FCC Adopts New Rules and Proposes Changes to Video Relay Service

As part of its ongoing efforts to ensure that the video relay service (VRS) continues to provide a crucial telecommunications link for people who are deaf and hard-of-hearing, the Federal Communications Commission adopted rules designed to eliminate the waste, fraud and abuse that has plagued the VRS program and had threatened its ability to continue serving Americans who use it and its long-term viability.

In an accompanying Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM), the Commission asked for public comment on proposed modifications to the current FCC certification procedures used to determine which companies may provide Internet-based telecommunications relay service (TRS).

VRS enables persons who use American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate with other individuals who do not know ASL through a broadband connection using a video link. A communications assistant (CA) interprets (relays) the conversation back and forth between the parties in sign language and voice.
The FCC's actions are intended to eliminate illegitimate payments from the TRS Fund to providers, ensure that only qualified providers of service are permitted to receive compensation from the Fund, and enable the Commission to improve its oversight of provider operations to achieve better compliance with the TRS rules. The FCC's efforts to rid the TRS program of fraud and abuse demonstrate its commitment to ensuring that VRS remains a valuable communication tool for Americans who use it to communicate with friends, family and colleagues on a daily basis.

FCC Adopts New Rules and Proposes Changes to Video Relay Service FCC (read the order and FNPRM)