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Editorial #19-FCC Workshop on VRS Reform-Proposing to Change the Way VRS Is Done

The FCC on December 4th announced they will host a workshop on December 17th on VRS reform.

The following is the first of 3 agenda items:

The most efficient way to deliver VRS, particularly whether the service should remain a competitive service or be provided via competitive bidding

This means that the FCC is asking for everyone’s thoughts on how the VRS service should be provided. One extreme calls for competitive bidding with one provider doing all the VRS calls while the other extreme calls for competitive service like what we have today.

Dr. Z is of the opinion that we should have competitive service. If we were to have one provider with the lowest bidder, we will be stuck with their interpreters, with little control over the quality of the service, being at the mercy of some decisions the lowest bidder has. We in some way have a situation today with a dominant provider who is trying to call the shots and not working very well with the rest of the providers and we end up having a service that is not 100% functionally equivalent. It is Dr. Z’s hope that the FCC will continue the competitive service we have with more controls in insuring that the service is 100% functionally equivalent–things like missed calls and caller ID which are still not perfectly compatible today to be made compatible.

Dr. Z (and the FCC) cares about your communication access.

1 comment to Editorial #19-FCC Workshop on VRS Reform-Proposing to Change the Way VRS Is Done

  • Lawrence J Brick

    There’s no way I would ever support a single provider service. It was horrible during the TRS relay days with TDD users and I figured out how to avoid using my state’s TRS provider. It’s pretty obvious which VRS provider would end up being the lowest bidder and I will use CapTel before ever using this provider, limiting the use of my VPs to call and receive calls from friends while blocking VRS calls. Competition should be based on quality of service, interpreter as well as technical support (and I would add ethical business practices and social responsibility, like buying stocks from from the list of socially responsible and ethical businesses), and not based on price. Competition based on price results in meeting minimum FCC standards and not based on quality of service and features. For example, when 711 and turbo code became available, AT&T in PA was among the last TRS provider in the nation to include this service and I had to move hell and high water to get the PA PUC to require AT&T to include these two services. AT&T even lied, saying that providing turbocode would cost them money and wanted to be reimbursed for providing this. In reality the turbocode feature was already built into their relay equipment and all they had to do was flip the switch and it would not cost them a penny. PUC discovered this and got AT&T to turn on the damn switch at no extra cost. Other states got bamboozled into paying extra for the already built in feature. No, we must have freedom of choice!!!

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