FCC Acts To Improve Management Of IP Captioned Telephone Service For Americans With Hearing Loss

The Federal Communications Commission took steps to improve Internet-based relay services for people who are deaf or hard of hearing and communicate by speaking. The FCC approved new rules and proposed further regulations to enhance program management, prevent waste, fraud, and abuse, and improve emergency call handling in its Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Service (IP CTS) program. In the new rules, the FCC is integrating IP CTS into the Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) User Registration Database, a centralized system of records currently used in the Video Relay Service (VRS) program. Including IP CTS user registrations in this database will help the FCC verify the identity of IP CTS users, audit and review IP CTS provider practices, and substantiate provider compensation requests.

In addition, the FCC proposes requiring IP CTS providers to add user account identifiers to call records submitted for compensation. These efforts seek to combat misuse of funds and ensure money is actually used appropriately to support hard-of-hearing Americans. The FCC also proposed to simplify the handling of 911 calls by no longer requiring IP CTS providers to serve as an unnecessary intermediary in connecting 911 call centers and IP CTS users. If a mobile and web-based IP CTS user has a telephone number that enables the delivery of captions when an emergency dispatcher needs to reconnect a disconnected call, the FCC is proposing to relieve the IP CTS provider of the need to involve its captioning assistants in reconnecting such calls and to transmit additional data such as an ID and callback number for the person providing captions. This will expedite the processing of emergency calls and save valuable time in responding to emergencies. 

FCC Acts to Improve Management of IP Captioned Telephone Service