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IP CTS User Registration and Certification Rules

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Released: February 24, 2014

PUBLIC NOTICE

Federal Communications Commission
445 12th St., S.W.

News Media Information 202 / 418-0500

Washington, D.C. 20554

Internet: http://www.fcc.gov

TTY: 1-888-835-5322

DA 14-251

Released: February 24, 2014

CONSUMER AND GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS BUREAU CLARIFIES APPLICATION OF
INTERNET PROTOCOL CAPTIONED TELEPHONE SERVICE (IP CTS) RULES ON USER

REGISTRATION AND CERTIFICATION

CG Docket Nos. 13-24 & 03-123

In this Public Notice, the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau of the Federal
Communications Commission clarifies the applicability of certain provisions of the Commission’s
telecommunications relay services (TRS) rules in light of the partial stay granted by the United States
Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on December 6, 2013.1 In the Stay Order, the court
granted in part a motion by Sorenson Communications, Inc., seeking a stay of certain rules on IP CTS that
were adopted by the Commission in a Report and Order released on August 26, 2013.2 Specifically, the
Court stayed “the rule adopted by the Commission prohibiting compensation to providers for minutes of
use generated by equipment consumers received from providers for free or for less than $75.”3
We clarify that interim rule 64.604(c)(9)(v), which requires that IP CTS providers obtain third-
party professional certification from new IP CTS users who pay less than $75 for equipment (other than
equipment obtained from a governmental equipment distribution program),4 remains in effect at this time.
In the IP CTS R&O, the Commission extended the effectiveness of interim rule 64.604(c)(9) until the
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approves the information collections contained in final rule
64.604(c)(9) and a notice of such approval is published in the Federal Register.5 As such OMB approval


1 Sorenson Communications, Inc. and CaptionCall, LLC v. FCC, Order (D.C. Cir., No. 13-1246, Dec. 6, 2013) (Stay
Order
).
2 Misuse of Internet Protocol (IP) Captioned Telephone Service, Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-to-
Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech Disabilities
, CG Docket Nos. 13-24 & 03-123, Report and
Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 28 FCC Rcd 13420 (2013) (IP CTS R&O), review pending sub
nom. Sorenson Communications, Inc. and CaptionCall, LLC v. FCC
(D.C. Cir., No. 13-1246, filed Sept. 6, 2013).
3 Stay Order at 1-2, citing IP CTS R&O, 28 FCC Rcd at 13440-48, ¶¶ 41-59. For convenience, we refer to the
requirement subject to the stay as “the $75 equipment charge rule.”
4 See Misuse of Internet Protocol (IP) Captioned Telephone Service; Telecommunications Relay Services and
Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech Disabilities
, CG Docket Nos. 13-24 and 03-
123, Order and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 28 FCC Rcd 703, 746, Appx. D, § 64.604(c)(9)(v) (2013) (IP CTS
Interim Order
), review pending sub nom. Sorenson Communications, Inc. and CaptionCall, LLC v. FCC (D.C. Cir.,
No. 13-1122, filed Apr. 8, 2013).
5 See 78 FR 53684 (Aug. 30, 2013).

has not yet occurred, and thus no notice of such approval has been published in the Federal Register,
interim rule 64.604(c)(9)(v) is currently in effect under the terms of the IP CTS R&O.
In addition, although the registration and self-certification requirements of the final IP CTS rule
are not implicated by the court’s stay, we take this opportunity to affirm that, upon OMB approval of the
information collections contained therein, final rule 64.604(c)(9) will not require IP CTS providers to
collect additional registration information or certifications from consumers who began receiving service
after March 7, 2013, but who were registered prior to the effective date of the final rule in accordance
with the currently applicable interim rules.
Background
IP CTS, a form of telecommunications relay service (TRS) approved in 2007,6 enables a
telephone caller, by utilizing an Internet-enabled device or software, to simultaneously listen to the other
party to the telephone call and read captions of what that party is saying.7 On January 25, 2013, the
Commission adopted interim rules to address certain provider practices that appeared to encourage IP
CTS usage by individuals who did not need this service to communicate in a functionally equivalent
manner.8 Among other things, the interim rules required each IP CTS provider, in order to be eligible for
compensation from the Fund for providing service to new IP CTS users, (i) to register each new IP CTS
user, (ii) as part of the registration process, to obtain from each consumer a self-certification that the
consumer has a hearing loss that necessitates IP CTS to communicate in a manner that is functionally
equivalent to communication by conventional voice telephone users, and (iii) where the consumer accepts
IP CTS equipment free of charge or at a price below $75 from any source other than a governmental
program, to also obtain from the consumer a certification from an independent, third party professional
attesting to the same.9 Those interim rules became effective on March 7, 2013, with a scheduled
expiration date of September 3, 2013.10 The IP CTS Interim Order was accompanied by a Notice of
Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in which the Commission sought comment on whether to make
permanent, revise, or eliminate the interim rules.11
On August 26, 2013, the Commission adopted final rules on IP CTS. Under the final rules
adopted by the Commission, among other things, providers who provide IP CTS equipment, software,
and applications to consumers after September 30, 2013, at no charge or for less than $75, were


6 Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech
Disabilities
, CG Docket No. 03-123, Declaratory Ruling, 22 FCC Rcd 379 (2007).
7 See 47 C.F.R. § 64.601(12). Generally, IP CTS uses a connection via the public switched telephone network
(PSTN) or voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) for the voice portion of the call, while the connection carrying the
captions between the relay service provider and the relay service user is via the Internet. Id.
8 IP CTS Interim Order, 28 FCC Rcd at 706-09, ¶¶ 6-9.
9 Id. at 743-44, Appx. D, § 64.604(c)(9). In addition, providers must obtain consumers’ self-certification regarding
their understanding that captioning services are provided by a live communications assistant (CA) and that these
services are supported by a federal fund. Id.
10 78 FR 14701, 14702 (2013) (announcing an effective date of March 7, 2013 and an expiration date of September
3, 2013 for section 64.604(c)(9), the rule on registration and certification).
11 IP CTS Interim Order, 28 FCC Rcd at 704, ¶ 3.
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prohibited from receiving compensation from the Fund for minutes of use generated by consumers using
such equipment, software, or applications.12
The final rules maintain, with modifications, the requirements that IP CTS providers register each
new IP CTS user and obtain a self-certification regarding the consumer’s understanding of and need to
use IP CTS.13 In addition, providers must register and obtain certifications from all consumers who
commenced service prior to adoption of the interim rules.14 Because the registration and certification
requirements of the final rule contain information collections, however, those requirements will not take
effect until after OMB has approved them.15
The $75 equipment charge rule took effect on September 30, 2013.16 As noted, however, on
December 6, 2013, the court of appeals stayed this rule. After issuance of the stay, CGB received a
number of inquiries from providers seeking guidance on their obligations on a going forward basis.
Application of the Stay
As an initial matter, we remind parties that the only rule that has been stayed by the court of
appeals is the $75 equipment charge rule.17 Thus, the court’s order does not stay any of the interim IP
CTS rules (to the extent not superseded by final rules already in effect), nor does it stay any of the final
rule provisions pertaining to registration and certification of IP CTS users.
Continued Effectiveness of the Interim Third Party Professional Certification Rule
At present, the interim rule on IP CTS user registration and certification remains in effect,
including the requirement that, where the consumer accepts IP CTS equipment free of charge or at a price
below $75 from any source other than a governmental program, the provider must obtain from the
consumer a certification from an independent, third party professional attesting to the consumer’s need
for IP CTS. In the IP CTS Final Order, the Commission noted that the interim rules were then set to
expire on September 3, 2013, and that the final rules adopted in the order would not take effect
immediately. Therefore, “in order to prevent a gap in these rules, and, consequently, open the door to
practices that we have already determined could permit consumers who do not need IP CTS to use this


12 IP CTS R&O, 28 FCC Rcd at 13440-48, ¶¶ 41-59.
13 See id. at 13421, ¶ 2, 13496-97, Appx. B, §§ 64.604(c)(9)(i), (iii). In addition to the information required by the
interim rules, the final rules require providers, for example, to obtain from registrants the last four digits of the
consumer’s social security number and the consumer’s self-certification that, to the best of the consumer’s ability,
persons who have not been registered to use Internet protocol captioned telephone service will not be permitted to
make captioned telephone calls on the consumer’s registered IP captioned telephone service or device. Id. 14 Id. at
13450-55, ¶¶ 66-73, Appx. B, § 64.604(c)(9)(xi).
15 Id. at 13492-93, ¶¶ 166-67.
16 78 FR at 53691 (announcing that final rule 64.606(c)(11)(i) shall be effective September 30, 2013).
17 As noted above, the Stay Order stays enforcement of “the rule adopted by the Commission prohibiting
compensation to providers for minutes of use generated by equipment consumers received from providers for free or
for less than $75” and cites paragraphs 36–59 of the IP CTS R&O. Stay Order at 2.
3

service,” the Commission expressly extended the effectiveness of each interim rule until the
corresponding final rule took effect.18
In the case of registration and certification requirements, final rule 64.604(c)(9) does not take
effect until OMB approves the information collections contained in the final rule and such approval is
published in the Federal Register. Therefore, interim rule 64.604(c)(9) remains in effect until those steps
are completed.19 Interim rule 64.604(c)(9) includes a requirement that IP CTS providers must obtain third
party professional certification of those new users who pay less than $75 for IP CTS equipment.20 Like
the interim rule requirements for registration and self-certification of new users, this third party
professional certification requirement thus remains in effect until OMB approves the information
collections contained in the final rule on registration and certification and notice of such approval is
published in the Federal Register.21 Because OMB has not yet approved those collections, and thus no
notice of such approval has been published in the Federal Register, the third party professional
certification requirement contained in interim rule 64.604(c)(9)(v) is currently in effect. Interim rule
64.604(c)(9)(v)provides:
(v) In instances where IP CTS equipment is obtained by a new consumer for less than
$75, the IP CTS provider must also, in order to be eligible to receive compensation from
the TRS Fund, obtain written certification provided and signed by an independent third-
party professional, except as provided in paragraph (c)(9)(v)(D) of this section.
(A) In instances where certification from an independent third-party professional is
required, such professionals must be qualified to evaluate an individual’s hearing loss in
accordance with applicable professional standards, and may include, but are not limited
to, community-based social service providers, hearing related professionals, vocational
rehabilitation counselors, occupational therapists, social workers, educators, audiologists,
speech pathologists, hearing instrument specialists, and doctors, nurses, and other
medical or health professionals.
(B) In instances where certification from an independent third-party professional is
required, such third party professionals must certify in writing that the IP CTS consumer
is an individual with hearing loss who needs IP CTS to communicate in a manner that is
functionally equivalent to telephone service experienced by individuals without hearing
disabilities.
(C) In instances where certification from an independent third-party professional is
required, such third party professional must provide his or her name, title, and contact
information, including address, telephone number, and email address.
(D) In instances where the new consumer has obtained equipment from a governmental
program, the new consumer may present documentation to the IP CTS provider


18 IP CTS R&O, 28 FCC Rcd at 13492-93, ¶¶ 166-67.
19 78 FR at 53684 (final rule 64.604(c)(9), containing “the final rules on user registration and certification,” shall be
effective upon Federal Register publication of a notice announcing OMB approval, and interim rule 64.604(c)(9)
shall continue to be effective “until the final rules on user registration and certification become effective”).
20 IP CTS Interim Order, 28 FCC Rcd at 744, Appx. D, § 64.604(c)(9)(v).
21 See 78 FR at 53684, 53691.
4

demonstrating that the equipment was obtained through one of these programs, in lieu of
providing an independent, third party certification.22
Application of the Registration and Self-Certification Requirements to Certain Existing Users
Finally, although the following point is not implicated by the court’s stay, the application of the
registration and self-certification requirements of the final IP CTS rule to certain existing IP CTS users
has also been the subject of inquiries by providers.23 Therefore, we take this opportunity to clarify that,
upon OMB approval of the information collections contained therein, final rule 64.604(c)(9) will not
require IP CTS providers to collect additional registration information or certifications from consumers
who began receiving service after March 7, 2013, and who have been registered prior to the effective date
of the final rule in accordance with the currently applicable interim rules. Final rule 64.604(c)(9) has
application only to consumers who began receiving service prior to March 7, 2013, and to consumers who
began receiving service on or after the effective date of the final rule.24 It does not apply to consumers
who commenced service on or after March 7, 2013, but before the effective date of the final rule.25
Additional Information
A copy of this Public Notice is available for public inspection and copying during regular
business hours at the FCC Reference Information Center, Portals II, 445 12th Street, SW, Room CY-
A257, Washington, DC 20554. This document also may be purchased from the Commission’s
duplicating contractor, Best Copy and Printing, Inc. (BCPI), Portals II, 445 12th Street, SW, Room CY-
B402, Washington, DC 20554. Customers may contact BCPI at their web site: www.bcpiweb.com or by
calling (202) 488-5300.
To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities (Braille, large print,
electronic files, audio format), send an e-mail to fcc504@fcc.gov or call the Consumer and Governmental
Affairs Bureau at (202) 418-0530 (voice), (202) 418-0432 (TTY). This Public Notice also can be
downloaded in Word or Portable Document Format (PDF) at: http://transition.fcc.gov/cgb/dro/trs.html.
For further information regarding this Public Notice, please contact Robert Aldrich, Consumer
and Governmental Affairs Bureau, at (202) 418-0996 (voice) or e-mail at Robert.Aldrich@fcc.gov.


22 IP CTS Interim Order, 28 FCC Rcd at 744, Appx. D, § 64.604(c)(9)(v).
23 See Letter from John T. Nakahata, Wiltshire & Grannis, LLP, to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, FCC, CG Docket
Nos. 13-24 & 03-123, at 3-5 (filed Dec. 27, 2013); Letter from David A. O’Connor, Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP,
to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, FCC, CG Docket Nos. 13-24 & 03-123 (filed Jan. 2, 2014).
24 The public notice issued December 2, 2013, regarding the information required for IP CTS registration addressed
only the requirements applicable to “consumers who are registering for IP CTS” after the final rule takes effect. See
Personal Information Required for Consumers to Register for Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Service and
Applicable Confidentiality Safeguards
, CG Docket Nos. 13-24 & 03-123, Public Notice, DA 13-2300 (rel. Dec. 2,
2013).
25 We note, however, that the Commission may adopt additional requirements providing for collection of
information regarding registrants after its integrated registration database for all users of IP-based services is
established. See, e.g., IP CTS R&O, 28 FCC Rcd at 13492-93, ¶¶ 166-67.
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