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Recently, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a Public Notice seeking comments on the structure and practices of the Video Relay Service (VRS) program and on compensation rates for VRS providers. You can read the Public Notice in its entirety by clicking here.
VRSCA does not agree with some of the FCC's proposals and think these proposals do not guarantee functional equivalence as mandated by the American With Disabilities Act.
The FCC proposal would require deaf people to use "off-the-shelf" equipment and government-mandated software. Off-the-shelf means we would be required to buy our own equipment from a local store for example, Wal-Mart or Target and be required to install and maintain the equipment. This proposal would take away the individual features we get from different VRS equipment that is specifically designed for deaf people and American Sign Language (ASL).
The FCC proposal would require VRS be accessed through a centralized database that would assign our calls to different VRS providers. VRSCA thinks we, the consumers, should have the option to choose our VRS providers.
The FCC proposes rate cuts for VRS providers. We are concerned that the cuts would affect the quality VRS we currently enjoy. We are concerned that with very limited resources, VRS providers might have to make changes to their services and the quality of VRS would suffer.
The FCC wants feedback from the public. That means YOU! The FCC is asking for YOUR "Public Comments."
You can submit comments on the FCC's site: www.fcc.gov. With any online submission of comments, you are filing a document into an official FCC proceeding. All information submitted, including names and addresses, will be publicly available via the web.
If you prefer to send a letter with your comments, you will need to write that your letter is in response to CG Docket Nos. 03-123 and 10-51. Send your letter to:
Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary
Federal Communications Commission
Office of the Secretary
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20554
Again, if you would like to read the Public Notice, click here.