Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program

Telecommunications Access for the Deaf and Disabled

Administrative Committee (TADDAC)

April 22, 2010

10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program, Main Office

1333 Broadway St., Suite 500, Oakland, CA 94612

The Telecommunications Access for the Deaf and Disabled Administrative Committee (TADDAC) held its monthly meeting at the Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program (DDTP) main office in Oakland, California.  TADDAC Chair, Kathleen Barrett, called the meeting to order at 10:00 AM.

 

TADDAC Members Present:

Kathleen Barrett, Disabled Community-Mobility Impaired seat, Chair

Gerald “Bummy” Burstein, Deaf Community at Large Representative, Vice-Chair

Tommy Leung, Disabled Community – Blind/Low Vision seat

Chriz Dally, Deaf Community

Nancy Hammons, Late-Deafened Community

Alik Lee, Division of Ratepayer Advocates

Colette Noble, Hard of Hearing Community

Kenneth Rothschild, proxy for Patrick Boudreault, Deaf Community

Kevin Siemens, Disabled Community-Speech-to-Speech seat

Non-Voting Liaisons Present:

Shelley Bergum, CCAF Chief Executive Officer     

Linda Gustafson, CPUC Communications Division

Helen Mickiewicz, CPUC Legal Division (arrived 10:30)

CCAF Staff Present:

Priya Barmanray, CRS Program Analyst

Dan Carbone, Customer Contact Liaison

Margie Cooper, CRS Contract Specialist

Patsy Emerson, Committee Assistant

Karen Evangelista, Committee Coordinator

John Koste, Telecommunications Equipment Specialist

Karen Lincoln, Customer Contact Operations Department Manager

Mansha Thapa, Business Analyst

David Weiss, CRS Department Manager

 

Others Present:

Ken Arcia, Sprint

Rita Beier-Braman, Purple

Gilbert DelToro, Jitterbug

Marilyn Finn, HLA-CA

Anne Girard, Hamilton Relay, Director of Marketing

Wayne Hong, AT& T

Otis Hopkins, Attendant to Tommy Leung

Royce Johnson, CSD Call Center Manager

Jonathan Lakritz, CPUC Communications Division

Kenya Lowe, AT&T

Colin Petheram, AT&T

Anne Rousseau, Stellar Relay

Gail Sanchez, AT&T Relay, Product Manager (by phone)

Beth Slough, Hamilton Relay, National Account Manager

Karla Thompson, Attendant to Kevin Siemens

Jacquie Warren, Attendant to Kathleen Barrett

 

  1. Welcome and Introduction of Members

 

                   The Committee members introduced themselves.

 

  1. Minutes of the March 25, 2010 TADDAC Meeting

 

The minutes were approved with no corrections or objections.

 

  1. Review of TADDAC Action List from March 25, 2010

 

Due to the full agenda of the meeting, it was agreed that reviewing the Action Items should be postponed and added to the agenda of the Joint Meeting on May 14, 2010.  No Action Items were discussed.

 

  1. Approval of Agenda

The agenda was approved with no objections.

 

  • Administrative Business

    1. Report from CPUC Staff

Jonathan Lakritz updated the Committee on the equipment procurement contract transition which is on schedule and making excellent progress overall. He reported that CD has begun working with our new marketing vendor, OneWorld Communications, and that he has invited them to attend the May 14th Joint Meeting to make a presentation about market research and the activities they have planned for the next two years of their contract.

Jonathan informed the Committee that he has heard from the Department of Finance that as of the new fiscal year starting July 1st of 2010, agencies will be prohibited from traveling to any conferences and they anticipate that this will also extend to members of committees.  They are awaiting clarification on this, so Jonathan won’t make any decisions about trips for next year until they receive a directive from the Governor.  In response to questions from Colette Noble, Jonathan said that he is fairly clear that all out-of-state travel to conferences will be eliminated but he is not sure about those within the state and is seeking clarification.

Jonathan also discussed the issue of the CapTel disclosure message which is worded “This call is being monitored for service quality.”  CD is working with CTI and Hamilton to put the technology in place to have the message occur automatically.  It will happen whenever a person calls someone who is using a CapTel phone or when someone makes an outbound call using a CapTel phone, with a few exceptions.  The message won’t happen when you call 911 or when you reach voicemail or an answering machine, and on an interim basis it won’t affect calls being transferred because the technology is not there yet. After several Committee comments and questions about privacy issues, the message wording, and California law, Jonathan deferred to Helen Mickiewicz who had just joined the meeting.

Helen clarified that the message was chosen because it is short and simple and that it does what the law requires; it informs a person who is unaware that a Communications Assistant is on the line that a third party is listening and that’s all that has to be disclosed, not that the call is being captioned or that the caller is hearing impaired. David Weiss mentioned that currently CRS users have the choice of not having the operator announce the call at the beginning and wondered if CapTel users would be able to set up the same kind of profile.  Helen replied that they would not because the message will be automated and that to not announce would be against the law. Kevin Siemens said that MCI used to make an announcement when a new STS CA started listening to the call before joining, but they no longer do that.

New Action Item: Go America to report on why the practice of announcing a new STS CA was discontinued.

        Tommy Leung brought up the question of professional privilege status for third parties, such as calls involving a doctor, lawyer, or priest. Helen took this as an Action Item and will report her findings at the next meeting.

New Action Item: Helen Mickiewicz will research the question of legal professional privilege for CRS Communication Assistants and report back to the Committee.

Colette Noble asked if CD was going to report on DDTP financial statements as listed in the agenda and Jonathan replied that he is working with their information services to prepare a more user friendly report which he will have ready for the May 14th Joint Meeting.

Linda Gustafson asked the two new CRS-3 providers to give an update on where they are with the service and to answer any questions the Committee may have. Linda introduced Gail Sanchez of AT&T who informed the Committee about the new CRS in-state long distance rate of 3 cents a minute which will go into effect June 2nd, 2010. Beginning May 1st   AT&T will put out a notice that will run 30 days in 25 papers statewide with all the specific information about the rate. They provided a copy of the notice for the CPUC, CCAF, and Hamilton Relay whose customers will also get the 3 cent rate. They know that this change will generate controversy because these calls have been free in the past.

 Chriz Dally stated that she was taken aback by the news and that it hadn’t been discussed with the Committee. Linda Gustafson noted that there was nothing in the CRS-2 contracts requiring a vendor to provide free long distance and that it would go beyond the authority of the CPUC to require it. For whatever reason in the past, the relay vendors chose to provide free long distance. However, under CRS-3 customers will be allowed the option to select another long distance provider. If they do not choose an alternate provider, it will default to AT&T or Hamilton. Local calls are still free and interstate calls will remain 7 cents a minute. 

Bummy Burstein asked why the notice couldn’t be published in deaf-related publications or a notice sent along with a phone bill.  Gail replied that not everyone is an AT&T customer and that the rate also applies to hearing people who call TTY users, so they need to target those people as well. Chriz expressed her concerns that many of our users are not going to get the information and that there’s going to be a lot of misunderstanding around this. Linda stated that the most important consideration of the CPUC and CCAF was that the public be informed of the rate and that, although they had been talking for weeks about the charge, it was just very recently finalized. Materials in both English and Spanish regarding the change in providers and the rate change will be rolled out at the DeafNation Expo on May 1st  in Pomona, CA. Both Nancy Hammons and Chriz Dally asked for something in writing today that could be e-mailed so that they could inform their communities and were told this would be possible.

Kenya Lowe gave an update on AT&T Relay’s California team. They will have both Northern and Southern California managers. The Southern manager is fluent in English, Spanish and ASL and will be doing a lot of outreach, advocacy and education for the Spanish speaking community.  The Northern manager is fluent in ASL and will also be working to raise awareness of the service.

Beth Slough of Hamilton Relay reported that they have been recruiting, hiring, and developing procedures specific to California relay. Their focus is on Speech-to-Speech, deaf-blind services and captioned telephone and all three have new profile options.

Anne Girard of Hamilton Relay spoke about marketing and outreach plans.  They have been actively recruiting for outreach coordinators in both Northern and Southern California as well as for an account manager and are excited about the candidates.  Regarding marketing plans for TRS, they will be at the DeafNation expo in Pomona and are updating both their TRS and CapTel business websites. CapTel plans are parallel with TRS marketing plans in that they’re doing some public relations. They’ve attended some HLAA chapter meetings in Southern California and will participate in their Walkathon coming up in San Francisco. They’ve also done some print ads in HLAA chapter newsletters. Anne also shared information about their scholarship for deaf or hard of hearing graduating high school seniors. 

 

          B.      Report from the Chair

 

There was no report from the Chair.

 

          C.     Report from CCAF

 

Shelley Bergum spoke about plans for informing consumers about the CRS transition.  The DeafNation expo on May 1st was chosen as the kickoff event because it involves people from all over the state. The promotional materials created will be targeted to three groups: general CRS users, Speech to Speech users, and CapTel users.  The main announcement is the change in CRS providers. The second message is that relay users won’t need to do anything differently; they can still call all their usual numbers including 711, and calls through old providers will automatically transfer to the new ones starting June 2nd. The third message is the new charges applying to in-state toll and long distance calls, also starting June 2nd.  CCAF has put together fact sheets for each population and mailers will go out to all three target groups.  Beginning in May, every presentation that Outreach Specialists do statewide will include information about the new CRS and the new providers.  The target event for the CapTel announcement will be the HLAA Walkathon in the Bay Area on May 22nd.  The CPUC encourages committee members to attend the DeafNation expo and to collect materials being distributed at the AT&T, Hamilton, CTAP and DDTP booths to distribute to friends and colleagues. The materials will be posted on the DDTP website and these materials will all be available at the Joint Meeting here in May.  Nancy Hammons suggested inserting announcements in TTY and VCO phone boxes and Shelley indicated that this could be done. Shelley reminded the Committee that the website is in transition and frozen right now, so adding new information is limited. Nancy asked that when the announcements are added to the website that they be the first thing you see, not buried at the end. Bummy Burstein mentioned the large DeafNation expo in Las Vegas in July as another place to get the word out but Colette Noble doubted that many hard of hearing persons would attend.

 Chriz Dally stated that she feels it is unfair to charge Speech-to-Speech users the same rate as other users because it takes much longer to complete a call. Kevin Siemens asked for clarification on the mile distance of toll calls and Gail Sanchez of AT&T answered that they do not have a 40 mile local calling area as Kevin had remembered. Local calling areas are set by the phone companies at 15 or 16 miles from your central office.  AT&T and other relay providers do not set these rates or bill you; they are contracted to relay the call only. Beth Slough of Hamilton said that they do offer the 40 mil calling radius but was unable to explain how that works.  She will do some research and report back to the Committee.  Linda Gustafson reported that a notice in writing that Chriz requested earlier was currently in “legalese” and would be provided, but will be translated into plain language and made available soon.

New Action Item: The Committee members will send their concerns and comments regarding the impact of the new 3 cent long-distance charge on their constituents to Kathleen Barrett who will then forward them to CCAF.

Shelley Bergum concluded her report by recognizing the outgoing CRS-2 providers.  Chriz Dally presented Chameen Stratton and Ken Arcia of Sprint, Anne Rousseau of Stellar Relay, and Rita Beir of Purple with certificates of appreciation and thanked them for years of service to the program. David Weiss added his thanks for their cooperation and willingness to work with the program and said he  would keep in touch.

  • Lunch Break 12:10 PM- 1:05 PM

Report from CCAF Continued…

Shelley Bergum had a couple more items to add to her report.  Concerning the vendor transition Jonathan mentioned earlier, CSD is going to continue to be the CTAP contact center provider.  They are moving to a new location in Stockton in late June and are working on a new platform and database which will go live on July 1st.  CSD has been cleaning up their database to that the information can be migrated into the new system.  New features for CTAP users will be e-mail and a chat service so that they can chat live with CTAP call center agents. Shelley recommended that TADDAC plan to visit the new center possibly in October. She also mentioned the new marketing vendor, OneWorld Communications, who are tentatively scheduled to present their plans at the Joint Meeting in May. Finally she spoke about organizing for the 20th Anniversary of ADA.  One of the largest events is the rally on Monday, July 26th in Sacramento where DDTP and many state agencies will have informational booths and exhibits. There is also an arts and technology expo planned for July 30th in Sacramento where the DDTP will not have a booth, but is of note because of how the passage of the ADA has led to an explosion of new technology for people with disabilities. Shelley said that we would like to be in contact with organizations that are already planning ADA events and try to work with them in some way, so requested that Committee members let Mary know if they know of any events in their community. Colette Noble asked about the size of the CCAF staff and commented that the law requires an ADA coordinator for staffs of over 50. 

             

  • Public Input

There was no public input.

 

  • Unfinished Business

    1. STS Outreach for the New Providers

 

Shelley Bergum stated that CCAF staff is looking for ideas and suggestions about how to get the word out to STS users about the new CRS providers. Kathleen Barrett suggested Facebook and several committee members mentioned other online social and business groups as a means of outreach. Kathleen asked that the members keep thinking about how to best reach and inform consumers.

 

    • Review of Budget “Must Have” Document

Nancy Hammons asked that this review be postponed until the TADDAC meeting in June due to Patrick Boudreault’s absence.  She would like more time to confer with him and with Shelley.

 

    • Discussion of Joint Meeting Agenda

 

A draft agenda was included as a handout for the meeting and Shelley briefly summarized it. TADDAC needs time to address the action items that were postponed and it was agreed to add some time for each committee to meet separately. Bummy Burstein suggested adding a “free for all” time to generate ideas for discussion.  Colette Noble agreed that they need that time at the May meeting and should use the June meeting to resolve any further issues. 

Bummy asked why meetings weren’t held in the summer, and Linda Gustafson replied that she thought it was primarily budget issues, per diems and reimbursement for travel. The Committee discussed IOUs, volunteering their time and making their own plane reservations to save money. Linda stated that the CPUC recognizes the value of the Committee’s time and doesn’t want members to donate it.  However, due to the Committee’s interest in this, she suggested that members give their questions to Kathleen and Shelley so that the CPUC can respond appropriately.

         

  1. New Business

No new business was discussed.

C. Jitterbug Phone Presentation

Gilbert DelToro addressed the Committee about the Jitterbug’s key features and the feedback from the pilot program, which will also be discussed with the CPUC. The Jitterbug is an easy to use cell phone that flips open and shut to answer or end a call. It has an outside LCD screen that flashes at incoming calls and identifies the caller if they’re in the phone’s address book. The phone will both flash and vibrate at incoming calls, missed calls, or text messages. It’s the only phone on the market that has a dial tone which works to confirm that the user is in a service area.  It works on Verizon’s nationwide network and has coverage throughout the United States. They offer free voice dial, caller I.D., and call waiting and the phone is Bluetooth enabled to easily connect to assistive listening devices. It has the highest hearing aid compatibility rating and the battery allows 4 hours talk time and 12 hours standby time. The handset has large buttons, a 20 point font, and a patented rubbery edge at the top that reduces background noise. All the buttons are on the front including a dedicated speakerphone button. You can use the “Yes/No” keys to answer on end calls or the “No” key to return to the main menu.  There are both raised and concave keys that make it easy for blind and low vision customers to use the keypad.

 Jitterbug has no contracts, are not prepaid, have no pop-ups, and send you a bill each month. Customers can change rate plans any time, there are no long distance or roaming fees, and the $35 activation fee is waived for CTAP customers.

Jitterbug conducted a survey of pilot customers to determine if the handset met DDTP requirements, if there was a dial tone, and if the buttons were comfortable and easy to use.  They also sought feedback on their customer service and operator services. In terms of the handset, Jitterbug exceeded the initial requirements of the pilot program, one reason being that the set has features very similar to the land line phones already provided by CTAP and another that low vision and blind consumers can use the dial tone to know if their phone is ready for use. 95% of survey participants rated their Jitterbug experience satisfactory or highly satisfactory and 100% rated customer service in the same way.     One thing Jitterbug learned from the pilot program was that limiting the program to low income participants had unanticipated drawbacks that went against the original intention of the pilot. They think it puts the customer satisfaction rate at risk for DDTP as many people who wanted to participate couldn’t because of their income level. Gilbert pointed out that there is no other CTAP phone or equipment that has an income eligibility requirement.

 

 

A.  EPAC Report and Recommendations

 

Kenneth Rothschild asked for TADDAC’s approval to replace the CapTel 200 with the CapTel 800. Bummy moved to accept and the motion was approved. Karen Lincoln stated that the new phones would be available in June and David Weiss added that the CapTel 200s are still running fine for people who still have them. Kathleen Barrett apologized for her delay in forwarding our recommendation for equipment approval to the CPUC.

 

        B. CapTel Spanish Users’ Feedback Report

 

Priya Barmanray reported on the feedback from the questionnaire sent to Spanish CapTel users. Out of the roughly 50 Spanish CapTel users surveyed, only 8 responded, so the sample was very small.  Priya said it has been difficult to reach out to and get feedback from these users. Of those who responded, most were in the 50 to 75 year age group which is in line with English CapTel users and most said they make frequent calls using the Spanish service. Half of this group said they didn’t use the service in English and many did not know how to switch back and forth from English to Spanish. The biggest challenge for the majority of users was that the Spanish Captioning service isn’t always available and they requested longer hours. When asked to rate their satisfaction with the speed and accuracy of captions, half said they were very dissatisfied. Priya pointed out that in the last few months the speed of answer has improved from 20 seconds to 1 or 2. Most respondents said they use CapTel customer service as support and are satisfied with the help they get. A majority of users learned about CapTel from friends and family and would recommend it to others. Overall the service got a satisfactory rating.

Colette Noble remarked that if 3,000 phones were distributed for this trial and only 50 went to the Spanish community, this was a very small trial and we haven’t made the right connections with them. Linda Gustafson stated that the Commission was also concerned about this and wants to do more to reach out to this community and make those connections. David Weiss commented that a couple years ago we had promoted Spanish CapTel service through field operations but that users were frustrated by the slow caption speed and moved to other products. Now

 D.  Recommendation to CD

The recommendation to permanently include wireless equipment in the DDTP and eliminate the LIfeLine eligibility requirement was added to the agenda and will be discussed at the May 14th Joint Meeting.

        .

E.  CapTel Quality of Service and Privacy Issues

Colette Noble reported that so far the CapTel has progressed very well but she’s eager to hear how the new model is doing. As more people are added to the program old and new issues will come up, though the bigger screen will be an advantage for many.  She thinks that we should be looking at how many units are going out and how many are being returned and how they are being used.   Nancy Hammons stated that she is testing an 800 model and she thinks it’s wonderful. Kathleen Barrett said that one survey respondent said that it didn’t work with Vonage. Privacy issues were discussed earlier in the meeting.  

         

        F.  Items for Next Month’s Agenda 

       

        There was discussion about adding Jitterbug to the Wireless Proposal at the May 14th meeting in order to address specific versus universal design and the ability to adapt products for different constituents. There was also much discussion about the new 3 cent long distance rate. As this item had been discussed earlier, though it was not on the agenda,  the Committee voiced extra thoughts and concerns to be talked over further in June.

       

This meeting was adjourned at 3:50 PM.

 

These minutes were prepared by Patsy Emerson.