The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) is working to improve the relay services available to federal agencies. Relay services support the ability of individuals with hearing and speech disabilities to use telephone service. GSA will transition current users of GSA’s FedRelay contract, without interruption of services, to the Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) overseen by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and GSA’s Multiple Award Schedule (MAS). Preparation for the transition of services is underway, with the first step to extend current FedRelay task orders to November 2021.
TRS will deliver expanded and improved services to individuals with hearing and speech disabilities, providing continuous access through one suite of services used by the public and the government. Federal employees will now be able to use the same services at work and at home. Citizens that rely on relay services in their day-to-day activities will also be able to use TRS to communicate with government entities.
GSA’s FedRelay Program Office spent the last two years working on this transition strategy, including meeting with deaf and hard of hearing community leaders and organizations.
Both FedRelay and TRS offer a suite of telecommunications services that help individuals with hearing or speech disabilities communicate with government agencies and conduct official business. GSA initiated the required market research to prepare for the next generation of FedRelay and determined that for the majority of relay services, TRS would deliver a better solution. Additionally, TRS services are supported by the FCC-administered TRS fund instead of requiring agency funding. Two services not offered by TRS, Relay Conference Captioning and Video Remote Interpreting, are available on the GSA MAS, Language Services SIN 541930. MAS provides agencies with a choice in vetted providers and better pricing than FedRelay. GSA will continue to play an active role in assuring that the relay services provided to the federal government are meeting the needs of users.
Although the current FedRelay contract ends on May 15, 2021, agencies with current task orders can and should extend them an additional six months until November 15, 2021. To prepare for transition, agencies should ensure that their FedRelay accounts are current and address any outstanding invoices. Transition updates will be posted at gsa.gov/fedrelay. Customers with questions and those who are ready to begin the transition process should contact the GSA FedRelay Program Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.