  1-877-627-3024


An option for a person who can speak clearly but has hearing loss significant enough to prevent them from hearing and understanding conversations over the telephone.  Using VCO relay and a specially designed telephone with a text display, a VCO user can speak directly to the other person on the call.  The CA types what is spoken by the other person for the VCO user to read.  To use VCO relay you must have a TTY and a telephone, or a specially designed VCO phone.

For more information on VCO relay, please read Voice Carry Over brochure (.pdf).

Two-Line VCO:  1-866-855-4611

This enhanced VCO feature allows you to use one telephone line for speaking directly to the other person, while the second line is used to receive the CA’s typed response from the other person.  This offers more control and allows for interactive conversation without the use of “GA” (go ahead) instructions.  You can respond in real time and even interrupt, rather than wait for the other party to say “GA.”  Unlike typical relay calls, the CA does not identify the relay and is present only to type the voice of the standard telephone user.

In order to use two-line VCO you must have two telephone lines with separate phone numbers and subscribe to 3-way calling from your local telephone service provider.

For instructions on making a VCO (.pdf) or two-line VCO (.pdf) call. 


Video Relay Service (VRS)


VRS is not a service of Minnesota Relay.  VRS is currently under the jurisdiction of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

This Internet-based form of TRS allows persons whose primary language is American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate with the CA in ASL.  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.  VRS allows conversations to flow in near real time and in a faster and more natural manner than text-based TRS.

The VRS CA can be reached through the VRS provider’s Internet site, or through video equipment attached to a television. Like all TRS calls, VRS is free to the caller.  Numerous TRS providers offer VRS.

A voice telephone user can also initiate a VRS call by calling a VRS center, usually through a toll-free number.

For more information regarding VRS visit FCC Video Relay Services site. 



900 Pay-Per-Call Services:  1-900-246-3324


Allows a relay user to connect to any pay-per-call service.  The relay user dials 1-900-230-3324 and provides the CA with the pay-per-call service phone number that they would like to call.  Callers are billed directly by the pay-per-call service at the rate specified by the provider.  Billing begins upon connection to the pay-per-call service.