Adopted Emergency Call Handling Requirements for Internet-based TRS Providers

[SOURCE: Federal Communications Commission]
On Wednesday the Federal Communications Commission released a report and order on emergency call handling requirements for Internet-based telecommunications relay service (TRS) providers. These measures will ensure that persons using Internet-based forms of TRS, i.e.,Video Relay Service (VRS), Internet Protocol (IP) Relay, and IP captioned telephone relay service (IP CTS), can promptly access emergency services, pending adoption of a solution that will permit Internet-based TRS providers to immediately and automatically place the outbound leg of an emergency call to an appropriate public safety answering point (PSAP), designated statewide default answering point, or appropriate local emergency authority.

* Commissioner Copps: "A 911 call may be the most important call you'll ever make. When most people place such a call, 911 operators immediately know where they are calling from based on their phone number. But imagine if the operator didn't know because you don't have a phone number and because you're not calling from a traditional phone line. Imagine the additional time it would take to determine where to send emergency services or worse, imagine if the operator refused to take your call at all. The deaf and hard of hearing don't need to imagine these situations because they have faced these scary scenarios when relying upon Internet-based Telecommunications Relay Services such as Video Relay Service, Internet Protocol Relay and IP-captioned telephone relay service to communicate."

* Commissioner Adelstein: "Today we take a significant step in furtherance of the Americans with Disabilities Act's (ADA) powerful mandate that telecommunications services for those with hearing and speech disabilities be "functionally equivalent" to those services provided to hearing individuals. A hallmark of a functionally equivalent service must be the ability to access emergency services. Indeed, the ability to reach public safety officials via "911" has had a remarkably beneficial impact on American consumers."

* Commissioner Tate: "The dynamic and marvelous innovations and devices that we as consumers use everyday enable us to be connected globally whether for travel or education; entertainment or telemedicine. However, today, we ensure that all Americans benefit from advances in telecommunications services and equipment as Congress intended, specifically in times of emergency. While I often advocate a light regulatory touch for Internet-based services, it is essential that critical social goals-such as TRS-are implemented in an equitable and non-discriminatory manner across platforms, service-providers and specific technologies."



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