The Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology (COAT) has a position statement on expanding telecommunications relay services obligations to VoIP providers. A key statement in this position statement:
The recent decline in consumer reliance on traditional PSTN-based telephone services, coupled with a spiraling increase in the demand for innovative IP text and video based relay services, threaten to put funding support for relay services in jeopardy.Caption Action 2 did not know this until now! We cancelled our landline service last year, as have many other people, both deaf and hearing. This lack of an existing requirement for VoIP and cable voice communications providers means that every time someone cancels their traditional telephone service (landline and wireless) and uses VoIP instead, the TRS fund loses another source of needed revenue!
The exact language about this in HR 3101 that would rectify the situation is as follows:
(a) DEFINITION.—Paragraph (3) of section 225(a) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 225(a)(3)) is amended to read as follows: ...
(b) INTERNET PROTOCOL-BASED RELAY SERVICES.—Title VII of such Act is amended by adding at the end the following new section:
SEC. 715. INTERNET PROTOCOL-BASED RELAY SERVICES
Within one year after the date of enactment of the Twenty-first Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2009, each interconnected VoIP service provider and each provider of non-interconnected VoIP service shall participate in and contribute to the Telecommunications Relay Services Fund established in section 64.404(c)(5)(iii) of the Commission’s regulations (47 C.F.R. 64.404(c)(5)(iii)), as in effect on the date of enactment of such Act, in a manner prescribed by the Commission by regulation to provide for obligations of such providers that are consistent with and comparable to the obligations of other contributors to such Fund.’’.
(CA2 Editor Note: PSTN stands for Public Switched Telephone Network)