CRS — Video Relay Service: Program Funding and Reform

October 28, 2013

Video Relay Service: Program Funding and Reform (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates a number of disability-related telecommunications services, including video relay service (VRS). VRS allows persons with hearing disabilities, using American Sign Language (ASL), to communicate with voice telephone users through video equipment, rather than through typed text. VRS has quickly become a very popular service, as it offers several features not available with the text-based telecommunications relay service (TRS).

In June 2010, the FCC began a comprehensive review of the rates, structure, and practices of the VRS program. The goal of the review is to reform the VRS program, which had long been burdened by waste, fraud, and abuse, and by compensation rates that had become inflated above actual cost. The FCC issued its updated VRS Program rules in June 2013. The new rules initiate fundamental restructuring of the program to support innovation and competition, drive down ratepayer and provider costs, eliminate incentives for waste, and further protect consumers…

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