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Editorial #91-FCC Issues Order re Certification of VRS Providers

The FCC has issued an order (link to order) on certification of VRS providers. This order has raised some eyebrows and the FCC indicates it is doing this to reduce the incidence of abuse and fraud as much as possible.

For those providers who have been previously certified by the FCC will need to be re-certified again at the end of their certification authorization.

The FCC will no longer recognize those providers who have been certified as “common carriers” by the FCC or through their states. They will need to be re-certified by the FCC as a VRS provider.

In order to be certified or re-certified as a VRS provider, the provider MUST employ all interpreters who work as video interpreters. The FCC will not allow any contracted interpreters or use of interpreter agencies as subcontractors. All interpreters must be employees.

In addition, the all centers that interpreters work out must have a legitimate lease or ownership which must be verified by the FCC at their request. Also, anyone who owns more than 10% of a video relay provider must document proof of such ownership and all video relay providers must provide to the FCC a list of all executives and significant employees. All of this is subject to verification by the FCC.

All current uncertified VRS providers must apply for certification by the FCC provided they meet the above requirements in order to provide VRS service. Those providers cannot contract out any resources–they must own or license any resources needed for operating a VRS service.

There’s a lot more in the fine print of the order. The order will take effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register which usually means 45-60 days from last Friday, when the order was issued.

Dr. Z cares about your communication access.

Disclaimer: Dr. Z is currently the Vice-President of Marketing at CSDVRS, LLC.

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