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Waivers of iTRS Mandatory Minimum Standards

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Released: September 6, 2013

Federal Communications Commission

FCC 13-119

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of
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Telecommunications Relay Services
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And Speech-to-Speech Services for
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CG Docket No. 03-123
Individuals with Hearing and Speech Disabilities
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Waivers of iTRS Mandatory Minimum Standards )
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NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULEMAKING

Comment Date: (60 days after date of publication in the Federal Register)
Reply Comment Date: (90 days after date of publication in the Federal Register)

Adopted: September 5, 2013

Released: September 6, 2013

By the Commission:

I.

INTRODUCTION

1.
In this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Notice) we propose to address the continuing need
for waivers pertaining to the Commission's mandatory minimum standards for telecommunications relay
services (TRS).1 In the last decade, providers of Internet-based relay services (iTRS)2 and public
switched telephone network (PSTN)-based captioned telephone service (CTS)3 have petitioned for and

1 Under 47 U.S.C. 225, as amended by Section 103(a) of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video
Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA), TRS is defined as "telephone transmission services that provide the ability for
an individual who is deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, or who has a speech disability to engage in communication by
wire or radio with one or more individuals, in a manner that is functionally equivalent to the ability of a hearing
individual who does not have a speech disability to communicate using voice communication services by wire or
radio." Pub. L. No. 111-260, 124 Stat. 2751 103(a) (Oct. 8, 2010), technical amendments, Pub. L. No. 111-265,
124 Stat. 2795 (Oct. 8, 2010), codified at 47 U.S.C. 225(a)(3).
2 "iTRS" refers, essentially, to all forms of TRS in which an individual with a hearing or speech disability uses an
Internet connection with the TRS communications assistant (CA). See Structure and Practices of the Video Relay
Service Program
, CG Docket No. 10-51, Second Report and Order and Order, 26 FCC Rcd 10898, 10899, 1, n. 1
(2011) (July 2011 Certification Order). See also 47 C.F.R. 64.601(a)(11) (defining "Internet-based TRS"). At
present, this includes video relay service (VRS) (see id. 64.601(a)(27)), Internet Protocol relay service (IP Relay)
(see id. 64.601(a)(13)), Internet Protocol captioned telephone service (IP CTS) (see id. 64.601(a)(12)), and any
combination of these services or use of these services with other forms of relay, such as voice carry over (VCO)
(allowing a user to speak directly to the other party while having the conversation relayed back) (see id.
64.601(a)(29)), or hearing carry over (HCO) (allowing a user to hear the other party directly while using relay to
convey messages) (see id. 64.601(a)(9)). We note that in the future, "iTRS" may also include other forms of relay
services that utilize an Internet connection. See July 2011 Certification Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 10899, 1, n.1.
3 CTS permits people who can speak, but who have difficulty hearing over the telephone, to simultaneously listen to
the other party and read captions of what that party is saying. See Telecommunications Relay Services, and Speech-
(continued....)

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FCC 13-119

been granted waivers of various TRS mandatory minimum standards deemed inapplicable to or
technologically infeasible for iTRS and CTS. Several of these waivers have been limited in duration,
necessitating periodic requests for extension by the affected providers.4 In this Notice, we seek comment
on proposals to exempt certain iTRS and CTS providers permanently from certain mandatory minimum
standards because of the technical infeasibility or inapplicability of these mandatory minimum standards
to the services in question. We also seek comment on whether there is any public interest need to
continue to waive various other mandatory minimum standards, given the current state of the technologies
pertaining to these standards and in light of recent annual reports submitted by providers reporting the
ability to comply with such mandatory minimum standards. The goal of this proceeding is to provide
greater certainty for iTRS and CTS users and providers with respect to the TRS mandatory minimum
standards and to obviate the need for further periodic waiver filings regarding these standards.
2.
As we note below,5 we initiate this proceeding both in response to a TRS provider's
petition for rulemaking and to fulfill the prior commitment to take a more in-depth look at the merits of
making permanent or eliminating various TRS waivers.6 This proceeding is being conducted in parallel
with other Commission proceedings addressing various aspects of TRS reform, and in particular, the need
for targeted ways to eliminate fraud, waste and abuse as they arise.7

II.

BACKGROUND

3.
Telecommunications Relay Services. Title IV of the Americans with Disabilities Act of
1990 (ADA), codified at section 225 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (Act),8 requires the
(Continued from previous page)
to-Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech Disabilities, CC Docket No. 98-67, Declaratory Ruling,
18 FCC Rcd 16121 (2003) (CTS Declaratory Ruling).
4 See e.g., 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, WC Docket No.
05-196, Order, 27 FCC Rcd 7113 (CGB 2012) (2012 TRS Waiver Order); 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, WC Docket No. 05-196, Order, 26 FCC Rcd 9449 (CGB 2011)
(2011 TRS Waiver Order).
5 See 4-5, infra.
6 See 2012 TRS Waiver Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 7113-14, 1, n. 4; 2011 TRS Waiver Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 9449-50,
1, n. 4.
7 For example the Commission recently released a Report and Order and FNPRM to address structural reform of the
VRS marketplace. See Structure and Practices of the Video Relay Services Program; Telecommunications Relay
Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech Disabilities
, CG Docket Nos. 10-
51 & 03-123, Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 28 FCC Rcd 8618 (2013) (VRS
Structural Reform Order
). In addition, the Commission is looking at ways to eliminate misuse of IP Relay. See,
e.g., Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau Seeks to Refresh the Record Regarding Misuse of Internet
Protocol Relay Service
, CG Docket Nos. 12-38 & 03-123, Public Notice, 27 FCC Rcd 1569 (2012); Misuse of
Internet Protocol (IP) Relay Service; Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for
Individuals with Hearing and Speech Disabilities
, CG Docket Nos. 12-38 & 03-123, First Report and Order, 27
FCC Rcd 7866 (2012). Finally, the Commission has taken actions to ensure the integrity and sustainability of IP
CTS. 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,
Order and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 28 FCC Rcd 703 (2013); 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, FCC 13-118 (rel. Aug. 26, 2013).
8 See Americans with Disabilities Act, Pub. L. No. 101-336, 401, 104 Stat. 327, 336-69 (1990); 47 U.S.C. 225.
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FCC 13-119

Commission to ensure that TRS is available to enable a person with a hearing or speech disability to
communicate with other telephone users in a manner that is functionally equivalent to voice
communications service.9 When section 225 was first enacted and implemented, there was only one type
of TRS, which required the party with a speech or hearing disability to utilize a text telephone, or TTY,10
to transmit text over the PSTN to a communications assistant (CA). The CA then relayed the call
between two parties by converting everything that the text caller typed into voice for the hearing party
and typing everything that the voice user responded back to the person with a disability.11 With the
development of new communication technologies, the Commission recognized new forms of TRS as
eligible for compensation from the Interstate TRS Fund,12 including three forms of iTRS: VRS,13 IP
Relay,14 and IP CTS.15 Although traditional TTY-based TRS is still available, today iTRS account for
more than 90% of the total relay service minutes reimbursed from the Fund.16 For all forms of TRS, the
Commission has adopted mandatory minimum standards to achieve functionally equivalent relay
service.17
4.
Waivers Granted for iTRS and CTS. To ensure that TRS is provided in a manner that is
functionally equivalent to voice telephone service, section 225 requires the Commission to prescribe
functional requirements, guidelines, operations procedures and minimum standards for these services.18

9 Id. 225(b)(1). See also Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals with
Hearing and Speech Disabilities
, CC Docket Nos. 90-57 & 98-67, CG Docket No. 03-123, Report and Order, Order
on Reconsideration, and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 19 FCC Rcd 12475, 12479, 3 n. 18 (2004) (2004
TRS Report and Order
) (describing how a traditional TRS call works).
10 A text telephone, or TTY, is a text device that employs graphic communication in the transmission of coded
signals through a wire or radio communication system. See Telecommunications Services for Individuals with
Hearing and Speech Disabilities and the Americans with Disabilities Act
, CC Docket No. 90-571, Report and Order
and Request for Comments, 6 FCC Rcd 4657, 4657, 1, n. 1 (1991) (First TRS Report and Order).
11 2004 TRS Report and Order, 19 FCC Rcd at 12479, 3, n. 18 (describing how a traditional TRS call works).
12 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, 5152-54, 21-27 (2000) (2000
TRS Report and Order
).
13 VRS allows people with hearing or speech disabilities who use sign language to communicate with voice
telephone users over a broadband Internet connection using video equipment. The video link allows the CA to view
the party's signed conversation and relay the conversation back and forth by signing what the voice telephone user
says to the deaf or hard of hearing user and responding in voice to the voice telephone user. See 47 C.F.R.
64.601(a)(27); 2000 TRS Report and Order, 15 FCC Rcd at 5152-54, 21-27.
14 IP Relay permits people with hearing or speech disabilities to communicate in text using an Internet Protocol-
enabled device via the Internet. See 47 C.F.R. 64.601(a)(13); Provision of Improved Telecommunications Relay
Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech Disabilities; Petition for
Clarification of WorldCom, Inc.
, CC Docket No. 98-67, Declaratory Ruling and Second Further Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking, 17 FCC Rcd 7779 (2002) (IP Relay Declaratory Ruling).
15 With IP CTS, the connection carrying the captions between the relay service provider and the relay service user is
via the Internet, rather than through the PSTN. See 47 C.F.R. 64.601(12); 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) (IP CTS Declaratory Ruling).
16 See Rolka, Loube, Saltzer and Associates, Interstate TRS Fund Monthly Status Report for April2013, <www.r-l-s-
a.com/TRS/Reports.htm> (last visited May 17, 2013). The Commission recognized STS and CTS as forms of TRS
eligible for compensation from the TRS Fund in 2000 and 2003 respectively. See 2000 TRS Report and Order, 15
FCC Rcd at 5150-53, 15-20; CTS Declaratory Ruling.
17 See 47 C.F.R. 64.604; 2000 TRS Report and Order, 15 FCC Rcd at 5158, 39.
18 47 U.S.C. 225(d)(1).
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The Commission's mandatory minimum standards are intended to ensure that the user experience when
making TRS calls is as close as possible to a voice user's experience when making conventional
telephone calls. In this regard, these standards require, for example, that TRS operate every day for 24
hours per day,19 that the content of all relayed conversation be kept confidential,20 and that users of TRS
pay rates no greater than the rates paid by voice telephone users.21 Over the years, however, the
Commission has granted TRS providers waivers of certain TRS mandatory minimum standards that were
deemed either technologically infeasible for or simply inapplicable to a particular form of TRS. The
waivers granted for IP CTS and CTS have been issued for indefinite periods,22 while most waivers
granted for VRS and IP Relay have been limited in duration.23 Generally, the limited-duration waivers
have been renewed periodically in recent years on an annual basis.24 The Commission has conditioned
many of the waivers on the filing of annual reports in which providers are expected to detail their progress
in achieving compliance with the underlying mandatory minimum standards.25 The reports are designed
to help the Commission determine whether technological advances can enable providers to comply with
the waived mandatory minimum standards. Providers filed their most recent annual progress reports in
April 2013.26

19 Id. 225(d)(1)(C).
20 Id. 225(d)(1)(F).
21 Id. 225(d)(1)(D).
22 See IP CTS Declaratory Ruling, 22 FCC Rcd at 391-94, 29-31; CTS Declaratory Ruling, 18 FCC Rcd at
16130-39, 24-54.
23 See e.g., Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and
Speech Disabilities
, CC Docket No. 98-67, Order, 17 FCC Rcd 157, 161-64, 9-20 (2001) (2001 VRS Waiver
Order
); IP Relay Declaratory Ruling, 17 FCC Rcd at 7789, 30, 7790, 32; 2004 TRS Report and Order, 19 FCC
Rcd at 12520-28, 109-40, 12594-96, Appendix E.
24 See e.g., Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and
Speech Disabilities
, CG Docket No. 03-123, Order, 22 FCC Rcd 21869, 21870, 2 (CGB 2007) (2007 TRS Waiver
Order
); Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and
Speech Disabilities
, CG Docket No. 03-123, Order, 23 FCC Rcd 18334 (CGB 2008) (2008 TRS Waiver Order);
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, WC Docket No. 05-
196, Order, 25 FCC Rcd 8437 (CGB 2010) (2010 TRS Waiver Order); 2011 TRS Waiver Order; 2012 TRS Waiver
Order
. In 2009, the limited-duration waivers were extended for six months, rather than a year. 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, WC Docket No. 05-196, Order, 24 FCC
Rcd 14721 (CGB 2009) (2009 TRS Waiver Order).
25 See, e.g., 2004 TRS Report and Order, 19 FCC Rcd at 12520, 111. In some instances, the Commission has also
required annual reports for indefinite-duration waivers. For example, IP CTS providers are required to file annual
reports for waivers granted for STS, pay-per-call (900), VCO, HCO, call release, and three-way calling
requirements, even though these do not have time limits. IP CTS Declaratory Ruling, 22 FCC Rcd at 393, 30,
n.106.
26 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); 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
(continued....)
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5.
Hamilton Request. On November 19, 2009, Hamilton Relay, Inc., AT&T Inc., CSDVRS,
LLC, Sorenson Communications, Inc., Sprint Nextel Corporation, and Purple Communications, Inc.
(Petitioners) filed a "Request for Extension and Clarification of Various iTRS Waivers" (Hamilton
Request), requesting the Commission to extend indefinitely all iTRS waivers of limited duration27 and to
provide clarification on what Petitioners claim are discrepancies in some of the waivers.28 We initiate this
proceeding both in response to Petitioners' request and to fulfill our commitment, first made in the June
2011 TRS Waiver Order29 and reiterated in the 2012 TRS Waiver Order30 (both of which renewed various
limited-duration waivers) to take a more in-depth look at the merits of making permanent or eliminating
these waivers. When the Commission first began to grant the waivers now under review, it emphasized
that iTRS was "still in its infancy"31 and stressed that waivers granted for technological reasons in the
early stages of a service's development should not be necessary indefinitely.32 Today, the Internet is the
predominant means of accessing relay services, while traditional PSTN-based access via TTYs is much
less common. Now that Internet-based relay services have matured technologically, it seems an
appropriate time to take a more rigorous approach to evaluating the technological feasibility of
compliance with, as well as the consumer need for, our waived mandatory minimum standards. Although
the Hamilton Request did not address the waivers granted for CTS, we include those waivers as well in
the scope of this overall review.
6.
In undertaking this review, we note that, historically, the Commission has generally been
reluctant to grant permanent exemptions from its mandatory minimum standards based on mere assertions
of technological infeasibility. For example, in the case of coin-sent paid relay calls, only after a decade of
failed industry attempts to address the technical barriers associated with handling these calls and a
considerable decline in payphone use did the Commission conclude that the industry could not find a
(Continued from previous page)
Standards Waiver Report (Apr. 15, 2013) (Sorenson Report); Sprint Nextel Corporation, FCC IP Relay Annual
Progress Report (Apr. 16, 2013) (Sprint IP Relay Report). In this Notice, we base our consideration of whether to
continue specific iTRS waivers on information that we received in annual waiver reports prepared by currently
operating iTRS providers; thus, our discussion does not reflect statements submitted in reports filed by providers
that have discontinued service.
27 Hamilton Relay, Inc., AT&T Inc., CSDVRS, LLC, Sorenson Communications, Inc., Sprint Nextel Corporation,
and Purple Communications, Inc., Request for Extension and Clarification of Various iTRS Waivers, CG Docket
No. 03-123 at 4 (filed Nov. 19, 2009) (Hamilton Request).
28 Hamilton Request at 2. The Petitioners assert that: (1) the Commission granted an indefinite waiver of the STS
requirement for VRS, but the waiver was of limited duration for IP Relay (id. at 3); (2) the "equal access"
requirement for long distance service was waived indefinitely for IP Relay, but the waiver was of limited duration
for VRS (id. at 3-4); and (3) although the Commission granted a number of indefinite waivers for IP CTS, the same
waivers for IP Relay and VRS have a limited duration (id. at 4).
29 2011 TRS Waiver Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 9449-50, 1 n.4.
30 2012 TRS Waiver Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 7113-14, 1 n.4.
31 Telecommunications Relay Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech Disabilities; Recommended TRS
Cost Recovery Guidelines; Request by Hamilton Telephone Company for Clarification and Temporary Waivers
, CC
Docket No. 98-67, Memorandum Opinion and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 16 FCC Rcd
22948, 22957, 27 (2001) (2001 TRS Order).
32 See, e.g., Provision of Improved Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for
Individuals with Hearing and Speech Disabilities
, CC Docket No. 98-67, Order on Reconsideration, 18 FCC Rcd
4761, 4767, 14 (2003) (IP Relay Order on Reconsideration) ("[w]e emphasize that IP Relay should be available to
voice users, and strongly encourage parties to seek technological advances to make these services possible"); CTS
Declaratory Ruling
, 18 FCC Rcd 16121, 16132, 31 ("permanent waivers should not be granted on the basis of
technological infeasibility, since to do so could inhibit the development of new and progressive technology").
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technically feasible solution that justified continuing this mandate.33 Before then, the Commission
consistently rejected speculative assertions about the technical difficulties associated with coin sent-paid
calls, and held firm to the "heavy burden" placed on industry to prove the infeasibility of providing a
service that was otherwise available to voice telephone users. The Commission explained that granting a
waiver, "without persuasive evidence of infeasibility would certainly impair and discourage the
development of improved technology."34 We undertake our current review of the pending waivers
mindful of this Commission precedent.

III.

THE WAIVERS AND PROPOSED RULE AMENDMENTS

7.
The iTRS waivers that we address in this proceeding generally fall into two categories.
One group consists of waivers for standards mandating that TRS include features and functions that are
available with voice telephone service. In this first group, we have waived the mandatory minimum
standards for "types-of-calls,"35 equal-access,36 pay-per-call,37 three-way calling rules,38 and speed
dialing.39 The second group consists of waivers for standards mandating the provision of specific
communication services needed by people with speech or hearing disabilities. In this second group, we
have waived mandatory minimum standards for voice carry over (VCO),40 hearing carry over (HCO),41
speech-to-speech (STS),42 ASCII/Baudot-compatible services,43 Spanish-to-Spanish,44 and call-release.45
We address each of these groups below. With respect to waivers that are presently limited in duration, we
seek comment on whether to make the waivers permanent by amending our rules to explicitly state that
the waived mandatory minimum standards are inapplicable to the specified iTRS providers. We ask

33 The Commission's coin sent-paid requirement, i.e., the ability to make calls at payphones using coins, stemmed
from the more general requirement, contained in the Commission's TRS mandatory minimum standards, for TRS
providers to be "capable of handling any type of call normally provided by telecommunications carriers unless the
Commission determines that it is not technologically feasible to do so." 47 C.F.R. 64.604(a)(3)(ii). See also
First TRS Report and Order
, 6 FCC Rcd at 4660-61, 18 & n.18. Years were spent by the telecommunications
industry in an effort to overcome technical difficulties that prevented the network through which such coin sent-paid
calls were routed (the Traffic Operator Position System) from assessing the proper rate for relayed calls and from
collecting and returning coins to payphone users. When these efforts proved unsuccessful, the Commission
eliminated the coin sent-paid service requirement, noting that "[a]fter ten years of attempts by the industry . . . it is
appropriate to conclude that a technological solution is not readily available." Telecommunications Relay Services
and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
, CC Docket No. 90-571, Fifth Report and Order, 17 FCC Rcd
21233, 21241, 17 (2002).
34 Telecommunications Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech Disabilities, and the Americans with
Disabilities Act of 1990
, CC Docket No. 90-571, Order on Reconsideration, Second Report and Order, and Further
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 8 FCC Rcd 1802, 1804, 10 (1993).
35 See 8, infra.
36 See 11, infra.
37 See 15, infra.
38 See 18, infra.
39 See 20, infra.
40 See 22, infra.
41 See 22, infra.
42 See 26, infra.
43 See 28, infra.
44 See 29, infra.
45 See 31, infra.
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whether this approach will result in a clearer understanding of and better ongoing compliance with the
Commission's rules. For waivers that are already of unlimited duration, we seek comment on whether
amending our rules to codify these as permanent exemptions similarly would result in a clearer
understanding of and better ongoing compliance with the Commission's rules.

A.

Mandatory Minimum Standards for Features and Functions of Voice Telephone
Service

8.
Types-of-Calls Requirement. Commission rules require TRS providers to "be capable of
handling any type of call normally provided by telecommunications carriers unless the Commission
determines that it is not technologically feasible to do so."46 This requirement has been waived on a
limited-duration basis for IP Relay and VRS providers (but not IP CTS providers)47 to the extent that it
requires providers to offer specific billing options, including "operator-assisted" billing, such as collect,
calling card, and third party billing, as well as sent-paid billing for long distance calls.48 As a condition of
this waiver, the Commission, and subsequently the Bureau, required that VRS and IP Relay providers
allow long distance calls to be placed using calling cards or provide free long distance for such calls.49
Petitioners request that this requirement be waived indefinitely for all forms of iTRS because iTRS
providers do not have access to interexchange carriers, and therefore third party billing, collect calls and
other similar services that are billed by these carriers are not accessible through iTRS platforms.50 Since
iTRS providers currently offer all their calling services free of charge, Petitioners further suggest that the
underlying rationale for requiring these operator services and billing methods is "moot."51 .
9.
Until now, the Commission has waived the "types of calls" mandate in response to iTRS
providers' showings that there is no effective per-call billing mechanism to accurately identify and bill
iTRS users for long distance and operator-assisted calls, and that the costs of developing such a
mechanism would be prohibitive.52 Many providers have maintained an inability to devise such a
mechanism because they claim that they do not have a billing relationship with their users, and that to set
up a billing system would not be cost effective.53 We seek comment on whether the justifications that

46 47 C.F.R. 64.604(a)(3)(ii). Relay service providers have the burden of proving the infeasibility of handling any
type of call. Id.
47 No waiver had been requested for the types-of-calls requirement at the time that the Commission granted
indefinite waivers of other requirements for IP CTS providers. See generally IP CTS Declaratory Ruling.
48 See First TRS Report and Order, 6 FCC Rcd at 4660, 17 (rule requires TRS providers to handle non-coin sent-
paid, third party number, calling card and collect calls); 2004 TRS Report and Order, 19 FCC Rcd at 12521, 113-
15 (waiving the requirement for VRS); 2008 TRS Waiver Order, 23 FCC Rcd at 18338, 12 & n. 40 (waiving the
requirement for IP Relay). "Sent-paid billing" is an industry term referring to "calls charged to the originating
number or collected as coins in a pay telephone." Newton's Telecom Dictionary, 25th Edition (2009).
49 2004 TRS Report and Order, 19 FCC Rcd at 12521, 113-15; 2008 TRS Waiver Order, 23 FCC Rcd at 18338,
12 & n. 40. See also 2012 TRS Waiver Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 7122, 17.
50 Hamilton Request at 6.
51 Id.
52 See, e.g., 2012 TRS Waiver Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 7122, 17; 2004 TRS Report and Order, 19 FCC Rcd at 12521,
114.
53 See e.g., Purple Report at 1-2 (noting that this technical solution would have to enable geographic and billing
identification of VRS and IP Relay users placing calls from the Internet to Purple); AT&T Report at 2 (asserting that
"[e]stablishing a billing relationship with IP TRS users would require providers to make huge investments in billing
and support systems, back-office personnel, training, and distribution systems for generating and sending bills to
users"); Hamilton Report at 5 (impractical for IP Relay providers to bill for long distance); Sorenson Report at 5-6
(claiming that this mandate should be waived because IP based technologies create barriers to effectively
determining whether calls are local or long distance).
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have supported this waiver in the past still exist such that we should continue to extend the limited-
duration waiver has been done in the recent past or whether we should codify a rule that permanently
exempts iTRS providers from having to offer these billing options.54 We note that in 2008, the
Commission adopted requirements for iTRS users to receive ten-digit numbers and to register their
locations55 and ask whether implementation of these requirements has increased the feasibility of
providers utilizing registration location information to distinguish between local and long distance calls
for billing purposes.56 We recognize that various providers continue to raise concerns in their annual
waiver reports about the ongoing difficulties of obtaining accurate caller location information, and ask
whether and to what extent these difficulties can be overcome to facilitate compliance with this
requirement.57 Finally, even though the Commission has never waived the types-of-calls requirement for
IP CTS, Hamilton seeks an exemption for all forms of iTRS. To the extent Hamilton meant to include IP
CTS in its request, we seek comment on the rationale for establishing a permanent exemption under
circumstances where no waiver has been granted previously.
10.
We seek comment as well on the continued need to require the provision of operator-
assisted billing (i.e., collect, calling card, and third party billing) and sent-paid billing for long distance
calls handled by iTRS providers, in light of the significant changes that have taken place in
communication technologies including the steep decline in traditional relay usage since the initial
adoption of the "types of calls" requirement more than 20 years ago. The operator services and forms of
billing contemplated by the "types of calls" requirement were developed for PSTN-based TTY relay
services, with a goal of offering the same types of arrangements enjoyed by voice communication users to
relay users.58 Today, however, billing for services accessed through the Internet tends to be device-based,
rather than line-based, making traditional operator services less relevant even when charges do apply.
Given these technological changes, including the greater reliance that relay users have on Internet-based
forms of TRS, consumers may no longer need or necessarily want the same billing options that were
appropriate when relay services were primarily accessed via the PSTN. We seek feedback on this
assumption, and whether amending our rules to eliminate the requirement for iTRS providers to offer
billing arrangements for "operator-assisted" billing and sent-paid billing for long distance calls, provided
that iTRS providers do not charge for such calls, is appropriate and consistent with the Act's intent to
achieve functional equivalency. In this regard, we ask commenters to address all three forms of iTRS--
VRS, IP Relay and IP CTS--and to specifically address the rationale for eliminating the requirement for
IP CTS under circumstances where no waiver has been granted previously.
11.
Equal Access to Interexchange Carriers. The Commission's rules require TRS providers to
offer consumers access to their interexchange carrier of choice to the same extent that such access is

54 See, e.g., 2012 TRS Waiver Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 7122, 17.
55 See 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, WC Docket No. 05-
196, Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 23 FCC Rcd 11591 (2008) (iTRS Numbering I);
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, WC Docket No. 05-
196, Second Report and Order and Order on Reconsideration, 24 FCC Rcd 791 (2008) (iTRS Numbering II).
56 See 2008 TRS Waiver Order, 23 FCC Rcd at 18339, 13.
57 See, e.g., Sorenson Report at 5-6 (suggesting that notwithstanding the registration requirements, there is difficulty
in determining which calls are local or long distance because of problems in assessing the actual IP endpoint of each
call, given that calls are routed through call centers that may be at different locations than the callers); CAAG
Report at 3 (the location of the customer would not be known for mobile devices and for dial-around customers);
Hamilton Report at 5-6 (Internet Protocol does not accommodate Automatic Numbering Information (ANI) and
registration does not always yield accurate location information); ASL Services Report at 2.
58 See First TRS Report and Order, 6 FCC Rcd at 4660-61, 17-19.
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provided to voice users.59 The Commission has waived this requirement indefinitely for IP Relay and IP
CTS providers60 and on a limited-duration basis for VRS providers.61 The waivers are contingent on
iTRS providers providing long distance service without charge.62
12.
Petitioners contend that as long as iTRS providers do not charge for long distance service,
the requirement for equal access to a preferred long distance carrier is "moot."63 In its 2013 Report,
Purple contends that requiring equal access would substantially increase operating and networking costs
with no appreciable consumer benefit, and that, because each call center utilizes a different mix of
interexchange carriers, it is impossible to guarantee routing to a particular carrier.64 Sorenson claims that
the lack of a billing relationship between providers and users impedes its ability to verify whether users
are authorized to pay for phone charges, and notes as well the absence of any established method by
which VRS users can identify their chosen IXC.65 Sorenson also questions the value of the equal-access
requirement if users do not incur long distance charges.66 Most other providers also support a permanent
exemption from the "equal access" requirement.67
13.
We invite comment on Petitioners' proposal to amend our rules to exempt iTRS providers
permanently from the "equal access to interexchange carriers" requirement (based on its technical
infeasibility and inapplicability to an iTRS environment), provided that iTRS providers do not charge for
long distance service. As an initial matter, we seek comment on the value to consumers of providing
equal access to long distance carriers in an IP-based environment. Given the evolution of the marketplace
for voice services, and in particular that wireless, cable, and over-the-top VoIP providers generally do not
allow for a choice of IXCs, is there any reason to require iTRS providers to allow for equal access to
IXCs in order to satisfy the functional equivalency requirements of section 225(a)(3) of the Act?68 We
note as well that even traditional wireline telephone customers increasingly are purchasing bundled local
and long distance service for a set monthly fee.

59 See 47 C.F.R. 64.604(b)(3). See also Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for
Individuals with Hearing and Speech Disabilities; Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990
, CC Docket No. 98-67,
CG Docket No. 03-123, Second Report and Order, Order on Reconsideration, and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking,
18 FCC Rcd 12379, 12412-15, 54-61 (2003) (2003 TRS Report and Order).
60 See IP Relay Declaratory Ruling, 17 FCC Rcd at 7789, 31; IP CTS Declaratory Ruling, 22 FCC Rcd at 392,
30 & n. 101.
61 See 2004 TRS Report and Order, 19 FCC Rcd at 12524-25, 125-27.
62 See, e.g., IP Relay Declaratory Ruling, 17 FCC Rcd at 7789, 31. See also 2012 TRS Waiver Order, 27 FCC Rcd
at 7123, 19.
63 Hamilton Request at 6.
64 Purple Report at 1. Purple also suggests that the concept of equal access is not applicable to Internet-based relay
calls because "[t]he leg of the call which likely uses interexchange carriers is from the relay center to the called
party. . . . Equal [a]ccess is not an appropriate concept from the deaf user's perspective as the relay center is the
actual interexchange carrier customer." Id.
65 Sorenson Report at 6.
66 Id. at 7. See also id. at 6 (noting that implementing a consumer's choices "would require Sorenson to enter
agreements with virtually every IXC so that it could connect outgoing calls from each Sorenson call center on a call-
by-call basis").
67 See AT&T Report at 2-3; CAAG Report at 4 (CAAG would support an industry solution to allow "the exercise of
choice" should the VRS industry develop one.); Convo Report at 4; CSDVRS Report at 6; Purple Report at 1-2.
68 47 U.S.C. 225(a)(3) (defining TRS as telephone transmission services that provide the ability of a person who is
deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, or who has a speech disability to engage in communication "in a manner that is
functionally equivalent" to the ability of hearing individuals without speech disabilities).
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14.
To the extent that commenters believe that this requirement remains applicable and
necessary to an iTRS environment, we ask (1) whether it is feasible for iTRS providers to implement
networking and routing solutions to allow iTRS users to choose their carriers and (2) whether reliable
mechanisms exist to allow carriers to distinguish between local and long distance calls for this purpose.69
Finally, we invite comment on the costs of implementing solutions to fulfill this standard. Should we
choose to continue granting this waiver on a temporary basis, we also seek comment on the appropriate
interval for revisiting the technological feasibility issues in the future.
15.
Pay-Per-Call (900) calls. The Commission's rules require TRS providers to be capable of
handling pay-per-call (i.e., 900-number) calls.70 The Commission has waived this requirement
indefinitely for IP CTS providers,71 but on a limited-duration basis for IP Relay and VRS providers
because no billing mechanism has been available to handle the charges associated with pay-per-call
calls.72 Petitioners now seek an indefinite waiver of the pay-per-call (900) requirement for IP Relay and
VRS providers. In addition to claiming that "significant technical hurdles" prevent providers from
automatically passing through 900 call information and from invoicing users for these services,73 they
assert that much of the information or services available through pay-per-call services are available to
iTRS users through other methods that do not involve payments for calls.74 All providers submitting
reports in 2013 support extension of the waiver.75 Purple has requested a waiver from this standard
because it "has not received substantial interest from [its] relay users for pay-per-call service," and so this
service would "bring little utility to users."76 Sorenson raises the concern that VRS interpreters'
"expos[ure] to naked and abusive callers and/or obscene video images" would be likely to increase if
VRS providers are required to process pay-per-call calls.77
16.
As holds true for the types-of-calls and the equal access mandatory minimum standards, the
pay-per-call standard presupposes a billing relationship that does not presently exist between iTRS

69 We again note that implementation of the Commission's requirements for registering user locations and
distributing ten-digit numbers may now enable providers to distinguish between local and long distance calls. See
9, supra. But see, e.g., Sorenson Report at 6 (suggesting that notwithstanding the registration requirements, there is
difficulty in determining which calls are local or long distance because of problems in assessing the actual IP
endpoint of each call, given that calls are routed through call centers that may be at different locations than the
callers); CAAG Report at 3-4 (the location of the customer would not be known for mobile devices and for dial-
around customers); Hamilton Report at 5-6 (Internet Protocol does not accommodate ANI and registration does not
always yield accurate location information).
70 47 C.F.R. 64.604(a)(3)(iv). "Pay-per-call" services utilize 900 numbers, for which all charges are billed to the
calling party. See id. 64.1501(a).
71 See IP CTS Declaratory Ruling, 22 FCC Rcd at 391-92, 30.
72 See IP Relay Order on Reconsideration, 18 FCC Rcd at 4769, 22; 2004 TRS Report and Order, 19 FCC Rcd at
12525-26, 130-32; 2012 TRS Waiver Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 7121, 15.
73 Petitioners state that because they do not have the ability to confirm the correct ANI associated with 900 calls,
they run the risk of billing the wrong party or having callers fraudulently evade payment. Hamilton Request at 7.
Sprint also claims that its IP network does not support ANI and end user billing mechanisms, eliminating the ability
to bill for these call charges. Sprint IP Relay Report at 1; Sprint IP CTS Report at 1. See also Hamilton Report at 4.
74 Hamilton Request at 7.
75 ASL Report at 3; AT&T Report at 1-2; CAAG Report at 3; Convo Report at 3; CSDVRS Report 5; Purple Report
at 2; Sorenson Report at 4-5.
76 Purple Report at 2.
77 Sorenson Report at 5.
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providers and users.78 We seek comment on the technical feasibility of and benefits to requiring that such
a relationship be established for the purpose of the pay-per-call requirement. For example, as with the
types-of-calls and equal access standards, we seek comment and information on whether the
implementation of billing mechanisms is now feasible for iTRS providers or may become so in the
foreseeable future.79 In addition, we seek comment and information on whether the implementation of
ten-digit numbering and registered location requirements has increased the feasibility of providing and
verifying ANI for pay-per-call billing purposes.80 To the extent that parties maintain that this feature is
not feasible now, but may be in the future, we also seek comment on the appropriate interval for revisiting
the technological feasibility issue. In addition, we seek comment on whether to adopt a rule codifying a
permanent exemption or to eliminate the indefinite waiver for IP CTS providers.81 Finally, we invite
comment on whether the value of pay-per-call services to iTRS consumers and possible CA exposure to
abusive and/or obscene video images should affect our determination regarding a permanent exemption
from the pay-per-call requirement.
17.
Three-Way Calling. Three-way calling, also required by the Commission's rules,82 allows
more than two parties to be on the telephone line at the same time with the CA.83 Waivers of the
requirement for VRS and IP Relay providers were previously allowed to expire.84 Petitioners ask the
Commission to similarly terminate the remaining indefinite waiver for IP CTS providers because most, if
not all, IP CTS providers now offer this functionality.85
18.
We propose to terminate the three-way calling waiver for IP CTS providers and seek
comment on this proposal. In adopting this TRS standard, the Commission noted the desirability of a
calling feature allowing relay users to add a third party to a call and the fact that this capability has "long
been available to voice telephone users."86 Based on the representation of the Petitioners, we believe that
this important feature of telephone service is now feasible for IP CTS providers. We ask commenters that
disagree with this proposal to justify the need for a continued waiver. If the Commission were to
eliminate the waiver of the three-way calling requirement for IP CTS, we further seek comment on an
appropriate termination date.
19.
Speed Dialing. Speed dialing allows a TRS user to give the CA a "short-hand" name or
number (e.g., "call Mom") for the user's most frequently called telephone numbers.87 This feature

78 See AT&T Report at 1-2; CAAG Report at 3; Convo Report at 3; CSDVRS Report 5; Purple Report at 2;
Sorenson Report at 4-5.
79 As noted above, with respect to waivers for the types-of-calls and equal access requirements, providers' inability
to bill for calls has been addressed by requiring providers, as a condition of those waivers, to offer "free" access to
long distance service. See 8, 11, supra. The same approach does not appear practicable in the case of pay-per-
call services, however, as the per-call charges involved are far more substantial. See, e.g., 2004 TRS Report and
Order
, 19 FCC Rcd at 12526, 131 ("[p]etitioners further assert that simply absorbing the costs of 900 number calls
would unnecessarily increase the cost of VRS and unfairly subsidize users of this particular service").
80 See 9, supra.
81 See IP CTS Declaratory Ruling, 22 FCC Rcd at 391-92, 30.
82 47 C.F.R. 64.604(a)(3)(vi)(3).
83 Id. 64.601(a)(24).
84 2007 TRS Waiver Order, 22 FCC Rcd at 21876, 24.
85 Hamilton Request at 10. The indefinite three-way calling waiver for IP CTS providers was granted in the IP CTS
Declaratory Ruling
, 22 FCC Rcd at 391-92, 30.
86 2003 TRS Report and Order, 18 FCC Rcd at 12419, 72.
87 See id., 70-71 (requiring speed dialing as a TRS feature); 47 C.F.R. 64.604(a)(3)(vi)(2).
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permits a person making a TRS call through a CA to place the call without having to remember or locate
the number he or she desires to call. The Commission waived this requirement for VRS and IP Relay
until January 1, 2008.88 The 2007 TRS Waiver Order found that all VRS providers but not all IP Relay
providers were offering a speed dialing feature.89 As a result, the speed dialing waiver was allowed to
expire for VRS but generally was extended for IP Relay for one year, until January 1, 2009, to allow the
remaining IP Relay providers sufficient time to offer speed dialing.90
20.
With regard to IP CTS, the Commission, in the IP CTS Declaratory Ruling, indefinitely
waived speed dialing for IP CTS providers, contingent on such providers filing annual reports addressing
the waiver.91 Sprint reports that it has implemented speed dialing for IP CTS.92 Accordingly, we sua
sponte
ask for comment on whether it would be in the public interest for the Commission to terminate the
waiver for speed dialing for IP CTS providers.93 In particular, we seek comment on whether other IP
CTS providers are currently offering speed dialing capability, and if not, whether there are any technical
barriers preventing IP CTS providers from offering speed dialing. If we were to terminate the speed
dialing waiver for IP CTS, we seek comment on when such termination should take effect. Alternatively,
we seek comment on whether good cause still exists to waive the speed dialing requirement as applied to
IP CTS. To the extent commenters argue for continued waiver, we seek comment on when we should
revisit the need for this waiver.

B.

Mandatory Minimum Standards to Provide Specific TRS Features

21.
The second group of waived mandatory minimum standards relates to specific forms of
TRS needed by people with disabilities, including voice carry over (VCO), hearing carry over (HCO),
speech-to-speech, ASCII/Baudot-compatible services, Spanish-to-Spanish, and call release. We address
each of these in turn.
22.
VCO and HCO. The Commission's rules require TRS providers to offer "voice carry over"
(VCO)94 and "hearing carry over" (HCO).95 With VCO, a person who has a hearing disability, but who is
able to speak, communicates by voice directly to the other party to the call without intervention by the
CA, and the other party's voice response is relayed by the CA as text.96 With HCO, a person who has a
speech disability, but who is able to hear, listens directly to the other party's voice without intervention by
the CA, and in reply has the CA convert his or her typed responses into voice.97 There are multiple forms

88 2003 TRS Report and Order, 18 FCC Rcd at 12421, 76.
89 2007 TRS Waiver Order, 22 FCC Rcd at 21876, 21.
90 Id. There was one exception to the termination date for this waiver. Although the speed dialing waiver for IP
Relay providers generally expired on December 31, 2008, it was further extended for AT&T's IP Relay services for
four months, until April 30, 2009, after which all providers were subject to the speed dialing requirement. 2008 TRS
Waiver Order
, 23 FCC Rcd at 18340-41, 19.
91 IP CTS Declaratory Ruling, 22 FCC Rcd at 392-93, 30, n. 106.
92 Sprint IP CTS Report at 3.
93 Section 1.411 of the Commission's rules authorizes the Commission to initiate a rulemaking on its own motion.
47 C.F.R. 1.411.
94 Id. 64.604(a)(3)(v)(2).
95 Id. 64.604(a)(3)(v)(3).
96 Id. 64.601(a)(29).
97 See id. 64.601(a)(9).
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of VCO98 and HCO.99 The Commission has granted fixed-duration waivers for VRS and IP Relay of all
the VCO and HCO mandatory minimum standards except two-line VCO and HCO, based on providers'
representations that Internet connections are unable to deliver voice and data over a single line with the
necessary quality.100 The Commission also has granted these waivers for IP CTS indefinitely,101 as well
as granting an indefinite waiver of HCO for CTS.102 All such waivers have been conditioned on the filing
of annual reports regarding the technological feasibility of compliance.103 Petitioners request that these
mandatory minimum standards be waived indefinitely for VRS and IP Relay providers as long as the
provider is capable of a "work-around" solution, such as offering the ability to use two-line VCO and
HCO over the Internet at no additional charge to users.104
23.
In their annual reports, some providers indicate that they are capable of providing certain
forms of one-line VCO and HCO.105 Others state that although they are providing two-line VCO and
HCO in accordance with the Commission's rules, they are not yet capable of providing one-line VCO and

98 With one-line VCO, the same telephone line is used both to transmit the user's voice and to receive text
transmissions back from the relay center. As offered by PSTN-based providers, there is no interrupt capability, and
each party to the call must take turns speaking. See 2003 TRS Report & Order, 18 FCC Rcd at 12402, n.123. Two-
line VCO enables consumers to use one line for voicing and the other for receiving text transmissions. See 47
C.F.R. 64.601(a)(29). VRS and IP Relay providers can offer two-line VCO by having the caller speak directly to
the called party on a telephone line and, in turn, having the caller receive what the called party is saying in either
sign language (VRS) or text (IP Relay) via an Internet connection. VCO-to-TTY allows a relay conversation to take
place between a VCO user and a TTY user, and VCO-to-VCO allows a relay conversation to take place between
two VCO users. See id.
99 With one-line HCO, the same telephone line is used both to send text transmissions to the relay center and to
transmit the called party's voice back to the caller. As offered by PSTN-based providers, there is no interrupt
capability and each party to the call must take turns speaking. See 2003 TRS Report and Order, 18 FCC Rcd at
12402, n.123. Two-line HCO enables consumers to use one line for receiving voice transmissions and the other for
transmitting text. See 47 C.F.R. 64.601(a)(9). VRS and IP Relay providers can offer two-line HCO by having the
caller transmit to the relay center in sign language (VRS) or text (IP Relay) via an Internet connection and receive
voice transmissions directly from the called party on a telephone line. HCO-to-TTY allows a relay conversation to
take place between an HCO user and a TTY user, and HCO-to-HCO allows a relay conversation to take place
between two HCO users. See id. 64.601(a)(9).
100 Providers have maintained that the quality of voice calls via a computer and the Internet depends on the quality of
the user's customer premises equipment, and so CAs are not able to relay all conversations reliably and accurately.
2004 TRS Report and Order, 19 FCC Rcd at 12527, 135 & n. 384 (extending the one-line VCO and HCO waivers
to VRS). See also IP Relay Declaratory Ruling, 17 FCC Rcd at 7790, 32 (initially waiving the one-line VCO
requirement for IP Relay); IP Relay Order on Reconsideration, 18 FCC Rcd at 4766, 14, 4768, 18 (extending the
one-line VCO waiver for five years and approving a waiver for one-line HCO for the same period, based on
provider representations that the same technological obstacles exist for HCO as for VCO); 2003 TRS Report and
Order
, 18 FCC Rcd at 12404-05, 36 (extending the waiver for IP Relay and VRS providers to one-line VCO-to-
TTY, HCO-to-TTY, VCO-to-VCO, and HCO-to-HCO types of TRS calls).
101 See IP CTS Declaratory Ruling, 22 FCC Rcd at 391-92, 30.
102 See CTS Declaratory Ruling, 18 FCC Rcd at 16132, 31.
103 2003 TRS Report & Order, 18 FCC Rcd at 12405, 36; 2004 TRS Report and Order, 19 FCC Rcd at 12527,
135; IP CTS Declaratory Ruling, 22 FCC Rcd at 393, 30 & n. 106.
104 Hamilton Request at 8-9.
105 See CAAG Report at 2-3 (can offer VCO-to-VCO, but does not offer one-line VCO due to quality concerns and
cannot offer one-line HCO and HCO-to-HCO); Convo Report at 2-3 (offers one-line VCO and HCO for its SIP-
based products); CSDVRS Report at 2-3 (can offer one-line VCO and HCO when user's customer premises
equipment (CPE) supports this capability; can support VCO-to-TTY and HCO-to-TTY by using 2 CAs; can offer
VCO-to-VCO); ASL Services Report at 1-2 (supports extension of these waivers).
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HCO,106 and are continuing to look at VoIP and other technologies as a potential solution to providing
one-line VCO and HCO.107 Although some providers report that the quality of voice on the Internet has
continued to improve,108 these same providers claim that the technology is still not universally available
to allow every user to experience high quality service.109 For example, Sorenson draws a distinction
between high- and low-bandwidth Internet users with respect to service quality.110 For VRS users with
low-bandwidth Internet service, Sorenson states that VRS providers need the option to offer only two-line
VCO and HCO in order to preserve the high-quality video connection needed for sign language.
According to Sorenson, excluding audio transmissions from the IP connection can result in 25 percent
more bandwidth being available for the video connection, which is important for users with low
bandwidth service.111
24.
We seek comment on whether, given advances in Internet technologies and the availability
of one-line VCO, one-line HCO, VCO-to-VCO, HCO-to-HCO, VCO-to-TTY, and HCO-to-TTY by some
providers for some IP-based relay services, waivers for these features continue to be necessary.
Specifically, we seek feedback on the extent to which these services are technically feasible over a
broadband connection, and whether any distinction should be drawn for service in low bandwidth
environments. In addition, we seek comment on the quality and convenience of the two-line VCO and
HCO services that are currently available from iTRS providers. Are such services generally available and
affordable, and are these adequate substitutes for one-line VCO and HCO? To the extent that we permit
two-line VCO and HCO as "work-arounds" to single-line VCO and HCO, we seek feedback on whether
the Commission should condition such waivers on providers' absorbing the additional cost of
subscriptions for any additional telephone lines needed for the voice leg of the service.112 We ask
commenters to weigh the benefits of one-line VCO, one-line HCO, VCO-to-VCO, HCO-to-HCO, VCO-
to-TTY, and HCO-to-TTY against the cost of providing these services. If the Commission were to
eliminate the waivers for one-line VCO, one-line HCO, VCO-to-VCO, HCO-to-HCO, VCO-to-TTY, and
HCO-to-TTY for VRS and IP Relay, we seek comment on an appropriate termination date.
25.
We seek comment on amending our rules to permanently exempt CTS and IP CTS
providers from providing any form of HCO. In the CTS Order, the Commission determined that HCO
involves "particular functionalities that do not apply to captioned telephone calls."113 Specifically, as the
Commission explained, when using CTS, "a person with some residual hearing can speak to the other
party and in return both listen to what the other party is saying and read text of what that party is saying . .

106 See AT&T Report at 2 (cannot simultaneously process voice and data information on the same Internet
connection in order to reliably enable one-line VCO or HCO); Hamilton Report at 2-3; Sorenson Report at 2-3;
Sprint IP Relay Report at 2-3. Purple notes that because its IP Relay and VRS platforms are designed only to accept
text and video calls from the Internet, and only to place outbound voice calls from its relay centers to other parties
via the PSTN, and vice versa, it is currently technically impossible for it to provide voice-based services when a
voice call to a relay center is originated by a called party. Purple Report at 2.
107 See id. at 2-3.
108 See, e.g., Sprint IP Relay Report at 2; Purple Report at 2-3 (Purple states that it is monitoring advances in the
quality of voice on the Internet, although it does not claim that there have been any such advances).
109 Sprint IP Relay Report at 2.
110 Sorenson Report at 3.
111 Id.
112 Such condition would assume that users of these services are unlikely to subscribe to voice telephone service
other than as a means to obtain VCO or HCO service.
113 CTS Declaratory Ruling, 18 FCC Rcd at 16131-32, 29.
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. [, t]his service . . . is simply not able to handle . . . HCO relay calls."114 In the IP CTS Declaratory
Ruling
, the Commission similarly exempted IP CTS providers.115
26.
STS. STS service allows a person with a speech disability to communicate with voice
telephone users through the use of CAs who are trained to understand the speech patterns of persons with
disabilities and can repeat the words spoken by that person.116 In 2000, the Commission recognized STS
as a form of TRS and required that it be offered as a mandatory service.117 In 2002, the Commission
waived this requirement for IP Relay providers for a limited period of time, noting that "technological
limitations [made] these services impossible at [that] point."118 The Commission subsequently has
extended this waiver on multiple occasions.119 The Commission also waived the STS requirement
indefinitely for CTS,120 IP CTS,121 and VRS, 122 finding this mandatory minimum standard to be
inapplicable to these relay services. Specifically, STS is purely speech-based, while CTS and IP CTS
require the CA to provide communication in text and, under our current rules, VRS requires the CA to
provide communication in American Sign Language (ASL).123 Petitioners request that the Commission
waive the STS requirement indefinitely for IP Relay "because, as with VRS and IP CTS calls, one leg of
an Internet Relay call is entirely text-based without any speech capabilities, thus rendering the service
incapable of providing STS."124 In their annual reports, providers generally point to their inability to
ensure consistent quality and reliability as justification for waiving this feature.125

114 Id.
115 IP CTS Declaratory Ruling, 22 FCC Rcd at 392, 30. See also Hamilton Report at 3 (the VCO and HCO
requirements should be permanently waived for IP CTS without the need for filing annual reports, because those
services are not applicable to any form of CTS, and CTS is, in fact, a form of VCO).
116 47 C.F.R. 64.601(a)(20).
117 2000 TRS Report and Order, 15 FCC Rcd at 5148-52, 14-20.
118 IP Relay Order, 17 FCC Rcd at 7790, 32.
119 See, e.g., IP Relay Order on Reconsideration, 18 FCC Rcd at 4766-67, 13-14; 2012 TRS Waiver Order, 27
FCC Rcd at 7123-24, 20-21.
120 CTS Declaratory Ruling, 18 FCC Rcd at 16132, 31.
121 IP CTS Declaratory Ruling, 22 FCC Rcd at 391-92, 30. Nevertheless, IP CTS providers are required to file
annual reports addressing this waiver. Id. at 393, 30, n. 106. See also 2004 TRS Report and Order, 19 FCC Rcd at
12594, Appendix E (waiver chart addressing filing of annual reports); id. at 12520-21, 111 (detailing required
contents of annual report).
122 2001 TRS Order, 16 FCC Rcd at 22957, 26 (declining to make the provision of STS mandatory for VRS
providers at that time); 2004 TRS Report and Order, 19 FCC Rcd at 12527-28, 138-39 (clarifying that the general
requirement for TRS providers to offer STS is waived for VRS).
123 47 C.F.R. 64.601(a)(27).
124 Hamilton Request at 7.
125 See e.g., Purple Report at 3 (asserts that it would have no control over the configuration of CPE required to route
speech between personal computers and mobile devices and its relay centers at a high enough level of quality to
make this a consistently usable service); Sorenson at 7 (explains that it lacks the resources and capabilities to
provide reliable service; raises concerns that the quality of each consumer's CPE may result in unreliable STS
communications); AT&T at 2 (raises concerns about simultaneously processing voice and data information on the
same Internet connection to reliably enable voice communications); ASL Services Report at 5 (states that VRS is a
visual/video based service so STS does not apply.) See also CAAG Report at 4; Convo Report at 4 (claims that no
VRS user has ever asked Convo for STS); Hamilton Report at 1-2; Sprint IP Relay Report at 1.
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27.
We seek comment on amending our rules to exempt CTS, IP CTS, and VRS providers from
the STS requirement.126 We also invite comment on whether to permanently exempt IP Relay providers
from offering STS.
28.
ASCII/Baudot Communications. The Commission's rules contain technical mandatory
minimum standards that are specific to the traditional TTY-based form of TRS. One of these rules
requires TRS providers to be capable of handling communications using the ASCII127 and Baudot128
formats, at any speed generally in use.129 The Commission has granted CTS and IP CTS providers
indefinite waivers of these mandatory minimum standards130 but has not addressed their applicability to
VRS or IP Relay providers. As the Petitioners point out, these mandatory minimum standards are not
applicable to the Internet protocol with which iTRS calls are made.131 Therefore, we propose to amend
our rules to explicitly exempt all forms of iTRS from the ASCII/Baudot call handling requirement. We
invite comment on this proposal, and on whether to codify as permanent exemptions the existing waivers
for CTS and IP CTS.
29.
Spanish Language Service over CTS, IP CTS, and IP Relay. Section 64.603 of the
Commission's rules requires the provision of interstate PSTN-based relay services in Spanish.132 The
Commission has ruled that although VRS providers may offer and be compensated for Spanish language
services,133 they are not required to do so.134 The Commission has not made any ruling regarding the
applicability of the Spanish language requirement to CTS, IP CTS and IP Relay.135 Noting that IP CTS

126 Although, as noted above, we have previously found that the STS requirement is inapplicable to CTS, IP CTS,
and VRS because the nature of these relay services is different than STS, some parties have requested the
Commission to allow or require VRS providers to handle calls by persons with speech disabilities, to enable
recipients of those calls to better understand these callers by seeing their facial expressions. See Speech
Communications Assistance by Telephone (SCT) et al., Petition for Rulemaking for Video Assisted STS (STS VID)
to Facilitate Phone Communication for People with Severe Speech Disabilities, CG Docket No. 03-123 (filed Oct,
20, 2011). See also Comments of SCT, CG Docket No. 03-123 (filed Nov. 3, 2009). Because our current rules
define VRS as a service that "allows people with hearing or speech disabilities who use sign language" to
communicate through video equipment" (47 C.F.R. 64.601(a)(27)), we believe that redefining this service to
include STS would require a rule change that is outside the scope of this proceeding.
127 Id. 64.601(a)(4). ASCII is an acronym for American Standard Code for Information Interexchange. It employs
an eight bit code.
128 Id. 64.601(a)(5). Baudot is a seven bit code, only five of which are information bits.
129 Id. 64.604(b)(1).
130 See CTS Declaratory Ruling, 18 FCC Rcd at 16139, 43-54; IP CTS Declaratory Ruling, 22 FCC Rcd at 391-
92, 30.
131 Hamilton Request at 10.
132 47 C.F.R. 64.603.
133 Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech
Disabilities
, CG Docket Nos. 98-67 and 03-123, Order on Reconsideration, 20 FCC Rcd 13140 (2005) (Spanish
VRS Order
). See also 2001 TRS Order, 16 FCC Rcd at 22958, 27.
134 Spanish VRS Order, 20 FCC Rcd at 13140, 1, 13155, 32. See also 2001 TRS Order, 16 FCC Rcd at 22957-
58, 27.
135 We recognize that several providers have been receiving compensation for their voluntary provision of CTS, IP
CTS or IP Relay in Spanish and this Notice does not propose to discontinue such compensation for the provision of
those services in compliance with the applicable requirements of section 225 of the Act and the Commission's rules
and requirements.
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and IP Relay, like VRS, are voluntary services,136 the Petitioners ask that the Commission "clarify
whether Spanish-to-Spanish is a nonmandatory service" for IP Relay and IP CTS providers.137 Although
not mentioned by the Petitioners, we note that CTS is also a voluntary service.138
30.
Given that IP Relay, CTS and IP CTS are not mandatory, we propose to conclude that
Spanish language versions of these services are nonmandatory services.139 In this regard, we seek
feedback on the extent to which Spanish-language IP Relay, CTS and IP CTS are currently available to
and utilized by consumers, on the value of such services to Spanish-speaking consumers, and on whether
mandating Spanish language IP Relay, CTS and IP CTS is necessary to ensure the availability of these
forms of TRS for the Spanish-speaking population. Commenters are also asked to weigh the benefits of
mandating Spanish language IP Relay, CTS and IP CTS against the burdens for providers to offer these
services. We also seek comment on whether to amend the Commission's Part 64 rules to codify our
ruling that VRS providers are not required to offer Spanish language VRS.140
31.
Call Release. The Commission's rules require TRS providers to offer "call release," a
feature that allows the CA to drop outor be "released"from the relay call after setting up a direct TTY-
to-TTY connection between the caller and the called party.141 The Commission has waived this
requirement indefinitely for CTS and IP CTS providers,142 but on a limited-duration basis for VRS and IP
Relay providers.143 Petitioners now ask the Commission to extend this waiver indefinitely for VRS and
IP Relay providers because, as the Commission has previously noted, "the Internet leg of the call (via
video or text) cannot support call release functionality."144 In their annual waiver reports, other providers
also have asserted that call release is inapplicable to VRS and IP Relay because users of those services
can already communicate directly via the Internet with other video and text users.145 Sorenson further

136 See 2004 TRS Report and Order, 19 FCC Rcd at 12564, 231-32 (raising issue whether IP Relay should be a
mandatory service); IP CTS Declaratory Ruling, 22 FCC Rcd at 390, 25. See also Telecommunications Relay
Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for individuals with Hearing and Speech Disabilities
, CG Docket No. 03-
123, Report and Order and Declaratory Ruling, 22 FCC Rcd 20140, 20142, nn. 7, 8 (2007) (2007 TRS Report and
Order
).
137 Hamilton Request at 5.
138 See CTS Declaratory Ruling, 18 FCC Rcd at 16129, 22.
139 Petitioners also claim that "[i]t is not clear from the record whether Internet Relay and IP CTS providers are
subject to the ASL-to-Spanish requirement . . . [and] request that the ASL-to-Spanish requirement be waived
indefinitely for IP Relay and IP CTS." Hamilton Request at 5-6. As Petitioners note, ASL-to-Spanish is a voluntary
service for VRS providers. Id. at 5. See also Spanish VRS Order, 20 FCC Rcd at 13140, 1, 13155, 32; 2001 TRS
Order
, 16 FCC Rcd at 22957-58, 27. Thus, we do not believe there is any need for us to address whether services
such as IP Relay and IP CTS, which do not involve the use of ASL, would be subject to an ASL-to-Spanish
requirement.
140 See Spanish VRS Order, 20 FCC Rcd at 13140, 1, 13155, 32. See also 2001 TRS Order, 16 FCC Rcd at
22957-58, 27.
141 See 47 C.F.R. 64.601(6), 64.604(a)(3)(vi)(1).
142 See CTS Declaratory Ruling, 18 FCC Rcd at 16138-39, 51-52; IP CTS Declaratory Ruling, 22 FCC Rcd at
391-92, 30.
143 2003 TRS Report and Order, 18 FCC Rcd at 12421, 76. See also 2012 TRS Waiver Order, 27 FCC Rcd at
7120, 13.
144 Hamilton Request at 9.
145 ASL Services Report at 2: AT&T Report at 3; CAAG Report at 3; Convo Report at 3; CSDVRS Report at 4;
Purple Report at 2; Sorenson Report at 4. Regarding VRS, Sprint states that, with full implementation of 10-digit
dialing, videophone users can make point-to-point calls to other videophone users from any location. Sprint VRS
Report at 4.
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claims that "[r]equiring VRS and IP Relay providers to support the functionality would raise a host of
technological challenges, including developing processes to `drop' communications assistants from
Internet-based communications and ensuring that scarce bandwidth is available for the functionality (and
therefore not available for others)."146 Sprint adds that the call release feature is not technically feasible
because the two legs of the call are not compatible.147 We invite comment on the above assertions as to
the inapplicability and/or technical infeasibility of the call release feature in the IP environment and
consequently whether we should amend our rules to permanently exempt all iTRS providers as well as
CTS providers from compliance with this standard.148 In the event that parties still consider this standard
relevant to IP-based services, we further invite comment and information on whether solutions to the
present technological barriers to this feature are available, and if so, the costs and benefits of
implementing such solutions. To the extent that parties maintain that this feature is not feasible now but
may be in the future, we also seek comment on the appropriate interval for revisiting the technological
feasibility issue.

C.

Annual Reports

32.
For those mandatory minimum standards for which the Commission decides to adopt
permanent exemptions in place of existing waivers, we further propose elimination of the requirement to
file annual reports. We ask commenters for their input on this proposal. To the extent that parties believe
that iTRS providers should be required to continue filing annual reports with respect to any existing
waiver that is made a permanent exemption, we ask commenters to provide a justification for why such
reporting would continue to be needed to further the functional equivalency of TRS or otherwise benefit
the public interest. We further ask commenters to weigh the benefits of mandating continued reporting
against the burdens on providers to deliver such reports.

IV.

PROCEDURAL MATTERS

A.

Regulatory Flexibility

33.
As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act,149 the Commission has prepared an Initial
Regulatory Flexibility Certification ("IRFC") of the expected economic impact on small entities of the
waivers of the requirements and rules proposed in this Notice. The IRFC is set forth in Appendix B. The
Commission will send a copy of the Notice, including the FRFC, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of
the Small Business Administration.

B.

Paperwork Reduction Act

34.
This document does not contain proposed information collection(s) subject to the
Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), Public Law 104-13. In addition, therefore, it does not contain
any new or modified information collection burden for small business concerns with fewer than 25
employees, pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 107-198.150

146 Sorenson Report at 4.
147 Sprint IP Relay Report at 3. See also Hamilton Report at 3-4.
148 Because the CTS waivers are not based on technological infeasibility of meeting particular requirements, but
rather on the fact that such requirements are simply inapplicable to CTS, the Commission presently does not
condition the CTS waivers on the filing of annual reports. See CTS Declaratory Ruling, 18 FCC Rcd at 16131, 27.
149 5 U.S.C. 603.
150 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(4).
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C.

Ex Parte Presentations


35.
The proceeding this Notice initiates shall be treated as a "permit-but-disclose" proceeding
in accordance with the Commission's ex parte rules.151 Persons making ex parte presentations must file a
copy of any written presentation or a memorandum summarizing any oral presentation within two
business days after the presentation (unless a different deadline applicable to the Sunshine period applies).
Persons making oral ex parte presentations are reminded that memoranda summarizing the presentations
must (1) list all persons attending or otherwise participating in the meeting at which the ex parte
presentation was made, and (2) summarize all data presented and arguments made during the
presentation. If the presentation consisted in whole or in part of the presentation of data or arguments
already reflected in the presenter's written comments, memoranda or other filings in the proceeding, the
presenter may provide citations to such data or arguments in his or her prior comments, memoranda, or
other filings (specifying the relevant page and/or paragraph numbers where such data or arguments can be
found) in lieu of summarizing them in the memorandum. Documents shown or given to Commission
staff during ex parte meetings are deemed to be written ex parte presentations and must be filed
consistent with rule 1.1206(b).152 In proceedings governed by rule 1.49(f)153 or for which the
Commission has made available a method of electronic filing, written ex parte presentations and
memoranda summarizing oral ex parte presentations, and all attachments thereto, must be filed through
the electronic comment filing system available for that proceeding, and must be filed in their native
format (e.g., .doc, .xml, .ppt, searchable .pdf). Participants in this proceeding should familiarize
themselves with the Commission's ex parte rules.

D.

Comment Filing Procedures

36.
Pursuant to Sections 1.415 and 1.419 of the Commission's rules,154 interested parties may
file comments and reply comments regarding the Notice on or before the dates indicated on the first page
of this document. Comments may be filed using the Commission's Electronic Comment Filing System
(ECFS).155

Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed electronically using the Internet by accessing the
ECFS: http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/.

Paper Filers: Parties who choose to file by paper must file an original and one copy of each
filing. If more than one docket or rulemaking number appears in the caption of this proceeding,
filers must submit two additional copies for each additional docket or rulemaking number.
Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, by commercial overnight courier, or by first-
class or overnight U.S. Postal Service mail. All filings must be addressed to the Commission's
Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission.

All hand-delivered or messenger-delivered paper filings for the Commission's Secretary
must be delivered to FCC Headquarters at 445 12th St., SW, Room TW-A325,
Washington, DC 20554. The filing hours are 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. All hand deliveries
must be held together with rubber bands or fasteners. Any envelopes must be disposed of
before entering the building.

151 47 C.F.R. 1.1200 et seq.
152 Id. 1.1206(b).
153 Id. 1.49(f).
154 Id. 1.415, 1.419.
155 See Electronic Filing of Documents in Rulemaking Proceedings, 63 FR 24121 (1998).
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Commercial overnight mail (other than U.S. Postal Service Express Mail and Priority
Mail) must be sent to 9300 East Hampton Drive, Capitol Heights, MD 20743.

U.S. Postal Service first-class, Express, and Priority mail must be addressed to 445 12th
Street, SW, Washington DC 20554.
37.
Documents in CG Docket No. 03-123 will be available for public inspection and copying
during business hours at the FCC Reference Information Center, Portals II, 445 12th Street SW, Room
CY-A257, Washington, D.C. 20554. The documents may also be purchased from BCPI, telephone (202)
488-5300, facsimile (202) 488-5563, TTY (202) 488-5562, e-mail fcc@bcpiweb.com.
38.
People 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), 202-418-0432 (TTY).

V.

ORDERING CLAUSES

39.
Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED, pursuant to the authority contained in Sections 1, 4(i), 4(j),
and 225 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 151, 154(i), 154(j), and 225, that
this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking IS ADOPTED.
40.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Commission's Consumer and Governmental Affairs
Bureau, Reference Information Center, SHALL SEND a copy of this Notice, including the Initial
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business
Administration.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Marlene H. Dortch
Secretary
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APPENDIX A

Proposed Rules

For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Federal Communications Commission proposes to amend
47 C.F.R. part 64 as follows:
Part 64 MISCELLANEOUS RULES RELATING TO COMMON CARRIERS
1. The authority citation for part 64 continues to read as follows:
Authority: 47 U.S.C. 154, 254 (k); secs. 403 (b)(2)(B), (c), Public Law 104-104, 110 Stat. 56. Interpret
or apply 47 U.S.C. 201, 218, 225, 226, 228, and 254 (k) unless otherwise noted.
SUBPART F TELECOMMUNICATIONS RELAY SERVICES AND RELATED CUSTOMER
PREMISES EQUIPMENT FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
2. The authority citation for subpart F continues to read as follows:
Authority: 47 U.S.C. 151-154; 225, 255, and 303(r), 616 and 620.
3. Amend 64.603 of subpart F to add paragraph (c) as follows:
64.603 Provision of Services.
* * * * *
(c) Providers of captioned telephone relay service, Internet-based captioned telephone relay service, VRS
and IP Relay are not required to offer speech-to-speech relay service and interstate Spanish language
relay service.
4. Amend 64.604 of subpart F to revise to read as follows:
64.604 Mandatory minimum standards.
* * * * *
(a) * * *
* * * * *
(3) * * *
(ii) Relay services shall be capable of handling any type of call normally provided by
telecommunications carriers unless the Commission determines that it is not technologically feasible to do
so. Relay service providers have the burden of proving the infeasibility of handling any type of call.

Providers of Internet-based TRS need not provide the same billing options (e.g., sent-paid long
distance, operator-assisted, calling card, collect, and third party billing) traditionally offered for
wireline and wireless voice services.


* * * * *
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(iv) Relay services other than Internet-based TRS shall be capable of handling pay-per-call calls.
(v) TRS providers are required to provide the following types of TRS calls: (1) Text-to-voice and voice-
to-text; (2) VCO, two line VCO, VCO-to-TTY, and VCO-to-VCO; (3) HCO, two-line HCO, HCO-to-
TTY, HCO-to-HCO.

VRS providers are not required to provide text-to-voice and voice-to-text
functionality. IP Relay providers and VRS providers are not required to provide VCO-to-TTY and
HCO-to-TTY. Captioned telephone service providers and Internet-based captioned telephone
service providers are not required to provide (1) text-to-voice; (2) VCO-to-TTY; (3) HCO, two-line
HCO, HCO-to-TTY, HCO-to-HCO.

(vi) TRS providers are required to provide the following features: (1) call release functionality (only with
respect to the provision of TTY-based TRS)
; (2) speed dialing functionality; and (3) three-way calling
functionality.
* * * * *
(b) Technical standards--(1) ASCII and Baudot.

TTY service

shall be capable of communicating with
ASCII and Baudot format, at any speed generally in use.

Other forms of TRS are not subject to this
requirement.


* * * * *
(3) Equal access to interexchange carriers. TRS users shall have access to their chosen interexchange
carrier through the TRS, and to all other operator services to the same extent that such access is provided
to voice users.

This requirement is inapplicable to providers of Internet-based TRS if they do not
assess specific charges for long distance calling.


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APPENDIX B

Initial Regulatory Flexibility Certification

CG Docket No. 03-123

1.
The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA)1 requires that an agency prepare a regulatory
flexibility analysis for notice-and-comment rulemaking proceedings, unless the agency certifies that "the
rule will not, if promulgated, have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small
entities."2 The RFA generally defines "small entity" as having the same meaning as the terms "small
business," "small organization," and "small governmental jurisdiction."3 In addition, the term "small
business" has the same meaning as the term "small business concern" under the Small Business Act.4 A
"small business concern" is one which: (1) is independently owned and operated; (2) is not dominant in
its field of operation; and (3) satisfies any additional criteria established by the Small Business
Administration (SBA).5
2.
In the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Notice), the Commission seeks comment on its
proposal to permanently waive in some instances and to terminate the waivers in other instances of certain
operational, technical, and functional mandatory minimum standards applicable to the provision of
Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) for providers using the Internet to provide services such as
Video Relay Service (VRS), Internet Protocol Relay Service (IP Relay), and Internet Protocol Captioned
Telephone Service (IP CTS) as well as for providers offering traditional Captioned Telephone Service
(CTS). To be eligible for compensation from the interstate TRS Fund, a TRS provider must offer service
in compliance with all applicable mandatory minimum standards, unless they are waived.6 The
Commission has waived several of these mandatory minimum standards for VRS, IP Relay, and IP CTS
either because, as Internet-based services, it is not technologically feasible for them to meet the
requirement or, in the case of VRS, because VRS is a video-based service and the communication is via
sign language and not text. The Commission has waived other mandatory minimum standards that are
inapplicable to the particular form of TRS, including VRS, IP Relay, IP CTS and CTS. Some of these
waivers have been for finite periods, usually one year, and require new waivers at the end of the period

1 See 5 U.S.C. 603. The RFA, 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq., has been amended by the Contract With America
Advancement Act of 1996, Pub. L. No. 104-121, 110 Stat. 847 (1996) (CWAAA). Title II of the CWAAA is the
Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA).
2 See 5 U.S.C. 605(b).
3 5 U.S.C. 601(6).
4 5 U.S.C 601(3) (incorporating by reference the definition of "small business concern" in Small Business Act, 15
U.S.C. 632). Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 601(3), the statutory definition of a small business applies "unless an agency,
after consultation with the Office of Advocacy of the Small Business Administration and after opportunity for public
comment, establishes one or more definitions of such term which are appropriate to the activities of the agency and
publishes such definition(s) in the Federal Register."
5 15 U.S.C. 632.
6 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, 5158, 39 (2000) (2000 TRS
Report and Order
). The Interstate TRS Fund compensates relay providers for their reasonable costs of providing
interstate TRS services and, presently, for Internet based forms of TRS, including VRS, IP Relay, and IP CTS, both
intrastate and interstate TRS. See generally Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for
Individuals with Hearing and Speech Disabilities
, CC Docket Nos. 90-571 and 98-67, CG Docket No. 03-123,
Report and Order, Order on Reconsideration, and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 19 FCC Rcd 12475,
12482-83, 7-8 (2004) (2004 TRS Report and Order).
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while other waivers have been for indefinite periods. The Notice proposes to incorporate these waivers
into the Commission's rules to obviate the need for annual waivers to be applied for and granted and to
harmonize the treatment of all TRS providers to which these mandatory minimum standards do not apply
given the technology through which the service is provided.
3.
The Notice seeks comment on whether to incorporate these waivers into the rules. It
further seeks comment on a Petitioner's request that the Commission clarify whether the Spanish-to-
Spanish requirement should be a non-mandatory service for IP Relay and IP CTS providers as it is for
VRS providers.
4.
Where a mandatory minimum standard is inapplicable, we propose to convert existing
waivers of the mandatory minimum standards to permanent exemptions, thereby eliminating unnecessary
administrative burdens on providers and the Commission.7 Specifically, IP CTS providers have received
waivers for the following features: (1) gender preference; (2) handling calls in ASCII and Baudot
formats; (3) call release; (4) Speech-to-Speech; (5) Hearing Carry Over (HCO) and VCO services; (6)
outbound 711 calling; (7) emergency call handling; (8) equal access to interexchange carriers; (9) pay-
per-call (900) service; (10) three-way calling; (11) speed dialing; and (12) certain rules applying to CAs.
5.
With regard to the criterion of the economic impact of this Notice, with respect to those
waivers that are proposed to be made permanent or otherwise codified, the Commission notes that all
providers potentially affected by the proposed rules, including those deemed to be small entities under the
SBA's standard, would benefit by being relieved from the necessity to periodically file for new waivers of
the TRS mandatory minimum standards and from incurring unnecessary expenses in research and
development of features or services that are inapplicable to certain types of TRS services. Therefore, the
Commission concludes that with respect to those waivers, the Notice, if adopted, will not have a
significant economic impact on any entities.
6.
With respect to those waivers that are being terminated, the record shows that the providers
are generally providing the features that had been the subject of such waivers. For example, the record
shows that providers are now able to offer three-way calling and speed dialing. With respect to one-line
VCO, one-line HCO, VCO-to-VCO, HCO-to-HCO, VCO-to-TTY, and HCO-to-TTY, we are seeking
comment to better determine which features should be waived and which features no longer require a
waiver for the providers of VRS, IP Relay, IP CTS and CTS. We believe that the entities that may be
affected by the termination of such waivers are only those TRS providers that offer VRS, IP Relay, IP
CTS and CTS. Should the TRS providers, including the small entities, become affected by the
termination of such waivers, the costs of compliance of the requirements to offer three-way calling and
speed dialing are minimal. Neither the Commission nor the SBA has developed a definition of "small
entity" specifically directed toward TRS providers. The closest applicable size standard under the SBA
rules is for Wired Telecommunications Carriers, for which the small business size standard is all such
firms having 1,500 or fewer employees.8 Collectively, there are fewer than ten TRS providers that are
authorized by the Commission or, in the case of CTS, by any state Commission, to offer these services.
No more than four of these entities may be small businesses under the SBA size standard. Therefore, the
Notice, if adopted would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.
7.
The Commission therefore certifies, pursuant to the RFA, that the proposals in this Notice,
if adopted, will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. If
commenters believe that the proposals discussed in the Notice require additional RFA analysis, they

7 Where a requirement is inapplicable to some or all Internet-based services, we believe it is generally preferable to
amend our rules to provide a codified exemption, rather than to grant an indefinite waiver covering what is now the
bulk of TRS usage.
8 13 C.F.R. 121.201, NAICS Code 517110 (2007).
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should include a discussion of these issues in their comments and additionally label them as RFA
comments. The Commission will send a copy of the Notice, including a copy of this initial certification,
to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the SBA. In addition, a copy of the Notice and this initial
certification will be published in the Federal Register.9

9 See 5 U.S.C. 605(b).
25

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