Skip Navigation

Federal Communications Commission

English Display Options

Commission Document

iTRS Waiver Extension Order

Download Options

Released: July 1, 2013

Federal Communications Commission

DA 13-1489

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of
)
)

Telecommunications Relay Services
)
CG Docket No. 03-123
and Speech-to-Speech Services for
)
Individuals with Hearing and Speech Disabilities
)
)

E911 Requirements for IP-Enabled Service
)
WC Docket No. 05-196
Providers

ORDER

Adopted: July 1, 2013

Released: July 1, 2013

By the Acting Chief, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, and Chief, Wireline Competition
Bureau:
1.
By this Order, the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau (CGB) and the Wireline
Competition Bureau (WCB) extend the waivers of certain telecommunications relay services (TRS)1
mandatory minimum standards for video relay service (VRS)2 and Internet Protocol Relay Service (IP
Relay).3 These waivers currently are set to expire on July 1, 2013 pursuant to the Commission's 2012
TRS Waiver Order.
4 The Commission intends to initiate a rulemaking proceeding in the near future to
consider the continuing need for and applicability of the rules underlying each of the waivers. In the
interim, to maintain the status quo pending resolution of that proceeding, and because the service
providers' reported ability to comply with these waivers remains substantially unchanged, we now extend
each of the waivers discussed in section I below until July 1, 2014, or until the effective date of an
amendment to the applicable rules or other action addressing the merits of the application of such rules to
VRS and IP Relay, whichever occurs first. For similar reasons, as explained below, we also are granting
certain limited waivers anew for one provider, ASL Services Holdings, LLC (ASL Services). As to the
limited waiver of certain rules for service providers serving newly registered customers who use their
former default service provider's customer premises equipment (CPE), discussed in section II below, we
extend that waiver until July 1, 2014.


1 TRS enables a person with a hearing or speech disability to access the nation's telephone system to communicate
with other telephone users through a communications assistant (CA). See 47 U.S.C. 225(a)(3) (defining TRS); 47
C.F.R. 64.601(a)(22). The TRS mandatory minimum standards govern the provision of relay service. See 47
C.F.R. 64.604.
2 VRS is a form of TRS that enables the VRS user and the CA to communicate in sign language via a video link
over broadband, rather than through text. 47 C.F.R. 64.601(a)(27) (defining VRS).
3 IP Relay is a form of TRS that permits individuals with hearing or speech disabilities to communicate in text
messages via a computer (or other similar device). 47 C.F.R. 64.601(a)(13) (defining IP Relay).
4 Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech
Disabilities
; E911 Requirements for IP-Enabled Service Providers, CG Docket No. 03-123 and WC Docket No. 05-
196, Order, 27 FCC Rcd 7113 (CGB/WCB 2012) (2012 TRS Waiver Order). Many of the waivers addressed in this
proceeding were first granted at the inception of VRS and IP Relay.

Federal Communications Commission

DA 13-1489

2.
Generally, the Commission's rules may be waived for good cause shown.5 The
Commission may exercise its discretion to waive a rule where the particular facts make strict compliance
inconsistent with the public interest.6 In addition, the Commission may take into account considerations
of hardship, equity, or more effective implementation of overall policy on an individual basis.7 Waiver of
the Commission's rules is therefore appropriate only if special circumstances warrant a deviation from the
general rule, and such a deviation will serve the public interest.8

I.

GENERALLY APPLICABLE WAIVERS

3.
Regarding the waivers extended in the 2012 TRS Waiver Order, Internet-based TRS
providers filed their most recent annual progress reports in April 2013.9 These reports indicate that the
status of providers' ability to comply with the waived rules remains largely unchanged. After reviewing
the annual waiver reports submitted by providers in April 2013, we find good cause to extend these
waivers because, based on the information received, we again believe that each of the waived standards
are either technically infeasible for providers to achieve or not applicable to the form of TRS (i.e., IP
Relay or VRS) for which the standards are waived. For the same reasons given in the 2012 TRS Waiver
Order
,10 we believe that granting these waivers, in light of this year's submission and current
technologies, will continue to be in the public interest. Moreover, as noted above, the Commission
intends to initiate a rulemaking proceeding in the near future to consider the continuing need for and
applicability of the rules underlying each of these waivers. Therefore, for VRS and IP Relay providers,
except as otherwise indicated herein, we extend the waivers of the following rules: (1) types of calls;11
(2) pay-per-call (900) calls;12 (3) one-line VCO, VCO-to-TTY, and VCO-to-VCO;13 (4) one-line HCO,


5 47 C.F.R. 1.3 ("Any provision of the rules may be waived by the Commission on its own motion . . . if good
cause therefore is shown").
6 Northeast Cellular Telephone Co. v. FCC, 897 F.2d 1164, 1166 (D.C. Cir. 1990) (Northeast Cellular).
7 WAIT Radio v. FCC, 418 F.2d 1153, 1159 (D.C. Cir. 1969); Northeast Cellular, 897 F.2d at 1166.
8 Northeast Cellular, 897 F.2d at 1166.
9 See American Network, Inc., Annual Report of American Network, Inc. (Jan. 4, 2013) (ANI Report): ASL
Services Holdings, LLC, 2013 Annual Mandatory Minimum Standards Waiver Compliance Report (Apr. 16, 2013)
(ASL Services Report); ASL Services Holdings, LLC, Supplement to 2013 Annual Mandatory Minimum Standards
Waiver Compliance Report (Jun. 11, 2013) (ASL Services Supplement); AT&T 2013 Annual Report on IP TRS
Waivers (Apr. 1, 2013) (AT&T Report); Hancock, Jahn, Lee & Puckett, LLC d/b/a Communication Axess Ability
Group, CAAG's Status Report on Currently Waived Requirements (Apr. 16, 2013) (CAAG Report); Convo
Communications, LLC, Minimum Standards Waiver Report (Apr. 16, 2013) (Convo Report); CSDVRS, LLC,
Report on Waivers by CSDVRS, LLC (Apr. 15, 2013) (CSDVRS Report); Hamilton Relay, Inc., 2013 Annual
Report to FCC Concerning Internet Relay and IP CTS (Apr. 16, 2013) (Hamilton Report); Purple Communications,
Inc., Annual Report on Progress of Meeting Waived Requirements (Apr. 11, 2013) (Purple Report); Sorenson
Communications, Inc., Minimum Standards Waiver Report (Apr. 15, 2013) (Sorenson Report); Sprint Nextel
Corporation, FCC IP Relay Annual Progress Report (Apr. 16, 2013) (Sprint IP Relay Report).
10 2012 TRS Waiver Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 7117-24, 8-21.
11 47 C.F.R. 64.604(a)(3)(ii). See 2012 TRS Waiver Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 7121-22, 16-17.
12 47 C.F.R. 64.604(a)(3)(iv). See 2012 TRS Waiver Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 7121, 14-15.
13 47 C.F.R. 64.604(a)(3)(v). See 2012 TRS Waiver Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 7117-19, 8-9. Based on statements
made by CSDVRS in its 2012 report, in the 2012 TRS Waiver Order, CGB allowed CSDVRS's waivers for VCO-
to-TTY and VCO-to-VCO to expire and extended its waiver for one-line VCO only with respect to the provision of
this service to users with non-CSDVRS-provided equipment or software. Id. at 7118, 9 n. 49. We take the same
action here, extending the waiver of one-line VCO only to the extent that CSDVRS provides this service to users
with non-CSDVRS-provided equipment or software.
2

Federal Communications Commission

DA 13-1489

HCO-to-TTY, and HCO-to-HCO;14 and (5) call release.15 In addition, we extend, for VRS providers, the
waiver of the requirement for equal access to interexchange carriers,16 and for IP Relay providers, the
waiver of STS requirements for IP Relay.17 All waivers that we now extend continue to be conditioned
on the filing of an annual report, due April 16, 2014, addressing the ability to comply with the mandatory
minimum standards and whether it is necessary for the waivers to remain in effect.18
4.
We grant anew waivers of some of these rules to ASL Services. In April 2012, ASL
Services filed a waiver report indicating that it no longer needed waivers for the following rules because it
had developed the capability to comply with these requirements: (1) types of calls;19 (2) pay-per-call
(900) calls;20 (3) one-line VCO, VCO-to-TTY, and VCO-to-VCO;21 (4) one-line HCO, HCO-to-TTY, and
HCO-to-HCO;22 and, (5) call release.23 Therefore, in the 2012 TRS Waiver Order, while extending
waivers of these rules for most other providers, we did not grant ASL Services an extension of its waivers
for these rules.24
5.
In its April 2013 report and a supplement filed subsequent to the report, however, ASL
Services changes its position, indicating that it not only needs waivers of these rules for the upcoming


14 47 C.F.R. 64.604(a)(3)(v). See 2012 TRS Waiver Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 7119-20, 10-11. Based on
statements made by CSDVRS in its 2012 report, in the 2012 TRS Waiver Order, CGB allowed CSDVRS's waiver
for HCO-to-TTY to expire and extended its waivers for (1) HCO-to-HCO with respect to all users and (2) one-line
HCO only with respect to the provision of this service to users with non-CSDVRS-provided equipment or software.
Id. at 7119-20, 11 n. 60. We take the same action here, extending these waivers for CSDVRS only to the extent
that they were extended in that order.
15 47 C.F.R. 64.604(a)(3)(vi). See 2012 TRS Waiver Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 7120, 12-13.
16 47 C.F.R. 64.604(b)(3). See 2012 TRS Waiver Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 7122-23, 18-19. The Commission
previously waived this requirement indefinitely for IP Relay. See Provision of Improved Telecommunications Relay
Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech Disabilities
, CC Docket No. 98-
67, Declaratory Ruling and Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 17 FCC Rcd 7779, 7789, 31 (2002),
17 FCC Rcd at 7789, 31.
17 See Telecommunications Relay Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech Disabilities, CC Docket No. 98-
67, Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 15 FCC Rcd 5140, 5148-51, 14-20 (2000), 15
FCC Rcd at 5148-51, 14-20; see also 47 C.F.R. 64.601(a)(20) (defining STS); 2012 TRS Waiver Order, 27
FCC Rcd at 7123-24, 20-21. The Commission previously waived this requirement indefinitely for VRS. See
Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech
Disabilities
, CC Docket Nos. 90-571 & 98-67, CG Docket No. 03-123, Report and Order, Order on Reconsideration,
and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 19 FCC Rcd 12475, 12526-27, 134-135 (2004), 19 FCC Rcd at
12526-27, 134-135.
18 See 2012 TRS Waiver Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 7117-24, 8-21.
19 Id. at 7122, 17 n. 81.
20 Id.at 7121, 15 n. 72.
21 Id.at 7118, 9 n. 49.
22 Id.at 7119, 11 n. 60.
23 Id.at 7120, 13 n. 65. In addition, ASL Services stated it did not require a waiver of the equal access
requirement; however, CGB determined that, despite this claim, ASL Services did not have the ability to comply
with the equal access requirement and therefore extended the equal access waiver for ASL Services as well as for
the other providers. Id.at 7123, 19 n. 90.
24 Although we also did not grant certain waivers for Healinc and Snap! VRS in the 2012 TRS Wavier Order, both
providers have since exited the TRS industry.
3

Federal Communications Commission

DA 13-1489

year, but that, in fact, it required such waivers in 2012.25 In its supplement, ASL Services claims that
statements made in its 2012 report that it was capable of meeting the waived mandatory minimum
standards were "an expression of the internal technical capabilities of ASL's platform to process . . . calls
from its own subscribers, or through alternative operational procedures, and not a request to allow the
waiver exemptions to expire."26 The supplement also indicates that ASL/Global VRS does in fact have
compliance difficulties similar to those reported by other providers.27
6.
Based on ASL's statements indicating that it is, in fact, similarly situated to other
providers that have demonstrated good cause for a waiver, and because we intend to continue these
temporary waivers in effect only until the Commission completes a rulemaking proceeding regarding the
need for further waivers or permanent exemptions, and to avoid imposing compliance burdens on ASL
Services alone, we grant ASL Services temporary waivers of the types of calls, pay-per-call (900) calls,
one-line VCO, VCO-to-TTY, and VCO-to-VCO, one-line HCO, HCO-to-TTY, and HCO-to-HCO, and
call release rules. Each waiver will expire July 1, 2014, or on the effective date of an amendment to the
applicable rules or other action addressing the merits of the application of such rules to VRS and IP
Relay, whichever occurs sooner.28 All waivers now granted are conditioned on the filing of an annual
report, due April 16, 2014, addressing the ability of ASL Services to comply with the mandatory
minimum standards and whether it is necessary for the waivers to remain in effect.

II.

CPE PORTABILITY WAIVERS

7.
We also find good cause to extend waivers of certain TRS mandatory minimum standards
for VRS and IP Relay providers that remain unable to meet such standards for newly-registered Internet-
based TRS users who are using CPE, or iTRS access technology,29 from a former default service provider.
We extend the waivers, which are set to expire on July 1, 2013,30 until July 1, 2014.31
8.
These waivers were originally granted in 2008, after the Commission required VRS and
IP Relay service providers to register users with their preferred "default" service providers and to assign
such registered users ten-digit numbers linked to the North American Numbering Plan (NANP).32 In the
Second Internet-based TRS Numbering Order, the Commission clarified that providers who provide CPE
to users "must ensure that their devices are capable of making calls after a change in default provider" and
"must make available to other VRS providers enough information about that equipment to enable any


25 See ASL Services Report.
26 ASL Services Supplement at 3.
27 Id. at 3-4.
28 This Order does not address whether ASL Services should be granted retroactive waivers of these mandatory
minimum standards for the period from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013, which the Commission will address
separately.
29 In the VRS Reform Order, the Commission replaced use of term "CPE" in the iTRS context with the term "iTRS
access technology," effective 30 days after publication of the text or summary of the VRS Reform Order in the
Federal Register. See Structure and Practices of the Video Relay Service Program; Telecommunications Relay
Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech Disabilities
, CG Docket Nos. 10-
51 and 03-123, Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, FCC 13-82, 45-46 (rel. June 10,
2013) (VRS Reform Order).
30 See2012 TRS Waiver Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 7124, 22-23.
31 See VRS Reform Order, FCC 13-82, 48-49.
32 Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech
Disabilities
, CG Docket No. 03-123; E911 Requirements for IP-Enabled Service Providers, WC Docket No. 05-196,
Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 23 FCC Rcd 11591, 11592-93, 1 (2008).
4

Federal Communications Commission

DA 13-1489

VRS provider to perform all its functions as a default provider."33 As a corollary, the Commission also
ruled that "no provider may begin providing service as a new default provider for a customer until the
provider is capable of performing [default provider functions] with respect to any device that was being
used with the former default provider's service."34
9.
Recognizing that standards allowing full compliance with these requirements were not
yet in place, the Commission granted a one-year limited waiver of any TRS mandatory minimum
requirement that a new default provider is unable to meet "for a new registered user who is using CPE
from a former default provider because that new default provider does not have access to the [necessary]
technical information about that user's CPE."35 The standards subject to limited waiver under this ruling
include operational requirements such as the provision of speed dialing,36 emergency call handling
requirements,37 and the requirement to offer point-to-point calling as clarified in the Second Internet-
based TRS Numbering Order
.38
10.
The Commission encouraged Internet-based TRS providers to work together to develop
standards to ensure that default providers could carry out their responsibilities after a change in
providers.39 However, the industry did not fully achieve on its own the standardization needed for full
interoperability and portability; therefore, the waiver was extended for additional periods in the 2009 TRS
Waiver Order,
40 2010 TRS Waiver Order,41 2011 TRS Waiver Order,42 and 2012 TRS Waiver Order.43 In
the VRS Reform Order, therefore, the Commission directed Commission staff to participate in the
development of voluntary, consensus standards to facilitate interoperability and portability;44 authorized
CGB to incorporate such consensus standards by reference into the Commission rules;45 directed CGB to


33 Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech
Disabilities; E911 Requirements for IP-Enabled Service Providers
, CG Docket No. 03-123, CC Docket No. 98-67,
WC Docket No. 05-196, Second Report and Order and Order on Reconsideration, 24 FCC Rcd 791, 820-21, 65
(2008) (Second Internet-Based TRS Numbering Order).
34 Id. at 821, 65.
35 Id. at 822, 68.
36 47 C.F.R. 64.604(a)(3).
37 47 C.F.R. 64.605.
38 Second Internet-based TRS Numbering Order, 24 FCC Rcd at 820, 65 (stating, "we clarify that all default
providers must support the ability of VRS users to make point-to-point calls without the intervention of an
interpreter. Second, we clarify that all providers must ensure that their devices are capable of making calls after a
change in default provider, including point-to-point calls to other VRS users").
39 Id.
40 Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech
Disabilities
; E911 Requirements for IP-Enabled Service Providers, CG Docket No. 03-123 and WC Docket No. 05-
196, Order, 24 FCC Rcd 14721, 14728, 21 (CGB/WCB 2009).
41 Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech
Disabilities
; E911 Requirements for IP-Enabled Service Providers, CG Docket No. 03-123 and WC Docket No. 05-
196, Order, 25 FCC Rcd 8437, 8438, 2 (CGB/WCB 2010).
42 Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech
Disabilities
; E911 Requirements for IP-Enabled Service Providers, CG Docket No. 03-123 and WC Docket No. 05-
196, Order, 26 FCC Rcd 9449, 9450-51, 2 (CGB/WCB 2011).
43 2012 TRS Waiver Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 7124, 22-23.
44 VRS Reform Order, FCC 13-82, 48.
45 Id. at 49.
5

Federal Communications Commission

DA 13-1489

conduct an accelerated rulemaking, if necessary, to adopt standards for the portability of address book and
speed dial list features;46 and, generally stated the Commission's intention to take whatever steps are
necessary to ensure the development and promulgation of interoperability and portability standards.47
11.
Because we recognize that a transition period for VRS access technologies or other action
is necessary to ensure full interoperability and portability pursuant to the directives in the VRS Reform
Order
, we find that a further extension of the waiver is in the public interest, to allow time for the full
implementation of the interoperability and portability standards that will enable Internet-based TRS
providers to comply with all mandatory minimum standards regardless of the type of CPE used to access
their services. Anticipating that implementation of the VRS Reform Order will result in sufficient
progress in standardization to allow us to terminate this waiver, we grant a further extension of the CPE
waiver until July 1, 2014, at which time we will assess such progress and determine whether the waiver
should be terminated.
12.
Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to sections 151, 225, and 251(e) of the
Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 151, 225, and 251(e), and sections 0.91, 0.141,
0.291, 0.361, and 1.3 of the Commission's rules, 47 C.F.R. 0.91, 0.141, 0.291, 0.361, and 1.3, each of
the waivers described in section I hereof IS EXTENDED to July 1, 2014, or until the effective date of an
amendment to the waived rule addressing the merits of the application of such rule to VRS and IP Relay,
whichever occurs first.
13.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that ASL Services Holdings, LLC, is granted waivers of
the types of calls, pay-per-call (900) calls, one-line VCO, VCO-to-TTY, and VCO-to-VCO, one-line
HCO, HCO-to-TTY, and HCO-to-HCO, and call release rules, effective from July 1, 2013, until July 1,
2014, or until the effective date of an amendment to the waived rule addressing the merits of the
application of such rule to VRS and IP Relay, whichever occurs first.
14.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the waivers described in section II hereof are
EXTENDED to July 1, 2014.
15.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this Order shall be effective upon release.
16.
To request materials in accessible formats (such as Braille, large print, electronic files, or
audio format), send an e-mail to fcc504@fcc.gov or call the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau
at (202) 418-0530 (voice) or (202) 418-0432 (TTY). This Order can also be downloaded in Word and
Portable Document Formats (PDF) at http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/dro.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Kris Anne Monteith, Acting Chief
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau
Julie Veach, Chief
Wireline Competition Bureau


46 Id. at 50.
47 Id. at 52.
6

Note: We are currently transitioning our documents into web compatible formats for easier reading. We have done our best to supply this content to you in a presentable form, but there may be some formatting issues while we improve the technology. The original version of the document is available as a PDF, Word Document, or as plain text.

close
FCC

You are leaving the FCC website

You are about to leave the FCC website and visit a third-party, non-governmental website that the FCC does not maintain or control. The FCC does not endorse any product or service, and is not responsible for, nor can it guarantee the validity or timeliness of the content on the page you are about to visit. Additionally, the privacy policies of this third-party page may differ from those of the FCC.