LinkNYC and Purple/ZVRS partner to provide city-wide VRS service

[Transcript] Last week LinkNYC, a communications network that provides free WiFi and phone calls in kiosks placed across New York City, announced a partnership with Purple Communications to provide videophone/VRS calling capability using tablets in the kiosks.

There was a viral video on Facebook by Tony Wooden Jr., who works with the New York City Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, that showed himself using a kiosk to place a videophone call. He said in the post that there will be a total of 7,500 LinkNYC kiosks all over NYC and that all of them will have videophone/VRS capability.

The Daily Moth reached out to Purple/ZVRS. We asked them what motivated them to pursue this concept. Here is their response.

“Communication access within our home and workplace is undeniably a necessity, but equally important is accessibility outside of these parameters especially-anytime, anywhere and anyplace. Access to communication across the city is a powerful step for the Deaf and hard of hearing community and even more for those who do not have access to the internet and basic services necessary to make calls that are vital in their daily lives.

Purple/ZVRS saw this as an exemplary method for the city to promote greater accessibility for all Deaf and hard of hearing individuals. The availability of this access demonstrates how a municipality can provide greater access for everyone, including the Deaf and hard of hearing directly from the streets.”

I asked them if it was required to have a Purple/ZVRS account to make a call. They said no, that any eligible deaf and hard of hearing users may place calls to communicate in ASL.

Nice service for those of you who live in New York City. Maybe this concept can carry over to other cities.

LinkNYC Announcement:

Tony Wooden Video:

Purple/ZVRS CEO:


Supported by:

Convo []

Gallaudet University: []

DEAF NEWSAlex Abenchuchan