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2011 TRS History

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  • Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech Disabilities; E911 Requirements for IP-Enabled Service Providers; Internet-Based Telecommunications Relay Service Numbering, (Order), CG Docket No. 03-123, WC Docket No. 05-196, and WC Docket No. 10-191, DA 11-211, adopted and released February 4, 2011.
  • In the Order, the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau and the Wireline Competition Bureau (the Bureaus) granted a six-month extension of the waiver regarding treatment of toll free numbers in the Internet-based Telecommunications Relay Service (iTRS) numbering directory (iTRS Directory), in response to the TDI Coalition's request for a further extension. The waiver extension will ensure that calls to users of Video Relay Service (VRS) and Internet Protocol (IP) Relay continue to be routed without disruption while the Commission considers the record in response to its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding numbering issues for iTRS (iTRS Toll Free NPRM).

  • Enforcement Bureau Reminds Internet-Based Telecommunications Relay Service Providers of Emergency Calling Requirement, (Public Notice), Enforcement Advisory No. 2011-05, DA 11-304, released February 17, 2011.
  • In 2008, the Federal Communications Commission (Commission) issued rules governing 911 emergency call handling requirements for providers of certain Internet-based forms of Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS). The purpose of these requirements is to ensure that individuals with hearing or speech disabilities who use Internet-based TRS receive 911 service that is comparable to that received by traditional telephone network TRS users.

    Because of the public safety risks that would result from an Internet-based TRS provider's failure to complete a 911 call properly, including passing location-identifying information to the applicable emergency services organization, the Enforcement Bureau issues this Enforcement Advisory to remind such providers, especially IP Relay and VRS providers of these requirements. In particular, the Commission emphasize that the 911 emergency call handling requirements apply regardless of the equipment or software used by consumers seeking emergency assistance via Internet-based TRS.

  • Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau Seeks Comment on Application of New and Emerging Technologies for Video Relay Service, (Public Notice), CG Docket No. 10-51, DA 11-317, released February 17, 2011.
  • As part of ongoing Video Relay Service ("VRS") reform efforts associated with the VRS Structure and Practices Notice of Inquiry (NOI) released on June 28, 2010, the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau seeks additional comment and information regarding new and emerging technologies that may be used to access VRS. In the VRS Structure and Practices NOI, the Commission sought comment on how to improve the VRS program "to ensure that it is available to and used by the full spectrum of eligible users, encourages innovation, and is provided efficiently so as to be less susceptible to the waste, fraud, and abuse that plague the current program and threaten its long-term viability." Comments received in response to the Public Notice will supplement the comments received in response to the VRS Structure and Practices NOI, and will be incorporated into the record of that proceeding.

  • Telecommunications Relay Service Fund Financial and Accounting Internal Controls, (Letter), DA 11-615, released April 5, 2011
  • With this Letter, the Federal Communications Commission (Commission) congratulates Rolka Loube Saltzer Associates (RLSA) on its selection to administer the Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) Fund. The Commission looks forward to working with RLSA to ensure that the TRS Fund continues to advance throughout the United States the goal of providing the benefits of communications technologies and services to individuals who are deaf-blind, or who have hearing or speech disabilities. In addition, this Letter provides instructions to RLSA as the new TRS administrator, to integrate specific measures of operations, and to provide efficient and effective operations. These steps will facilitate the integrity of the TRS Fund and combat potential waste, fraud, and abuse so that the Commission and program stake holders can be assured TRS monies are being used in an efficient, effective, manner.

  • FCC Names New Administrator of Interstate TRS Fund; Action Part of Commission's Comprehensive Reforms to the VRS Program, (News Release), April 6, 2011.
  • Washington, D.C. - The Commission has awarded Rolka Loube Saltzer Associates, LLC, (RLSA) of Harrisburg, PA, a contract to administer the Interstate Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) Fund, a Fund used to support communication service for persons who have hearing or speech disabilities or who are deaf-blind. Since July 26, 1993, the Commission has required that each common carrier providing voice transmission services also provide TRS throughout their service areas.

    The contract specifies the oversight and administrative duties that RLSA will be assuming, which include protecting the integrity of the TRS Fund as well as overseeing the distribution of funds under the FCC's newly established national equipment distribution program for people who are deaf-blind. The latter is required by the new Twenty-first Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, signed into law on October 8, 2010.

    As Administrator of the TRS Fund, RLSA will oversee the collection and disbursement of funds, which shall include reviewing all monthly submissions from TRS providers seeking compensation to ensure there are no irregularities, discrepancies or violations of the Commission's TRS rules, and that there are no indications of potential fraud. RLSA will also establish and implement internal controls and procedures for the disbursement of funds, subject to Commission approval.

    RLSA will withhold payment to TRS providers that fail to demonstrate full compliance with all relevant Commission rules governing the provision of TRS, fail to provide adequate documentation or justification for compensation in response to requests for such documentation by the FCC, or engage in potential waste, fraud, or abuse.

  • Structure and Practices of the Video Relay Service Program, (Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, CG Docket No. 10-51, FCC 11-54, adopted April 5, 2011, released April 6, 2011.
  • 76 FR 24393, May 2, 2011 - Final rule
    76 FR 24437, May 2, 2011 - Proposed rule

    In the Report and Order, the Commission adopts rules to detect and prevent fraud and abuse in the provision of video relay service (VRS), which allows users to communicate in sign language via a video link. The Commission recognizes the valuable ways in which VRS fulfills the communication needs of persons who are deaf and hard of hearing. The program's structure, however, has made it vulnerable to fraud and abuse, which have plagued the current program and threatened its long-term sustainability. The Report and Order takes a number of actions intended to substantially reduce and ultimately eliminate this fraud and abuse. These actions demonstrate the Commission's commitment to ensuring that VRS remains a viable and a valuable communication tool for Americans who use it on a daily basis, while protecting the Telecommunications Relay Service Fund (TRS Fund or Fund) from abusive practices.

    In the accompanying Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the Commission seeks comment on ways to revise the current certification process to ensure that potential providers receiving certification are qualified to provide Internet-base relay service in compliance with the Commission's rules, and to improve the Commission's oversight of such providers.

  • FCC Moves Forward with Comprehensive Reforms to Eliminate Abuses and Ensure Viability of Video Relay Service, (News Release), released April 6, 2011.
  • Washington, DC - As part of its ongoing efforts to ensure that the video relay service (VRS) continues to provide a crucial telecommunications link for people who are deaf and hard-of-hearing, the Commission today, adopted rules designed to eliminate the waste, fraud and abuse that has plagued the VRS program and had threatened its ability to continue serving Americans who use it and its long-term viability.

    In an accompanying Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the Commission asked for public comment on proposed modifications to the current FCC certification procedures used to determine which companies may provide Internet-based telecommunications relay service (TRS).

  • Structure and Practices of the Video Relay Service; Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech Disabilities, (Order), CG Docket Nos. 10-51 and 03-123, DA 11-655, adopted April 8, 2011, released April 8, 2011.
  • Under section 64.604(c)(5)(iii)(E) and (H) of the Commission's rules, the Interstate Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) Fund (Fund) administrator is required to file TRS payment formulas and revenue requirements with the Commission on May 1 of each year, to be effective the following July 1. In the Order, the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, pursuant to delegated authority, waives this May 1, 2011 Fund administrator filing requirement for video relay service (VRS) payment formulas and revenue requirements only .

    The Commission is currently considering the compensation structure for VRS for the 2011-12 Fund year, commencing July 1, 2011. During this time, the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau finds that requiring the Fund administrator to meet the May 1, 2011 filing deadline for VRS payment formulas and revenue requirements would impose needless administrative costs and burdens on the Fund administrator and the Fund. The Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau therefore waives the May 1 Fund administrator filing requirement for VRS payment formulas and revenue requirements immediately. After considering the issues before it, the Commission will provide further guidance to the Fund administrator in a subsequent order.

  • Structure and Practices of the Video Relay Service; Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech Disabilities, (Notice of Proposed Rulemaking), CG Docket Nos. 10-51 and 03-123, FCC 11-62, adopted April 14, 2011, released April 15, 2011.
  • 76 FR 24442, May 2, 2011 - Proposed rule

    In the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the Commission seeks comment on the rates and compensation for video relay service (VRS) for the 2011-12 Interstate Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) Fund (Fund) year. Specifically, the Commission seeks further comment on VRS market structure and compensation method proposals initially raised in a 2010 Notice of Inquiry related to the structure and practices of the VRS program. In addition, in the event the Commission is unable to fully resolve these issues prior to the beginning of the 2011-12 Fund year, it tentatively concludes that extending the current interim rates and compensation structure provides the best means to ensure stability and certainty for VRS while the it continues to evaluate the issues and the substantial record developed in response to this proceeding.

  • National Exchange Carrier Association Submits Payment Formulas and Funding Requirement for the Interstate Telecommunications Relay Service Fund for the July 2011 Through June 2012 Fund year, (Public Notice), CG Docket No. 03-123, DA 11-826, released May 3, 2011.
  • On April 29, 2011, the National Exchange Carrier Association (NECA), the Interstate Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) Fund (Fund) administrator through June 30, 2011, submitted Fund payment formulas for the period July 1, 2011, through June 30, 2012 for all forms of TRS with the exception of video relay service (VRS). NECA also submitted the Fund size estimate for the same period. NECA's submission fulfills the Fund administrator's requirement, pursuant to 47 C.F.R. § 64.604(c)(5)(iii)(H), to file TRS payment formulas and revenue requirements with the Commission by May 1 of each year, to be effective the following July 1.

    NECA now proposes new per minute compensation rates for all forms of TRS except VRS based on the rate calculation methodologies established in the 2007 TRS Rate Methodology Order as follows: $1.8502 for interstate traditional TRS; $1.8502 for interstate Speech-to-Speech (STS); $1.7396 for interstate captioned telephone service (CTS) and interstate and intrastate Internet Protocol (IP) captioned telephone service (IP CTS); and $1.2920 for interstate and intrastate IP Relay.

    Although NECA was not required to file proposed VRS rates and revenue requirements, the Fund must include an estimate of VRS revenue requirements to ensure that the Fund administrator collects sufficient revenues to cover all TRS for the 2011-12 Fund year. NECA therefore used the following 2010-11 Fund year VRS rates for the 2011-12 Fund size estimate: $6.2390 for the first 50,000 monthly minutes, $6.2335 for monthly minutes between 50,001 and 500,000, and $5.0668 for minutes above 500,000. Based on the new proposed rates for TRS, STS, CTS, IP CTS, and IP Relay and the current VRS rates, and projected Fund administration expenses, NECA proposes a carrier contribution factor of 0.01056, and a funding requirement of $739.3 million. The Bureau seeks comment on NECA's proposed compensation rates for TRS, STS, CTS, IP CTS, and IP Relay, as well as the proposed carrier contribution factor and funding requirement for the period of July 1, 2011, through June 30, 2012.

  • Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau Announce Extension of Expiring Certifications for Providers of Internet-Based Telecommunications Relay Services, (Public Notice), CG Docket Nos. 03-123 and 10-51, DA 11-849 released May 6, 2011.
  • By Public Notice, the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau (Bureau) temporarily extends, until November 4, 2011, the certification period for providers of Video Relay Service (VRS) and IP Relay Service that have current certifications that are scheduled to expire on or before that date. Under the Federal Communications Commission's (Commission) rules, certifications remain in effect for five years, and the Bureau has received several requests for renewal of certifications that are scheduled to expire in the near term. This extension eliminates the immediate need for the Commission to renew certifications under the current rules while it considers reform of the certification process in the VRS Fraud Order and FNPRM, and at the same time enables providers with expiring certifications to continue to seek compensation from the Interstate TRS Fund for a limited period, pending the Commission's consideration of new requirements.

    The Bureau reminds all providers of their continuing obligation to meet or exceed all operational, technical, and functional TRS standards set forth in the Commission's rules and orders, including the new requirements adopted in the VRS Fraud Order and FNPRM when they become effective on June 1, 2011.

    This temporary extension is effective May 6, 2011.

  • Structure and Practices of the Video Relay Service Program, (Erratum), CG Docket No. 10-51, DA 11-892, released May 17, 2011.
  • On April 6, 2011, the Commission released a Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, FCC 11-54. The Erratum corrects the first sentence in paragraph 3 on page 65 in the Final Rules section of Appendix E and footnote 268 on page 46.

  • Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau Provides Guidance on Filing Requests for Waiver of New Requirements Adopted in the Video Relay Services Fraud Order, (Public Notice), CG Docket No. 10-51, DA 11-893, released May 17, 2011.
  • On April 6, 2011, the Commission released a Report and Order adopting new rules designed to eliminate fraud and abuse in the provision of video relay service (VRS). Among the measures taken in the VRS Fraud Order and FNPRM is the adoption of a rule prohibiting revenue sharing arrangements for communications assistant (CA) and call center functions between entities eligible for compensation from the Fund and non-eligible entities (subcontractors). This new rule will become effective on June 1, 2011.

    In the VRS Fraud Order and FNPRM, the Commission stated that it would consider requests for a temporary waiver of the new requirements to give entities that are now offering services through an arrangement with an eligible VRS provider "an opportunity to continue to provide VRS as a subcontractor with an eligible provider until such time as they obtain certification under new procedures to be adopted pursuant to the accompanying FNPRM." Both eligible VRS providers seeking to continue to use subcontractors to provide VRS, and subcontractors seeking to continue to provide VRS through an arrangement with an eligible VRS provider, may seek a waiver of the new requirements pertaining to revenue sharing arrangements. If a waiver is granted, the eligible provider will be permitted to continue providing service using a subcontractor(s) consistent with the terms of the waiver granted.

    Entities seeking to avoid a disruption in their eligibility to provide VRS due to noncompliance with the Commission's new requirements must file their requests for a waiver on or before May 24, 2011 so as to provide Commission staff sufficient time to review and take action on the waiver request by June 1, 2011. Requests for waiver filed after May 24, 2011 will be addressed as expeditiously as possible, but may not be resolved before the effective date of the new rules.

  • Reminder to States and Interstate Telecommunications Relay Service Providers that the Annual Summary of Consumer Complaints is due Friday, July 1, 2011; Reminder of Ongoing Obligation to Report Contact Information and Substantive Changes in TRS Programs, (Public Notice), CG Docket No. 03-123, DA 11-1075, released June 20, 2011.
  • The Federal Communications Commission's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau (Bureau) reminds states and providers of interstate telecommunications relay services (TRS) that they must submit their annual consumer complaint log summaries covering the 12-month period from June 1, 2010 to May 31, 2011, on or before Friday, July 1, 2011.

    The Bureau also reminds certified state TRS programs that, pursuant to 47 C.F.R. § 64.606(f)(1), state TRS programs must notify the Commission of any substantive changes in their TRS programs within 60 days of when they occur, and must certify that the state TRS program continues to meet federal minimum standards after implementing the substantive change.

  • Interstate Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) Fund Administrator Transition - Bank Account Change Over, (Public Notice), DA 11-1042, released June 23, 2011.
  • On March 7, 2011 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) awarded Rolka Loube Saltzer Associates, LLC (RLSA), a contract to administer the Interstate TRS Fund support services. As a result, administration of the TRS Fund is being transitioned from the current TRS Fund Administrator, National Exchange Carrier Association (NECA) to RLSA.

    Effective Friday, July 1, 2011, RLSA in its role as the TRS Fund Administrator, will oversee collections and distribution from the TRS Fund. Therefore, on July 1, 2011, all TRS Fund related payments will be handled by M&T Bank in Baltimore, Maryland. NECA, the current TRS Fund Administrator through June 30, 2011, uses the services of Bank of New York Mellon in Pittsburgh, PA.

    TRS contributors will receive an email from RLSA containing instructions for using a secure online portal and bill payment options, at r-l-s-a.inlattice.com. TRS contributors that have not provided an email address on their most recently filed Form 499-A will be contacted via regular US mail by RLSA. Additional information concerning RLSA and TRS Fund administration can be found at r-l-s-a.com/TRS.

  • Instructions for Transfer of Telecommunications Relay Service Program Records, (Letter), DA 11-1109, released June 27, 2011.
  • The letter provides additional instruction to the National Exchange Carrier Association (NECA) concerning the transfer of records to Rolka Loube Saltzer, LLC (RLSA), the newly appointed Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) Fund Administrator. Specifically, as the current TRS Fund Administrator, NECA shall make available and transfer to RLSA, any and all records including but not limited to, all data, files, documents, reports, website content and interfaces, documentation concerning prepaid assets, forms and applications, shared resources, documentation concerning furniture and equipment, records and information (the "Records") generated by or resulting from NECA's role as the TRS Fund Administrator, as specified in the letter. To facilitate this process, the FCC instructs NECA below regarding three different sets of documents and certain financial information that must be transferred to RLSA or the FCC by July 22, 2011.

  • Telecommunications Relay Service Fund Financial Statements and Reports, (Letter), DA 11-1120, released June 27, 2011.
  • On March 7, 2011, the Federal Communications Commission (Commission) awarded a contract to administer the Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) Fund to Rolka Loube Saltzer Associates (RLSA). As RLSA assumes the duties of TRS Administrator, the Commission will still need the National Exchange Carrier Association's (NECA) participation and cooperation in the annual audit process as mandated by 31 U.S.C. § 3515, OMB Circular A-136, entitled, Financial Reporting Requirements, and Department of Treasury requirements. The letter sets forth in detail the steps to be taken by NECA in producing financial statements concerning the TRS Fund during this transition period.

  • Payment for Close-Out Activities of Telecommunications Relay Service Program Administration for the National Exchange Carrier Association, (Letter), DA 11-1121, released June 27, 2011.
  • The letter supplements the letter from the Chief, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau (CGB), Federal Communications Commission (Commission) to the President of National Exchange Carrier Association, Inc. (NECA), last signed July 14, 2003, under which the Commission and NECA agreed to extend NECA's term as Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) Fund administrator on a month-to- month basis. Effective July 1, 2011, the TRS Fund Administrator will change from NECA to Rolka Loube Saltzer Associates, LLC (RLSA). Although NECA's service as TRS Fund administrator will conclude, the Commission recognizes that NECA is in a unique position to provide close-out work related to its period of administration, which will need to be completed after the July 1, 2011 transition date.

  • Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech Disabilities; Structure and Practices of the Video Relay Service Program, (Order), CG Docket No. 03-123 and CG Docket No. 10-51, FCC 11-104, adopted and released June 30, 2011.
  • In the Order, the Commission hereby adopts per-minute compensation rates to be paid from the Interstate TRS Fund ("Fund") for the 2011-12 Fund year for all forms of telecommunications relay services ("TRS"). Except for the rates for video relay service ("VRS"), these rates are based on the proposals of the current Fund administrator, the National Exchange Carrier Association ("NECA"). For VRS, the Commission adopts, until further notice, the current interim rates that were adopted for the 2010-11 Fund year. As discussed below, the VRS rates adopted herein will be in effect on an interim basis until the Commission completes its examination of VRS rates and compensation as part of the 2010 VRS Notice of Inquiry proceeding.

    As of July 1, 2011, the per-minute rates for TRS shall be: $1.8611 for interstate traditional TRS; $2.9921 for Speech-to-Speech ("STS") service; $1.7630 for captioned telephone service ("CTS") and IP CTS; and $1.2920 for IP Relay. The interim rates for VRS shall continue to be: $6.2390 for Tier I, $6.2335 for Tier II, and $5.0668 for Tier III. Based on the adoption of these rates and NECA's proposals for additional funding requirements, the Commission hereby adopts a carrier contribution factor of 0.01058, and a funding requirement of $740,399,393.56 for the 2011-12 Fund year. The 2011-12 Fund year encompasses the period of July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012.

  • Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech Disabilities; E911 Requirements for IP-Enabled Services Providers, (Order), CG Docket No. 03-123 and WC Docket No. 05-196, DA 11-1159, adopted and released June 30 2011.
  • In the Order, the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau and the Wireline Competition Bureau extend the waivers of certain telecommunications relay services (TRS) mandatory minimum standards for video relay service (VRS) and Internet Protocol (IP) Relay Service that will expire on July 1, 2011, pursuant to the 2010 TRS Waiver Order. Specifically, we extend the waivers for one year until July 1, 2012, conditioned upon the filing of a status report due April 16, 2012, detailing the progress made in complying with the requirement to provide the following services: (1) one-line Voice Carry Over (VCO), VCO-to-TTY, and VCO-to-VCO; (2) one-line Hearing Carry Over (HCO), HCO-to-TTY, and HCO-to-HCO; (3) call release; (4) pay-per-call (900) calls; (5) types of calls; (6) equal access to interexchange carriers; and (7) Speech-to-Speech (STS).

    In addition, the Bureaus extends the waiver of certain mandatory minimum standards for default Internet-based TRS providers that are unable to meet such standards for newly-registered Internet-based TRS users who port their customer premises equipment (CPE) from a former default provider. Specifically such waiver is needed when the new default provider does not have access to the technical information about the new user's CPE that would be needed to comply with these standards. As discussed below, the Commission issued a year-long waiver of these requirements in its December 2008 Second Internet-based TRS Order, which was extended in the 2009 TRS Waiver Order and subsequently extended for a year in the 2010 TRS Waiver Order. Similar to the other extensions addressed in the Order, the Bureaus grants the extension until July 1, 2012, or until the Commission addresses pending petitions regarding CPE portability, whichever comes first.

  • Structure and Practices of the Video Relay Service Program, (Second Report and Order and Order), CG Docket No. 10-51, FCC 11-118, adopted and released July 28, 2011.
  •   76 FR 47469, August 5, 2011 - Final Rule
      76 FR 47476, August 5, 2011 - Interim Rule

    In the Second Report and Order, the Commission amends its process for certifying Internet-based Telecommunications Relay Service (iTRS) providers as eligible for payment from the Interstate TRS Fund (Fund) for their provision of iTRS, as proposed in the Commission's April 2011 Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Video Relay Service (VRS) reform docket, CG Docket No. 10-51. In the Certification FNPRM, the Commission sought comment on ways to revise the current certification process to ensure that iTRS providers receiving certification are qualified to provide iTRS in compliance with the Commission's rules, and to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse through improved oversight of such providers. The Commission seeks in the Second Report and Order to promote the effectiveness, efficiency, and sustainability of iTRS. The measures adopted in the Second Report and Order are another step forward in the Commission's efforts to reform the structure and practices of the VRS program, and thus may be transitional, pending other structural changes that the Commission may make to this program.

    Specifically, in the Second Report and Order, the Commission requires all iTRS providers to obtain certification from the Commission in order to be eligible to receive compensation from the Fund; require all VRS applicants for Commission certification to lease, license or own, as well as operate, essential facilities associated with TRS call centers and to employ interpreters to staff those centers at the date of the application; and require each iTRS applicant for certification to submit specific types of documentary evidence of its ability to comply with all of the Commission's rules, including those newly adopted in the VRS Practices R&O. In addition, the Commission adopts rules governing on-site visits by Commission staff to the premises of applicants for certification, as well as to iTRS providers' premises after they are certified. The Commission also revises its rules governing annual compliance reports filed by certified providers, and substantive TRS program changes that must be reported to the Commission. Finally, the Commission requires prior approval for planned cessations of VRS service of 30 minutes or longer. In the accompanying Order, the Commission adopts an interim rule requiring that providers certify, under penalty of perjury, that their certification applications and annual compliance filings required under section 64.606(g) of the Commission's rules are truthful, accurate, and complete.

  • Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech Disabilities; E911 Requirements for IP-Enabled Service Providers; Internet-Based Telecommunications Relay Service Numbering; CSDVRS, LLC Petition for Expedited Reconsideration; TDI Coalition Petition for Emergency Stay; TDI Coalition Request for Return to the Status Quo Ante, (Report and Order), CG Docket No. 03-123, WC Docket Nos. 05-196 and 10-191, FCC 11-123, adopted and released August 4, 2011.
  • In the Report and Order, the Commission adopts rules to improve assignment of telephone numbers associated with Internet-based Telecommunications Relay Service (iTRS). These rules specifically address Video Relay Service (VRS), which allows individuals with hearing and speech disabilities to communicate using sign language through video equipment, and IP Relay, which allows these individuals to communicate in text using a computer. The final rules set forth in the Report and Order reflect the objectives laid out in the iTRS Toll Free Notice: to promote the use of geographically appropriate local numbers, while ensuring that the deaf and hard-of-hearing community has access to toll free telephone numbers that is equivalent to access enjoyed by the hearing community. These objectives, and the rules to implement them, received strong support in the record. Reflecting that record in the Report and Order, the Commission adopts the rules as proposed.

    In 2008, the Commission instituted a ten-digit numbering plan for iTRS in order to make access by deaf and hard-of-hearing people more functionally equivalent to access enjoyed by the hearing community, as required by section 225 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended. The Commission sought to ensure that iTRS users can be reached via telephone, as hearing users can. As a result of that order, most deaf and hard-of-hearing iTRS users have obtained local telephone numbers. Nevertheless, some iTRS providers have continued to assign customers a toll free number in addition to a local number, even if the customer did not request a toll free number.

    In the iTRS Toll Free Notice, the Commission proposed rules to align the use of local and toll free numbers by iTRS users more closely with the way that hearing users use local and toll free numbers. The Commission's goal was to ensure that an iTRS user's local number is used routinely as the primary telephone number that hearing users dial to reach the deaf or hard-of-hearing user via an iTRS provider, and that deaf and hard-of-hearing users employ for point-to-point calling with other deaf and hard-of-hearing users. In the Report and Order, the Commission adopts those proposed rules, and in doing so we advance the Commission's statutory responsibility to ensure that deaf and hard-of-hearing users are able to communicate in a manner that is "functionally equivalent" to the way in which hearing users communicate.

  • Structure and Practices of the Video Relay Service Program, (Order), CG Docket No. 10-51, DA 11-1542, adopted and released September 13, 2011.
  • In the Order, the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau (Bureau), on delegated authority, denies three waiver requests filed separately by: (1) Deaf Link, Inc. ("Deaf Link"); (2) NorthStar Relay, LLC ("NorthStar"); and (3) ONE Technologies LLC ("ONE Technologies") (collectively "Petitioners"). Each seeks temporary waiver of certain rules adopted by the Commission in the VRS Practices R&O. These rules became effective on June 1, 2011. The Bureau deny each of the waiver requests for the reasons discussed in the Order.

  • Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau Notice of Petitions for Reconsideration of the Second Report and Order and Order, (Public Notice), CG Docket No. 10-51, DA 11-1590, released September 22, 2011.
  • The Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau ("CGB") provides notice that, by petitions for reconsideration dated September 6, 2011 in CG Docket No. 10-51, Sorenson Communications, Inc. (Sorenson) and AT&T Services, Inc. (AT&T) have each sought Commission reconsideration of various aspects of the Commission's July 2011 Second Report and Order regarding the Video Relay Service (VRS) and other forms of Internet-based Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS). By its Petition, Sorenson asks the Commission to reconsider its recently adopted rules requiring the submission of documentation regarding all of a provider's VRS equipment and technologies, and the submission of documentation regarding sponsorship arrangements. AT&T seeks reconsideration of the portions of the Second Report and Order that make the operation of call centers and the employment of communications assistants requirements of the mandatory certification of VRS providers, and would prohibit such providers from subcontracting the core functions of VRS to another certified provider.

    Section 1.429(f) of the Commission's rules, 47 C.F.R. §1.429(f), specifies that oppositions to a petition for reconsideration shall be filed within fifteen days after the date of public notice of the petition's filing. Section 1.429(g), 47 C.F.R. §1.429(g), requires that replies to an opposition shall be filed within ten days after the time for filing oppositions has expired. In this case, the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau find s good cause to alter the periods specified in Section 1.429 for the filing of such oppositions and replies. Providers currently eligible for compensation from the Interstate TRS Fund (TRS Fund) via a means other than Commission certification must apply for certification within 30 days after the rules adopted in the Second Report and Order become effective, and providers with Commission certifications expiring November 4, 2011 must apply for recertification after the rules become effective but at least 30 days prior to their expirations provided that the rules are effective by that date, or risk having to shut down their operations and being denied compensation from the TRS Fund. In light of these impending deadlines for initial and recertification applications, and to avoid waste, fraud, and abuse in the VRS program, the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau finds that good cause exists in this instance to alter the comment periods specified in Section 1.429 of the Commission's rules. See 47 C.F.R. § 1.3 (providing for suspension, amendment, or waiver of Commission rules, in whole or in part, for good cause shown, and on the Commission's own motion).

    Accordingly, oppositions to Sorenson's and/or AT&T's petitions for reconsideration of the Second Report and Order shall be filed no later than October 7, 2011, and replies to oppositions will be due no later October 12, 2011.

  • Structure and Practices of the Video Relay Service Program, (Order Extending Suspension of Effective Date), CG Docket No. 10-51, FCC 11-145, adopted and released September 30, 2011.
  • In the Order, in response to the September 9, 2011 "Motion to Extend Stay" filed by Gallaudet University (Gallaudet), the Commission grants in part Gallaudet's Motion and extend the stay of the effective date of Section 64.604(c)(5)(iii)(N)(1)(iii) of its rules, as adopted in the Commission's VRS Practices Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, for an additional 45 days, until November 15, 2011. This rule prohibits certain revenue sharing and subcontracting arrangements involving VRS providers. The rule was originally scheduled to become effective on June 1, 2011, but the Commission stayed its effective date until October 1, 2011, by Order released on May 31, 2011.

  • Amendment of Part 64 of the Commission's Rules Regarding Telecommunications Relay Services and Related Customer Premises Equipment for Persons with Disabilities; Truth-in-Billing Requirements for Common Carriers, (Order), DA 11-1649, adopted and released September 30, 2011.
  • In the Order, the Commission, via the Office of Managing Director makes two nonsubstantive, editorial revisions to Part 64 of the Commission's rules. The Managing Director makes these revisions to delete certain rule provisions and notes that are without current legal effect and thus obsolete. As is consistent with the rules, the Chief of the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau has approved these editorial revisions.

    Specifically, the Order finds that a provision of Part 64, Subpart F of the Commission's rules regarding the Telecommunications Relay Services and Related Customer Premises Equipment for Persons with Disabilities no longer has legal effect.

    The Order also finds that a note in Part 64, Subpart Y of the Commission's rules, which establishes Truth-In-Billing Requirements for Common Carriers, no longer has legal effect.

  • Structure and Practices of the Video Relay Service Program; Sprint Nextel Corporation Expedited Petition for Clarification; Sorenson Communications, Inc. Petition for Reconsideration of Two Aspects of the Certification Order; AT&T Services, Inc. Petition for Reconsideration of AT&T, (Memorandum Opinion and Order, Order, and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking), CG Docket No. 10-51, FCC 11-155, adopted and released October 17, 2011.
  • In the Memorandum Opinion and Order (MO&O), the Commission addresses the September 6, 2011 Expedited Petition for Clarification filed by Sprint Nextel Corporation (Sprint), and petitions for reconsideration filed by Sorenson Communications, Inc. (Sorenson) and AT&T Services, Inc. (AT&T). Each petition relates to the Commission's July 28, 2011 iTRS Certification Order governing Commission certification of Internet-based telecommunications relay services (iTRS) providers for eligibility for compensation from the Interstate TRS Fund (Fund). For the following reasons, the Commission grants in part and denies in part the Sprint Petition, grant the Sorenson Petition, and deny the AT&T Petition.

    In the Order, the Commission also, sua sponte, clarifies its rules with respect to on-site visits that are part of the Commission's certification application review process and post-certification oversight of provider compliance with its iTRS rules.

    In the accompanying Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Further Notice), the Commission seeks comment on its proposal to modify the rule governing the ability of eligible VRS providers to contract with or otherwise authorize a third party eligible provider to provide certain core VRS functions on their behalf.

    In the Further Notice, the Commission seeks comment on its proposal to modify its rules to provide that a certified provider may subcontract with another certified provider for, or otherwise authorize the provision by another certified provider of, communications assistant services or call center functions only in the event of an unexpected and temporary surge in call traffic due to exigent circumstances, and seek comment on this proposal.

  • Structure and Practices of the Video Relay Service Program, (Order), CG Docket No. 10-51, DA 11-1774, adopted and released October 24, 2011.
  • In the Order, the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau (Bureau), acting pursuant to delegated authority, grants a waiver request filed by Convo Communications, LLC (Convo). Convo seeks temporary waiver of section 64.604(c)(5)(iii)(N)(1)(i) and (ii) of the Commission's rules, which became effective on June 1, 2011. The Bureau grants Convo's waiver request to the extent therein from June 1, 2011 until September 9, 2011.

  • Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau Extends Expiring Certifications for Certain Providers of Video Relay Service and IP Relay Service, (Public Notice), CG Docket Nos. 03-123 and 10-51, DA 11-1795, released October 26, 2011.
  • By the Public Notice, the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau (Bureau) hereby further extends, through January 4, 2012, the certification period for providers of Video Relay Service and IP Relay Service with certifications that are scheduled to expire on November 4, 2011. The Bureau previously extended the certification period for affected providers until that date to maintain the status quo while the Commission considered reform of the certification process proposed in the Certification FNPRM. On July 28, 2011, the Commission released an Order modifying the certification process and requiring providers with certifications scheduled to expire on November 4, 2011 to submit applications for recertification under the revised requirements after those requirements had become effective, but no later than 30 days prior to the expiration of their currently extended certifications --- that is, by October 5, 2011, provided that the rules had become effective by the date.

  • Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau Announces Effective Date of iTRS Certification Rules and Timeline for Filing Application, (Public Notice), CG Docket No. 10-51, DA 11-1861, released November 4, 2011.
  • On July 28, 2011, the Commission released the iTRS Certification Order adopting new rules governing Commission certification of Internet-based telecommunications relay services (iTRS) providers for eligibility for compensation from the Interstate TRS Fund. In the iTRS Certification Order, the Commission stated that the rules would become effective 30 days after the date of publication of a summary in the Federal Register, except for the rules containing information collections and requiring approval by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The Commission stated that those rules would become effective upon publication of a notice in the Federal Register announcing such approval.

    The iTRS Certification Order became effective on September 6, 2011, except for those rules containing information collections and subject to OMB approval. The final rules containing information collections in the iTRS Certification Order became effective today, November 4, 2011, with the Federal Register publication of notice of OMB's approval of them. This Federal Register publication triggers any filing dates in the iTRS Certification Order that are tied to Federal Register notice of OMB approval of the rules containing information collections in the Second Report and Order portion of the iTRS Certification Order, or to effectiveness of the rules adopted in the Second Report and Order portion of the iTRS Certification Order.

  • Structure and Practices of the Video Relay Service Program, (Order), CG Docket No. 10-51, DA 11-1868, adopted and released November 8, 2011.
  • In the Order, the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau (Bureau), pursuant to delegated authority, denies the "Motion to Extend Stay" filed on October 31, 2011 by Gallaudet University (Gallaudet). Gallaudet seeks a further extension of the stay of effectiveness of 47 C.F.R. § 64.604(c)(5)(iii)(N)(1)(iii), adopted in the VRS Practices R&O, which prohibits an eligible VRS provider from contracting with or otherwise authorizing any third party to provide communications assistant (CA) services or call center functions on its behalf, unless that authorized party also is an eligible provider. The Commission's stay of the effectiveness of this rule will expire on November 15, 2011, therefore, the Bureau denies the Motion.

  • Notice of Denial of Application of S&L Deaf Communications LLC for Certification as a Provider of Video Relay Service Eligible for Compensation from Interstate Telecommunications Relay Service Fund, (Public Notice), CG Docket No. 10-51, DA 11-1891, released November 15, 2011.
  • On September 27, 2011, S&L Deaf Communications LLC ("S&L") filed an application to be certified as a provider of video relay service (VRS) that is eligible for compensation from the Interstate TRS Fund (Fund). For the reasons discussed in the Public Notice, the Commission denies S&L's application for VRS certification.

  • Notice of Denial of Application of PowerVRS, LLC for Certification as a Provider of Video Relay Service Eligible for Compensation from Interstate Telecommunications Relay Service Fund, (Public Notice), CG Docket No. 10-51, DA 11-1892, released November 15, 2011.
  • On September 16, 2011, PowerVRS, LLC ("PowerVRS") filed an application to be certified as a provider of video relay service (VRS) and Internet Protocol (IP) Relay that is eligible for compensation from the Interstate TRS Fund (Fund). For the reasons discussed in the Public Notice, the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau deny PowerVRS's application for VRS certification.

  • Notice of Denial of Application of BIS Relay, LLC for Certification as a Provider of Video Relay Service Eligible for Compensation from Interstate Telecommunications Relay Service Fund, (Public Notice), CG Docket No. 10-51, DA 11-1893, released November 15, 2011.
  • On September 28, 2011, BIS Relay, LLC ("BIS Relay") filed an application to be certified as a provider of video relay service (VRS) that is eligible for compensation from the Interstate TRS Fund (Fund). For the reasons discussed in the Public Notice, the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau deny BIS Relay's application for VRS certification.

  • Notice of Denial of Application of IWRelay, Inc. for Certification as a Provider of Video Relay Service Eligible for Compensation from Interstate Telecommunications Relay Service Fund, (Public Notice), CG Docket No. 10-51, DA 11-1894, released November 15, 2011.
  • On September 12, 2011, IWRelay, Inc., ("IWRelay) filed an application to be certified as a provider of video relay service (VRS) and Internet Protocol (IP) Relay that is eligible for compensation from the Interstate TRS Fund (Fund). For the reasons discussed in the Public Notice, the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau deny IWRelay's application for VRS certification.

  • Notice of Denial of Application of SAY-HEY, Inc. for Certification as a Provider of Video Relay Service Eligible for Compensation from Interstate Telecommunications Relay Service Fund, (Public Notice), CG Docket No. 10-51, DA 11-1895, released November 15, 2011.
  • On September 21, 2011, SAY-HEY, Inc. ("SAY-HEY") filed an application to be certified as a provider of video relay service (VRS), Internet Protocol (IP) Relay, and IP CTS that is eligible for compensation from the Interstate TRS Fund (Fund). For the reasons discussed in the Public Notice, the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau deny SAY-HEY's application for VRS certification.

  • Notice of Denial of Application of CODA VRS Corporation for Certification as a Provider of Video Relay Service Eligible for Compensation from Interstate Telecommunications Relay Service Fund, (Public Notice), CG Docket No. 10-51, DA 11-1896, released November 15, 2011.
  • On September 6, 2011, CODA VRS Corporation ("CODA VRS"") filed an application to be certified as a provider of video relay service (VRS) and Internet Protocol (IP) Relay that is eligible for compensation from the Interstate TRS Fund (Fund). For the reasons discussed in the Public Notice, the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau deny CODA VRS's application for VRS certification.

  • Notice of Denial of Application of Malka Communications Group, Inc. for Certification as a Provider of Video Relay Service Eligible for Compensation from Interstate Telecommunications Relay Service Fund, (Public Notice), CG Docket No. 10-51, DA 11-1897, released November 15, 2011.
  • On September 15, 2011, Malka Communications Group, Inc. ("Malka") filed an application to be certified as a provider of video relay service (VRS) that is eligible for compensation from the Interstate TRS Fund (Fund). For the reasons discussed in the Public Notice, the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau deny Malka's application for VRS certification.

  • Notice of Denial of Application of PAH VRS Support Services, LLC d/b/a PAH Relay for Certification as a Provider of Video Relay Service Eligible for Compensation from Interstate Telecommunications Relay Service Fund, (Public Notice), CG Docket No. 10-51, DA 11-1898, released November 15, 2011.
  • On September 19, 2011, PAH VRS Support Services, LLC d/b/a PAH Relay ("PAH VRS") filed an application to be certified as a provider of video relay service (VRS) and Internet Protocol (IP) Relay that is eligible for compensation from the Interstate TRS Fund (Fund). For the reasons discussed in the Public Notice, the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau deny PAH VRS's application for VRS certification.

  • Notice of Conditional Grant of Application of Convo Communications, LLC for Certification as a Provider of Video Relay Service Eligible for Compensation from Interstate Telecommunications Relay Service Fund, (Public Notice), CG Docket No. 10-51, DA 11-1901, released November 15, 2011.
  • On November 4, 2011, Convo Communications, LLC (Convo) filed an application to be certified as a provider of video relay service (VRS) that is eligible for compensation from the Interstate TRS Fund (Fund). For the reasons discussed in the Public Notice, the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau hereby grants Convo's application on a conditional basis, pending inspection of Convo's facilities and confirmation of Convo's compliance with all applicable rules and orders.

  • Notice of Conditional Grant of Application of ASL Services Holdings, LLC for Certification as a Provider of Video Relay Service Eligible for Compensation from Interstate Telecommunications Relay Service Fund, (Public Notice), CG Docket No. 10-51, DA 11-1902, released November 15, 2011.
  • On September 7, 2011, ASL Services Holdings, LLC (ASL Holdings) filed an application to be certified as a provider of video relay service (VRS) that is eligible for compensation from the Interstate TRS Fund (Fund). For the reasons discussed in the Public Notice, the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau hereby grants ASL Holdings' on a conditional basis, pending inspection of ASL Holdings' facilities and confirmation of ASL Holdings' compliance with all applicable rules and orders.

  • Notice of Conditional Grant of Application of Hancock, Jahn, Lee & Puckett, LLC d/b/a Communication Axess Ability Group for Certification as a Provider of Video Relay Service Eligible for Compensation from Interstate Telecommunications Relay Service Fund, (Public Notice), CG Docket No. 10-51, DA 11-1903, released November 15, 2011.
  • On September 21, 2011, Hancock, Jahn, Lee & Puckett, LLC d/b/a Communication Axess Ability Group (CAAG) filed an application to be certified as a provider of video relay service (VRS) that is eligible for compensation from the Interstate TRS Fund (Fund). For the reasons discussed in the Public Notice, the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau hereby grants CAAG's application on a conditional basis, pending inspection of CAAG's facilities and confirmation of CAAG's compliance with all applicable rules and orders.

  • Structure and Practices of the Video Relay Service Program; Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech Disabilities, (Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking), CG Docket Nos. 10-51 and 03-123, FCC 11-184, adopted and released December 15, 2011.
  • Video relay service (VRS) allows persons with hearing or speech disabilities or who are deaf-blind to use American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate in near real time through a communications assistant (CA), via video over a broadband Internet connection. In the Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Further Notice), the Commission continues the process of reexamining the fundamentals of its VRS rules to ensure the VRS program fulfills the goals set for the Commission in section 225 of the Communications Act ("the Act"). Specifically, the Commission sets forth a series of options and proposals to improve the structure and efficiency of the program, to ensure that it is available to all eligible users and offers functional equivalence - particularly given advances in commercially-available technology - and is as immune as possible from the waste, fraud, and abuse that threaten the long-term viability of the program as it currently operates. The Commission solicits comment on these options and proposals to ensure that this vital program is effective, efficient, and sustainable for the future.

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