As we reported last August, the FCC has revised its rules governing Internet Telecommunications Relay Service (iTRS). iTRS is the short-hand term for Video Relay Service and IP Relay, services that permit deaf and hard-of-hearing folks to communicate by telephone – over the Internet – with persons with or without normal hearing.
iTRS services, which are free to the deaf/hard-of-hearing user, are funded by fees imposed on telecommunications service providers. The new rules were intended to avoid abuses that inflated minutes of use (and thus the payments collected by iTRS service providers) and to drive overall costs down.
While some of the rule changes took effect last October, a number of aspects (which happened to constitute “information collections” subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act) could not kick in until the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) had signed off on them. According to a notice in the Federal Register, OMB has now done so (in fact, it did so nearly a month ago), so it appears that those remaining rule sections are good to go. The sections in question – (§§64.611(e)(2), 64.611(e)(3), 64.611(g)(1)(v), 64.611(g)(1)(vi), and 64.613(a)(3) – involve disclosure of: ownership of iTRS providers; disclosure of sponsorship of iTRS services; information about the infrastructure of call centers and copies of deeds for the property where centers are located; reports of service interruptions and cessation of service; and annual reports to the FCC.
The Federal Register notice, curiously enough, does not expressly state the date on which these rules have taken, or will take, effect. It does, however, helpfully inform us that the response time required by the new information collections is estimated by the Commission to be anywhere from one minute (or, as the notice specifies, “0.17 hours”) to 50 hours. Adjust your schedules accordingly.