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September 17, 2010

FCC Initiates Rulemaking to Improve Internet-Based Telecommunications Relay Service Numbering

NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULEMAKING (NPRM)

  • Adopted: September 16, 2010 Released: September 17, 2010
  • Comment Date: [30 days after publication in the Federal Register]
  • Reply Comment Date: [45 days after publication in the Federal Register]

In this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Notice) released on 17 September 2010, the FCC seeks comments on how to improve assignment of telephone numbers associated with Internet-based Telecommunications Relay Service (iTRS), specifically, Video Relay Service (VRS) and IP Relay.

In June 2008, the FCC set up a ten-digit numbering plan for iTRS. Why? FCC wanted the deaf and hard-of-hearing people to have the same access as the hearing community, in terms of functional equivalence.

Around November 12, 2009, the majority of VRS consumers started to use real ten–digit telephone numbers, which followed the FCC’s numbering plan and also use toll-free numbers, provided to them by some VRS providers.

However, the FCC learned that there are problems with using toll-free numbers. It causes confusion and delay in making an emergency call. The FCC also feels that the toll-free numbers used by VRS consumers are not exactly considered functionally equivalent.

Therefore, the FCC encourages VRS consumers to use the real 10 digit numbers, instead of toll-free numbers.

The FCC wants to hear from VRS consumers about how to establish fair rules that will help VRS consumers move from toll-free numbers to 10-digit numbers.

FCC’s NPRM

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