Relay Iowa

Relay Iowa


The Iowa Utilities Board, by authority of the legislature, oversees programs that provide telephone accessibility to Iowans who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, or have difficulty speaking.

Relay Iowa


RELAY IOWA is a telephone relay service that links people who are hearing, deaf, hard of hearing, and have speech difficulties with each other for communication over the telephone. For more information on how to use Relay Iowa, visit the Relay Iowa web site.


To read the law that established the Iowa telecommunications relay service, visit the Code of Iowa, Chapter 477C.

For more information on what is happening in telecommunications relay services on the national front, visit the Disability Rights Office, a division of the Federal Communications Commission's Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau.  Also see the FCC’s webpage describing telecommunications relay service.

Relay Iowa Toll-free Numbers

To access Relay service: Dial 711 or
TTY/ASCII 800-735-2942
Voice 800-735-2943
Speech-to-Speech (STS) 877-735-1007
Visually Assisted Speech-to-Speech (VA STS) 800-855-7400
Voice Carryover (VCO) 800-735-4313
Hearing Carryover 800-735-2942
Spanish Relay 800-264-7190
Relay Iowa Customer Service:
English 888-516-4692
Spanish 866-744-7471
CapTel Customer Service:
English 888-269-7477
Spanish 866-670-9134
To call one-line CapTel user:
English 877-243-2823
Spanish 866-217-3362

Captioned Telephone Service (CapTel™ Relay)

The State of Iowa offers a service designed for individuals who have difficulty hearing on the telephone. The captioned telephone service, called CapTel™ Relay, provides captions for the telephone similar to the closed captioning provided on most television programs. CapTel is a technology that allows individuals with hearing loss to view word for word captions of their telephone conversations. CapTel phones are useful for individuals who have good speech but do not hear well over the phone. For more information about CapTel, check out the CapTel web site at, or call CapTel customer service at 888-269-7477.

Similar to a traditional telephone, the CapTel™ phone allows callers who are hard-of-hearing to talk and listen to individuals who use a traditional phone. The CapTel phone also allows the user to read word for word captions of the other party’s conversation on the CapTel’s built-in screen while listening to the voice of the other party. Captions are provided by a specially trained operator who “re-voices” everything they hear from a hearing user into the voice-recognition technology, which converts speech into the text so that it can be read on the CapTel phone’s screen. The captions appear almost simultaneously with the spoken word, allowing CapTel users to understand everything that is said - by both hearing it and reading the display.

How to Apply for a CapTel Phone

Telecommunications Access Iowa (TAI) administers the Iowa Utilities Board’s equipment distribution program and provides equipment to qualified individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, or have difficulty speaking, to enable them to use the telephone. The CapTel telephone is available to qualified individuals through  the TAI program. For more information on how to apply for a CapTel phone, or other types of specialized telephone equipment, contact:

Telecommunications Access Iowa
6925 Hickman Road
Des Moines, IA 50322
800.606.5099 Toll-free Voice
515.282.5099 Voice
515.282.5130 TTY
515.200.2899 Videophone
515.237.3917 FAX

CapTel phones may also be ordered directly through Relay Iowa’s service provider, Hamilton Relay.  More information about direct ordering can be found by following the links at the Hamilton Relay website for CapTel.

*CapTel is a trademark and service mark of Ultratec, Inc.

Speech to Speech Service

Speech to Speech (STS) is a specialized relay service for use by persons who have difficulty speaking. It involves the use of specially trained Communication Assistants (CAs) who understand the speech patterns of persons with speech difficulties and can repeat the words spoken. STS gives persons with speech difficulties an efficient alternative to using a TTY (text telephone, where the user must type in what s/he wishes to say).  To access Speech-to-Speech service, simply dial 711 or the toll-free STS number at 877.735.1007.
For more information about STS services, visit the Relay Iowa website, the Hamilton Relay website, or the FCC website.

The Speech-to-Speech User Training Line is a resource for groups and individuals in Iowa to familiarize themselves with the proper etiquette and standard procedures of using STS. Individuals who are residents of Iowa and/or intend to use the STS service with an Iowa resident are eligible to call the training line.

The User Training Line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and can be reached by contacting Customer Care at 800-855-8444.

Visually Assisted Speech to Speech Service

Many individuals who have difficulty speaking are best understood when they can be seen. Visually Assisted Speech to Speech Service (VA STS) provides the opportunity to use both speech and visual cues when interacting with the Communication Assistant (CA) during Speech-to-Speech calls.

VA STS involves the use of a live video connection between the CA and the VA STS user. Utilizing a webcam and computer Skype™ software, the CA is able to see the VA STS user’s mouth movements, facial expressions and gestures as they are speaking. The CA uses these visual cues to assist in better understanding the VA STS user’s side of the conversation.

  • Dial 800-855-7400 to connect with a CA.
  • Using Skype, the CA establishes a video connection with the VA STS user.
  • The VA STS user gives the CA the number to dial and any specific call handling instructions.
  • The CA dials the requested number and facilitates the conversation.

Spanish Relay Service

Relay Iowa offers Spanish relay service, where TTY users can type in Spanish and the conversation will be relayed in Spanish. Spanish to English translation service is also offered through Relay Iowa. The Spanish relay service can be accessed by simply dialing 711, toll-free at 800-264-7190, or by using any of the other Relay Iowa toll-free numbers and requesting Spanish service.

711 Relay Dialing

The Federal Communications Commission requires all telecommunications carriers nationwide to facilitate three-digit, 711, dialing for access to all Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS). This dialing arrangement supplements existing systems in Iowa that require 10 digit numbers in order to initiate relay calls. The FCC noted that its rule will eliminate the difficulties that individuals have with finding or remembering various relay numbers as they travel from state to state. Both voice and TTY users are able to initiate a call from any telephone, anywhere in the United States, without having to remember and dial a 10-digit number.

Access to all forms of TRS is available by dialing 711, including TTY, Speech-to-Speech, Voice Carryover, Hearing Carryover, and Spanish TRS.

More information about 711 can be found at the FCC’s website.

Other types of Relay Service

Video Relay Service

Video relay service (VRS) allows persons whose first language is American Sign Language (ASL) to be able to communicate through telecommunications using their native language. By using video equipment, ASL users are able to communicate with voice telephone users by "speaking" directly to specially trained operators via video. The video link allows the operator to view and interpret the party's signed conversation and the operator, in turn, speaks to the hearing party to confidentially relay the message being signed by the person using ASL. To use most VRS services, a person must have a computer or television with a video camera device and high speed Internet access. For specific requirements, contact the VRS provider of your choice.  The FCC maintains a list of providers. The FCC currently has exclusive jurisdiction over VRS and VRS providers; see the FCC website for further details.

When using Video Relay Service, VRS users are not limited to their state's designated relay provider, but can choose any VRS provider without restrictions, provided the user has the proper equipment.

Internet Relay Service

Internet Relay provides Internet users the ability to communicate via the Relay service through web access, rather than with a TTY or telephone.

When using Internet Relay Service, TRS users are not limited to their state's designated relay provider, but can choose any Internet Relay provider without restrictions, provided the user has the proper equipment.  The FCC maintains a list of providers on its web site. The FCC currently has exclusive jurisdiction over Internet Relay service and Internet Relay providers; see the FCC website for further details.

Contact Information

Iowa Utilities Board Customer Service
1375 E. Court Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50319-0069

515.725.7300 Voice
515.725.7398 Fax



Questions about CapTel service or Relay Iowa
Lori Sporrer, Relay Iowa Outreach Project Manager

Hamilton Relay
1001 12th Street
Aurora, NE  68818  

515.344.8548 Cell
712.653.3154 Fax
Customer Service: 888.516.4692 or


Telecommunications Access Iowa
Gayle Boeke, Program Manager
6925 Hickman Road
Des Moines, IA 50322
800.606.5099 Toll-free
515.282.5130 TTY
515.237.3917 Fax
515.200.2899 Videophone

Jennifer Trees
Administrative Assistant
515.282.5099 Voice