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2005 TRS History

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  • In the Matter of Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech Disabilities, (Declaratory Ruling), CC Docket 98-67 and CG Docket 03-123, DA 05-140, adopted January 24, 2005, released January 26, 2005
  • This Declaratory Ruling addresses a Petition for Declaratory Ruling filed by Petitioner Hands On Video Relay Services, Inc. (Petitioner or Hands On) on December 29, 2004. Petitioner requests a declaratory ruling that its "Brown Bag Rewards Program," offered in connection with its provision of Video Relay Service (VRS), a form of telecommunications relay service (TRS) does not violate any section of the communications Act or any Commission rule. The Commission concludes that the Brown Bag Rewards Program, and any program that offers any kind of financial incentive or reward for a consumer to place a TRS call, including minimum usage arrangements or programs (whether or not tied to the acceptance of equipment), violates Section 225 of the Communications Act. Therefore, Hands On's Petition for Declaratory Ruling is denied.

  • Federal Communications Commission Clarifies That Certain Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) Marketing And Call Handling Practices Are Improper And Reminds That Video Relay Service (VRS) May Not Be Used As A Video Remote Interpreting Service, (Public Notice), CC Docket 98-67 and CG Docket 03-123, DA 05-141, released January 26, 2005.
  • The Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) has become aware that some TRS providers may be engaging in marketing practices that are inconsistent with the TRS statute and regulations. We have also become aware that some TRS providers may not be handling TRS calls in a manner that is consistent with our TRS statute and regulations, e.g., through the use of a reservations system. Finally, we are aware that Video Relay Service (VRS) - a form of TRS - is sometimes being used as a substitute for a live interpreter when a person who is deaf or hard of hearing seeks to communicate with a hearing person at the same location. Accordingly, we clarify below that certain TRS practices violate the TRS rules, and that VRS may not be used as a video remote interpreting service by persons at the same location. We will instruct the TRS fund administrator that, effective March 1, 2005, any provider found to be engaging in the improper marketing or call handling practices described below will be ineligible for compensation from the Interstate TRS Fund (Fund).

  • TRS Providers May Not Use Incentive Programs To Reward Consumers For Placing TRS Calls; Other Impermissible TRS Marketing And Call Handling Practices Outlined, (News Release), released January 26, 2005.
  • The FCC's Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau has found that programs to encourage or reward a consumer for placing a TRS call are inconsistent with the Communications Act and the Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) rules.

    The Bureau issued a declaratory ruling in response to a request by Hands On Video Relay Services, Inc., which asked that the FCC find that its "Brown Bag Rewards Program," offered in connection with its provision of VRS, was in compliance with the rules. Hands On's program permits consumers of its VRS service to earn points that can be redeemed by having Hands On pay their DSL or cable modem bill.

    The Bureau found that any program that involves the use of any type of financial incentives to encourage or reward a consumer for placing a TRS call, including the Brown Bag Rewards Program, is inconsistent with the rules.

    As a result, the Bureau found that, effective March 1, 2005, any TRS provider offering such incentives or rewards for the use of any of the forms of TRS will be ineligible for compensation from the Interstate TRS Fund.

    The Bureau noted that provision of TRS is an accommodation for persons with certain disabilities and that reaching the CA to place a call is the equivalent of receiving a "dial tone." The cost of TRS is not paid by the TRS user, but by either a state or the Interstate TRS Fund. In addition, VRS consumers presently do not pay any long distance charges in connection with a VRS call. Therefore, there is no cost of any kind to the consumer for placing a VRS call. As a practical matter, the Bureau said, the TRS provider is enticing the consumer to make TRS calls that will artificially raise costs to the Interstate TRS Fund, and the provider is doing so by in effect "paying" the consumer to make more calls.

    In a separate but related action, the Bureau also issued a Public Notice specifying other marketing and call handling practices by TRS providers that are impermissible under the TRS rules.

  • Federal Communications Commission Seeks Additional Comment on the Speed of Answer Requirement for Video Relay Service (VRS), (Public Notice), CC Docket 98-67 and CG Docket 03-123, DA 05-339, released February 8, 2005.
  • On June 30, 2004, the Federal Communications Commission (Commission) released the 2004 TRS Report & Order, which contained a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) seeking comment on, among other things, a speed of answer requirement for the provision of VRS. The speed of answer requirement is currently waived as a mandatory minimum standard for VRS. We have reviewed the comments provided in response to the FNPRM contained in the 2004 TRS Report & Order, and find that they lack specificity on certain elements of a speed of answer rule. Therefore, we seek additional comment on whether a speed of answer rule should be adopted for VRS.

  • In the Matter of Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech Disabilities, (Order), CC Docket No. 98-67 and CG Docket No. 03-123, DA 05-447 adopted February 17, 2005, released February 18, 2005.
  • This Order address the current waiver of the telecommunications relay services (TRS) requirement that TRS providers (including providers of captioned telephone service) offer three-way calling functionality as a TRS mandatory minimum standards. On February 24, 2005, the one-year waiver of this requirement will expire. This Order clarifies the manner in which TRS providers may comply with this rule; as a result, a waiver of this requirement is no longer necessary.

  • Petition for Declaratory Ruling Filed by the California Coalition of Agencies Serving the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (CCASDHH) Concerning Video Relay Service (VRS) Interoperability, (Public Notice), CC Docket No. 98-67 and CG Docket No. 03-123, DA 05-509, released March 1, 2005.
  • On February 15, 2005, the California Coalition of Agencies Serving the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (CCASDHH) filed a Petition for Declaratory Ruling on Interoperability, requesting that the Commission prohibit any VRS provider that receives compensation from the Interstate Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) Fund from purposely restricting its deaf and hard-of-hearing customers to a single VRS provider via the software or hardware of their VRS equipment or through exclusivity agreements with those customers.

  • Provision of Improved Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech Disabilities, (Order on Reconsideration), FCC 05-48, CC Docket No. 98-67, released March 9, 2005.
  • In the Order on Reconsideration, the Commission granted petitions filed by Sprint Corporation (Sprint) and WorldCom, Inc. (MCI) seeking reconsideration of the Commission's March 14, 2003, IP Relay Reconsideration Order. This matter drives from the April 2002 IP Relay Declaratory Ruling and FNPRM, which recognized IP Relay as a form of telecommunications relay service (TRS), authorized compensation for IP Relay providers from the Interstate TRS Fund, and waived certain mandatory minimum standards as they apply to the provision of IP Relay. The IP Relay Declaratory Ruling and &FNPRM did not, however, waive the requirements to provide hear carry over (HCO) and pay-per-call (900 number) services. Those requirements were subsequently waived in the IP Relay Reconsideration Order, but that order denied Sprint's request that it be compensated from its costs of providing IP Relay prior to the date of that order (i.e., prior to the waiver of the HCO and pay-per-call requirements). Sprint and MCI now seek further reconsideration of the IP Relay Reconsideration Order to the extent it denied Sprint's request for compensation from the Interstate TRS Fund for its provision of IP Relay services prior to the release date of that order (i.e., from July 2002 to March 2003).

  • Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) Annual Reporting Requirements Approved by the Office of Management and Budget, (Public Notice), CC Docket No. 98-67 and CG Docket No. 03-123, DA 05-728, released March 29, 2005.
  • On March 11, 2005, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approved for three years the information collection requirements contained in the Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech Disabilities, Report and Order, Order on Reconsideration, and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, FCC 04-137, 19 FCC Rcd 12475 (rel. June 30, 2005). These information collection requirements relate to annual reporting requirements concerning the TRS mandatory minimum standards, which apply to the providers of TRS. See 47 C.F.R. sections 64.604(a)(3), (a)(3)(iv), (a)(4), (b)(2), and (b)(3) (reporting required if waiver sought of various requirements). These rules will become effective upon publication in the Federal Register.

  • National Exchange Carrier Association (NECA) Submits the Payment Formula and Fund Size Estimate for Interstate Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) Fund for July 2005 through June 2006, (Public Notice), CC Docket No. 98-67, DA 05-1175, 20 FCC Rcd 8304, released April 28, 2005.
  • On April 25, 2005, pursuant to 47 C.F.R. ยง 64.604c(5)(iii)(H), the National Exchange Carrier Association (NECA), the Interstate Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) Fund Administrator, submitted its annual payment formula and fund size estimate for the Interstate TRS Fund for the period July 1, 2005 through June 30, 2006. NECA proposes a carrier contribution factor of 0.00528, and a fund size requirement of $413.3 million. NECA proposes per completed minute compensation rates of $1.312 for traditional TRS and for Internet Protocol (IP) Relay; $1.579 for Speech-to-Speech (STS); and $5.924 for Video Relay Service (VRS).

  • The Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau Reminds Telecommunications Equipment Manufacturers and Telecommunications Service Providers of Obligation to Designate Agent for Complaint Received by the FCC, (Public Notice), DA 05-1653, released June14, 2005.
  • The purpose of this Public Notice is to remind telecommunications equipment manufacturers and telecommunication service providers subject to Section 255 of the Communications Act of 1934 of their obligation to designate an agent for service of informal and formal complaints received by the FCC. The valid control number for compliance with the designation of points of contact information contained in theses sections is 3060-0833.

  • Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau Reminds States and Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) Providers that the Annual Summary of Consumer Complaints Concerning TRS is Due Friday, July 1, 2005, (Public Notice), CG Docket No. 03-123, DA 05-1681, released June 16, 2005.
  • The Federal Communications Commission's Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau reminds states and telecommunications relay services (TRS) providers that they must submit their annual consumer complaint log summaries for the 12-month period ending May 31, 2005, on or before July 1, 2005.

  • In the Matter of Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech Disabilities, (Order), CC Docket No. 98-67 and CG Docket No. 03-123, FCC 05-135, adopted June 28, 2005, released June 28, 2005
  • This Order adopts interstate TRS compensation rates for the July 1, 2005 through June 30, 2006 TRS Fund year. The Commission adopts separate compensation rates for traditional TRS and Internet Protocol (IP) Relay. The Commission also adopts per-minute compensation rates as follows for this fund year: for Speech-to-Speech Services (STS), $1.579; for traditional TRS, $1.440; for IP Relay, $1.278; and for Video Relay Service (VRS), $6.644.

  • New Rules Adopted to Improve Video Relay Service - Speed of Answer Requirements Now Mandated, (News Release), released July 14, 2005.
  • The FCC adopted rules moving the Video Relay Service (VRS) closer to the goal of providing deaf and hard of hearing persons functionally equivalent access to the nation's telephone system. The new rules establish, for the first, mandatory speed of answer requirements for VRS, require VRS to be offered 24 hours a day, seven days a week (24/7), and permit VRS providers to be compensated for providing VRS mail.

  • ASL-Spanish Translation Video Relay Service Eligible for Compensation from Interstate TRS Fund, (News Release), released July 14, 2005
  • The FCC concluded that Spanish translation Video Relay Service (VRS) - in which the communications assistant (CA) translate what is signed in American Sign Language (ASL) into spoken Spanish, and vice versa - is a form of telecommunications relay service (TS) from the Interstate TRS Fund. This decision will allow Spanish-speaking people who are deaf to communicate with others who speak only Spanish and allow them to integrate more fully into society.

  • Commission Clarifies that Two-Line Captioned Telephone Service is Eligible for Compensation from the Interstate TRS Fund, (News Release), released July 14, 2005
  • The FCC clarified that two-line captioned telephone services is a type of telecommunications relay service (TRS) eligible for compensation from the Interstate TRS Fund. The Commission also adopted the allocation methodology proposed by the National Exchange Carrier Association (NECA), the administrator of the Interstate TRS Fund, for determining the number of inbound two-line captioned telephone minutes that should be compensated from that Fund. This mechanism is similar to the methodology presently used for 800 and 900 call minutes.

  • In the Matter of Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech Disabilities, (Order on Reconsideration), FCC 05-139, adopted July 14, 2005, released July 19, 2005.
  • The Order on Reconsideration addressed petitions for reconsideration of the 2004 TRS Report and Order and, in so doing, reverses the Commission's conclusion that translation from American Sign Language (ASL) into Spanish is not a telecommunications relay service (TRS) eligible for compensation from the Interstate TRS Fund. Based on the Commission's review of the record on this issue, the Commission concludes that non-shared language Spanish translation Video Relay Service (VRS) - i.e., relay service in which the CA translate what is signed in ASL into spoken Spanish, and vice versa - is a form of TRS compensable from the Interstate TRS Fund. Therefore, although we do not mandate this service, providers offering ASL-to-Spanish VRS may be compensated from the Interstate TRS Fund.

  • In the Matter of Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech Disabilities, (Report and Order), FCC 05-140, adopted July 14, 2005, released July 19, 2005.
  • In the Report and Order, the Commission addresses three issues related to the provision of Video Relay Service (VRS), a form of telecommunications relay service (TRS): (1) the adoption of a speed of answer rule for VRS; (2) whether VRS should be required to be offered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (24/7); and (3) whether VRS providers may be compensated for providing VRS Mail. As set forth in the Report and Order, the Commission concludes that because speed of answer is central to the provision of "functionally equivalent" TRS, and VRS is now a widely used - if not the preferred - form of TRS, VRS providers must provide service in compliance with the speed of answer rule adopted herein to be eligible for compensation from the Interstate TRS Fund. The Report and Order also concludes that VRS must be offered 24/7 and that VRS providers may be compensated for providing VRS mail. The Report and Order also closes TRS Docket No. 98-67 which opened in 1998.

  • In the Matter of Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech Disabilities, (Order), FCC 05-141, adopted July 14, 2005, released July 19, 2005.
  • In the Order, the Commission grants a request for clarification that two-line captioned telephone service is a type of telecommunications relay service (TRS) eligible for compensation from the Interstate TRS Fund. The Commission also grants the National Exchange Carrier Association, Inc. (NECA) proposed allocation methodology for determining the number of inbound two-line captioned telephone minutes that should be compensated from the Interstate TRS Fund.

  • Federal Communications Commission Closes CC Docket No. 98-67; Addressing Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS); All Filings Addressing TRS Matters Should be Filed in CG Docket No. 03-123, (Public Notice), DA 05-2050, released July 22, 2005.
  • In a Report and Order, FCC 05-140, released on July 19, 2005, the Commission closed CC Docket No. 98-67, a docket for telecommunications relay services (TRS) opened in 1998. Filings in CC Docket No. 98-67 will be incorporated into the current docket, CG Docket No. 03-123. Materials submitted in CC Docket No. 98-67 need not be resubmitted.

  • In the Matter of Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech Disabilities, (Order), DA 05-2066, adopted July 27, 2005, released July 28, 2005.
  • In an Order, the Commission finds that the offering of free or discount long distance service to telecommunications relay services (TRS) consumers as an incentive for a consumer to use a particular TRS provider's relay service, or as an incentive for a consumer to make more or longer TRS calls, constitutes an impermissible financial incentive in violation of Section 225 of the Communications Act.

  • NECA Submits Proposed Allocation Factor For Inbound Two-Line Captioned Telephone Calls for Compensation from the Interstate TRS Fund for July 2005 through June 2006, (Public Notice), CG Docket No. 03-123, DA 05-2346, released August 23, 2005.
  • On August 2, 2005, pursuant to the Commission's directive in the Two-Line Captioned Telephone Order, the Interstate Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) Fund Administrator, the National Exchange Carrier Association (NECA), submitted the proposed allocation factor for inbound two-line captioned telephone calls for compensation from the Interstate TRS Fund for the period July 1, 2005 through June 30, 2006.

  • Reminder that Video Relay Service (VRS) Provides Access to the Telephone System Only and Cannot be used as a Substitute for "In-Person" Interpreting Services or Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) (Public Notice), CG Docket No. 03-123, DA 05-2417, released September 7, 2005
  • The Commission issues this Public Notice to remind VRS providers, consumers, and businesses that Video Relay Service (VRS) cannot be used as a substitute for "in-person" interpreting services or for Video Remote Interpreting (VRI).

  • Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) Providers Must Make all Outbound Calls Requested by TRS Users and May Not "Block" Calls to Certain Numbers at the Request of Consumers, (Public Notice), CG Docket No. 03-123, DA 05-2477, 20 FCC 14717, released September 21, 2005.
  • The Commission issues this Public Notice to reiterate that, under applicable TRS regulations, TRS providers cannot refuse to make an outbound call requested by a TRS user, even if the called party has requested that TRS calls to his or her number be blocked.

  • Petition for Rulemaking Filed Concerning Mandating Captioned Telephone Relay Service and Authorizing Internet Protocol (IP) Captioned Telephone Relay Service, (Public Notice), CG Docket No. 03-123, DA 05-2961, released November 14, 2005.
  • On October 31, 2005, a Petition for Rulemaking to Mandate Captioned Telephone Relay Service and Approve IP Captioned Telephone Relay Service was filed by 13 organizations generally representing consumer advocates and persons with hearing or speech disabilities. The petition asks the Commission to initiate a rulemaking for the purpose of making captioned telephone service a mandatory form of TRS and approving IP captioned telephone service as eligible for compensation from the Interstate TRS Fund.

  • In the Matter of Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech Disabilities, (Notice of Proposed Rulemaking) (NPRM), CG Docket No. 03-123, FCC 05-196, November 18, 2005, released November 30, 2005
  • In the NPRM, the Commission addresses the issue of access to emergency services for Internet-based forms of Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS), namely Video Relay Service (VRS) and Internet Protocol (IP) Relay. The Commission seeks comment on ways in which it may ensure that the communication assistant (CA) will be able to call the appropriate PSAP when a VRS or IP Relay user calls the relay provider and asks the CA to call emergency services. The Commission also seeks comment on whether, and if so, how requirements ensuring that persons using VRS and IP Relay will have access to emergency services might affect the TRS funding mechanism.

  • In the Matter of Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech Disabilities, (Order), CG Docket No. 03-123, DA 05-3138, adopted December 1, 2005, released December 2, 2005.
  • In this Order, the Commission adopts the National Exchange Carrier Association, Inc. (NECA) proposed interstate allocation factor of 11 percent. Therefore, the Commission directs NECA to compensate providers of inbound two-line captioned telephone calls from the Interstate TRS Fund pursuant to the 11 percent interstate allocation factor retroactively to October 14, 2005 to June 30, 2006.

  • In the Matter of Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech Disabilities, (Order), CG Docket No. 03-123, DA 05-3139, adopted December 2, 2005, released December 5, 2005.
  • In this Order, the Commission extends the waiver for one year in view of continued technological challenges to determining the geographic location of TRS calls that originate via the Internet, and the November 30, 2005, VRS 911 NPRM addressing this issue. Accordingly, the waiver of the emergency call handling requirement for VRS providers will expire on January 1, 207, or upon the release of an order addressing this issue, whichever comes first.

  • In the Matter of Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech Disabilities, (Report and Order and Order on Reconsideration), CG Docket No. 03-123, FCC 05-203, adopted December 8, 2005, released December 12, 2005.
  • This Order addresses the issue of the certification and oversight of TRS providers seeking compensation from the Interstate TRS Fund raised in the NPRM in the Second Improved TRS Order, and the FNPRM in the 2004 TRS Report and Order. It also addresses the related issue raised in Hands On Video Relay Services, Inc.'s Hands On petition for reconsideration of the 2004 TRS Report and Order, which challenges the Commission's dismissal of Hands On's application for certification as a VRS provider eligible for compensation from the Interstate TRS Fund.

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