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Telecommunication Relay Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals With Hearing and Speech Disabilities

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Federal Communications Commission.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

This document amends the Commission rules pertaining to mandatory minimum standards, and other regulations, for Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) and speech-to-speech services for individuals with hearing and speech disabilities. The amended rules are intended to improve the overall effectiveness of TRS to ensure that persons with hearing and speech disabilities have access to telecommunications networks that is consistent with the goal of functional equivalency mandated by Congress.

DATES:

Effective September 24, 2003 except § 64.604 (a)(3) and (c)(2) of the Commission's rules, which contains information collection requirements under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), that are not effective until approved by Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Written comments by the public on the new and modified information collections are due October 24, 2003. The Commission will publish a document in the Federal Register announcing the effective date for that section.

ADDRESSES:

Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street, SW., Washington, DC, 20554. In addition to filing comments with the Secretary, a copy of any comments on the information collection(s) contained herein should be submitted to Leslie Smith, Federal Communications Commission, Room 1-A804, 445 12th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20554, or via the Internet to Leslie.Smith@fcc.gov.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Cheryl King, of the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418-2284 (voice), (202) 418-0416 (TTY), or e-mail Cheryl.King@fcc.gov. For additional information concerning the information collection(s) contained in this document, contact Leslie Smith at (202) 418-0217, or via the Internet at Leslie.Smith@fcc.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

This Second Report and Order, Order on Reconsideration contains new and modified collections subject to the PRA of 1995, Public Law 104-13. These will be submitted to the OMB for review under section 3507(d) of the PRA. OMB, the general public, and other Federal agencies are invited to comment on the new and modified information collections contained in this proceeding. This document contains a Second Report and Order addressing issues arising from the Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking contained in Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech Disabilities, Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, (Improved TRS Order and FNPRM), CC No. Docket 98-67, FCC No. 00-56, 15 FCC Rcd 5140, March 6, 2000; published at 65 FR 40093, June 21, 2000, and comments received in response thereto. This document also contains an Order on Reconsideration which resolves petitions for reconsideration filed against the Improved TRS Order and FNPRM. Copies of any subsequently filed documents in this matter will be available for public inspection and copying during regular business hours at the FCC Reference Information Center, Portals II, 445 12th Street, SW., Room CY-A257, Washington, DC 20554. The complete text of this decision may be purchased from the Commission's duplicating contractor, Qualex International, Portals II, 445 12th Street, SW., Room CY-B402, Washington, DC 20554, telephone (202) 863-2893, facsimile (202) 863-2898, or via e-mail qualexint@aol.com. To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities (braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), send an e-mail to fcc504@fcc.gov or call the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418-0531 (voice), (202) 418-7365 (tty). This Second Report and Order, Order on Reconsideration can also be downloaded in Text and ASCII formats at: http://www.fcc.gov/​cgb/​dro.

Paperwork Reduction Act

The Second Report and Order, Order on Reconsideration contains either new and/or modified information collections. The Commission, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, invites the general public to comment on the information Start Printed Page 50974collection(s) contained in this Second Report and Order, Order on Reconsideration as required by the PRA of 1995, Public Law 104-13. Public and agency comments are due October 24, 2003.

Synopsis

In this Second Report and Order, the Commission establishes new rules and amends existing rules governing TRS to further advance the functional equivalency mandate of section 225 of the Communications Act of 1934, 47 U.S.C. 225. First, the Commission requires that TRS providers offer certain improved services and features where technologically feasible, as well as several additional types of TRS calls. In addition, the Commission requires that all TRS providers implement 711 dialing access for STS users. Further, the Commission revises the requirements for handling emergency calls and provides guidance for public access to TRS-related information. In the Order on Reconsideration, the Commission addresses certain requirements for communications assistants and other matters relating to TRS.

Final Regulatory Flexibility Certification

As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA), as amended, 5 U.S.C. 603 et seq, an Initial Regulatory Flexibility (IRFA) was incorporated in the further notice of proposed rule making to which this Second Report and Order responds. See Improved TRS Order and FNPRM. The Commission sought written public comment on the proposals in the Improved TRS Order and FNPRM, including comment on the IRFA incorporated in that proceeding. The comments we have received discuss only the general recommendations, not the IRFA. This present Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (FRFA) conforms to the RFA. See 5 U.S.C. 604. We also expect that we could certify the Second Report and Order under 5 U.S.C. 605, because it appears that only one TRS provider is likely a small entity (because it is a non-profit organization). Therefore, there is not a substantial number of small entities that may be affected by our action.

Need for, and Objective of This Report and Order

This proceeding was initiated to address the requirement that telecommunications relay services (TRS) users have access to telephone services that are functionally equivalent to those available to individuals without hearing or speech disabilities. Our specific concerns were to examine the mandatory minimum standards for TRS with regard to enhanced features available to the non-disabled telecommunications consumer, and to address emergency call handling and Speech-to-Speech (STS) services. The Commission issued the Improved TRS FNPRM to further develop the record with the goal of making the full range of telecommunications services and features available to TRS users, consistent with Congress' direction that TRS regulations encourage the use of existing technology and not discourage or impair the development of improved technology. See 47 U.S.C. 225(d)(2). The Improved TRS FNPRM also sought comment on outreach programs, the accessibility of emergency services to TRS, and whether SS7 technology should be made available to TRS facilities.

Summary of Significant Issues Raised by Public Comments in Response to the IRFA

No comments were filed directly in response to the IRFA in this proceeding. The Commission has nonetheless considered potential significant economic impact of the rules on small entities and as discussed below has concluded that the rules adopted may imposed some economic burden on at least one small entity that is a TRS provider.

Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities to Which the Rules Will Apply

The RFA directs agencies to provide a description of and, where feasible, an estimate of the number of small entities that may be affected by the rules adopted herein. 5 U.S.C. 694(a)(3). The RFA defines the term “small entity” as having the same meaning as the terms “small business,” “small organization,” and “small governmental jurisdiction.” 5 U.S.C. 601(6). In addition, the term “small business” has the same meaning as the term “small business concern” under the Small Business Act. 5 U.S.C. 601(3) (incorporating by reference the definition of “small business concern” 15 U.S.C. 632). Pursuant to the 5 U.S.C. 601(3), the statutory definition of a small business applies “unless an agency, after consultation with the Office of Advocacy of the Small Business Administration and after opportunity for public comment, establishes one or more definitions of such term which are appropriate to the activities of the agency and publishes such definition(s) in the Federal Register.” A small business concern is one which: (1) Is independently owned and operated; (2) is not dominant in its field of operation; and (3) satisfies an additional criterion established by the Small Business Administration (SBA). 15 U.S.C. 632. A small organization is generally “any not-for-profit enterprise which is independently owned and operated and is not dominant in its field.” 5 U.S.C. 601(4). Nationwide, as of 1992, there were approximately 275,801 small organizations. The term “small governmental jurisdiction” is defined as “governments of cities, counties, towns, townships, villages, school districts, or special districts, with a population of less than fifty thousand.” 5 U.S.C. 601(5). As of 1997, there were approximately 87,453 governmental jurisdictions in the United States. U.S. Census Bureau, Statistical Abstracts of the United States: 2000, Section 9 pages 299-300, Tables 490 and 492. This number includes 39,044 county governments, municipalities, and townships of which 37,546 (approximately 96.2%) have populations of fewer than 50,000 and 1,498 have populations of 50,000 or more. Thus, we estimate the number of small governmental jurisdictions overall to be 84,098 or fewer.

Below, we further describe and estimate the number of small entity licensees and regulatees that, in theory, may be affected by these rules. For some categories, the most reliable source of information available at this time is data the Commission publishes in its Trends in Telephone Service Report. FCC, Wireline Competition Bureau, Industry Analysis and Technology Division, “Trends in Telephone Service” at Table 5.3, Page 5-5 (May 2002) (Trends in Telephone Service). FCC Web site location (see online page 24): http://www.fcc.gov/​Bureaus/​CommonCarrier/​Reports/​FCC-StateLink/​IAD/​trend502.pdf.

Local Exchange Carriers. We have included small incumbent LECs in this present RFA analysis. As noted above, a “small business” under the RFA is one that, inter alia, meets the pertinent small business size standard (e.g., a telephone communications business having 1,500 or fewer employees), and “is not dominant in its field of operation.” 15 U.S.C. 632. The SBA's Office of Advocacy contends that, for RFA purposes, small incumbent LECs are not dominant in their field of operation because any such dominance is not “national” in scope. Letter from Jere W. Glover, Chief Counsel for Advocacy, SBA, to William E. Kennard, Chairman, FCC (May 27, 1999). The Small Business Act contains a definition of “small business concern,” which the Start Printed Page 50975RFA incorporates into its own definition of “small business.” See 15 U.S.C. 632(a) (Small Business Act); 5 U.S.C. 601(3) (RFA). SBA regulations interpret “small business concern” to include the concept of dominance on a national basis. 13 CFR 121.102(b). We have therefore included small incumbent LECs in this RFA analysis, although we emphasize that this RFA action has no effect on FCC analyses and determinations in other, non-RFA contexts.

Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers. Neither the Commission nor the SBA has developed a small business size standard specifically directed toward providers of incumbent local exchange service. The closest applicable size standard under SBA rules is for Wired Telecommunications Carriers. 13 CFR 121.201 NAICS Code 517110. This provides that such a carrier is a small entity if it employs no more than 1,500 employees. Id. Commission data from 2000 indicate that there are 1,329 incumbent local exchange carriers, total, with approximately 1,024 having 1,500 or fewer employees. Trends in Telephone Service at Table 5.3. The small carrier number is an estimate and might include some carriers that are not independently owned and operated; we are therefore unable at this time to estimate with greater precision the number of these carriers that would qualify as small businesses under SBA's size standard. Consequently, we estimate that there are no more than 1,024 ILECS that are small businesses possibly affected by our action.

Interexchange Carriers. Neither the Commission nor the SBA has developed a small business size standard specifically directed toward providers of interexchange services. The closest applicable size standard under SBA rules is for Wired Telecommunications Carriers. 13 CFR 121.201, NAICS Code 517110. This provides that such a carrier is a small entity if it employs no more than 1,500 employees. Commission data from 2000 indicate that there are 229 interexchange carriers, total, with approximately 181 having 1,500 or fewer employees. Trends in Telephone Service at Table 5.3. The small carrier number is an estimate and might include some carriers that are not independently owned and operated; we are therefore unable at this time to estimate with greater precision the number of these carriers that would qualify as small businesses under SBA's size standard. Consequently, we estimate that there are no more than 181 interexchange carriers that are small businesses possibly affected by our action.

TRS Providers. Neither the Commission nor the SBA has developed a definition of “small entity” specifically directed towards providers of telecommunications relay services (TRS). Again, the closest applicable size standard under the SBA rules is for Wired Telecommunications Carriers. 13 CFR 121.201, NAICS Code 517110. Currently, there are 10 interstate TRS providers, which consist of interexchange carriers, local exchange carriers, state-managed entities, and non-profit organizations. The Commission estimates that at least one TRS provider is a small entity. The FCC notes that these providers include several large interexchange carriers and incumbent local exchange carriers. Some of these large carriers may only provide TRS service in a small area but they nevertheless are not small business entities. MCI WorldCom, for example, provides TRS in only a few states but is not a small business. Consequently, the FCC estimates that at least one TRS provider is a small entity that may be affected by our action.

Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping and Other Compliance Requirements

Reporting and Recordkeeping. This Second Report and Order involves no new mandatory reporting requirements. These rules require a speed dialing feature that may require TRS providers to maintain a list of telephone numbers. The Second Report and Order adopts a rule to require that TRS facilities provide speed dialing functionality on an intrastate and interstate basis; however, it does not adopt specific requirements for speed dialing functionality at this time.We anticipate that TRS providers will develop customized speed dialing and expect that consumers' needs will be addressed as this feature matures. The Second Report and Order also establishes voluntary reporting requirements associated with certain waivers available for certain TRS providers. Consistent with the IP Relay Order on Reconsideration, Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech Disabilities, Declaratory Ruling and Second Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making, FCC 02-121, 17 FCC Rcd 7779, April 22, 2002; published at 67 FR 39863 and 67 FR 39929, June 11, 2002 (IP Relay Declaratory Ruling and FNPRM), Order on Reconsideration, FCC 03-46, 18 FCC Rcd 4761, March 14, 2003; published at 68 FR 18825, April 16, 2003 (IP Relay Order on Reconsideration), this Report and Order establishes waivers for TRS providers that provide Internet Protocol (IP) Relay and video relay service (VRS). The waivers set forth in the Second Report and Order are contingent on annual reports filed with the Commission detailing the technological changes in these areas, the progress made, and the steps taken to resolve the technologically problems that prevent IP Relay and VRS providers from offering these types of TRS calls. This requirement has very little economic impact on the TRS providers because it merely requires an annual submission of an annual report to the Commission and the reports are voluntary because IP Relay and VRS are not mandatory forms of TRS under our rules.

Other Compliance Requirements. The rules adopted in this Second Report and Order require that all TRS providers provide several types of TRS calls including: Two-line VCO and two-line HCO, HCO-to-TTY and HCO-to-HCO, and VCO-to-TTY and VCO-to-VCO. The rules also require that TRS facilities route emergency TRS calls to the designated PSAP to which a direct voice call from a non-TRS number would be delivered. Furthermore, the rules require that TRS facilities provide certain technological features, including call release and three-way calling. The Order on Reconsideration clarifies certain reporting requirements for contact persons. These rules will affect TRS providers.

Steps Taken To Minimize Significant Economic Impact on Small Entities, and Significant Alternative Considered

The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant alternatives that it has considered in reaching its proposed approach, which may include the following four alternatives (among others): (1) The establishment of differing compliance or reporting requirements or timetables that take into account the resources available to small entities; (2) the clarification, consolidation, or simplification of compliance or reporting requirements under the rule for small entities; (3) the use of performance, rather than design, standards; and (4) an exemption from coverage of the rule, or any part thereof, for small entities. 5 U.S.C. 603 (c)(1)-(c)(4). One of the main purposes of this Second Report and Order is to clarify many of the current requirements for TRS providers. The annual reports associated with the waivers for IP Relay and VRS providers have been made to expire at the same time as previous waivers so that TRS providers have one deadline instead of multiple deadlines to which they must adhere if providing those non-mandatory forms of TRS. Any Start Printed Page 50976new requirements that are imposed are similar to services currently being offered and therefore the Commission expects a minimal impact on small business. Currently, most TRS providers are not small entities, and are either interexchange carriers or local exchange carriers, with very few exceptions. This Second Report and Order adopts rules that will improve the effectiveness of TRS and ensure access to telecommunications networks for persons with hearing and speech disabilities while imposing the least necessary regulation.

Report to Congress

The Commission will send a copy of the Second Report and Order, Order on Reconsideration including this FRFA, in a report to be sent to Congress pursuant to the Congressional Review Act. See 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(1)(A). In addition, the Commission will send a copy of the Report and Order including this FRFA, to the Chief of Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration. A copy of the Report and Order, Order on Reconsideration and FRFA (or summaries thereof) will also be published in the Federal Register.

Ordering Clauses

Accordingly, it is ordered that, pursuant to the authority contained in sections 1, 2, 4(i) and 4(j), 201-205, 218 and 225 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 151, 152, 154(i), 154(j), 201-205, 218 and 225, this Second Report and Order, Order on Reconsideration are adopted and Part 64 of Commission's rules is amended as set forth in the rule changes.

It is further ordered that the amendments to §§ 64.601 through 64.605 of the Commission's rules as set forth are adopted, effective September 24, 2003 except §§ 64.604 (a)(3) and (c)(2), that contains information collection requirements under the PRA, that are not effective until approved by OMB. The Commission will publish a document in the Federal Register announcing the effective date for that section.

It is further ordered that the Commission's Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau, Reference Information Center, shall send a copy of this Second Report Order, Order on Reconsideration, including the Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration.

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List of Subjects in 47 CFR Part 64

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Federal Communications Commission.

Marlene H. Dortch,

Secretary.

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Rule Changes

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For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Federal Communications Commission amends

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PART 64—MISCELLANEOUS RULES RELATING TO COMMON CARRIERS

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1. The authority citation for part 64 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 47 U.S.C. 154, 254(k); sections. 403(b)(2)(B), (c), Public Law 104-104, 110 Stat. 56. Interpret or apply 47 U.S.C. 201, 218, 225, 226, 228, and 254(k) unless otherwise noted.

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2. Section 64.601 is revised to read as follows:

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Definitions.

As used in this subpart, the following definitions apply:

(1) 711. The abbreviated dialing code for accessing all types of relay services anywhere in the United States.

(2) American Sign Language (ASL). A visual language based on hand shape, position, movement, and orientation of the hands in relation to each other and the body.

(3) ASCII. An acronym for American Standard Code for Information Interexchange which employs an eight bit code and can operate at any standard transmission baud rate including 300, 1200, 2400, and higher.

(4) Baudot. A seven bit code, only five of which are information bits. Baudot is used by some text telephones to communicate with each other at a 45.5 baud rate.

(5) Call release. A TRS feature that allows the CA to sign-off or be “released” from the telephone line after the CA has set up a telephone call between the originating TTY caller and a called TTY party, such as when a TTY user must go through a TRS facility to contact another TTY user because the called TTY party can only be reached through a voice-only interface, such as a switchboard.

(6) Common carrier or carrier. Any common carrier engaged in interstate Communication by wire or radio as defined in section 3(h) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (the Act), and any common carrier engaged in intrastate communication by wire or radio, notwithstanding sections 2(b) and 221(b) of the Act.

(7) Communications assistant (CA). A person who transliterates or interprets conversation between two or more end users of TRS. CA supersedes the term “TDD operator.”

(8) Hearing carry over (HCO). A form of TRS where the person with the speech disability is able to listen to the other end user and, in reply, the CA speaks the text as typed by the person with the speech disability. The CA does not type any conversation. Two-line HCO is an HCO service that allows TRS users to use one telephone line for hearing and the other for sending TTY messages. HCO-to-TTY allows a relay conversation to take place between an HCO user and a TTY user. HCO-to-HCO allows a relay conversation to take place between two HCO users.

(9) Non-English language relay service. A telecommunications relay service that allows persons with hearing or speech disabilities who use languages other than English to communicate with voice telephone users in a shared language other than English, through a CA who is fluent in that language.

(10) Qualified interpreter. An interpreter who is able to interpret effectively, accurately, and impartially, both receptively and expressively, using any necessary specialized vocabulary.

(11) Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP). A facility that has been designated to receive 911 calls and route them to emergency services personnel as provided in 47 CFR 64.3000(c).

(12) Speech-to-speech relay service (STS). A telecommunications relay service that allows individuals with speech disabilities to communicate with voice telephone users through the use of specially trained CAs who understand the speech patterns of persons with speech disabilities and can repeat the words spoken by that person.

(13) Speed dialing. A TRS feature that allows a TRS user to place a call using a stored number maintained by the TRS facility. In the context of TRS, speed dialing allows a TRS user to give the CA a short-hand” name or number for the user's most frequently called telephone numbers.

(14) Telecommunications relay services (TRS). Telephone transmission services that provide the ability for an individual who has a hearing or speech disability to engage in communication by wire or radio with a hearing individual in a manner that is functionally equivalent to the ability of an individual who does not have a hearing or speech disability to communicate using voice communication services by wire or radio. Such term includes services that enable two-way communication between an individual who uses a text telephone or other nonvoice terminal device and an individual who does not Start Printed Page 50977use such a device, speech-to-speech services, video relay services and non-English relay services. TRS supersedes the terms “dual party relay system,” “message relay services,” and “TDD Relay.”

(15) Text telephone (TTY). A machine that employs graphic communication in the transmission of coded signals through a wire or radio communication system. TTY supersedes the term “TDD” or “telecommunications device for the deaf,” and TT.

(16) Three-way calling feature. A TRS feature that allows more than two parties to be on the telephone line at the same time with the CA.

(17) Video relay service (VRS). A telecommunications relay service that allows people with hearing or speech disabilities who use sign language to communicate with voice telephone users through video equipment. The video link allows the CA to view and interpret the party's signed conversation and relay the conversation back and forth with a voice caller.

(18) Voice carry over (VCO). A form of TRS where the person with the hearing disability is able to speak directly to the other end user. The CA types the response back to the person with the hearing disability. The CA does not voice the conversation. Two-line VCO is a VCO service that allows TRS users to use one telephone line for voicing and the other for receiving TTY messages. A VCO-to-TTY TRS call allows a relay conversation to take place between a VCO user and a TTY user. VCO-to-VCO allows a relay conversation to take place between two VCO users.

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3. Section 64.604 is amended by revising paragraphs (a)(1), (a)(3), (b), (c)(2) and (c)(6)(v)(A)(

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Mandatory minimum standards.
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(a) Operational standards.—(1) Communications assistant (CA).

(i) TRS providers are responsible for requiring that all CAs be sufficiently trained to effectively meet the specialized communications needs of individuals with hearing and speech disabilities.

(ii) CAs must have competent skills in typing, grammar, spelling, interpretation of typewritten ASL, and familiarity with hearing and speech disability cultures, languages and etiquette. CAs must possess clear and articulate voice communications.

(iii) CAs must provide a typing speed of a minimum of 60 words per minute. Technological aids may be used to reach the required typing speed. Providers must give oral-to-type tests of CA speed.

(iv) TRS providers are responsible for requiring that VRS CAs are qualified interpreters. A “qualified interpreter” is able to interpret effectively, accurately, and impartially, both receptively and expressively, using any necessary specialized vocabulary.

(v) CAs answering and placing a TTY-based TRS or VRS call must stay with the call for a minimum of ten minutes. CAs answering and placing an STS call must stay with the call for a minimum of fifteen minutes.

(vi) TRS providers must make best efforts to accommodate a TRS user's requested CA gender when a call is initiated and, if a transfer occurs, at the time the call is transferred to another CA.

(vii) TRS shall transmit conversations between TTY and voice callers in real time.

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(3) Types of calls. (i) Consistent with the obligations of telecommunications carrier operators, CAs are prohibited from refusing single or sequential calls or limiting the length of calls utilizing relay services.

(ii) Relay services shall be capable of handling any type of call normally provided by telecommunications carriers unless the Commission determines that it is not technologically feasible to do so. Relay service providers have the burden of proving the infeasibility of handling any type of call.

(iii) Relay service providers are permitted to decline to complete a call because credit authorization is denied.

(iv) Relay services shall be capable of handling pay-per-call calls.

(v) TRS providers are required to provide the following types of TRS calls: (1) Text-to-voice and voice-to-text; (2) VCO, two-line VCO, VCO-to-TTY, and VCO-to-VCO; (3) HCO, two-line HCO, HCO-to-TTY, HCO-to-HCO.

(vi) TRS providers are required to provide the following features: (1) Call releasefunctionality; (2) speed dialing functionality; and (3) three-way calling functionality.

(vii) Voice mail and interactive menus. CAs must alert the TRS user to the presence of a recorded message and interactive menu through a hot key on the CA's terminal. The hot key will send text from the CA to the consumer's TTY indicating that a recording or interactive menu has been encountered. Relay providers shall electronically capture recorded messages and retain them for the length of the call. Relay providers may not impose any charges for additional calls, which must be made by the relay user in order to complete calls involving recorded or interactive messages.

(viii) TRS providers shall provide, as TRS features, answering machine and voice mail retrieval.

(4) Handling of emergency calls. Providers must use a system for incoming emergency calls that, at a minimum, automatically and immediately transfers the caller to an appropriate Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP). An appropriate PSAP is the designated PSAP to which a direct call from the particular number would be delivered. In addition, a CA must pass along the caller's telephone number to the PSAP when a caller disconnects before being connected to emergency services.

(5) STS called numbers. Relay providers must offer STS users the option to maintain at the relay center a list of names and telephone numbers which the STS user calls. When the STS user requests one of these names, the CA must repeat the name and state the telephone number to the STS user. This information must be transferred to any new STS provider.

(b) Technical standards. (1) ASCII and Baudot. TRS shall be capable of communicating with ASCII and Baudot format, at any speed generally in use.

(2) Speed of answer. (i) TRS providers shall ensure adequate TRS facility staffing to provide callers with efficient access under projected calling volumes, so that the probability of a busy response due to CA unavailability shall be functionally equivalent to what a voice caller would experience in attempting to reach a party through the voice telephone network.

(ii) TRS facilities shall, except during network failure, answer 85% of all calls within 10 seconds by any method which results in the caller's call immediately being placed, not put in a queue or on hold. The ten seconds begins at the time the call is delivered to the TRS facility's network. A TRS facility shall ensure that adequate network facilities shall be used in conjunction with TRS so that under projected calling volume the probability of a busy response due to loop trunk congestion shall be functionally equivalent to what a voice caller would experience in attempting to reach a party through the voice telephone network.

(A) The call is considered delivered when the TRS facility's equipment accepts the call from the local exchange carrier (LEC) and the public switched network actually delivers the call to the TRS facility.

(B) Abandoned calls shall be included in the speed-of-answer calculation.

(C) A TRS provider's compliance with this rule shall be measured on a daily basis. Start Printed Page 50978

(D) The system shall be designed to a P.01 standard.

(E) A LEC shall provide the call attempt rates and the rates of calls blocked between the LEC and the TRS facility to relay administrators and TRS providers upon request.

(3) Equal access to interexchange carriers. TRS users shall have access to their chosen interexchange carrier through the TRS, and to all other operator services, to the same extent that such access is provided to voice users.

(4) TRS facilities. (i) TRS shall operate every day, 24 hours a day. Relay services that are not mandated by this Commission need not to be provided every day, 24 hours a day.

(ii) TRS shall have redundancy features functionally equivalent to the equipment in normal central offices, including uninterruptible power for emergency use.

(5) Technology. No regulation set forth in this subpart is intended to discourage or impair the development of improved technology that fosters the availability of telecommunications to person with disabilities. TRS facilities are permitted to use SS7 technology or any other type of similar technology to enhance the functional equivalency and quality of TRS. TRS facilities that utilize SS7 technology shall be subject to the Calling Party Telephone Number rules set forth at 47 CFR 64.1600 et seq.

(6) Caller ID. When a TRS facility is able to transmit any calling party identifying information to the public network, the TRS facility must pass through, to the called party, at least one of the following: the number of the TRS facility, 711, or the 10-digit number of the calling party.

(c) * * *

(2) Contact persons. Beginning on June 30, 2000, State TRS Programs, interstate TRS providers, and TRS providers that have state contracts must submit to the Commission a contact person and/or office for TRS consumer information and complaints about a certified State TRS Program's provision of intrastate TRS, or, as appropriate, about the TRS provider's service. This submission must include, at a minimum, the following:

(i) The name and address of the office that receives complaints, grievances, inquiries, and suggestions;

(ii) Voice and TTY telephone numbers, fax number, e-mail address, and web address; and

(iii) The physical address to which correspondence should be sent.

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(6) * * *

(v) * * *

(A) * * *

(1) Form. An informal complaint may be transmitted to the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau by any reasonable means, such as letter, facsimile transmission, telephone (voice/TRS/TTY), Internet e-mail, or some other method that would best accommodate a complainant's hearing or speech disability.

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[FR Doc. 03-21615 Filed 8-22-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6712-01-P