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Miscellaneous FCC Items



June 19, 2006

1. VRS Interoperability. On May 9, 2006, the FCC released an order requiring all VRS services to be interoperable with each other. Accompanying that order is a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) seeking comment on (1) universal numbering for VRS and (2) the need for compatibility across different VRS protocols. Comments on the NPRM are due July 17. Reply comments are due July 31. The URL leading to a full summary of the interoperability and the accompanying NPRM is listed below

FCC DECLARES VIDEO RELAY SERVICE PROVIDERS MUST PROVIDE INTEROPERABILITY WITH COMPETING PROVIDERS. The Commission also asks for comment on how hearing callers can reach VRS providers and on whether speech internet protocols should be adopted for VRS equipment.
News Release. Adopted: 05/03/2006. News Media Contact: Rosemary Kimball
at (202) 418-0511, email: Rosemary.Kimball@fcc.gov CGB. Contact Greg Hlibok at (202) 418-8124,
TTY: (202) 418-0431
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-265218A1.doc>
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<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-265218A5.txt

2. Relay Misuse. On May 8, 2006, the FCC released a notice of proposed rulemaking to curb Internet relay and VRS misuse. A full summary of this proceeding is attached. Comments are due July 3rd. Reply Comments are due July 17.

FCC ADDRESSES ISSUE OF INTERNET TRS FRAUD. Seeks Comment on Possible Changes in Rules to Curtail Abuses. News Release. (Dkt No 03-123).
Adopted: 05/03/2006. News Media Contact: Rosemary Kimball at (202) 418-0511, email: Rosemary.Kimball@fcc.gov CGB. Contact Thomas Chandler at (202) 418-1475, TTY: (202) 418-0597
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-265219A1.doc>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-265219A1.pdf>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-265219A1.txt>


3. VRS 10 Minute Rule and Call Set Up.

On June 16, 2006, the FCC released an order on two VRS issues. The first of these deals with the FCC's 10 minute rule, which generally requires communications assistants to remain with a TRS user for at least 10 minutes before transferring the call to another CA. The FCC now clarifies that in the event a video interpreter handling a VRS call in sign language finds that effective communication with the VRS user is not taking place, the interpreter may change the interpreter even before the initial 10 minutes have passed. The FCC explained that "there may be VRS calls during which the party using sign language, the CA, or both, find that they are unable to communicate effectively because of regional dialect differences, lack of knowledge about a particular subject matter (e.g., a technical or complex subject matter), or other reason. In these circumstances, when effective communication is not occurring, we conclude that the 10-minute in-call replacement rule is not violated if the VRS provider has another CA take over the call."

In its second ruling, the FCC clarified that a VRS interpreter may ask a VRS caller questions during call set-up when this is needed to ensure that the interpreter can effectively handle the call. The FCC explained that "in some circumstances the complexity of sign language may make it difficult for the CA to effectively relay the call if the CA does not understand the subject matter or context of the call." In addition, the Commission noted that "it is universal practice in the interpreting profession to ask customers questions prior to an assignment in order to better facilitate effective communication. As the Commission has noted, one sign can have different meanings depending on the context."

The URL for both of these rulings (contained in one order) is below.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS RELAY SERVICES AND SPEECH-TO-SPEECH SERVICES FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH HEARING AND SPEECH DISABILITIES. Addressed two issues concerning the provision of Video Relay Service (VRS), a form of telecommunications relay services (TRS), raised in the Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the 2004 TRS Report and Order & FNPRM. (Dkt No.
03-123). Action by: the Commission. Adopted: 06/12/2006 by ORDER. (FCC No. 06-81). CGB
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-06-81A1.doc>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-06-81A1.pdf>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-06-81A1.txt>

4. Next CAC Meeting. The next meeting of the FCC's Consumer Advisory Committee will be held on July 21, 2006. The URL for the agenda is listed below.

Released: 06/16/2006. ANNOUNCEMENT OF NEXT MEETING DATE AND AGENDA OF
CONSUMER ADVISORY COMMITTEE. (DA No. 06-1284). CGB. Contact: Scott Marshall at (202) 418-2809, email: Scott.Marshall@fcc.gov, TTY: (202) 418-0179
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-06-1284A1.doc>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-06-1284A1.pdf>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-06-1284A1.txt>

5. FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell. On May 26, 2006, the U.S. Senate confirmed Robert McDowell as the 5th FCC Commissioner. On June 1, 2006, Commissioner McDowell was sworn in by Chairman Kevin Martin.

CHAIRMAN KEVIN J. MARTIN APPLAUDS THE CONFIRMATION OF ROBERT M.
MCDOWELL TO SERVE AS COMMISSIONER OF THE FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS
COMMISSION. News Release. News Media Contact: Daniel Gonzalez at (202)
418-1000 OCM
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-265591A1.doc>
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COMMISSIONER MICHAEL COPPS CONGRATULATES COMMISSIONER ROBERT MCDOWELL ON CONFIRMATION OF HIS APPOINTMENT TO THE FCC. News Release CMMR. Contact Jessica Rosenworcel at (202) 418-2000
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-265590A1.doc>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-265590A1.pdf>
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COMMISSIONER JONATHAN S. ADELSTEIN CONGRATULATES ROBERT MCDOWELL ON CONFIRMATION OF HIS APPOINTMENT TO THE FCC. STMT. News Media Contact: Barry Ohlson at (202) 418-2300, email: Barry.Ohlson@fcc.gov CMMR
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-265592A1.doc>
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COMMISSIONER TATE CONGRATULATES NEWLY-CONFIRMED COMMISSIONER ROBERT MCDOWELL. STMT CMMR
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6.2 New VRS Providers Certified. On June 9, 2006, the FCC granted HealincTelecom and GoAmerica certification to operate and receive compensation (from the Interstate TRS Fund) as VRS providers.

Released: 06/09/2006. NOTICE OF CERTIFICATION OF HEALINC TELECOM, LLC AS A PROVIDER OF VIDEO RELAY SERVICE (VRS) ELIGIBLE FOR COMPENSATION FROM THE INTERSTATE TELECOMMUNICATIONS RELAY SERVICE (TRS) FUND. (DA No. 06-1243). (Dkt No 03-123). CGB. Contact: Gregory Hlibok at (866) 410-5787 ext. 16757 email: Gregory.Hlibok@fcc.gov, TTY: (202) 418-0431
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-06-1243A1.doc>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-06-1243A1.pdf>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-06-1243A1.txt>

Released: 06/09/2006. NOTICE OF CERTIFICATION OF GOAMERICA, INC. AS A PROVIDER OF INTERNET PROTOCOL RELAY (IP RELAY) AND VIDEO RELAY SERVICE (VRS) ELIGIBLE FOR COMPENSATION FROM THE INTERSTATE TELECOMMUNICATIONS RELAY SERVICE (TRS) FUND. (DA No. 06-1244). (Dkt No 03-123). CGB. Contact: Gregory Hlibok at (866) 410-5787 ext. 16757 email:
Gregory.Hlibok@fcc.gov, TTY: (202) 418-0431
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-06-1244A1.doc>
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<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-06-1244A1.txt>

7. NECA Payment Formula. On May 1, NECA submitted its proposed payment formula to the FCC for the July 2006 through June 2007 period. The FCC is now in the process of reviewing this and will release the rates for all forms of TRS by June 30, 2006.

Released: 05/02/2006. NECA SUBMITS THE PAYMENT FORMULA AND FUND SIZE ESTIMATE FOR INTERSTATE TELECOMMUNICATIONS RELAY SERVICES FUND FOR THE JULY 2006 THROUGH JUNE 2007 FUND YEAR. (DA No. 06-970). (Dkt No
03-123). Comments Due: 05/17/2006. Reply Comments Due: 05/24/2006.
CGB. Contact: Dana Jackson at (202) 418-2247, email:
Dana.Jackson@fcc.gov, TTY: (202) 418-7898
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-06-970A1.doc>
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8. International Revenues To Be Included in Contribution Base for TRS Fund. On May 16, 2006, the FCC released an order rejecting exclusion of international revenues in the contribution base for the Interstate TRS Fund. Although the petitioner had tried to draw a comparison to contributions to the USF fund (which exclude international revenues), the FCC explained that unlike USF assessments, which are used only to support domestic services, contributions to the Interstate TRS Fund are used to reimburse, and therefore support, international relay calls. Therefore, the Commission concluded, "the public interest lies in ensuring adequate funding for interstate TRS including international TRS by assessing contributions on as broad a revenue base as can be justified." This order was upheld on reconsideration on May 25, 2006. Both the original declaratory ruling and the reconsideration orders are cited below.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS RELAY SERVICES AND SPEECH-TO-SPEECH SERVICES FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH HEARING AND SPEECH DISABILITIES. Denied the Petition for Declaratory Ruling filed by Telco Group, Inc. requesting that the Commission either exclude international revenues from the end-user revenue base used to calculate payments due to the Interstate TRS Fund. (Dkt No. 03-123). Action by: Chief, Consumer & Governmental Affairs
Bureau. Adopted: 05/16/2006 by Declaratory Ruling. (DA No. 06-1043).
CGB <http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-06-1043A1.doc>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-06-1043A1.pdf>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-06-1043A1.txt>.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS RELAY SERVICES AND SPEECH-TO-SPEECH SERVICES FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH HEARING AND SPEECH DISABILITIES. Reconsidered the
merits of the Petition. by Declaratory Ruling on Reconsideration. (Dkt
No. 03-123). Action by: Chief, Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau.
Adopted: 05/25/2006 by RECON. (DA No. 06-1100). CGB
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-06-1100A1.doc>
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9. Dateline investigation into Internet Relay Fraud. Dateline is investigating Internet Relay fraud. The item below is a response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the NBC to obtain FCC records pertaining to this issue.

DATELINE NBC ON REQUEST FOR INSPECTION OF RECORDS. Granted in part
and denied in part the Application for Review. Action by: the
Commission. Adopted: 05/24/2006 by MO&O. (FCC No. 06-73). OGC
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-06-73A1.doc>
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<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-06-73A1.txt>

10. Annual TRS Complaint Summaries Due. On May 31, 2006, the FCC released a reminder to all TRS providers that annual complaint summaries are due by July 3, 2006.

Released: 05/31/2006. CONSUMER & GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS BUREAU REMINDS
STATES AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS RELAY SERVICES (TRS) PROVIDERS THAT THE ANNUAL SUMMARY OF CONSUMER COMPLAINTS CONCERNING TRS IS DUE MONDAY JULY 3, 2006. (DA No. 06-1175). (Dkt No 03-123). CGB. Contact: Pam Gregory at (202) 418-2498, email: Pamela.Gregory@fcc.gov, TTY: (202) 418-1169
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-06-1175A1.doc>
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<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-06-1175A1.txt>

This page last updated:July 20, 2006

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