Articles
Spring 2015
From "New Horizons" Magazine

VRSCA Supports Recent FCC Filing from Six VRS Providers

In recent years, the Video Relay Service Consumer Association (VRSCA) has sought to see improvements in VRS services. However, there has not been much improvement and in some cases things have even gotten worse.

As you know, over the years, VRSCA has not endorsed any individual provider’s program or ideas. VRSCA has remained neutral and has put consumers’ needs first offering leadership on efforts that benefit consumers of VRS.

Recently, VRSCA was extremely pleased to see a filing by all six of the VRS providers, who were unanimous in their request for improving the quality of VRS. This proposal was very unusual! Also monumental is the fact that VRSCA is now endorsing a provider proposal, because it came from ALL providers and most importantly VRSCA recognizes the win for consumers!

The United VRS Provider proposal was submitted to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the governmental body that oversees and regulates VRS. The specific improvements the United Providers proposed were:

  1. Improved speed-of-answer performance
  2. Introducing of Certified Deaf Interpreters (CDI) for consumers who are not fluent in American Sign Language (ASL)
  3. Introducing of Skill-based routing for calls where additional training and qualifications are needed – for example, during medical calls, etc.
  4. Improved interoperability for point-to-point videophone calls

Recent surveys, conducted by VRSCA at multiple national deaf events, confirm that deaf consumers agree that implementing these four proposals will improve the quality of VRS. Thanks to all of you who participated in the survey! VRSCA will be sharing the results of these surveys very soon.

All six VRS providers indicate that these improvements are conditioned upon rate stabilization. Consumers deserve to see improvements in VRS functional equivalency rather than the erosion they have experienced in recent years. VRSCA is hopeful that the FCC will provide the stabilization needed to make these improvements in VRS a reality.

VRSCA adds its enthusiastic endorsement to the VRS providers’ united proposal. VRSCA applauds all who are working together to improve VRS!

You can view a recent ASL video made by the group of United VRS Providers at https://youtu.be/QceMfe079CE.

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