FCC Clarifies VRS Inducement Rule; Announces TRS Item for August 6 Open Meeting

On July 15, 2020, the FCC released a Declaratory Ruling regarding its rule that prohibits video relay service (VRS) providers from offering non-service-related equipment to individuals to encourage them to register for service or to switch VRS providers. The FCC explained that certain equipment offered by ZP Better Together (formerly ZVRS and Purple) at no charge to VRS users, including laptops, tablets, video-streaming devices such as the OneVP, and call signaling devices, are service-related and not subject to the prohibition on non-service-related inducements.

On July 16, 2020, the FCC announced a tentative agenda for the Open Commission Meeting scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on August 6, 2020. At this meeting, the Commission will consider a draft Report and Order regarding the Commission’s telecommunications relay services (TRS) rules that would:
• Eliminate two obsolete rules that are no longer needed for TRS providers to offer services that are functionally equivalent to voice telephone services, and
• End the practice of publishing public notices about applications for state TRS program certification in the Federal Register (the same information is available via the FCC’s website and Electronic Document Management System (EDOCS)).

Declaratory Ruling:
URL: https://www.fcc.gov/document/vrs-non-service-related-inducements-rule-clarified
Word: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-20-739A1.docx
PDF: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-20-739A1.pdf
Text: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-20-739A1.txt

FCC August 6 Open Meeting News Release:
URL: https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-announces-tentative-agenda-august-open-meeting-6
Word: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-365576A1.docx
PDF: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-365576A1.pdf
Text: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-365576A1.txt

Report and Order:
URL: https://www.fcc.gov/document/deleting-outdated-provisions-telecommunications-relay-service-rules
PDF: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-365580A1.pdf
Text: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-365580A1.txt

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic and related agency telework and headquarters access policies, this meeting will be held in a wholly electronic format and will be open to the public on the Internet via live feed from the FCC’s web page at https://www.fcc.gov/live and on the FCC’s YouTube channel. More information about the August 6 meeting is available at: https://www.fcc.gov/news-events/events/2020/08/august-2020-open-commission-meeting.

Reasonable Accommodations: Open captioning will be provided for this event at https://www.fcc.gov/live. Other reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are available upon request. Requests for such accommodations should be submitted via email to FCC504@fcc.gov or by calling the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418-0530 (voice). Such requests should include a detailed description of the accommodation needed. In addition, please include a way the FCC can contact you if we need more information. Please allow as much advance notice as possible; last‐minute requests will be accepted but may be impossible to fill.

General information on TRS and VRS is available at https://www.fcc.gov/trs. For further information on these items, please contact Bill Wallace, Disability Rights Office, FCC, at (202) 418-2716, or William.Wallace@fcc.gov. Individuals who use videophones and are fluent in American Sign Language (ASL) may call the FCC’s ASL Consumer Support Line at (844) 432-2275 (videophone).