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Editorial #21-FCC Workshop on VRS Reform-Proposing to Address Various VRS Issues

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

The following is the third of 3 agenda items:

Mechanisms for combating waste, fraud and abuse, addressing service rules, and addressing technical matters such as interoperability, ten-digit numbering, and emergency call handling.

This means that the FCC is asking for everyone’s thoughts on how various aspects of the VRS service should be addressed. Dr. Z has his thoughts on each of them below…

Mechanisms for combating waste, fraud and abuse

Dr. Z would go along with the proposal submitted by CSDVRS (ZVRS) n this matter. He does not agree with some parts the proposal submitted by Sorenson as they restrict the ability of deaf and hard of hearing people using the service.

Interoperability
Simply stated, just follow the standards set by international bodies–do not set de facto standards like what Sorenson is doing with missed calls and caller-id. Any attempt at crippling interoperability gets in the way of achieving functional equivalency and when that happens, makes deaf and hard of hearing people second class citizens.

Ten-digit numbering
Thanks to the FCC, it is starting to work very well and starting to be a level playing field. But confusing messages from the dominant player in the field is causing heartburn and creating the need for all other providers to redouble their outreach efforts. The FCC and the constituents of the VRS industry will need to get their act together on the 800 numbering situation to avoid the mess that occurred in November.

Emergency access
Thanks to emphasis on this subject by the FCC, it is starting to make inroads. As Dr. Z travels, he finds that consumers are not up to speed on this issue so further outreach is still needed for another year or so.

Let’s hope for a fruitful workshop this Thursday.

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

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