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TRS Access to Emergency Services


TO: Judy Harkins
Gregg Vanderheiden
RERC on Telecommunications Access
Karen Peltz Strauss
KPS Consulting
Re: New FCC Request for Comments - TRS Access to Emergency Services

Comments due August 29, 2002

Reply comments due September 13, 2002

DATE: July 29, 2002

Today the Federal Communications Commission released a public notice requesting comment to clarify its procedures for routing emergency calls that are made to telecommunications relay services (TRS) centers.

In March of 2000, the FCC had released final rules requiring numerous improvements in relay services (this was the proceeding that dealt with speech-to-speech relay, Spanish relay, video relay, etc.) In that proceeding, the FCC also addressed how TRS centers should handle emergency calls. Each of the FCC's proceedings typically results in a Report and Order. The Report is equivalent to what other agencies call a preamble, in which the agency discusses the issues at hand and provides explanations for reaching certain results. The Order contains the actual regulations creating the new laws.

In its March 2000 Report, the FCCtalked aboutthe need to route emergency TRS calls to the most appropriate Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP). (A PSAP is generally a 9-1-1 call-in emergency center). However, the March Order containing the actual rules required relay providers to use a system that automatically routes emergency TRS calls to the nearest PSAP. Thus, there is a discrepancy - the Report refers to the most appropriate PSAP, while the Order refers to the nearest PSAP.

The public notice states that the Commission is now explicitly seeking comment on its proposal to require that TRS providers automatically transfer a caller to the most appropriate PSAP.

This summary was prepared as part of the RERC on Telecommunications Access, a joint project of Gallaudet University and the Trace Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison under funding from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) of the US Dept of Education Grant H133E990006. The opinions offered herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the RERC on Telecommunications Access, the Universities or funding agencies.

This page last updated:September 11, 2002

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