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Maryland Relay News

  
  
8/28/2019Maryland Department of Information Hires David Bahar as Director of Telecommunications Access of Maryland
​Former Virginia Relay Manager will oversee all TAM programs, including Maryland Relay and MAT program

BALTIMORE (August 28, 2019) – The Maryland Department of Information Technology (DoIT) announces that David Bahar has been hired as director of Telecommunications Access of Maryland (TAM).

In this role, Bahar will oversee and lead the planning, strategic direction, and facilitation of all TAM programs, including Maryland Relay, the free public service that allows people who are unable to use a standard telephone to make and receive calls, and the Maryland Accessible Telecommunications (MAT) program.

Bahar comes to Maryland from Virginia, where he was most recently the Relay Manager for the Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. He possesses 15 years of experience working in government, legislative and regulatory affairs to advance telecommunications access. His previous roles include Director of Public Policy and Government Affairs for Communication Service for the Deaf, where he founded the non-profit organization’s Office of Public Safety, and Vice President of Regulatory Affairs for Convo Communications, where he secured the company’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) certification as a Video Relay Service (VRS) provider and spearheaded development of the industry’s first interoperable Web-based videophone.

He also spent six years as a legislative assistant on Capitol Hill, working to improve communications access for people who are Deaf. During his tenure, he pushed to advance the timeline for giving VRS users 10-digit telephone numbers, replacing IP addresses for dialing. Bahar was also involved in developing the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, an accessibility law for the modern age.

In addition to his professional roles, Bahar has served on numerous federal committees and boards pertaining to telecommunications and disability issues. He is a founding board member of the MITRE Telecommunications Relay Services Center of Expertise and a two-term member and workgroup facilitator for the FCC’s Disability Advisory Committee. He currently serves on the board of the Lexington School and Center for the Deaf in East Elmhurst, New York.

Bahar holds a master’s degree in Legislative Affairs from The George Washington University and a bachelor’s degree in Politics and Government from the University of Puget Sound.

“I am looking forward to working closely with Maryland’s Deaf community and carrying TAM and Maryland Relay’s legacy of equal telecommunications access into the next generation,” said David Bahar, Director, Telecommunications Access of Maryland.

“Mr. Bahar’s extensive experience and commitment to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community will be a huge asset to the State of Maryland and to ensuring access to all of its citizens,” said Secretary Michael G. Leahy. “DoIT is excited to have Mr. Bahar continue to expand on Governor Hogan’s commitment to ensure that all citizens of Maryland have the telecommunications access they deserve.”

David Bahar currently resides in Bowie, Md. with his wife and two sons.

About Maryland Relay
Maryland Relay provides a free public service that allows people, unable to use a standard telephone, to both make and receive calls. The Maryland Accessible Telecommunications (MAT) program distributes State-provided assistive telecommunication devices to qualified applicants. Maryland Relay is easily accessed by dialing 7-1-1 and is overseen by Telecommunications Access of Maryland and the Maryland Department of Information Technology. For more information about Maryland Relay and its services, please visit mdrelay.org or call 800-552-7724 or 410-767-6960 (Voice/TTY) or 443-453-5970 (Video Phone).

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2/12/2019Maryland Relay Announces New MAT Program Evaluation Centers

​Approved Maryland Accessible Telecommunications Program applicants can now receive evaluations for communications equipment in 10 locations across the state

BALTIMORE (February 12, 2019) – Maryland Relay, the free public service that allows people who are unable to use a standard telephone to make and receive calls, announces that it has entered into new agreements with five organizations to provide evaluations for the Maryland Accessible Telecommunications (MAT) program.

The following organizations are now providing MAT program evaluations in 10 locations across the state:

  • Telecommunications Access of Maryland (TAM) oversees the MAT program and is serving applicants from Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Cecil and Harford Counties at its Baltimore City location.

  • Independent Marylanders Achieving Growth through Empowerment (IMAGE) Center of Maryland, located in Towson, with Accessible Resources for Independence, located in Glen Burnie, is serving applicants from Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Harford and Howard Counties.

  • Easter Seals is serving applicants in Carroll, Frederick, Montgomery, Prince George’s and Washington Counties at its Hagerstown and Silver Spring locations.

  • MAC, Inc. is serving applicants on Maryland’s Eastern Shore at its Salisbury and Easton locations.

  • Maryland Technology Assistance Program (MD TAP) serving applicants in Baltimore City and Alleghany, Baltimore, Calvert, Charles, Garrett, and St. Mary’s Counties at its Baltimore City, Cumberland and Mechanicsville locations.

“Our main goal is always to make telecommunication easy and accessible for all Marylanders,” said Asia Johnson, Maryland Relay public relations officer. “It is vital to the MAT program that we have evaluation centers throughout the state to help us serve as many people as possible, and we are thrilled to have established new partnerships with these community organizations.”

Established in 1997, the MAT program was one of the first of its kind in the United States to offer no-cost assistive telecommunications equipment to qualified residents who cannot use a standard telephone. Equipment available through the MAT program includes amplified phones, captioned telephones, ring signalers, tablets, large-button telephones, hands-free phones, and more.

Qualified MAT applicants are those who do not use a standard telephone due to their hearing status, speech difficulty, low vision, low mobility, or cognitive factors. They must also meet specific financial requirements. Once approved, applicants will receive notification via their preferred method of communication (standard mail or email) and must then schedule an evaluation at a MAT center to ensure they receive the equipment best suited to meet their needs.

People wishing to apply for the MAT program, or who would like more information, may visit www.mdrelay.org or contact Maryland Relay at 800-552-7724 (Voice/TTY), 410-767-6960 (Voice/TTY), or 443-453-5970 (Video Phone).

About Maryland Relay
Maryland Relay provides a free public service that allows people, unable to use a standard telephone, to both make and receive calls. The Maryland Accessible Telecommunications (MAT) program distributes State-provided assistive telecommunication devices to qualified applicants. Maryland Relay is easily accessed by dialing 7-1-1 and is overseen by Telecommunications Access of Maryland and the Maryland Department of Information Technology. For more information about Maryland Relay and its services, please visit mdrelay.org or call 800-552-7724 or 410-767-6960 (Voice/TTY) or 443-453-5970 (Video Phone).​

9/6/2017Hamilton CapTel recently released important information to registered CapTel users about the compatibility of iOS 11 with their app. The notice reads as follows:

There has been a lot of talk in the tech community surrounding the new iOS 11 update to be released by Apple® this fall. Among the significant updates promised by the new operating system is a downside for some users – thousands of 32-bit apps will no longer work on mobile devices running the latest version of iOS.

The Hamilton CapTel app is among those that will not currently function with iOS 11. We recommend that Apple mobile users who rely upon the popular Hamilton CapTel app delay updating their device so they can continue to make and receive calls with captions. The current Hamilton CapTel app will continue to function with iOS 10 and previous supported versions. The Hamilton CapTel Development Team is working to finalize an updated version of the app that is fully compatible with iOS 11 to be available in the App Store this Fall.
 
As of August 15, new users who wish to register for the Hamilton CapTel app may visit the Hamilton CapTel website and request to be notified when the updated app is available. The Hamilton CapTel 840i and 2400i model phones as well as the Hamilton CapTel app for Android™ and Hamilton CapTel for PC/Mac are NOT affected by this update.
 
If you have already updated your device to iOS 11, you may continue to use Hamilton CapTel’s services through the web browser on a PC/Mac or tablet.
 
Thank you for being a Hamilton CapTel customer and rest assured we are committed to providing you with proven captioned telephone technology you can count on.
7/10/2017Important Consumer Information about the Impact of Telephone Service Networks and CapTel Devices

​Telephone companies are switching from copper lines (traditional analog) to digital technology.  In most cases, the telephone companies do not inform their own customers of the changes, so the consumer is not aware of what is happening outside their home.

These changes impact users who rely on analog landline telephone connections, including people who use the CapTel 200, 800, and 840 phones where the captions travel over the phone line. Because of this many users if the CapTel 200, 800, and 840 phones are experiencing data connection problems. This is a *direct *result of the switch.
 
The changes occurring to the nation’s telephone infrastructure are *entirely* outside of CapTel’s control. We recognize the current situation puts CapTel users who do have internet access into a difficult position and are working with local internet providers to identify low-cost access options for people who only need service for their device.
 
There are digital phone options available to clients through an upgrade during this transition.  The CapTel 840 Plus, 840i, or 2400i are designed to carry the voice connection over the telephone network and the caption data over the internet. Through this device the client will no longer experience the caption difficulties from the analog to digital switch.
12/20/2016NEW Tablet Program Introduced
​The Maryland Accessible Telecommunications (MAT) program - a service of Maryland Relay - has launched a new program that provides tablets to qualified MAT program applicants. The tablets come pre-loaded with apps specific to each user's needs, providing convenient, portable access to Maryland Relay services and other communications tools.
The new tablet program is just one of the many solutions the MAT program offers to support users' day-to-day communications.  As part of the MAT program, evaluators work one-on-one with qualified applicants to find the solution that best fit each individual's needs. *Learn more about the MAT program and the application process now.*