On October 2, 2020, the FCC released a Report and Order, Order on Reconsideration, and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (R&O, Order, and FNPRM) to ensure high-quality telephone captioning service is available for eligible individuals with disabilities, and to modify the compensation rates for Internet Protocol captioned telephone service (IP CTS). The FCC also denied a petition to reconsider the interim compensation rates for TRS Fund Years 2018-19 and 2019-20.
Starting December 1, 2020, the IP CTS compensation rate will decrease from $1.58 to $1.42 per minute until June 30, 2021. Then, for TRS Fund Year 2021-22, the rate will be $1.30 per minute.
The FCC also extended, through February 28, 2021, the temporary waivers for telecommunications relay services (TRS) providers to ensure relay services remain available during the COVID-19 pandemic. These waivers allow TRS providers to enable more of their employees to provide services from their homes, to expand the pool of contractors 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 national emergency.
In the FNPRM, the FCC proposes and seeks comment on measurable standards and metrics for IP CTS and CTS captioning delay and accuracy, guidelines for testing telephone captioning services against performance standards, and the appropriate entity for carrying out performance measurements. A future AccessInfo will announce the comment dates for this item.
Report and Order, Order on Reconsideration, and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking:
General information on TRS is available at www.fcc.gov/trs; and on IP CTS at www.fcc.gov/ipcts. For further information, please contact William Wallace, Disability Rights Office, CGB, 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).