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VRS Numbering 101-Lesson #9-My deaf friend has a 866 (or 800) number and I have been calling him on that number. Is this the right way to do so?

Numbering 101-Lesson #9

My deaf friend has a 866 number and I have been calling him on that number. Is this the right way to do so?

This is another question which has come up as a result of Dr. Z’s travels across the country a few months ago. People wonder why there is a need to make point to point calls using a 866 number.

There is NO reason to use a 866 number for point to point calls. All point to point calls are considered “free” as they use the resources of the internet. A local number assigned to your videophone will connect as well as a 866 (or a 800) number, so deaf people should give their deaf friends their local number not the 866 number.

The only reason why a 866 (or a 800) number is needed is for VRS situations so a hearing person would not need to make a toll (long distance) call to the deaf person using the relay service. This is basically the only reason and 800/866 numbers usually are used for deaf people who own a business or have another reason to have toll free numbers like children calling from college without the need to make a long distance call.

Bear in mind the FCC is currently reviewing their current policy on 800/866 numbers so it may be a good idea to give your local number to your deaf friends and your hearing friends and relatives who live close by. Even your doctor or dentist who live in the same town do not need a 800/866 number to call you–they can very well use your local number. Hearing people use 800/866 numbers for the same reason on their cell phones–to make toll free calls. You can still use 800/866 numbers for hearing people out of town to reach you if you feel it is wise, and again–it is not necessary for deaf friends and relatives of yours to call you on a 800/866 number when a local number will do. In some cases, if you put a 800/866 number on a credit application or the like, it can get rejected. Most applications expect a local number, not a 800/866 number.

Dr. Z cares about your communication access.

1 comment to VRS Numbering 101-Lesson #9-My deaf friend has a 866 (or 800) number and I have been calling him on that number. Is this the right way to do so?

  • A northerner

    This is a great question/answer. I should also add that another reason to have a 800/866 number is privacy. I don’t always want people knowing where I am located, so I usually give out my toll-free number, especially for business-related calls.

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