NAD Takes Action in Response to New FCC Rules Limiting International VRS Calls
On June 1, 2011, the NAD took the lead, and was joined by other consumer groups, in filing a petition for reconsideration of the recently enacted Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules prohibiting compensation for Video Relay Service (VRS) calls that originate with Internet connections from international IP addresses, and clarification of the limited exception for pre-registered U.S. residents.
On April 6th, 2011 the FCC released an order explaining that VRS calls made to the U.S. that originate outside the country will not be compensated by the Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) Fund. However, the FCC adopted a limited four-week exception for calls from outside the country made by U.S. residents who have pre-registered with his or her default provider prior to leaving the country. When pre-registering, such individuals must specify the locations to which the individual will be traveling and duration at each designation. Only calls made from those locations at the times specified in the pre-registration will be compensable. The FCC explained that this exception will not apply to calls made by individuals who remain outside the U.S. for more than four-weeks.
Deaf and hard of hearing Americans who rely on VRS have as much a right to communicate with people at home while traveling abroad as those who are hearing. VRS is a lifeline for deaf and h