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Video Relay Service (VRS) is a free service for the Deaf and hard-of-hearing community that enables anyone to conduct video relay calls through a certified ASL interpreter via a high speed Internet connection and a webcam with a PC or a videophone and a TV. The Deaf user sees an ASL interpreter on their TV or computer screen and signs to the interpreter, who then places a call to a hearing person via a standard phone line and relays the conversation between both parties. Communication using VRS is instantaneous and natural.
One major advantage that VRS holds over the traditional TTY/TDD system is that Deaf users are allowed to communicate using ASL, their primary language for communication. TTY forces users to type text based messages in English, often a secondary language through a standard TTY machine.
VRS (Video Relay Service) has been regulated by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) since 2000. The Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau educates and informs consumers about telecommunications goods and services and engages their input to help guide the work of the Commission. The Bureau also coordinates telecommunications policy efforts with industry and with other governmental agencies -- federal, tribal, state and local -- in serving the public interest.
Want to keep up to date with FCC News? Go to www.vrsca.org to get the latest information about various filings. As a consumer of VRS, YOU have the power to comment on filings by the VRS industry and the FCC. Without your input, the FCC will determine regulations that can and will affect your ability to have functionally- equivalent access to telecommunications. This is the Power In You!!
VRS provides us the freedom to be able to function independently—without having to depend on someone else or to live as second-class citizens. The FCC must maintain the kind of communication independence that we want and need and that is specified in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The FCC sets the compensation rate and regulations to ensure the improvement and provision of VRS. We, as consumers, need to be aware and involved by sharing our comments and concerns with the FCC. So get involved!
Some people don’t understand the importance of being informed on VRS issues and contacting the FCC to ensure that VRS companies do not undermine the deaf community’s needs. Until we consumers realize that we need the FCC to regulate VRS companies, we must maintain a watch to ensure the viability of all VRS services we have come to depend on. DON’T BE ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE WHO do not understand the importance of protecting what VRS does for us. Get involved!
Disclosure: The VRSCA is funded by Sorenson Communications, however, does not advocate or advertise expressly for Sorenson or any other VRS providers. The information contained in this website is for general information and education purposes only. The information is provided expressly by the VRSCA and while we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, VRSCA is not responsible for errors resulting from access to its internet resources or use of the information contained therein.