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Editorial #138: VRS and the FCC - What is Coming Down the Pike?

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This is a quick summary of what is happening at the FCC with respect to VRS and handled by the folks at the FCC Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau (CGB) and other parties in the FCC.

As for VRS–there is a lot of things that are happening and a lot of this is still underway:

rate cuts – they are still happening with cuts happening every 6 months; meaning less money for VRS companies to make their products better–
speed of answer – the FCC is mandating very unreasonable requirements for answer time. This matter is of concern with ALL VRS companies. They have met with the FCC and asked for relief. The new requirements go into effect July 1, 2014. To date, the FCC has not acted on this and the VRS companies need to know because the new requirements require them to staff 20% to 25% more interpreters.
neutral platform – the FCC has issued a RFP (request for proposal) for development of a neutral platform to be developed. We need to be sure the final product is deaf and hard of hearing friendly and meets our needs. As of now, there is no feedback mechanism yet for input of deaf/hard of hearing parties to any of the development efforts.
interoperability–scream! scream! scream! and it’s still falling on deaf ears. No pun intended, but we have made it known to the FCC that we are NOT functionally equivalent when it comes to interoperability.
marketing practices in the industry – scream! scream! scream! and it’s still falling on deaf ears (no need to mention who is who–we know who)
new registration requirements – still waiting for action–the new rules have us concerned about privacy matters

There are a lot more matters floating around but the above is what is at the top of the consumer list.

Thanks for listening.

It is time for us to have our freedoms back once and for all. Functional equivalency is the key.

Dr. Z cares about your communication access.

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

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