The U.S. government seeks to modify the regulation governing video relay services (VRS) to provide clarity as to the circumstances under which the subcontracting of call handling functions is acceptable.
On Oct. 31, 2011, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) posted a Federal Register notice—Structure and Practices of the Video Relay Service Program—to modify its rules and provide general circumstances when a certified provider may subcontract with another certified provider for communications assistant (CA) services or call center functions. The “transfer of call traffic between eligible providers should not routinely occur, but rather should be the rare exception that occurs only in exigent circumstances,” the notice says.
Therefore, the “roll over” of those services can only occur in the event of an unexpected and temporary surge in call traffic due to exigent circumstances. Certified VRS providers may roll over VRS traffic to another eligible provider only when unable to handle an unexpected and temporary surge in call traffic due to exigent circumstances, such as in the event of a natural disaster or other comparable emergency that is outside the provider’s control, the document says.
Specifically, while the FCC proposes to modify its rules so a certified provider may subcontract with another certified provider for CA services or call center functions in the event of an unexpected and temporary surge in call traffic due to exigent circumstances and the FCC seeks comment on the specific types of exigent circumstances that would warrant subcontracting or similar arrangements between eligible providers. The deadline for comments is Nov. 30, 2011, and the deadline for reply comments is Dec. 30, 2011.
In addition, in Federal Register notices posted on Nov. 3, 4 and 7, the FCC says the White House Office of Management & Budget has approved for three years information collection requirements opposed on VRS providers.