HLAA was invited to contribute to a panel discussing the future of IP-based Relay Services, by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC is developing and funding interagency research on IP-based technologies. The workshop was convened to gather information on the kinds of research that is needed to improve TRS. The FCC is partnering with the National Institute on Aging for this grant.
According to the FCC, Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) is a telephone service that allows persons with hearing or speech disabilities to place and receive telephone calls. TRS is available in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. territories for local and/or long distance calls. TRS providers – generally telephone companies – are compensated for the costs of providing TRS from either a state or a federal fund. There is no cost to the TRS user.
To learn more about TRS, visit the FCC’s website: www.fcc.gov
HLAA Files a Friend of the Court Brief Supporting Equal Access to Captioned Telephones
HLAA, TDI, and other consumer organizations filed a Petition for Stay on September 30, 2013. Our Petition requests the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) put a hold on implementation of one section of their Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Services (IP CTS) Order that requires all users to pay a minimum of $75 for the captioned telephones. See our Petition.
On August 26, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted the final Order regarding IP CTS (Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Services). The new rules change the way consumers get the phones and use the phones. The rules include:
New FCC Rate Regime Prioritizes Cost Reductions Over Quality of Service for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing
Between February 21, 2013 and March 8, 2013, the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Telecommunications Access (RERC-TA) at Gallaudet University conducted a brief survey.
Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) filed comments on February 26, 2013 with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in their proceeding on captioned telephones. The FCC is alarmed that usage of IP CTS (Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Services) has risen dramatically. They are concerned that the fund which serves all Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) will run short this year if they do not do something immediately.
The Equal Rights Center recently published the report titled, Disconnected: Housing Discrimination Against the Deaf & Hard of Hearing.
The report’s Executive Summary:
In the United States, more than nine million individuals identify as Deaf or hard of hearing, and approximately 2.1 million individuals identify as having a speech impairment. Many of these individuals rely on a Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) to communicate by telephone. TRS is a term that encompasses a variety of technologies that facilitate telephone conversations for individuals with hearing or speech disabilities, including internet, video, and sign language systems. For many such individuals, TRS is a lifeline to government services, medical care, employment, and housing. TRS is a particularly useful tool when seeking rental housing, in that many prospective tenants contact housing providers by telephone to obtain critical threshold information about apartment availability, rental rates, and the application process.