Ask/Tell Dr. Z

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)


Your Message


Dr. Z to Tour the Country Talking about Z4 and Numbering

Based on feedback from consumers, Dr. Z has decided to embark on yet another tour of the country, conducting town hall meetings all over.

The town hall meetings will cover Z4, My Mail and numbering issues. On the Z4, Dr. Z will give a demonstration of how it works and how it fits into your lifestyle. By adding My Mail, Dr, Z will show how it completes your communication needs and enables you to be functionally equivalent to hearing people.

Finally, since numbering remains a source of confusion, Dr. Z will continue to hammer the point that 800/866 numbers should not be used as primary numbers, but instead to use local numbers.

If you want Dr, Z to be in your area, contact your local ZVRS sales manager.

Dr. Z cares about your communication access.

Disclosure: Dr. Z is a contractor working with CSDVRS on several projects.

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.

Thank you America! From Dr. Z and His Associate  (NEW)

Dr. Z is back in snowy Vermont…his associate is back in the Bay Area, California. We want to thank you all for attending our 10-Digit Numbering presentations.

We spoke to you all in over 50 cities coast to coast to over 2,000 of you folks. You asked wonderful questions that we passed back on to our folks at ZVRS who are working diligently to resolve your concerns about the service. Yes, we have a long way to go, but we feel rewarded having cleared up your misconceptions and confusion about the service.

We also want to thank the local Z Specialists who helped us with the town hall meetings and our logistics people in California and Florida who smoothed our way.

This effort will not stop. We plan to continue doing this in 2010 and we will let you know. Our mission is to continue working with you to enhance your video relay experience. There are a lot of exciting things coming in the pipeline and look for them!

Once again, many thanks to you all–a wonderful audience.

Dr. Z (and his associate) cares about your communication access.

VRS Numbering 101-Lesson #8-"Must I make all VRS calls to my default or primary provider?" (NEW)

Numbering 101-Lesson #8

Must I make all VRS calls to my default or primary provider??

This is another question which has come up as a result of Dr. Z’s travels across the country. People wonder about the term “default (or primary) provider”.

1. You do not have to make all VRS calls to your default provider!

2. You are free to make VRS calls to any provider you prefer, such as ZVRS from your VP-200, Z-150, P3 or any other device you have.

3. Will my provider take away my device if I make VRS calls to a provider other than the one supplied by my provider? The anwer is a resounding “NO”. Some provider’s representatives may lead you to believe this. You are a consumer, and you should feel free to call your favorite VRS company.

4. Will my provider disable (or take away) my contact list if I call another provider? The answer, again is “NO”.

5. Why is there a “default provider”? Each videophone unit is supplied by a provider and that provider becomes the default provider for that device. The default provider has your profile which can be used in the event of a 911 call. If you have a device supplied by another company, that other company is the default provider for that device and also has your profile information.

Dr. Z is here to help you. We want you to communicate happily ever after!

VRS Numbering 101-Lesson #7-"Why do you have several local numbers and 800 numbers?" (NEW)

Numbering 101-Lesson #7

Why do you have several local numbers and 800 numbers?

1. The most important thing to keep keep in mind is that you need one number per videophone device and also one per ip-relay device just like hearing people who have one number for each cell phone they have.

2. Why not one number per house? If that is the case, you won’t know which phone to use when an incoming call comes in. For your friends and relatives, you need to give the phone number for that videophone you usually use for incoming calls.

3. How so you know which phone rings when an incoming call comes in? If you have an alerting device you need to know which device is connected to the lights in your house, otherwise you won’t be able to know which phone rings when the light flashes.

4. What other ways can you be alerted? If you have one of the Z phones from ZVRS (Z150, Z340, Z-Ojo, Z-PC100 or the new Z4), you can have incoming call alert your pager and you can answer the phone.

5. What about 800 numbers? They are like local numbers-you will have an 800 number for each videophone.

Dr. Z is here to help you. We want you to communicate happily ever after!

VRS Numbering 101-Lesson #6-"Does 911 service work in a power failure with VRS?" (NEW)

Numbering 101-Lesson #6

Does 911 service work in a power failure with VRS?

Dr. Z just returned from a trip to the Midwest where he spoke to audiences in 3 cities on numbering. The reaction has been very positive. One topic of several that came up was whether VRS service would work in the event of a power failure and how it impacts 911 service.

1-When there is a power failure, there is no power in the house–that means your VRS device, your TV, your cable or DSL modem and your router will not work.

2-If they all do not work, you will not have VRS service.

3-If you do not have VRS service, you will not have 911 service.

4-What should you do for 911 service in the event of a power failure? If you have a TTY with phone service, be sure the TTY has fresh batteries that will work when power goes down. Usually the phone lines continue to work when there is a power failure; BUT, if you have phone service provided by the cable company, this phone will not work as it depends on the cable modem which needs power to operate. You must have phone service from the local phone company in order for your traditional phone to work in case of a power failure. In rare cases, especially when wires are downed, both the phone service and the power goes down.

5-What is an alternative to call 911 if my power goes down and my phone doesn’t work? You can use your pager and use an IP relay service to call 911. Sometimes in cases where there is a bad storm, pagers sometimes won’t work if the tower goes down. This is a very rare occurrence.

Dr. Z is speaking from experience. He lives in a rural area in Vermont where there are power outages several times a year. He has a TTY with fresh batteries on hand and regular phone service (not cable phone service); also a pager.

Dr. Z is here to help you. We want you to communicate happily ever after!

Why Do We Talk About Numbering? (NEW)

People ask us–why do you keep talking about numbering. Do we have all the issues resolved? The answer is no because we checked and checked–there is still a lot of confusion in America. Many of you who are reading this would agree. So, we decided to go national–go to every corner of America and clear the air. It is like defrosting your car window. Right now, the numbering issue is frosting your window. We are applying de-icer to the window so you can see (and then understand numbering) and make calls without hesitation or puzzlement. There are sources out there who are not exactly giving you the right information. We are here to make the many wrongs into rights.

The following is a list of the top things in your mind—

What is right, what is wrong?
Why are there too many numbers out there?
Which number should I use?
What is a default provider?
How does 911 work?

When you are able to understand all this–you will be happy ever after making video calls, with the help of Dr. Z and his team! We are here to work with you.

Dr. Z and His New Associate to Tour the Country to Talk about VRS and Numbering Issues

In view of the ongoing confusion and misinformation on numbering issues facing deaf and hard of hearing consumers–Dr. Z went to his laboratory and did some brainstorming and he came up with a new prescription.  The prescription has the objective of making the deaf and hard of hearing population in American get well from the confusion and misinformation on numbering issues by going on a national tour to talk to America about numbering.  Since America ain’t small, Dr. Z has brought in a new associate, Dr. Z, Junior  (Russ Stein) into his expanded practice.  Dr. Z will cover the eastern part of the country and his associate will cover the western part of the country. Russ comes with an extensive background in the VRS industry and will be presenting the same material as Dr. Z. We look forward to communicating with you in person. Visit this website for dates and cities where you can meet us! If you want us to come visit you in your community, send an email to and we will try our best to come to see you!

VRS Numbering 101-Review Questions (Lessons 1-5) (NEW)

Numbering 101-Review Questions

If you feel comfortable answering the questions below, you are in good shape understanding the 10-digit numbering issue for VRS. We will continue to come up with more lessons next week.

1-Did you register your number with your VRS provider? (Link to Lesson 1)

2-What happens after you register your number? (Link to Lesson 2)

3-What is the national database? (Link to Lesson 3)

4-How is 911 and numbering related? (Link to Lesson 4)

5-What is a 10-digit number? (Link to Lesson 5)

Dr. Z is here to help you. We want you to communicate happily ever after!

VRS Numbering 101-Lesson #5-"What is a 10-digit number?"

Numbering 101-Lesson #5

What is a 10-digit number?

1-Some of you have expressed confusion as to what a 10-digit number is in the eyes of the FCC. A regular phone number has 10 digits; for example, (201) 213-1212 has 10 numbers, and that is 10 digits if you count how many numbers.

2-Is your 10-digit number a valid or good one? If you have not registered the number, then it is not valid and will not work after November 12th. Your videophone provider should have automatically given you a 10 digit number if you got your videophone after January 1, 2009.

3-What if you got your videophone before January 1, 2009, and you have not heard from your videophone provider, it is recommended that you contact them to be sure your 10-digit number is valid. If you have heard from your videophone provider and they provided you with a new number and you have given your name and address to the provider, you should be in good hands. If you want to be sure, you should call your videophone provider to be sure.

4-How do you know who/where to contact your videophone provider? Go to their website and look for “contact us”–usually there is an email or a phone number for you to call their customer service department. After you call, they should be able to verify if your number is registered.

5-Is a 800, 866, 877, 888 a valid 10-digit number? If you have just a 800 number and do not have a local number, it is most likely that you do not have a registered 10-digit number. In this case, you should call your videophone company to register for a new local number.

Dr. Z is here to help you. We want you to communicate happily ever after!