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FCC Issues Relay Service Certification Rules

One is a final rule, the second is an interim rule.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued two rules directing certification and compliance procedures for “Internet-based telecommunications relay services” (iTRS) providers.

The FCC posted the notices—which are both entitled Structure and Practices of the Video Relay Service Program—on Aug. 5. The difference is one is a final rule, while the second is an interim rule.

The final rule makes permanent modification to FCC document FCC 11-118, which was issued July 28, 2011. The modifications impose various requirements on iTRS providers to obtain certification from the FCC in order to be eligible for compensation for those serices from the Interstate TRS Fund (fund).

The FCC says it has determined that any additional data filing requirements imposed by document FCC 11-118 on iTRS providers are “reasonable and necessary” in order to ensure compliance with commission rules.

Nonetheless, the FCC says it has taken steps to address the concerns that some of the proposed rules were overly burdensome. For example, the commission initially proposed to require that a provider file a deed or lease for every service center operated. The FCC has modified that requirement in the final rule to allow for providers with more than five centers to submit a representative sampling of deeds and leases. In addition, the FCC says it has declined to adopt its proposed requirement for providers to submit documentation of all financing arrangements pertaining to the provision of iTRS.

The FCC has also declined to adopt the requirement that providers submit copies of all subcontracting agreements for services not directly essential for the provision of iTRS. The commission says it has taken steps to further reduce the burdens on affected entities to apply for certification to receive compensation from the fund for the provision of iTRS, and that the remaining filing requirements are not overly burdensome. While the rule was adopted on July 28, it does not become effective until Sept. 6, 2011.

The interim rule posted on the Federal Register modifies the FCC’s process for certifying iTRS providers as eligible for payment from the fund for their provision of iTRS. In that document, the FCC adopts interim rules requiring iTRS providers to certify—under penalty of perjury—that “their certification applications and annual compliance filings are truthful, accurate, and complete.” The FCC says this rule is necessary to ensure that “only qualified providers are eligible for compensation from the Interstate TRS fund.” The interim rule becomes effective Sept. 6, 2011.