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Editorial #136: Dr. Z's Letter to Santa Claus


Dear Santa,

I am a deaf gentleman – 68 years old, but I still believe in Santa Claus and love the gifts you give us. I am writing to ask for more gifts on behalf of the deaf and hard of hearing community.

You have been great in the past years, giving us accessibility all the way from interpreters, to TTY’s, to closed captioning, and now to the video relay service.

The video relay service is a bit peculiar. The largest provider tries to portray themselves as Santa Claus, giving away a lot of devices “free” at a cost to the population of the United States who pay for the service from their monthly phone bills. At the same time, they do things to prevent those devices and the service from being fully accessible to everyone. A classic example is if one wants to port from them to any provider, they cannot port the address books (They keep it closed and to themselves.) In addition, if one using another provider were to leave a video message on their units, it will not work. One other example, if one user of their service enables “video block”, other providers trying to call those units will get a black screen, causing them to think something is wrong with their units. The practices of their installers/trainers in past years is something unheard of in American capitalism. (And they are doing this with the benefit of public funds!) The list goes on and on–one only need to read the filings at the FCC from the community on this subject.

I am asking you, Santa Claus, to drop down the FCC’s chimney on Christmas Eve and kneel before the powers that be at the FCC to open up the market, make video communication fully free-flowing and accessible to the deaf and hard of hearing community. That would be the best gift we all would receive. I am sure the FCC folks will set aside some warm milk along with chocolate chip cookies to give you enough energy to distribute gifts to others around the world.

By the way, I could use an Apple App Store gift card so i can download apps to my heart’s content. This is my little shopping list. The big ticket item on my list is my request for a fully accessible and free-flowing video communication.

Please hug Mrs. Claus for me–behind every great man is a great woman–she will help us remind you of my request on behalf of all deaf and hard of hearing Americans.

Thank you for listening.

Phil Bravin (aka Dr. Z)

Disclaimer: Dr. Z (Phil Bravin) is currently the Vice-President of Business Development at CSDVRS, LLC.

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