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SALT LAKE CITY (May 1, 2007)–Today, the National Exchange Carrier Association (NECA), filed a report with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on proposed rates for Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS), which include Video Relay Service (VRS), TTY, IP Relay, and Speech-to-Speech (STS). NECA failed to recommend any rate for VRS, but, instead, listed various rates based on data supplied to NECA by the VRS providers.
Everyone involved in providing and using Video Relay Service has been urging the FCC for a year to come up with a fair and predictable rate and rate methodology for VRS," said Pat Nola, president and CEO of Sorenson Communications. Unfortunately, this report by NECA, which fails to recommend any rate, is a step in the opposite direction, adding more uncertainty and complexity to the process."
The FCC is required to establish a rate for all TRS services by July 1, 2007, for the 2007-2008 rate year, which begins July 1. In the past, NECA has recommended a rate which was the starting point for the FCC's deliberations. Last year, the FCC did not adopt the proposed NECA rate, but, instead, froze the existing rate and suggested an overhaul of the existing rate process.
Ron Burdett, vice president of community relations for Sorenson Communications, said, "Only a small percentage of the Deaf community has access to VRS. At Sorenson we have been trying to reach out to the many Deaf individuals who don't know about VRS to demonstrate how this communication service can enhance their lives. But this annual struggle over the rate for VRS– and the uncertainty it brings—makes it impossible to invest in and plan how to offer the best quality VRS service to as many Deaf people as possible."
About Sorenson Communications
Sorenson CommunicationsTM (www.sorenson.com) is a provider of industry-leading communication offerings, including Sorenson Video Relay Service (Sorenson VRS®), the company's line of videophones, Sorenson IP RelayTM (SIPRelay), and Sorenson Video Remote InterpretingTM (VRI). Sorenson VRS (www.sorensonvrs.com) enables Deaf and hard-of-hearing callers who use American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate to conduct video relay conversations with hearing friends, business colleagues, and family members through a qualified ASL interpreter. Sorenson Communications was the first company to offer a videophone appliance specifically designed for Deaf individuals. Sorenson IP Relay (www.siprelay.com) allows Deaf and hard-of-hearing users to place instant, text-based relay calls from a PC or mobile device to any telephone user. Sorenson VRI (www.sorensonvri.com) is a fee-based video interpreting service ideal for use in situations where an interpreter cannot be physically present to interpret between hearing and Deaf individuals who are at the same location.