Comment Date:  August 27, 2021
Reply Comment Date:  September 27, 2021

On May 24, 2021, the Commission released a Third Report and Order, Order on Reconsideration, and Fifth Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Further Notice), to reform its rules for inmate calling services (ICS).  On July 28, 2021, the Commission announced the comment and reply comment dates for the Further Notice in the Federal Register.

In the Third Report and Order, the FCC took actions to:

  • Remind ICS providers of their obligations to ensure access to TTY-based relay and speech-to-speech services.
  • Direct FCC’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau to coordinate with the Department of Justice to ensure that incarcerated people with disabilities have functionally equivalent access to telecommunications.

In the Further Notice, the FCC seeks comment about the accessibility of inmate telecommunications.  Questions include, but are not limited to:

  • Should additional forms of TRS be available (besides TTY-based TRS and speech-to-speech relay services)?
  • Should TRS calls be free of charge for all parties?
  • How can direct communication, either by video or text, be provided for inmates?
  • What information should ICS providers be required to submit in their annual accessibility-related reports?

Interested parties may file comments by accessing the Electronic Comment Filing System at www.fcc.gov/ecfs.  All filings must reference CG Docket No. 12-375.  People with disabilities who need assistance to file comments online may request assistance by email to FCC504@fcc.gov

Third Report and Order, Order on Reconsideration, and Fifth FNPRM:
URL: https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-lowers-interstate-and-international-prison-phone-rates-0
PDF:  https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/FCC-21-60A1.pdf  
Text:  https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/FCC-21-60A1.txt  

For specific questions about the provision of communications service to incarcerated people with disabilities in this proceeding, please contact Michael Scott, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, at (202) 418-1264 or Michael.Scott@fcc.gov.  For general questions about the ICS proceeding, please contact Simon Solemani, Wireline Competition Bureau, at (202) 418-2270 or Simon.Solemani@fcc.gov.  Individuals who use videophones and are ASL-fluent may call the FCC’s ASL Consumer Support Line at (844) 432-2275 (videophone). 

Updated: 
Monday, August 2, 2021