Comment Due Dates Set for Interoperable Video Conferencing Services

Comments Due: June 21, 2022
Reply Comments Due: July 18, 2022

On May 20, 2022, the FCC released a public notice announcing the due dates for comments in response to an April 27, 2022 Public Notice (Video Conferencing Public Notice), inviting comments to refresh the record on the coverage of rules to enable people with disabilities to access and use interoperable video conferencing services.

According to a summary of the Video Conferencing Public Notice published in the Federal Register on May 19, 2022, comments must be filed on or before June 21, 2022, and reply comments must be filed on or before July 18, 2022.

Links to Public Notice Announcing Comment Dates:
URL: https://www.fcc.gov/document/interoperable-video-conferencing-services-refresh-comment-dates
Word: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-22-563A1.docx
PDF: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-22-563A1.pdf
Text: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-22-563A1.txt

Links to Video Conferencing Public Notice:
URL: https://www.fcc.gov/document/pn-refresh-record-re-interoperable-video-conferencing
Word: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-22-463A1.docx
PDF: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-22-463A1.pdf
Text: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-22-463A1.txt

For general information about the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA), visit https://www.fcc.gov/general/twenty-first-century-communications-and-video-accessibility-act-0. For further information, please contact Darryl Cooper, Disability Rights Office, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, at (202) 418-7131 or Darryl.Cooper@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.

FCC Seeks Comment on State of Competition in Communications Marketplace

Comments Due: July 1, 2022
Reply Comments Due: August 1, 2022

On May 16, 2022, the FCC released a Public Notice seeking comments regarding the state of competition in the communications marketplace. This input will help inform the Commission’s 2022 Communications Marketplace Report to Congress.

Specifically about accessibility, the FCC seeks comment regarding:
• The impact of innovation on device availability and usage, especially for individuals with disabilities and lower income individuals,
• The criteria or metrics that could be used to evaluate the impacts of the pandemic and the accessibility and affordability of wireless services.
• Technological developments (e.g., deployment of ATSC 3.0 service),
• Provision of video and audio programming accessible to people with disabilities, and
• Any issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in the communications marketplace.

Interested parties may file comments by accessing the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System at https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings. All filings must reference GN Docket No. 22-203. People with disabilities who need assistance to file comments online at https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings may request assistance by email to FCC504@fcc.gov.

Links to the Public Notice:
URL: https://www.fcc.gov/document/comment-sought-state-competition-communications-marketplace
Word: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-22-535A1.docx
PDF: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-22-535A1.pdf
Text: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-22-535A1.txt

For general information about the Reports, visit: https://www.fcc.gov/reports-research/reports/consolidated-communications-marketplace-reports. For questions about this Public Notice, contact Kate Matraves, Economic Analysis Division, Office of Economics and Analytics, (202) 391-6272 or Catherine.Matraves@fcc.gov, or Judith Dempsey, Economic Analysis Division, Office of Economics and Analytics, (202) 418-1861 or Judith.Dempsey@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).

FCC Announces 2022-2023 NDBEDP Allocations

On May 18, 2022, the FCC released a Public Notice announcing the allocations for the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program (NDBEDP or iCanConnect) for the 2022-2023 fund year, which begins July 1, 2022 and ends June 30, 2023. The FCC provides up to $10 million annually for the NDBEDP.

Links to the Public Notice:
URL: https://www.fcc.gov/document/2022-2023-annual-nbdedp-allocations
Word: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-22-549A1.docx
PDF: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-22-549A1.pdf
Text: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-22-549A1.txt

For information about NDBEDP, visit http://www.fcc.gov/ndbedp. For questions about this Public Notice, contact Jackie Ellington, NDBEDP Administrator, Disability Rights Office, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, at (202) 418-1153 or Jackie.Ellington@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).

FCC Announces NDBEDP Certified Entities

On May 17, 2022, the FCC released a Public Notice announcing the entities certified to participate in the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program (NDBEDP or iCanConnect), for the certification cycle July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2027.

Links to the Public Notice:
URL: https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-announces-ndbedp-certifications
Word: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-22-541A1.docx
PDF: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-22-541A1.pdf
Text: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-22-541A1.txt

For more information about the NDBEDP, visit http://www.fcc.gov/ndbedp. For more information about this Public Notice, contact Jackie Ellington, NDBEDP Administrator, Disability Rights Office, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, at 202-418-1153 or Jackie.Ellington@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).

FCC Seeks Comment on Proposed TRS Compensation Levels and Funding Requirements

Comments due: May 31, 2022
Reply Comments due: June 7, 2022

On May 16, 2022, the FCC released a Public Notice seeking comment on proposed telecommunications relay services (TRS) compensation levels and funding requirements for the period from July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023.

Interested parties may file comments by accessing the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System at https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings. All filings must reference CG Docket No. 03-123. People with disabilities who need assistance to file comments online at https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings may request assistance by email to FCC504@fcc.gov.

Links to Public Notice:
URL: https://www.fcc.gov/document/seeks-comment-contribution-factors-and-proposed-rates-trs
Word: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-22-534A1.docx
PDF: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-22-534A1.pdf
Text: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-22-534A1.txt

Interstate TRS Fund Report:
URL: https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/search/search-filings/filing/1050381129531
PDF: https://files.fcc.gov/ecfs/download/f2c9b5a4-8238-40e6-b900-c165d2950812.pdf?orig=true&pk=cb77b2ec-1a58-dbc6-139b-ad192cfd5d9b

General information on TRS is available at https://www.fcc.gov/trs. For further information, please contact Michael Scott at (202) 418-1262 or by e-mail at Michael.Scott@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).

FCC Extends Temporary COVID Waivers for Relay Services

On December 30, 2021, the FCC released an Order extending temporary waivers through March 31, 2022, for telecommunications relay service (TRS) providers to ensure relay services remain available during the COVID-19 outbreak.

These waivers allow TRS providers flexibility to deal with reduced staffing and increased call volumes, to enable more of their employees to provide services from their homes, to expand the pool of communications assistants qualified to provide American Sign Language interpretation services for Video Relay Service (VRS), and to allow registered VRS users who are abroad to make calls to the U.S. during the pandemic.

Order:
URL:  https://www.fcc.gov/document/trs-covid-19-waivers-extended-through-march-31-2022  
Word: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-21-1653A1.docx  
PDF:   https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-21-1653A1.pdf  
Text:  https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-21-1653A1.txt  

General information on TRS is available at https://www.fcc.gov/trs.  For further information, please contact Bill Wallace, Disability Rights Office, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, 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).

FCC Seeks Comment on Proposed Change of Ownership of Sorenson and CaptionCall

Comments due: January 7, 2022
Reply Comments due: January 18, 2022

On December 17, 2021, the FCC released a Public Notice seeking comment on applications filed by Sorenson Communications, LLC (Sorenson), and CaptionCall, LLC, for conditional certification as providers of Video Relay Service (VRS) and Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Service (IP CTS), respectively, after a proposed acquisition of Sorenson and CaptionCall by Ariel GP Holdco, LLC (Ariel).

Interested parties may file comments by accessing the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System at https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings. All filings must reference CG Docket Nos. 03-123 and 10-51. People with disabilities who need assistance to file comments online may request assistance by email to FCC504@fcc.gov.

Public Notice:
URL: https://www.fcc.gov/document/comment-sought-sorenson-and-captioncall-ownership-change
Word: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-21-1604A1.docx
PDF: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-21-1604A1.pdf
Text: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-21-1604A1.txt

Link to Application of Ariel and Sorenson for Conditional Certification:
https://ecfsapi.fcc.gov/file/1210104894515/Redacted%20Sorenson%20VRS%20CC%20Application%20(12.10.21)-c3.pdf (redacted).

Link to Application of Ariel and CaptionCall for Conditional Certification:
https://ecfsapi.fcc.gov/file/12100110222456/%5BRedacted%5D%20CaptionCall%20IPCTS%20CC%20Application%20(12.10.21)-c3.pdf (redacted).
General information about VRS is available at www.fcc.gov/vrs and for IP CTS at www.fcc.gov/ipcts. For further information, please contact William Wallace, Disability Rights Office, Consumer and Governmental Bureau, 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).

FCC Resolves Investigation into TRS Rule Violations

On December 3, 2021, the FCC adopted a Consent Decree between the Enforcement Bureau and CaptionCall, LLC to resolve investigations into whether CaptionCall violated the Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) rules by providing incentives to hearing health professionals to refer users for service, reporting costs associated with these unlawful practices to the TRS Fund Administrator for reimbursement, and failing to collect, from each user, documentation required to validate identity and attest to the user’s eligibility to use Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Service (IP CTS).

Under the Consent Decree, CaptionCall will implement a comprehensive compliance plan, reimburse $28,000,000 to the TRS Fund, and pay a $12,500,000 civil penalty.

News Release:
URL: https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-reaches-settlement-sorenson-and-captioncall-0
Word: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-378451A1.docx
PDF: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-378451A1.pdf
Text: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-378451A1.txt

Order and Consent Decree:
URL: https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-reaches-settlement-sorenson-and-captioncall
PDF: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-21-1488A1.pdf
Text: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-21-1488A1.txt

General information about TRS is available at www.fcc.gov/trs and about IP CTS at www.fcc.gov/ipcts. For further information, please contact Karen Johnson, Attorney Advisor, Enforcement Bureau, at Karen.Johnson@fcc.gov. Individuals who use videophones and are fluent in American Sign Language may call the FCC’s ASL Consumer Support Line at (202) 432-2275.

FCC Extends Comment Deadlines in Proceeding on Resiliency of Communications Networks

Comments due: December 16, 2021
Reply comments due: January 14, 2022

On October 21, 2021, the FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) proposing and seeking comment on ways to improve the reliability and resiliency of communications networks during emergencies and ways to ensure that communications services remain operational when disasters strike. The NPRM also seeks comment on improving the availability of information and communications services to persons with disabilities before and during emergencies. Comments and reply comments had been due on December 6, 2021, and January 4, 2022, respectively.
On November 30, 2021, the FCC released an order granting an additional ten days for filing comments and reply comments on the NPRM.

Communications Networks Resiliency NPRM:
URL: https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-acts-improve-communications-reliability-during-disasters-0
Word: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/FCC-21-99A1.docx
PDF: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/FCC-21-99A1.pdf
Text: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/FCC-21-99A1.txt

Order Granting an Extension of Time:
URL: https://www.fcc.gov/document/pshsb-extends-comment-deadlines-resiliency-proceeding
Word: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-21-1483A1.docx
PDF: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-21-1483A1.pdf
Text: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-21-1483A1.txt

For general information regarding the accessibility of emergency information, visit: https://www.fcc.gov/accessibility. For further information, please contact Bill Wallace, Disability Rights Office, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, at (202) 418-2716 or William.Wallace@fcc.gov. Individuals who use videophones and are ASL-fluent may call the FCC’s ASL Consumer Support Line at (844) 432-2275 (videophone).

FCC Reaches Settlement with Sorenson and CaptionCall

The Federal Communications Commission’s Enforcement Bureau today announced it has settled with Sorenson Communications, LLC and its wholly-owned subsidiary, CaptionCall, LLC, to resolve investigations into CaptionCall’s practices as a provider of Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Service (IP CTS), an internet-based form of Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS). In addition to paying a $12.5 million civil penalty, CaptionCall will reimburse $28 million to the TRS Fund, and has agreed to enter into a compliance plan to ensure further compliance with these rules. Today’s action represents the largest recovery of monies for the TRS Fund and the largest fine for violations of the TRS rules. This action also reflects the Commission’s continued efforts to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse of the TRS Fund.

Order/Consent Decree: PDF

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