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VRS Fraud Order Extending Stay of Effective Date

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Released: September 30, 2011

Federal Communications Commission

FCC 11-145

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of
)
)

Structure and Practices of the Video Relay Service )
CG Docket No. 10-51
Program
)
)

ORDER EXTENDING SUSPENSION OF EFFECTIVE DATE

Adopted: September 30, 2011

Released: September 30, 2011

By the Commission:
1. In this Order, in response to the September 9, 2011 "Motion to Extend Stay" filed by Gallaudet
University (Gallaudet),1 we grant in part Gallaudet's Motion and extend the stay of the effective date of
Section 64.604(c)(5)(iii)(N)(1)(iii) of the Commission's rules, as adopted in the Commission's VRS
Practices Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking,2 for an additional 45 days, until
November 15, 2011. This rule prohibits certain revenue sharing and subcontracting arrangements
involving VRS providers.3 The rule was originally scheduled to become effective on June 1, 2011, but the
Commission stayed its effective date until October 1, 2011, by Order released on May 31, 2011.4
2. As explained herein, we find good cause to further extend the stay of the effective date of this
rule. As Gallaudet notes in its Motion,5 on July 28, 2011, the Commission adopted rule revisions in regard
to VRS certification requirements in the iTRS Certification Order.6 By that Order, the Commission revised
its requirements and procedures by which entities may become certified VRS providers. The Commission:
(1) required all Internet-based relay providers to receive certification from the Commission to be eligible to
receive compensation from the Interstate TRS Fund; (2) required that applications for certification include
evidence of an applicant's ability to comply with the Commission's rules, including those involving the
operation of call centers and call distribution facilities; and (3) provided that the certification process
include, at the Commission's discretion, other measures, including on-site visits to the premises of


1 Gallaudet Motion to Extend Stay, CG Docket No. 10-51, filed September 9, 2011 (requesting a further extension of
90 days following completion of the statutory Paperwork Reduction Act approval process) (Gallaudet Motion)..
2 47 C.F.R. 64.604(c)(5)(iii)(N)(1)(iii); see Structure and Practices of the Video Relay Service Program, CG Docket
No. 10-51, Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 26 FCC Rcd 5545 (2011) (VRS Practices
R&O).

3 See VRS Practices R &O, 26 FCC Rcd at 5574, 58.
4 Structure and Practices of the Video Relay Service Program, CG Docket No. 10-51, Order Suspending Effective
Date, 26 FCC Rcd 8327 (2011) (VRS Revenue Sharing Prohibition Stay Order). In addition, other rules adopted in
the VRS Fraud Order and FNPRM became effective on June 1, 2011, except that the rule prohibiting VRS
communications assistants from relaying calls from their homes, 47 C.F.R. 64.604(b)(4)(iii), became effective on
August 30, 2011 (120 days after the date of Federal Register publication).
5 Gallaudet Motion at 2.
6 Structure and Practices of the Video Relay Service Program, CG Docket No. 10-51, Second Report and Order and
Order, 26 FCC Rcd 10898 (2011) (iTRS Certification Order).

Federal Communications Commission

FCC 11-145

applicants.7 The rules adopted in the iTRS Certification Order became effective on September 6, 2011,
except those containing information collections, which require approval by the Office of Management and
Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) in order to become effective. The Commission's
request for such approval remains pending before OMB.
3.
On September 6, 2011, Sorenson Communications, Inc. (Sorenson) filed with OMB
Paperwork Reduction Act Comments regarding these revised certification rules.8 Also on September 6,
2011, Sorenson filed a Petition for Reconsideration of two aspects of the iTRS Certification Order,9 AT&T
Services, Inc. (AT&T) also filed a Petition for Reconsideration,10 and Sprint Nextel Corporation filed an
Expedited Petition for Clarification.11 As Gallaudet notes in its Motion,12 the Commission cannot require
the submission of and act upon applications for certification unless and until the information collection
requirements adopted in the iTRS Certification Order become effective. It further notes that even if OMB
acts immediately, insufficient time will remain for applicants to prepare their applications, much less have
them processed and granted by the current October 1 effective date for the subject rule.13 We agree, and
conclude that there is good cause to extend the stay while the Commission considers the petitions for
reconsideration and clarification,14 and while our request for OMB approval of the information collection
requirements adopted in the iTRS Certification Order, which would allow the new certification rules to
become effective, remains pending.
4. As we explained in the VRS Revenue Sharing Prohibition Stay Order, applicants for VRS
certification will be required to come into compliance with all Commission rules governing VRS,15
including Section 64.604(c)(5)(iii)(N)(1)(iii). When we extended the effectiveness of that rule until
October 1, 2011, we did so with the expectation that the new certification process would be in effect
sufficiently in advance of that date so that entities would have the opportunity to apply for certification
prior to the expiration of the stay and have the opportunity to seek to transition to eligibility in a seamless
manner, without any interruption in providing service.16 In light of the continued pendency of the
Commission's request for approval of the rules before OMB, by extending the stay, we will provide such
entities the opportunity to apply for certification to become eligible for compensation from the TRS Fund
in such a manner. This will avoid the situation in which providers not certified by the Commission will be
forced to cease operations without having the opportunity to seek a seamless transition to certification.
However, because of our desire to expedite the certification process, in furtherance of our overall objectives
of avoiding waste, fraud and abuse in the VRS program through improved Commission oversight of VRS


7 See iTRS Certification Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 10902-23, 7-61.
8 Paperwork Reduction Act Comments of Sorenson Communications, Inc., CG Docket No. 10-51, filed September 6,
2011.
9 Sorenson Communications, Inc., Petition for Reconsideration of Two Aspects of the Certification Order, CG Docket
No. 10-51, filed September 6, 2011.
10 AT&T Services, Inc., Petition for Reconsideration of AT&T, CG Docket No. 10-51, filed September 6, 2011.
11 Sprint Nextel Corporation, Expedited Petition for Clarification, CG Docket No. 10-51, filed September 6, 2011.
12 Gallaudet Motion at 3.
13 Id. at 3-4.
14 By Public Notice, the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau sought comment on the Sorenson and AT&T
petitions for reconsideration. "Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau Notice of Petitions for Reconsideration of
the Second Report and Order and Order in CG Docket No. 10-51," Public Notice, DA 11-1590 (September 22, 2011).
15 See 47 C.F.R. 64.604 et. seq.
16 VRS Revenue Sharing Prohibition Stay Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 8328, 4; see also iTRS Certification Order, 26 FCC
Rcd at 10923 (discussing application procedures for subcontracting iTRS providers not currently eligible to receive
compensation directly from the Fund, but seeking a seamless transition to certified iTRS provider).
2

Federal Communications Commission

FCC 11-145

providers,17 we decline to provide the full 90 day extension sought by Gallaudet. Balancing the interests
here, we believe that a 45 day further extension is appropriate and in the public interest. Therefore,
the effective date of Section 64.604(c)(5)(iii)(N)(1)(iii) is hereby stayed until November 15, 2011, and the
stay shall apply to all covered revenue sharing and subcontracting arrangements involving VRS providers.18
5. Persons with Disabilities. 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) or 202-418-0432 (TTY). This Order
also can be downloaded in Word and Portable Document Formats (PDF) at
http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/dro/trs.html.
6. Congressional Review Act. The Commission will send a copy of this Order Extending
Suspension of Effective Date in a report to be sent to Congress and the Government Accountability Office
pursuant to the Congressional Review Act.19
7. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED, pursuant to Section 4(i) of the Communications Act of 1934,
as amended, 47 U.S.C. 154(i), and Section 1.103 of the Commission's rules, 47 C.F.R. 1.103, that the
effective date of Section 64.604(c)(5)(iii)(N)(1)(iii) of the Commission's rules, 47 C.F.R.
64.604(c)(5)(iii)(N)(1)(iii), as adopted in the VRS Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking, 26 FCC Rcd 5545 (2011), IS STAYED until November 15, 2011.
8. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, that the Motion to Extend Stay filed by Gallaudet University on
September 9, 2011, IS GRANTED IN PART as stated in paragraph 1 herein and IS OTHERWISE
DENIED.
9. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, that this Order Extending Suspension of Effective Date is
EFFECTIVE UPON RELEASE.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Marlene H. Dortch
Secretary


17 iTRS Certification Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 10899, 1.
18 See VRS Practices R &O, 26 FCC Rcd at 5574, 58.
19 See 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(1)(A).
3

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