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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR data is current as of April 2, 2020

Title 47Chapter ISubchapter BPart 64 → Subpart F


Title 47: Telecommunication
PART 64—MISCELLANEOUS RULES RELATING TO COMMON CARRIERS


Subpart F—Telecommunications Relay Services and Related Customer Premises Equipment for Persons With Disabilities


Contents
§64.601   Definitions and provisions of general applicability.
§64.602   Jurisdiction.
§64.603   Provision of services.
§64.604   Mandatory minimum standards.
§64.605   [Reserved]
§64.606   Internet-based TRS provider and TRS program certification.
§64.607   Furnishing related customer premises equipment.
§64.608   Provision of hearing aid compatible telephones by exchange carriers.
§64.609   Enforcement of related customer premises equipment rules.
§64.610   Establishment of a National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program.
§64.611   Internet-based TRS registration.
§64.613   Numbering directory for Internet-based TRS users.
§64.615   TRS User Registration Database and administrator.
§64.619   VRS Access Technology Reference Platform and administrator.
§64.621   Interoperability and portability.
§64.623   Administrator requirements.
§64.630   Applicability of change of default TRS provider rules.
§64.631   Verification of orders for change of default TRS providers.
§64.632   Letter of authorization form and content.
§64.633   Procedures for resolution of unauthorized changes in default provider.
§64.634   Procedures where the Fund has not yet reimbursed the provider.
§64.635   Procedures where the Fund has already reimbursed the provider.
§64.636   Prohibition of default provider freezes.

Authority: 47 U.S.C. 151-154; 225, 255, 303(r), 616, and 620.

Source: 56 FR 36731, Aug. 1, 1991, unless otherwise noted.

§64.601   Definitions and provisions of general applicability.

(a) For purposes of this subpart, the term affiliate is defined in 47 CFR 52.12(a)(1)(i), and the terms majority and debt are defined in 47 CFR 52.12(a)(1)(ii).

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

(2) ACD platform. The hardware and/or software that comprise the essential call center function of call distribution, and that are a necessary core component of internet-based TRS.

(3) 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.

(4) ANI. For 911 systems, the Automatic Number Identification (ANI) identifies the calling party and may be used as the callback number.

(5) 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.

(6) Authorized provider. An iTRS provider that becomes the iTRS user's new default provider, having obtained the user's authorization verified in accordance with the procedures specified in this part.

(7) 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.

(8) 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.

(9) 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.

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

(11) Default provider. The iTRS provider that registers and assigns a ten-digit telephone number to an iTRS user pursuant to §64.611.

(12) Default provider change order. A request by an iTRS user to an iTRS provider to change the user's default provider.

(13) Direct video customer support. A telephone customer support operation that enables callers with hearing or speech disabilities to engage in real-time direct video communication in ASL with ASL speakers in a call center operation.

(14) Enterprise videophone. A videophone maintained by a business, organization, government agency, or other entity, and designated for use by its employees or other individuals in private or restricted areas.

(15) 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.

(16) Hearing point-to-point video user. A hearing individual who has been assigned a ten-digit NANP number that is entered in the TRS Numbering Directory to access point-to-point service.

(17) Interconnected VoIP service. The term “interconnected VoIP service” has the meaning given such term under §9.3 of this chapter, as such section may be amended from time to time.

(18) internet-based TRS (iTRS). A telecommunications relay service (TRS) in which an individual with a hearing or a speech disability connects to a TRS communications assistant using an internet Protocol-enabled device via the internet, rather than the public switched telephone network. Except as authorized or required by the Commission, internet-based TRS does not include the use of a text telephone (TTY) or RTT over an interconnected voice over internet Protocol service.

(19) internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Service (IP CTS). A telecommunications relay service that permits an individual who can speak but who has difficulty hearing over the telephone to use a telephone and an internet Protocol-enabled device via the internet to simultaneously listen to the other party and read captions of what the other party is saying. With IP CTS, the connection carrying the captions between the relay service provider and the relay service user is via the internet, rather than the public switched telephone network.

(20) internet Protocol Relay Service (IP Relay). A telecommunications relay service that permits an individual with a hearing or a speech disability to communicate in text using an internet Protocol-enabled device via the internet, rather than using a text telephone (TTY) and the public switched telephone network.

(21) IP Relay access technology. Any equipment, software, or other technology issued, leased, or provided by an internet-based TRS provider that can be used to make and receive an IP Relay call.

(22) iTRS access technology. Any equipment, software, or other technology issued, leased, or provided by an internet-based TRS provider that can be used to make and receive an internet-based TRS call.

(23) New default provider. An iTRS provider that, either directly or through its numbering partner, initiates or implements the process to become the iTRS user's default provider by replacing the iTRS user's original default provider.

(24) 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.

(25) Non-interconnected VoIP service. The term “non-interconnected VoIP service”—

(i) Means a service that—

(A) Enables real-time voice communications that originate from or terminate to the user's location using internet protocol or any successor protocol; and

(B) Requires internet protocol compatible customer premises equipment; and

(ii) Does not include any service that is an interconnected VoIP service.

(26) Numbering partner. Any entity with which an internet-based TRS provider has entered into a commercial arrangement to obtain North American Numbering Plan telephone numbers.

(27) Original default provider. An iTRS provider that is the iTRS user's default provider immediately before that iTRS user's default provider is changed.

(28) Point-to-point video call. A call placed via a point-to-point video service.

(29) Point-to-point video service. A service that enables a user to place and receive non-relay video calls without the assistance of a CA.

(30) Public videophone. A videophone maintained by a business, organization, government agency, or other entity, and made available for use by the public in a public space, such as a public area of a business, school, hospital, library, airport, or government building.

(31) Qualified direct video entity. An individual or entity that is approved by the Commission for access to the TRS Numbering Directory that is engaged in direct video customer support and that is the end-user customer that has been assigned a telephone number used for direct video customer support calls or is the designee of such entity.

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

(33) Real-Time Text (RTT). The term real-time text shall have the meaning set forth in §67.1 of this chapter.

(34) Registered internet-based TRS user. An individual who has registered with a VRS, IP Relay, or IP CTS provider as described in §64.611.

(35) Registered Location. The most recent information obtained by a VRS, IP Relay, or IP CTS provider that identifies the physical location of an end user.

(36) Sign language. A language which uses manual communication and body language to convey meaning, including but not limited to American Sign Language.

(37) 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.

(38) 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.

(39) Telecommunications relay services (TRS). Telephone transmission services that provide the ability for an individual who is deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, or who has a speech disability to engage in communication by wire or radio with one or more individuals, in a manner that is functionally equivalent to the ability of a hearing individual who does not have a speech disability to communicate using voice communication services by wire or radio.

(40) 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.

(41) 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.

(42) TRS Numbering Administrator. The neutral administrator of the TRS Numbering Directory selected based on a competitive bidding process.

(43) TRS Numbering Directory. The database administered by the TRS Numbering Administrator, the purpose of which is to map each registered internet-based TRS user's NANP telephone number to his or her end device.

(44) TRS User Registration Database. A system of records containing TRS user identification data capable of:

(i) Receiving and processing subscriber information sufficient to identify unique TRS users and to ensure that each has a single default provider;

(ii) Assigning each VRS user a unique identifier;

(iii) Allowing VRS providers and other authorized entities to query the TRS User Registration Database to determine if a prospective user already has a default provider;

(iv) Allowing VRS providers to indicate that a VRS user has used the service; and

(v) Maintaining the confidentiality of proprietary data housed in the database by protecting it from theft, loss or disclosure to unauthorized persons. The purpose of this database is to ensure accurate registration and verification of VRS users and improve the efficiency of the TRS program.

(45) Unauthorized provider. An iTRS provider that becomes the iTRS user's new default provider without having obtained the user's authorization verified in accordance with the procedures specified in this part.

(46) Unauthorized change. A change in an iTRS user's selection of a default provider that was made without authorization verified in accordance with the verification procedures specified in this part.

(47) 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.

(48) Visual privacy screen. A screen or any other feature that is designed to prevent one party or both parties on the video leg of a VRS call from viewing the other party during a call.

(49) 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.

(50) VRS access technology. Any equipment, software, or other technology issued, leased, or provided by an internet-based TRS provider that can be used to make and receive a VRS call.

(51) VRS Access Technology Reference Platform. A software product procured by or on behalf of the Commission that provides VRS functionality, including the ability to make and receive VRS and point-to-point calls, dial-around functionality, and the ability to update user registration location, and against which providers may test their own VRS access technology and platforms for compliance with the Commission's interoperability and portability rules.

[68 FR 50976, Aug. 25, 2003, as amended at 69 FR 53351, Sept. 1, 2004; 72 FR 43559, Aug. 6, 2007; 73 FR 41294, July 18, 2008; 76 FR 24400, May 2, 2011; 76 FR 65969, Oct. 25, 2011; 78 FR 40605, July 5, 2013; 82 FR 7707, Jan. 23, 2017; 82 FR 17761, Apr. 13, 2017; 82 FR 39682, Aug. 22, 2017; 84 FR 8461, Mar. 8, 2019; 84 FR 26369, June 6, 2019; 84 FR 66779, Dec. 5, 2019; 85 FR 1127, Jan. 9, 2020; 85 FR 9390, Feb. 19, 2020]

§64.602   Jurisdiction.

Any violation of this subpart F by any common carrier engaged in intrastate communication shall be subject to the same remedies, penalties, and procedures as are applicable to a violation of the Act by a common carrier engaged in interstate communication.

[65 FR 38436, June 21, 2000]

§64.603   Provision of services.

(a) Each common carrier providing telephone voice transmission services shall provide, in compliance with the regulations prescribed herein and the emergency calling requirements in part 9, subpart E of this chapter, throughout the area in which it offers services, telecommunications relay services, individually, through designees, through a competitively selected vendor, or in concert with other carriers. Interstate Spanish language relay service shall be provided. Speech-to-speech relay service also shall be provided, except that speech-to-speech relay service need not be provided by IP Relay providers, VRS providers, captioned telephone relay service providers, and IP CTS providers. In addition, each common carrier providing telephone voice transmission services shall provide access via the 711 dialing code to all relay services as a toll free call. CMRS providers subject to this 711 access requirement are not required to provide 711 dialing code access to TTY users if they provide 711 dialing code access via real-time text communications, in accordance with 47 CFR part 67.

(b) A common carrier shall be considered to be in compliance with this section:

(1) With respect to intrastate telecommunications relay services in any state that does not have a certified program under §64.606 and with respect to interstate telecommunications relay services, if such common carrier (or other entity through which the carrier is providing such relay services) is in compliance with §64.604; or

(2) With respect to intrastate telecommunications relay services in any state that has a certified program under §64.606 for such state, if such common carrier (or other entity through which the carrier is providing such relay services) is in compliance with the program certified under §64.606 for such state.

[82 FR 7707, Jan.23, 2017, as amended at 84 FR 66779, Dec. 5, 2019]

§64.604   Mandatory minimum standards.

The standards in this section are applicable December 18, 2000, except as stated in paragraphs (c)(2) and (c)(7) of this section.

(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 shall stay with the call for a minimum of ten minutes. CAs answering and placing an STS call shall stay with the call for a minimum of twenty minutes. The minimum time period shall begin to run when the CA reaches the called party. The obligation of the CA to stay with the call shall terminate upon the earlier of:

(A) The termination of the call by one of the parties to the call; or

(B) The completion of the minimum time period.

(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.

(viii) STS providers shall offer STS users the option to have their voices muted so that the other party to the call will hear only the CA and will not hear the STS user's voice.

(2) Confidentiality and conversation content. (i) Except as authorized by section 705 of the Communications Act, 47 U.S.C. 605, CAs are prohibited from disclosing the content of any relayed conversation regardless of content, and with a limited exception for STS CAs, from keeping records of the content of any conversation beyond the duration of a call, even if to do so would be inconsistent with state or local law. STS CAs may retain information from a particular call in order to facilitate the completion of consecutive calls, at the request of the user. The caller may request the STS CA to retain such information, or the CA may ask the caller if he wants the CA to repeat the same information during subsequent calls. The CA may retain the information only for as long as it takes to complete the subsequent calls.

(ii) CAs are prohibited from intentionally altering a relayed conversation and, to the extent that it is not inconsistent with federal, state or local law regarding use of telephone company facilities for illegal purposes, must relay all conversation verbatim unless the relay user specifically requests summarization, or if the user requests interpretation of an ASL call. An STS CA may facilitate the call of an STS user with a speech disability so long as the CA does not interfere with the independence of the user, the user maintains control of the conversation, and the user does not object. Appropriate measures must be taken by relay providers to ensure that confidentiality of VRS users is maintained.

(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. Providers of Internet-based TRS need not provide the same billing options (e.g., sent-paid long distance, operator-assisted, collect, and third party billing) traditionally offered for wireline voice services if they allow for long distance calls to be placed using calling cards or credit cards or do not assess charges for long distance calling. Providers of Internet-based TRS need not allow for long distance calls to be placed using calling cards or credit cards if they do not assess charges for long distance calling.

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

(iv) Relay services other than Internet-based TRS shall be capable of handling pay-per-call calls.

(v) TRS providers are required to provide the following types of TRS calls:

(A) Text-to-voice and voice-to-text;

(B) One-line VCO, two-line VCO, VCO-to-TTY, and VCO-to-VCO; and

(C) One-line HCO, two-line HCO, HCO-to-TTY, HCO-to-HCO. VRS providers are not required to provide text-to-voice and voice-to-text functionality. IP Relay providers are not required to provide one-line VCO and one-line HCO. IP Relay providers and VRS providers are not required to provide:

(1) VCO-to-TTY and VCO-to-VCO; and

(2) HCO-to-TTY and HCO-to-HCO. Captioned telephone service providers and IP CTS providers are not required to provide:

(i) Text-to-voice functionality; and

(ii) One-line HCO, two-line HCO, HCO-to-TTY, and HCO-to-HCO. IP CTS providers are not required to provide one-line VCO.

(vi) TRS providers are required to provide the following features:

(A) Call release functionality (only with respect to the provision of TTY-based relay service);

(B) Speed dialing functionality; and

(C) 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) [Reserved]

(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.

(6) Visual privacy screens/idle calls. A VRS CA may not enable a visual privacy screen or similar feature during a VRS call. A VRS CA must disconnect a VRS call if the caller or the called party to a VRS call enables a privacy screen or similar feature for more than five minutes or is otherwise unresponsive or unengaged for more than five minutes, unless the call is a 9-1-1 emergency call or the caller or called party is legitimately placed on hold and is present and waiting for active communications to commence. Prior to disconnecting the call, the CA must announce to both parties the intent to terminate the call and may reverse the decision to disconnect if one of the parties indicates continued engagement with the call.

(7) International calls. VRS calls that originate from an international IP address will not be compensated, with the exception of calls made by a U.S. resident who has pre-registered with his or her default provider prior to leaving the country, during specified periods of time while on travel and from specified regions of travel, for which there is an accurate means of verifying the identity and location of such callers. For purposes of this section, an international IP address is defined as one that indicates that the individual initiating the call is located outside the United States.

(b) Technical standards—(1) ASCII and Baudot. TTY-based relay service shall be capable of communicating with ASCII and Baudot format, at any speed generally in use. Other forms of TRS are not subject to this requirement.

(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.

(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.

(iii) Speed of answer requirements for VRS providers. VRS providers must answer 80% of all VRS calls within 120 seconds, measured on a monthly basis. VRS providers must meet the speed of answer requirements for VRS providers as measured from the time a VRS call reaches facilities operated by the VRS provider to the time when the call is answered by a CA—i.e., not when the call is put on hold, placed in a queue, or connected to an IVR system. Abandoned calls shall be included in the VRS speed of answer calculation.

(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. This requirement is inapplicable to providers of Internet-based TRS if they do not assess specific charges for long distance calling.

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

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

(iii) A VRS CA may not handle VRS calls from a location primarily used as his or her home unless as part of the voluntary at-home VRS call handling pilot program as provided for by paragraph (b)(8) of this section.

(iv) A VRS provider leasing or licensing an automatic call distribution (ACD) platform must have a written lease or license agreement. Such lease or license agreement may not include any revenue sharing agreement or compensation based upon minutes of use. In addition, if any such lease is between two eligible VRS providers, the lessee or licensee must locate the ACD platform on its own premises and must utilize its own employees to manage the ACD platform.

(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.

(7) STS 711 Calls. An STS provider shall, at a minimum, employ the same means of enabling an STS user to connect to a CA when dialing 711 that the provider uses for all other forms of TRS. When a CA directly answers an incoming 711 call, the CA shall transfer the STS user to an STS CA without requiring the STS user to take any additional steps. When an interactive voice response (IVR) system answers an incoming 711 call, the IVR system shall allow for an STS user to connect directly to an STS CA using the same level of prompts as the IVR system uses for all other forms of TRS.

(8) Voluntary at-home VRS call handling pilot program. Any VRS provider that holds a conditional or full certification to receive compensation from the TRS Fund pursuant to §64.606 as of March 23, 2017 may participate in the voluntary at-home VRS call handling pilot program. The pilot program shall be in effect for one year, for service provided by participants beginning November 1, 2017, and ending October 31, 2018.

(i) Notification of intent to participate. A VRS provider seeking to participate in the pilot program shall notify the Commission of its intent to participate on or before September 1, 2017, and shall include in such notification a detailed plan demonstrating that the VRS provider intends to achieve compliance with the mandatory minimum standards applicable to VRS and with the safeguards enumerated in this paragraph (b)(8). Plans submitted by VRS providers shall specify the following:

(A) A description of the screening process used to select CAs for the at-home call handling program;

(B) A description of specific training to be provided for at-home CAs;

(C) A description of the protocols and CA expectations developed for the at-home call handling program;

(D) A description of the grounds for dismissing a CA from the at-home program and the process for such termination in the event that the CA fails to adhere to applicable requirements;

(E) A description of all steps that will be taken to install a workstation in a CA's home, including evaluations that will be performed to ensure all workstations are sufficiently secure and equipped to prevent eavesdropping and outside interruptions;

(F) A description of the monitoring technology to be used by the provider to ensure that off-site supervision approximates the level of supervision at the provider's call center;

(G) An explanation of how the provider's workstations will connect to the provider's network, including how they will be integrated into the call center routing, distribution, tracking, and support systems, and how the provider will ensure system redundancy in the event of service disruptions in at-home workstations;

(H) A signed certification by an officer of the provider that the provider will conduct random and unannounced inspections of at least five percent (5%) of all at-home workstations during the pilot program; and

(I) A commitment to comply with all other safeguards enumerated in this paragraph (b)(8) and the applicable rules in this chapter governing TRS.

(ii) Authorization for at-home VRS call handling. Upon Commission approval of a VRS provider's plan, the provider may conduct at-home VRS call handling during the period of the pilot program. The Commission may cancel such approval if a VRS provider fails to comply with any of the safeguards enumerated in this paragraph (b)(8) or other applicable mandatory minimum TRS standards. VRS providers may be subject to withholding, forfeitures, and penalties for noncompliant minutes handled by at-home workstations, as is the case for non-compliant minutes handled by call centers.

(iii) Limit on minutes handled. In any month of the program, a VRS provider may be compensated for minutes served by at-home CA workstations up to a maximum of either thirty percent (30%) of a VRS provider's total minutes for which compensation is paid in that month or thirty percent (30%) of the provider's average monthly minutes for the 12 months ending October 31, 2017, whichever is greater.

(iv) Personnel safeguards. Before permitting CAs to handle VRS calls from at-home workstations, VRS providers shall:

(A) Ensure that each CA handling calls from an at-home workstation has the experience, skills, and knowledge necessary to effectively interpret from these workstations, including a thorough understanding of the TRS mandatory minimum standards and at least three years of experience as a call center CA.

(B) Establish protocols for the handling of calls from at-home workstations (to the extent there are additional protocols that differ from those applicable to the provider's call centers) and provide training to at-home CAs on such protocols, in addition to all applicable training that is required of CAs working from call centers.

(C) Provide each CA working from an at-home workstation equivalent support to that provided to CAs working from call centers, as needed to effectively handle calls, including, where appropriate, the opportunity to team interpret and consult with supervisors, and ensure that supervisors are readily available to a CA working from home to resolve problems that may arise during a relay call, such as difficulty in understanding a VRS user's signs, the need for added support for emergency calls, and relieving a CA in the event of the CA's sudden illness.

(D) Establish grounds for dismissing a CA from the at-home VRS call handling program (i.e., for noncompliance with the standards and safeguards enumerated in this paragraph (b)(8) and the rules governing TRS), including a process for such termination in the event that the CA fails to adhere to these requirements, and provide such grounds and process in writing to each CA participating in the pilot program.

(E) Obtain from each CA handling calls from an at-home workstation a certification in writing of the CA's understanding of and commitment to complying with the rules in this chapter governing TRS, including rules governing caller confidentiality and fraud prevention, and the CA's understanding of the reasons and process for dismissal from the at-home VRS call handling program.

(v) Technical and environmental safeguards. Participating VRS providers shall ensure that each home environment used for at-home VRS call handling enables the provision of confidential and uninterrupted services to the same extent as the provider's call centers and is seamlessly integrated into the provider's call routing, distribution, tracking, and support systems. VRS providers shall ensure that each at-home workstation:

(A) Resides in a separate, secure location in the CA's home, where access is restricted solely to the CA;

(B) Allows a CA to use all call-handling technology to the same extent as other CAs, including the ability to transition a non-emergency call to an emergency call, engage in virtual teaming with another CA, and allow supervisors to communicate with and oversee calls;

(C) Is capable of supporting VRS in compliance with the applicable mandatory minimum technical and emergency call handling standards to the same degree as these are available at call centers, including the ability to route VRS calls around individual CA workstations in the event the CA experiences a network outage or other service interruption;

(D) Is equipped with an effective means to prevent eavesdropping, such as white noise emitters or soundproofing, and to ensure that interruptions from noises outside the room do not adversely affect a CA's ability to interpret a call accurately and effectively; and

(E) Is connected to the provider's network over a secure connection to ensure caller privacy.

(vi) Monitoring and oversight obligations. VRS providers shall:

(A) Inspect and approve each at-home workstation before activating a CA's workstation for use;

(B) Assign a unique call center identification number (ID) to each VRS at-home workstation and use this call center ID to identify all minutes handled from each such workstation in its call detail records submitted monthly to the TRS Fund administrator;

(C) Equip each at-home workstation with monitoring technology sufficient to ensure that off-site supervision approximates the level of supervision at the provider's call center, including the ability to monitor both ends of a call, i.e., video and audio, to the same extent as is possible in a call center, and regularly analyze the records and data produced by such monitoring to proactively address possible waste, fraud, and abuse;

(D) Keep all records pertaining to at-home workstations, including the data produced by any at-home workstation monitoring technology, except for any data that records the content of an interpreted conversation, for a minimum of five years; and

(E) Conduct random and unannounced inspections of at least five percent (5%) of all at-home workstations during the pilot program.

(vii) Commission audits and inspections. At-home workstations and workstation records shall be subject to review, audit, and inspection by the Commission and the Fund administrator and unannounced on-site inspections by the Commission to the same extent as other call centers and call center records subject to the rules in this chapter.

(viii) Monthly reports. Each participating VRS provider shall report the following information to the TRS Fund administrator with its monthly requests for compensation:

(A) The call center ID and full street address (number, street, city, state, and zip code) for each at-home workstation and the CA ID number for each individual handling VRS calls from that workstation; and

(B) The location and call center IDs of call centers providing supervision for at-home workstations, plus the names of persons at such call centers responsible for oversight of such workstations.

(ix) Six-month report. Each participating VRS provider shall submit, no later than seven months after the start of its program, a report covering the first six months of its program, containing the following information:

(A) A description of the actual screening process used to select CAs for the at-home call handling program;

(B) Copies of training materials provided to at-home CAs;

(C) Copies of written protocols used for CAs working from home;

(D) The total number of CAs handling VRS calls from at-home workstations over the first six months of the program;

(E) The number of 911 calls handled by the provider's at-home workstations;

(F) A description and copies of any surveys or evaluations taken of CAs concerning their experience using at-home workstations and participating in an at-home call handling program;

(G) The total number of CAs terminated from the program;

(H) The total number of complaints, if any, submitted to the provider regarding its at-home call handling program or calls handled by at-home CAs;

(I) The total number of on-site inspections conducted of at-home workstations and the date and location of each inspection;

(J) A description of the monitoring technology used to monitor CAs working at home and an analysis of the experience of supervisors overseeing at-home CAs compared to overseeing CAs in a call center;

(K) Copies of any reports produced by tracking software and a description explaining how the provider analyzed the reports for anomalies; and

(L) Detailed documentation of costs incurred in the use of at-home workstations, including any costs associated with CA recruitment, training, and compensation, engineering and technical set-up (including workstation set-up), and administrative and management support (including oversight, evaluation, and recording).

(c) Functional standards—(1) Consumer complaint logs. (i) States and interstate providers must maintain a log of consumer complaints including all complaints about TRS in the state, whether filed with the TRS provider or the State, and must retain the log until the next application for certification is granted. The log shall include, at a minimum, the date the complaint was filed, the nature of the complaint, the date of resolution, and an explanation of the resolution.

(ii) Beginning July 1, 2002, states and TRS providers shall submit summaries of logs indicating the number of complaints received for the 12-month period ending May 31 to the Commission by July 1 of each year. Summaries of logs submitted to the Commission on July 1, 2001 shall indicate the number of complaints received from the date of OMB approval through May 31, 2001.

(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.

(3) Public access to information. Carriers, through publication in their directories, periodic billing inserts, placement of TRS instructions in telephone directories, through directory assistance services, and incorporation of TTY numbers in telephone directories, shall assure that callers in their service areas are aware of the availability and use of all forms of TRS. Efforts to educate the public about TRS should extend to all segments of the public, including individuals who are hard of hearing, speech disabled, and senior citizens as well as members of the general population. In addition, each common carrier providing telephone voice transmission services shall conduct, not later than October 1, 2001, ongoing education and outreach programs that publicize the availability of 711 access to TRS in a manner reasonably designed to reach the largest number of consumers possible.

(4) Rates. TRS users shall pay rates no greater than the rates paid for functionally equivalent voice communication services with respect to such factors as the duration of the call, the time of day, and the distance from the point of origination to the point of termination.

(5) Jurisdictional separation of costs—(i) General. Where appropriate, costs of providing TRS shall be separated in accordance with the jurisdictional separation procedures and standards set forth in the Commission's regulations adopted pursuant to section 410 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended.

(ii) Cost recovery. Costs caused by interstate TRS shall be recovered from all subscribers for every interstate service, utilizing a shared-funding cost recovery mechanism. Except as noted in this paragraph (c)(5)(ii), costs caused by intrastate TRS shall be recovered from the intrastate jurisdiction. In a state that has a certified program under §64.606, the state agency providing TRS shall, through the state's regulatory agency, permit a common carrier to recover costs incurred in providing TRS by a method consistent with the requirements of this section. Costs caused by the provision of interstate and intrastate VRS and IP Relay shall be recovered from all subscribers for every interstate service, utilizing a shared-funding cost recovery mechanism. Costs caused by the provision of interstate and intrastate IP CTS, if not provided through a certified state program under §64.606, shall be recovered from all subscribers for every interstate and intrastate service, using a shared-funding cost recovery mechanism.

(iii) Telecommunications Relay Services Fund. Effective July 26, 1993, an Interstate Cost Recovery Plan, hereinafter referred to as the TRS Fund, shall be administered by an entity selected by the Commission (administrator). The initial administrator, for an interim period, will be the National Exchange Carrier Association, Inc.

(A) Contributions. Every carrier providing interstate or intrastate telecommunications services (including interconnected VoIP service providers pursuant to §64.601(b)) and every provider of non-interconnected VoIP service shall contribute to the TRS Fund as described in this paragraph (c)(5)(iii): For the support of TRS other than IP CTS on the basis of interstate end-user revenues; and for the support of IP CTS on the basis of interstate and intrastate revenues. Contributions shall be made by all carriers who provide interstate or intrastate services, including, but not limited to, cellular telephone and paging, mobile radio, operator services, personal communications service (PCS), access (including subscriber line charges), alternative access and special access, packet-switched, WATS, 800, 900, message telephone service (MTS), private line, telex, telegraph, video, satellite, intraLATA, international and resale services.

(B) Contribution computations. Contributors' contributions to the TRS fund shall be the product of their subject revenues for the prior calendar year and the applicable contribution factors determined annually by the Commission. The contribution factor shall be based on the ratio between expected TRS Fund expenses to the contributors' revenues subject to contribution. In the event that contributions exceed TRS payments and administrative costs, the contribution factor for the following year will be adjusted by an appropriate amount, taking into consideration projected cost and usage changes. In the event that contributions are inadequate, the fund administrator may request authority from the Commission to borrow funds commercially, with such debt secured by future years' contributions. Each subject contributor that has revenues subject to contribution must contribute at least $25 per year. Contributors whose annual contributions total less than $1,200 must pay the entire contribution at the beginning of the contribution period. Contributors whose contributions total $1,200 or more may divide their contributions into equal monthly payments. Contributors shall complete and submit, and contributions shall be based on, a “Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet” (as published by the Commission in the Federal Register). The worksheet shall be certified to by an officer of the contributor, and subject to verification by the Commission or the administrator at the discretion of the Commission. Contributors' statements in the worksheet shall be subject to the provisions of section 220 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended. The fund administrator may bill contributors a separate assessment for reasonable administrative expenses and interest resulting from improper filing or overdue contributions. The Chief of the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau may waive, reduce, modify or eliminate contributor reporting requirements that prove unnecessary and require additional reporting requirements that the Bureau deems necessary to the sound and efficient administration of the TRS Fund.

(C) Registration Requirements for Providers of Non-Interconnected VoIP Service—(1)Applicability. A non-interconnected VoIP service provider that will provide interstate service that generates interstate end-user revenue that is subject to contribution to the Telecommunications Relay Service Fund shall file the registration information described in paragraph (c)(5)(iii)(C)(2) of this section in accordance with the procedures described in paragraphs (c)(5)(iii)(C)(3) and (c)(5)(iii)(C)(4) of this section. Any non-interconnected VoIP service provider already providing interstate service that generates interstate end-user revenue that is subject to contribution to the Telecommunications Relay Service Fund on the effective date of these rules shall submit the relevant portion of its FCC Form 499-A in accordance with paragraphs (c)(5)(iii)(C)(2) and (3) of this section.

(2) Information required for purposes of TRS Fund contributions. A non-interconnected VoIP service provider that is subject to the registration requirement pursuant to paragraph (c)(5)(iii)(C)(1) of this section shall provide the following information:

(i) The provider's business name(s) and primary address;

(ii) The names and business addresses of the provider's chief executive officer, chairman, and president, or, in the event that a provider does not have such executives, three similarly senior-level officials of the provider;

(iii) The provider's regulatory contact and/or designated agent;

(iv) All names that the provider has used in the past; and

(v) The state(s) in which the provider provides such service.

(3) Submission of registration. A provider that is subject to the registration requirement pursuant to paragraph (c)(5)(iii)(C)(1) of this section shall submit the information described in paragraph (c)(5)(iii)(C)(2) of this section in accordance with the Instructions to FCC Form 499-A. FCC Form 499-A must be submitted under oath and penalty of perjury.

(4) Changes in information. A provider must notify the Commission of any changes to the information provided pursuant to paragraph (c)(5)(iii)(C)(2) of this section within no more than one week of the change. Providers may satisfy this requirement by filing the relevant portion of FCC Form 499-A in accordance with the Instructions to such form.

(D) Data collection and audits. (1) TRS providers seeking compensation from the TRS Fund shall provide the administrator with true and adequate data, and other historical, projected and state rate related information reasonably requested to determine the TRS Fund revenue requirements and payments. TRS providers shall provide the administrator with the following: total TRS minutes of use, total interstate TRS minutes of use, total TRS investment in general in accordance with part 32 of this chapter, and other historical or projected information reasonably requested by the administrator for purposes of computing payments and revenue requirements. In annual cost data filings and supplementary information provided to the administrator regarding such cost data, IP CTS providers that contract for the supply of services used in the provision of TRS shall include information about payments under such contracts, classified according to the substantive cost categories specified by the administrator. To the extent that a third party's provision of services covers more than one cost category, the resubmitted cost reports must provide an explanation of how the provider determined or calculated the portion of contractual payments attributable to each cost category. To the extent that the administrator reasonably deems necessary, providers shall submit additional detail on such contractor expenses, including but not limited to complete copies of such contracts and related correspondence or other records and information relevant to determining the nature of the services provided and the allocation of the costs of such services to cost categories.

(2) Call data required from all TRS providers. In addition to the data requested by paragraph (c)(5)(iii)(D)(1) of this section, TRS providers seeking compensation from the TRS Fund shall submit the following specific data associated with each TRS call for which compensation is sought:

(i) The call record ID sequence;

(ii) CA ID number;

(iii) Session start and end times noted at a minimum to the nearest second;

(iv) Conversation start and end times noted at a minimum to the nearest second;

(v) Incoming telephone number and IP address (if call originates with an IP-based device) at the time of the call;

(vi) Outbound telephone number (if call terminates to a telephone) and IP address (if call terminates to an IP-based device) at the time of call;

(vii) Total conversation minutes;

(viii) Total session minutes;

(ix) The call center (by assigned center ID number) that handled the call; and

(x) The URL address through which the call is initiated.

(3) Additional call data required from internet-based Relay Providers. In addition to the data required by paragraph (c)(5)(iii)(D)(2) of this section, internet-based Relay Providers seeking compensation from the Fund shall submit speed of answer compliance data.

(4) Call record and speed of answer data. Providers submitting call record and speed of answer data in compliance with paragraphs (c)(5)(iii)(D)(2) and (3) of this section shall:

(i) Employ an automated record keeping system to capture such data required pursuant to paragraph (c)(5)(iii)(D)(2) of this section for each TRS call for which minutes are submitted to the fund administrator for compensation; and

(ii) Submit such data electronically, in a standardized format. For purposes of this subparagraph, an automated record keeping system is a system that captures data in a computerized and electronic format that does not allow human intervention during the call session for either conversation or session time.

(5) Certification. The chief executive officer (CEO), chief financial officer (CFO), or other senior executive of a TRS provider with first hand knowledge of the accuracy and completeness of the information provided, when submitting a request for compensation from the TRS Fund must, with each such request, certify as follows:

I swear under penalty of perjury that:

(i) I am ______ (name and title)______, an officer of the above-named reporting entity and that I have examined the foregoing reports and that all requested information has been provided and all statements of fact, as well as all cost and demand data contained in this Relay Services Data Request, are true and accurate; and

(ii) The TRS calls for which compensation is sought were handled in compliance with Section 225 of the Communications Act and the Commission's rules and orders, and are not the result of impermissible financial incentives or payments to generate calls.

(6) Audits. The Fund administrator and the Commission, including the Office of Inspector General, shall have the authority to examine and verify TRS provider data as necessary to assure the accuracy and integrity of TRS Fund payments. TRS providers must submit to audits annually or at times determined appropriate by the Commission, the fund administrator, or by an entity approved by the Commission for such purpose. A TRS provider that fails to submit to a requested audit, or fails to provide documentation necessary for verification upon reasonable request, will be subject to an automatic suspension of payment until it submits to the requested audit or provides sufficient documentation. In the course of an audit or otherwise upon demand, an IP CTS provider must make available any relevant documentation, including contracts with entities providing services or equipment directly related to the provision of IP CTS, to the Commission, the TRS Fund administrator, or any person authorized by the Commission or TRS Fund administrator to conduct an audit.

(7) Call data record retention. Internet-based TRS providers shall retain the data required to be submitted by this section, and all other call detail records, other records that support their claims for payment from the TRS Fund, and records used to substantiate the costs and expense data submitted in the annual relay service data request form, in an electronic format that is easily retrievable, for a minimum of five years.

(E) Payments to TRS providers. (1) TRS Fund payments shall be distributed to TRS providers based on formulas approved or modified by the Commission. The administrator shall file schedules of payment formulas with the Commission. Such formulas shall be designed to compensate TRS providers for reasonable costs of providing interstate TRS, and shall be subject to Commission approval. Such formulas shall be based on total monthly interstate TRS minutes of use. The formulas should appropriately compensate interstate providers for the provision of TRS, whether intrastate or interstate.

(2) TRS minutes of use for purposes of interstate cost recovery under the TRS Fund are defined as the minutes of use for completed interstate TRS calls placed through the TRS center beginning after call set-up and concluding after the last message call unit.

(3) In addition to the data required under paragraph (c)(5)(iii)(C) of this section, all TRS providers, including providers who are not interexchange carriers, local exchange carriers, or certified state relay providers, must submit reports of interstate TRS minutes of use to the administrator in order to receive payments.

(4) The administrator shall establish procedures to verify payment claims, and may suspend or delay payments to a TRS provider if the TRS provider fails to provide adequate verification of payment upon reasonable request, or if directed by the Commission to do so. The TRS Fund administrator shall make payments only to eligible TRS providers operating pursuant to the mandatory minimum standards as required in this section, and after disbursements to the administrator for reasonable expenses incurred by it in connection with TRS Fund administration. TRS providers receiving payments shall file a form prescribed by the administrator. The administrator shall fashion a form that is consistent with 47 CFR parts 32 and 36 procedures reasonably tailored to meet the needs of TRS providers.

(5) The Commission shall have authority to audit providers and have access to all data, including carrier specific data, collected by the fund administrator. The fund administrator shall have authority to audit TRS providers reporting data to the administrator.

(6) The administrator shall not be obligated to pay any request for compensation until it has been established as compensable. A request shall be established as compensable only after the administrator, in consultation with the Commission, or the Commission determines that the provider has met its burden to demonstrate that the claim is compensable under applicable Commission rules and the procedures established by the administrator. Any request for compensation for which payment has been suspended or withheld in accordance with paragraph (c)(5)(iii)(L) of this section shall not be established as compensable until the administrator, in consultation with the Commission, or the Commission determines that the request is compensable in accordance with paragraph (c)(5)(iii)(L)(4) of this section.

(F) Eligibility for payment from the TRS Fund. (1) TRS providers, except Internet-based TRS providers, eligible for receiving payments from the TRS Fund must be:

(i) TRS facilities operated under contract with and/or by certified state TRS programs pursuant to §64.606; or

(ii) TRS facilities owned or operated under contract with a common carrier providing interstate services operated pursuant to this section; or

(iii) Interstate common carriers offering TRS pursuant to this section.

(2) Internet-based TRS providers eligible for receiving payments from the TRS fund must be certified by the Commission pursuant to §64.606.

(G) Any eligible TRS provider as defined in paragraph (c)(5)(iii)(F) of this section shall notify the administrator of its intent to participate in the TRS Fund thirty (30) days prior to submitting reports of TRS interstate minutes of use in order to receive payment settlements for interstate TRS, and failure to file may exclude the TRS provider from eligibility for the year.

(H) Administrator reporting, monitoring, and filing requirements. The administrator shall perform all filing and reporting functions required in paragraphs (c)(5)(iii)(A) through (c)(5)(iii)(J) of this section. TRS payment formulas and revenue requirements shall be filed with the Commission on May 1 of each year, to be effective the following July 1. The administrator shall report annually to the Commission an itemization of monthly administrative costs which shall consist of all expenses, receipts, and payments associated with the administration of the TRS Fund. The administrator is required to keep the TRS Fund separate from all other funds administered by the administrator, shall file a cost allocation manual (CAM) and shall provide the Commission full access to all data collected pursuant to the administration of the TRS Fund. The administrator shall account for the financial transactions of the TRS Fund in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles for federal agencies and maintain the accounts of the TRS Fund in accordance with the United States Government Standard General Ledger. When the administrator, or any independent auditor hired by the administrator, conducts audits of providers of services under the TRS program or contributors to the TRS Fund, such audits shall be conducted in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. In administering the TRS Fund, the administrator shall also comply with all relevant and applicable federal financial management and reporting statutes. The administrator shall establish a non-paid voluntary advisory committee of persons from the hearing and speech disability community, TRS users (voice and text telephone), interstate service providers, state representatives, and TRS providers, which will meet at reasonable intervals (at least semi-annually) in order to monitor TRS cost recovery matters. Each group shall select its own representative to the committee. The administrator's annual report shall include a discussion of the advisory committee deliberations.

(I) Information filed with the administrator. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Financial Officer (CFO), or other senior executive of a provider submitting minutes to the Fund for compensation must, in each instance, certify, under penalty of perjury, that the minutes were handled in compliance with section 225 of the Communications Act of 1934 and the Commission's rules and orders, and are not the result of impermissible financial incentives or payments to generate calls. The CEO, CFO, or other senior executive of a provider submitting cost and demand data to the TRS Fund administrator shall certify under penalty of perjury that such information is true and correct. The administrator shall keep all data obtained from contributors and TRS providers confidential and shall not disclose such data in company-specific form unless directed to do so by the Commission. Subject to any restrictions imposed by the Chief of the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, the TRS Fund administrator may share data obtained from carriers with the administrators of the universal support mechanisms (see §54.701 of this chapter), the North American Numbering Plan administration cost recovery (see §52.16 of this chapter), and the long-term local number portability cost recovery (see §52.32 of this chapter). The TRS Fund administrator shall keep confidential all data obtained from other administrators. The administrator shall not use such data except for purposes of administering the TRS Fund, calculating the regulatory fees of interstate and intrastate common carriers and VoIP service providers, and aggregating such fee payments for submission to the Commission. The Commission shall have access to all data reported to the administrator, and authority to audit TRS providers. Contributors may make requests for Commission nondisclosure of company-specific revenue information under §0.459 of this chapter by so indicating on the Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet at the time that the subject data are submitted. The Commission shall make all decisions regarding nondisclosure of company-specific information.

(J) [Reserved]

(K) All parties providing services or contributions or receiving payments under this section are subject to the enforcement provisions specified in the Communications Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Commission's rules.

(L) Procedures for the suspension/withholding of payment. (1) The Fund administrator will continue the current practice of reviewing monthly requests for compensation of TRS minutes of use within two months after they are filed with the Fund administrator.

(2) If the Fund administrator in consultation with the Commission, or the Commission on its own accord, determines that payments for certain minutes should be withheld, a TRS provider will be notified within two months from the date for the request for compensation was filed, as to why its claim for compensation has been withheld in whole or in part. TRS providers then will be given two additional months from the date of notification to provide additional justification for payment of such minutes of use. Such justification should be sufficiently detailed to provide the Fund administrator and the Commission the information needed to evaluate whether the minutes of use in dispute are compensable. If a TRS provider does not respond, or does not respond with sufficiently detailed information within two months after notification that payment for minutes of use is being withheld, payment for the minutes of use in dispute will be denied permanently.

(3) If, the TRS provider submits additional justification for payment of the minutes of use in dispute within two months after being notified that its initial justification was insufficient, the Fund administrator or the Commission will review such additional justification documentation, and may ask further questions or conduct further investigation to evaluate whether to pay the TRS provider for the minutes of use in dispute, within eight months after submission of such additional justification.

(4) If the provider meets its burden to establish that the minutes in question are compensable under the Commission's rules, the Fund administrator will compensate the provider for such minutes of use. Any payment by the Commission will not preclude any future action by either the Commission or the U.S. Department of Justice to recover past payments (regardless of whether the payment was the subject of withholding) if it is determined at any time that such payment was for minutes billed to the Commission in violation of the Commission's rules or any other civil or criminal law.

(5) If the Commission determines that the provider has not met its burden to demonstrate that the minutes of use in dispute are compensable under the Commission's rules, payment will be permanently denied. The Fund administrator or the Commission will notify the provider of this decision within one year of the initial request for payment.

(6) If the VRS provider submits a waiver request asserting exigent circumstances affecting one or more call centers that will make it highly improbable that the VRS provider will meet the speed-of-answer standard for call attempts occurring in a period of time identified by beginning and ending dates, the Fund administrator shall not withhold TRS Fund payments for a VRS provider's failure to meet the speed-of-answer standard during the identified period of time while the waiver request is under review by the Commission. In the event that the waiver request is denied, the speed-of-answer requirement is not met, and payment has been made to the provider from the TRS Fund for the identified period of time or a portion thereof, the provider shall return such payment to the TRS Fund for any period of time when the speed-of-answer requirement was not met.

(M) Whistleblower protections. Providers shall not take any reprisal in the form of a personnel action against any current or former employee or contractor who discloses to a designated manager of the provider, the Commission, the TRS Fund administrator or to any Federal or state law enforcement entity, any information that the reporting person reasonably believes evidences known or suspected violations of the Communications Act or TRS regulations, or any other activity that the reporting person reasonably believes constitutes waste, fraud, or abuse, or that otherwise could result in the improper billing of minutes of use to the TRS Fund and discloses that information to a designated manager of the provider, the Commission, the TRS Fund administrator or to any Federal or state law enforcement entity. Providers shall provide an accurate and complete description of these TRS whistleblower protections, including the right to notify the FCC's Office of Inspector General or its Enforcement Bureau, to all employees and contractors, in writing. Providers that already disseminate their internal business policies to its employees in writing (e.g. in employee handbooks, policies and procedures manuals, or bulletin board postings—either online or in hard copy) must include an accurate and complete description of these TRS whistleblower protections in those written materials.

(N) In addition to the provisions set forth above, VRS providers shall be subject to the following provisions:

(1) Eligibility for reimbursement from the TRS Fund. (i) Only an eligible VRS provider, as defined in paragraph (c)(5)(iii)(F) of this section, may hold itself out to the general public as providing VRS.

(ii) VRS service must be offered under the name by which the eligible VRS provider offering such service became certified and in a manner that clearly identifies that provider of the service. Where a TRS provider also utilizes sub-brands to identify its VRS, each sub-brand must clearly identify the eligible VRS provider. Providers must route all VRS calls through a single URL address used for each name or sub-brand used.

(iii) An eligible VRS provider may not contract with or otherwise authorize any third party to provide interpretation services or call center functions (including call distribution, call routing, call setup, mapping, call features, billing, and registration) on its behalf, unless that authorized third party also is an eligible provider.

(iv) To the extent that an eligible VRS provider contracts with or otherwise authorizes a third party to provide any other services or functions related to the provision of VRS other than interpretation services or call center functions, that third party must not hold itself out as a provider of VRS, and must clearly identify the eligible VRS provider to the public. To the extent an eligible VRS provider contracts with or authorizes a third party to provide any services or functions related to marketing or outreach, and such services utilize VRS, those VRS minutes are not compensable on a per minute basis from the TRS fund.

(v) All third-party contracts or agreements entered into by an eligible provider must be in writing. Copies of such agreements shall be made available to the Commission and to the TRS Fund administrator upon request.

(2) Call center reports. VRS providers shall file a written report with the Commission and the TRS Fund administrator, on April 1st and October 1st of each year for each call center that handles VRS calls that the provider owns or controls, including centers located outside of the United States, that includes:

(i) The complete street address of the center;

(ii) The number of individual CAs and CA managers; and

(iii) The name and contact information (phone number and e-mail address) of the manager(s) at the center. VRS providers shall also file written notification with the Commission and the TRS Fund administrator of any change in a center's location, including the opening, closing, or relocation of any center, at least 30 days prior to any such change.

(3) Compensation of CAs. VRS providers may not compensate, give a preferential work schedule or otherwise benefit a CA in any manner that is based upon the number of VRS minutes or calls that the CA relays, either individually or as part of a group.

(4) Remote training session calls. VRS calls to a remote training session or a comparable activity will not be compensable from the TRS Fund when the provider submitting minutes for such a call has been involved, in any manner, with such a training session. Such prohibited involvement includes training programs or comparable activities in which the provider or any affiliate or related party thereto, including but not limited to its subcontractors, partners, employees or sponsoring organizations or entities, has any role in arranging, scheduling, sponsoring, hosting, conducting or promoting such programs or activities.

(6) Complaints—(i) Referral of complaint. If a complaint to the Commission alleges a violation of this subpart with respect to intrastate TRS within a state and certification of the program of such state under §64.606 is in effect, the Commission shall refer such complaint to such state expeditiously.

(ii) Intrastate complaints shall be resolved by the state within 180 days after the complaint is first filed with a state entity, regardless of whether it is filed with the state relay administrator, a state PUC, the relay provider, or with any other state entity.

(iii) Jurisdiction of Commission. After referring a complaint to a state entity under paragraph (c)(6)(i) of this section, or if a complaint is filed directly with a state entity, the Commission shall exercise jurisdiction over such complaint only if:

(A) Final action under such state program has not been taken within:

(1) 180 days after the complaint is filed with such state entity; or

(2) A shorter period as prescribed by the regulations of such state; or

(B) The Commission determines that such state program is no longer qualified for certification under §64.606.

(iv) The Commission shall resolve within 180 days after the complaint is filed with the Commission any interstate TRS complaint alleging a violation of section 225 of the Act or any complaint involving intrastate relay services in states without a certified program. The Commission shall resolve intrastate complaints over which it exercises jurisdiction under paragraph (c)(6)(iii) of this section within 180 days.

(v) Complaint procedures. Complaints against TRS providers for alleged violations of this subpart may be either informal or formal.

(A) Informal complaints—(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.

(2) Content. An informal complaint shall include the name and address of the complainant; the name and address of the TRS provider against whom the complaint is made; a statement of facts supporting the complainant's allegation that the TRS provided it has violated or is violating section 225 of the Act and/or requirements under the Commission's rules; the specific relief or satisfaction sought by the complainant; and the complainant's preferred format or method of response to the complaint by the Commission and the defendant TRS provider (such as letter, facsimile transmission, telephone (voice/TRS/TTY), Internet e-mail, or some other method that would best accommodate the complainant's hearing or speech disability).

(3) Service; designation of agents. The Commission shall promptly forward any complaint meeting the requirements of this subsection to the TRS provider named in the complaint. Such TRS provider shall be called upon to satisfy or answer the complaint within the time specified by the Commission. Every TRS provider shall file with the Commission a statement designating an agent or agents whose principal responsibility will be to receive all complaints, inquiries, orders, decisions, and notices and other pronouncements forwarded by the Commission. Such designation shall include a name or department designation, business address, telephone number (voice and TTY), facsimile number and, if available, internet e-mail address.

(B) Review and disposition of informal complaints. (1) Where it appears from the TRS provider's answer, or from other communications with the parties, that an informal complaint has been satisfied, the Commission may, in its discretion, consider the matter closed without response to the complainant or defendant. In all other cases, the Commission shall inform the parties of its review and disposition of a complaint filed under this subpart. Where practicable, this information shall be transmitted to the complainant and defendant in the manner requested by the complainant (e.g., letter, facsmile transmission, telephone (voice/TRS/TTY) or Internet e-mail.

(2) A complainant unsatisfied with the defendant's response to the informal complaint and the staff's decision to terminate action on the informal complaint may file a formal complaint with the Commission pursuant to paragraph (c)(6)(v)(C) of this section.

(C) Formal complaints. A formal complaint shall be in writing, addressed to the Federal Communications Commission, Enforcement Bureau, Telecommunications Consumer Division, Washington, DC 20554 and shall contain:

(1) The name and address of the complainant,

(2) The name and address of the defendant against whom the complaint is made,

(3) A complete statement of the facts, including supporting data, where available, showing that such defendant did or omitted to do anything in contravention of this subpart, and

(4) The relief sought.

(D) Amended complaints. An amended complaint setting forth transactions, occurrences or events which have happened since the filing of the original complaint and which relate to the original cause of action may be filed with the Commission.

(E) Number of copies. An original and two copies of all pleadings shall be filed.

(F) Service. (1) Except where a complaint is referred to a state pursuant to §64.604(c)(6)(i), or where a complaint is filed directly with a state entity, the Commission will serve on the named party a copy of any complaint or amended complaint filed with it, together with a notice of the filing of the complaint. Such notice shall call upon the defendant to satisfy or answer the complaint in writing within the time specified in said notice of complaint.

(2) All subsequent pleadings and briefs shall be served by the filing party on all other parties to the proceeding in accordance with the requirements of §1.47 of this chapter. Proof of such service shall also be made in accordance with the requirements of said section.

(G) Answers to complaints and amended complaints. Any party upon whom a copy of a complaint or amended complaint is served under this subpart shall serve an answer within the time specified by the Commission in its notice of complaint. The answer shall advise the parties and the Commission fully and completely of the nature of the defense and shall respond specifically to all material allegations of the complaint. In cases involving allegations of harm, the answer shall indicate what action has been taken or is proposed to be taken to stop the occurrence of such harm. Collateral or immaterial issues shall be avoided in answers and every effort should be made to narrow the issues. Matters alleged as affirmative defenses shall be separately stated and numbered. Any defendant failing to file and serve an answer within the time and in the manner prescribed may be deemed in default.

(H) Replies to answers or amended answers. Within 10 days after service of an answer or an amended answer, a complainant may file and serve a reply which shall be responsive to matters contained in such answer or amended answer and shall not contain new matter. Failure to reply will not be deemed an admission of any allegation contained in such answer or amended answer.

(I) Defective pleadings. Any pleading filed in a complaint proceeding that is not in substantial conformity with the requirements of the applicable rules in this subpart may be dismissed.

(7) Treatment of TRS customer information. Beginning on July 21, 2000, all future contracts between the TRS administrator and the TRS vendor shall provide for the transfer of TRS customer profile data from the outgoing TRS vendor to the incoming TRS vendor. Such data must be disclosed in usable form at least 60 days prior to the provider's last day of service provision. Such data may not be used for any purpose other than to connect the TRS user with the called parties desired by that TRS user. Such information shall not be sold, distributed, shared or revealed in any other way by the relay center or its employees, unless compelled to do so by lawful order.

(8) Incentives for use of IP CTS and VRS. (i) An IP CTS provider shall not offer or provide to any person or entity that registers to use IP CTS any form of direct or indirect incentives, financial or otherwise, to register for or use IP CTS.

(ii) An IP CTS provider shall not offer or provide to a hearing health professional any direct or indirect incentives, financial or otherwise, that are tied to a consumer's decision to register for or use IP CTS. Where an IP CTS provider offers or provides IP CTS equipment, directly or indirectly, to a hearing health professional, and such professional makes or has the opportunity to make a profit on the sale of the equipment to consumers, such IP CTS provider shall be deemed to be offering or providing a form of incentive tied to a consumer's decision to register for or use IP CTS.

(iii) Joint marketing arrangements between IP CTS providers and hearing health professionals shall be prohibited.

(iv) For the purpose of this paragraph (c)(8), a hearing health professional is any medical or non-medical professional who advises consumers with regard to hearing disabilities.

(v) A VRS provider shall not offer or provide to any person or entity any form of direct or indirect incentives, financial or otherwise, for the purpose of encouraging individuals to register for or use the VRS provider's service.

(vi) Any IP CTS or VRS provider that does not comply with this paragraph (c)(8) shall be ineligible for compensation for such service from the TRS Fund.

(9) [Reserved]

(10) IP CTS settings. Each IP CTS provider shall ensure that, for each IP CTS device it distributes, directly or indirectly:

(i) The device includes a button, key, icon, or other comparable feature that is easily operable and requires only one step for the consumer to turn on captioning; and

(ii) On or after December 8, 2018, any volume control or other amplification feature can be adjusted separately and independently of the caption feature.

(11)(i)[Reserved]

(ii) No person shall use IP CTS equipment or software with the captioning on, unless:

(A) Such person is registered to use IP CTS pursuant to paragraph (c)(9) of this section; or

(B) Such person was an existing IP CTS user as of March 7, 2013, and either paragraph (c)(9)(xi) of this section is not yet in effect or the registration deadline in paragraph (c)(9)(xi) of this section has not yet passed.

(iii) IP CTS providers shall ensure that any newly distributed IP CTS equipment has a label on its face in a conspicuous location with the following language in a clearly legible font: “FEDERAL LAW PROHIBITS ANYONE BUT REGISTERED USERS WITH HEARING LOSS FROM USING THIS DEVICE WITH THE CAPTIONS ON.” For IP CTS equipment already distributed to consumers by any IP CTS provider as of July 11, 2014, such provider shall, no later than August 11, 2014, distribute to consumers equipment labels with the same language as mandated by this paragraph for newly distributed equipment, along with clear and specific instructions directing the consumer to attach such labels to the face of their IP CTS equipment in a conspicuous location. For software applications on mobile phones, laptops, tablets, computers or other similar devices, IP CTS providers shall ensure that, each time the consumer logs into the application, the notification language required by this paragraph appears in a conspicuous location on the device screen immediately after log-in.

(iv) IP CTS providers shall maintain, with each consumer's registration records, records describing any IP CTS equipment provided, directly or indirectly, to such consumer, stating the amount paid for such equipment, and stating whether the label required by paragraph (c)(11)(iii) of this section was affixed to such equipment prior to its provision to the consumer. For consumers to whom IP CTS equipment was provided directly or indirectly prior to the effective date of this paragraph (c)(11), such records shall state whether and when the label required by paragraph (c)(11)(iii) of this section was distributed to such consumer. Such records shall be maintained for a minimum period of five years after the consumer ceases to obtain service from the provider.

(v) IP CTS providers shall ensure that their informational materials and websites used to market, advertise, educate, or otherwise inform consumers and professionals about IP CTS include the following language in a prominent location in a clearly legible font: “FEDERAL LAW PROHIBITS ANYONE BUT REGISTERED USERS WITH HEARING LOSS FROM USING INTERNET PROTOCOL (IP) CAPTIONED TELEPHONES WITH THE CAPTIONS TURNED ON. IP Captioned Telephone Service may use a live operator. The operator generates captions of what the other party to the call says. These captions are then sent to your phone. There is a cost for each minute of captions generated, paid from a federally administered fund.” For IP CTS provider websites, the language shall be included on the website's home page, each page that provides consumer information about IP CTS, and each page that provides information on how to order IP CTS or IP CTS equipment. IP CTS providers that do not make any use of live CAs to generate captions may shorten the notice to leave out the second, third, and fourth sentences.

(12) Discrimination and preferences. A VRS provider shall not:

(i) Directly or indirectly, by any means or device, engage in any unjust or unreasonable discrimination related to practices, facilities, or services for or in connection with like relay service,

(ii) Engage in or give any undue or unreasonable preference or advantage to any particular person, class of persons, or locality, or

(iii) Subject any particular person, class of persons, or locality to any undue or unreasonable prejudice or disadvantage.

(13) Unauthorized and unnecessary use of VRS or IP CTS. (i) A VRS or IP CTS provider shall not engage in any practice that the provider knows or has reason to know will cause or encourage:

(A) False or unverified claims for TRS Fund compensation;

(B) Unauthorized use of VRS or IP CTS;

(C) The making of VRS or IP CTS calls that would not otherwise be made; or

(D) The use of VRS or IP CTS by persons who do not need the service in order to communicate in a functionally equivalent manner.

(ii) A VRS or IP CTS provider shall not seek payment from the TRS Fund for any minutes of service it knows or has reason to know are resulting from the practices listed in paragraph (c)(13)(i) of this section or from the use of IP CTS by an individual who does not need captions to communicate in a functionally equivalent manner.

(iii) Any VRS or IP CTS provider that becomes aware of any practices listed in paragraphs (c)(13)(i) or (ii) of this section being or having been committed by any person shall, as soon as practicable, report such practices to the Commission or the TRS Fund administrator.

(iv) An IP CTS provider may complete and request compensation for IP CTS calls to or from unregistered users at a temporary, public IP CTS device set up in an emergency shelter. The IP CTS provider shall notify the TRS Fund administrator of the dates of activation and termination for such device.

(14) TRS calls requiring the use of multiple CAs. The following types of calls that require multiple CAs for their handling are compensable from the TRS Fund:

(i) VCO-to-VCO calls between multiple captioned telephone relay service users, multiple IP CTS users, or captioned telephone relay service users and IP CTS users;

(ii) Calls between captioned telephone relay service or IP CTS users and TTY service users; and

(iii) Calls between captioned telephone relay service or IP CTS users and VRS users.

(d) Other standards. The applicable requirements of §9.14 of this chapter and §§64.611, 64.615, 64.617, 64.621, 64.631, 64.632, 64.5105, 64.5107, 64.5108, 64.5109, and 64.5110 of this part are to be considered mandatory minimum standards.

[65 FR 38436, June 21, 2000]

Editorial Note: For Federal Register citations affecting §64.604, see the List of CFR Sections Affected, which appears in the Finding Aids section of the printed volume and at www.govinfo.gov.

§64.605   [Reserved]

§64.606   Internet-based TRS provider and TRS program certification.

(a) Documentation—(1) Certified state program. Any state, through its office of the governor or other delegated executive office empowered to provide TRS, desiring to establish a state program under this section shall submit, not later than October 1, 1992, documentation to the Commission addressed to the Federal Communications Commission, Chief, Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau, TRS Certification Program, Washington, DC 20554, and captioned “TRS State Certification Application.” All documentation shall be submitted in narrative form, shall clearly describe the state program for implementing intrastate TRS, and the procedures and remedies for enforcing any requirements imposed by the state program. The Commission shall give public notice of states filing for certification including notification in the Federal Register.

(2) Internet-based TRS provider. Any entity desiring to provide Internet-based TRS and to receive compensation from the Interstate TRS Fund, shall submit documentation to the Commission addressed to the Federal Communications Commission, Chief, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, TRS Certification Program, Washington, DC 20554, and captioned “Internet-based TRS Certification Application.” The documentation shall include, in narrative form:

(i) A description of the forms of Internet-based TRS to be provided (i.e., VRS, IP Relay, and/or IP captioned telephone relay service);

(ii) A detailed description of how the applicant will meet all non-waived mandatory minimum standards applicable to each form of TRS offered, including documentary and other evidence, and in the case of VRS, such documentary and other evidence shall demonstrate that the applicant leases, licenses or has acquired its own facilities and operates such facilities associated with TRS call centers and employs communications assistants, on a full or part-time basis, to staff such call centers at the date of the application. Such evidence shall include, but not be limited to:

(A) In the case of VRS applicants or providers,

(1) Operating five or fewer call centers within the United States, a copy of each deed or lease for each call center operated by the applicant within the United States;

(2) Operating more than five call centers within the United States, a copy of each deed or lease for a representative sampling (taking into account size (by number of communications assistants) and location) of five call centers operated by the applicant within the United States, together with a list of all other call centers that they operate that includes the information required under §64.604(c)(5)(iii)(N)(2);

(3) Operating call centers outside of the United States, a copy of each deed or lease for each call center operated by the applicant outside of the United States;

(4) A description of the technology and equipment used to support their call center functions—including, but not limited to, automatic call distribution, routing, call setup, mapping, call features, billing for compensation from the TRS Fund, and registration—and for each core function of each call center for which the applicant must provide a copy of technology and equipment proofs of purchase, leases or license agreements in accordance with paragraphs (a)(2)(ii)(A)(5) through (7) of this section, a statement whether such technology and equipment is owned, leased or licensed (and from whom if leased or licensed);

(5) Operating five or fewer call centers within the United States, a copy of each proof of purchase, lease or license agreement for all technology and equipment used to support their call center functions for each call center operated by the applicant within the United States;

(6) Operating more than five call centers within the United States, a copy of each proof of purchase, lease or license agreement for technology and equipment used to support their call center functions for a representative sampling (taking into account size (by number of communications assistants) and location) of five call centers operated by the applicant within the United States; a copy of each proof of purchase, lease or license agreement for technology and equipment used to support their call center functions for all call centers operated by the applicant within the United States must be retained by the applicant for three years from the date of the application, and submitted to the Commission upon request;

(7) Operating call centers outside of the United States, a copy of each proof of purchase, lease or license agreement for all technology and equipment used to support their call center functions for each call center operated by the applicant outside of the United States; and

(8) A complete copy of each lease or license agreement for automatic call distribution.

(B) For all applicants, a list of individuals or entities that hold at least a 10 percent equity interest in the applicant, have the power to vote 10 percent or more of the securities of the applicant, or exercise de jure or de facto control over the applicant, a description of the applicant's organizational structure, and the names of its executives, officers, members of its board of directors, general partners (in the case of a partnership), and managing members (in the case of a limited liability company);

(C) For all applicants, a list of the number of applicant's full-time and part-time employees involved in TRS operations, including and divided by the following positions: executives and officers; video phone installers (in the case of VRS), communications assistants, and persons involved in marketing and sponsorship activities;

(D) For all applicants, copies of employment agreements for all of the provider's employees directly involved in TRS operations, executives, and communications assistants, and a list of names of employees directly involved in TRS operations, need not be submitted with the application, but must be retained by the applicant for five years from the date of application, and submitted to the Commission upon request; and

(E) For all applicants, a list of all sponsorship arrangements relating to Internet-based TRS, including on that list a description of any associated written agreements; copies of all such arrangements and agreements must be retained by the applicant for three years from the date of the application, and submitted to the Commission upon request;

(F) In the case of applicants to provide IP CTS or IP CTS providers, a description of measures taken by such applicants or providers to ensure that they do not and will not request or collect payment from the TRS Fund for service to consumers who do not satisfy the registration and certification requirements in §64.604(c)(9), and an explanation of how these measures provide such assurance.

(iii) A description of the provider's complaint procedures; and

(iv) A statement that the provider will file annual compliance reports demonstrating continued compliance with these rules.

(v) The chief executive officer (CEO), chief financial officer (CFO), or other senior executive of an applicant for Internet-based TRS certification under this section with first hand knowledge of the accuracy and completeness of the information provided, when submitting an application for certification under paragraph (a)(2) of this section, must certify as follows: I swear under penalty of perjury that I am ________(name and title), ________an officer of the above-named applicant, and that I have examined the foregoing submissions, and that all information required under the Commission's rules and orders has been provided and all statements of fact, as well as all documentation contained in this submission, are true, accurate, and complete.

(3) Assessment of internet-based TRS provider certification application. In order to assess the merits of a certification application submitted by an Internet-based TRS provider, the Commission may conduct one or more on-site visits of the applicant's premises, to which the applicant must consent.

(b)(1) Requirements for state certification. After review of state documentation, the Commission shall certify, by letter, or order, the state program if the Commission determines that the state certification documentation:

(i) Establishes that the state program meets or exceeds all operational, technical, and functional minimum standards contained in §64.604;

(ii) Establishes that the state program makes available adequate procedures and remedies for enforcing the requirements of the state program, including that it makes available to TRS users informational materials on state and Commission complaint procedures sufficient for users to know the proper procedures for filing complaints; and

(iii) Where a state program exceeds the mandatory minimum standards contained in §64.604, the state establishes that its program in no way conflicts with federal law.

(2) Requirements for Internet-based TRS Provider FCC certification. After review of certification documentation, the Commission shall certify, by Public Notice, that the Internet-based TRS provider is eligible for compensation from the Interstate TRS Fund if the Commission determines that the certification documentation:

(i) Establishes that the provision of Internet-based TRS will meet or exceed all non-waived operational, technical, and functional minimum standards contained in §64.604;

(ii) Establishes that the Internet-based TRS provider makes available adequate procedures and remedies for ensuring compliance with the requirements of this section and the mandatory minimum standards contained in §64.604, including that it makes available for TRS users informational materials on complaint procedures sufficient for users to know the proper procedures for filing complaints.

(c)(1) State certification period. State certification shall remain in effect for five years. One year prior to expiration of certification, a state may apply for renewal of its certification by filing documentation as prescribed by paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section.

(2) Internet-based TRS Provider FCC certification period. Certification granted under this section shall remain in effect for five years. An Internet-based TRS provider applying for renewal of its certification must file documentation with the Commission containing the information described in paragraph (a)(2) of this section at least 90 days prior to expiration of its certification.

(d) Method of funding. Except as provided in §64.604, the Commission shall not refuse to certify a state program based solely on the method such state will implement for funding intrastate TRS, but funding mechanisms, if labeled, shall be labeled in a manner that promote national understanding of TRS and do not offend the public.

(e)(1) Suspension or revocation of state certification. The Commission may suspend or revoke such certification if, after notice and opportunity for hearing, the Commission determines that such certification is no longer warranted. In a state whose program has been suspended or revoked, the Commission shall take such steps as may be necessary, consistent with this subpart, to ensure continuity of TRS. The Commission may, on its own motion, require a certified state program to submit documentation demonstrating ongoing compliance with the Commission's minimum standards if, for example, the Commission receives evidence that a state program may not be in compliance with the minimum standards.

(2) Suspension or revocation of Internet-based TRS Provider FCC certification. The Commission may suspend or revoke the certification of an Internet-based TRS provider if, after notice and opportunity for hearing, the Commission determines that such certification is no longer warranted. The Commission may, on its own motion, require a certified Internet-based TRS provider to submit documentation demonstrating ongoing compliance with the Commission's minimum standards if, for example, the Commission receives evidence that a certified Internet-based TRS provider may not be in compliance with the minimum standards.

(f) Notification of substantive change. (1) States must notify the Commission of substantive changes in their TRS programs within 60 days of when they occur, and must certify that the state TRS program continues to meet federal minimum standards after implementing the substantive change.

(2) VRS and IP Relay providers certified under this section must notify the Commission of substantive changes in their TRS programs, services, and features within 60 days of when such changes occur, and must certify that the interstate TRS provider continues to meet Federal minimum standards after implementing the substantive change. Substantive changes shall include, but not be limited to:

(i) The use of new equipment or technologies to facilitate the manner in which relay services are provided;

(ii) Providing services from a new facility not previously identified to the Commission or the Fund administrator; and

(iii) Discontinuation of service from any facility.

(g) Internet-based TRS providers certified under this section shall file with the Commission, on an annual basis, a report demonstrating that they are in compliance with §64.604.

(1) Such reports must update the information required in paragraph (a)(2) of this section and include updated documentation and a summary of the updates, or certify that there are no changes to the information and documentation submitted with the application for certification, application for renewal of certification, or the most recent annual report, as applicable.

(2) The chief executive officer (CEO), chief financial officer (CFO), or other senior executive of an Internet-based TRS provider under this section with first hand knowledge of the accuracy and completeness of the information provided, when submitting an annual report under paragraph (g) of this section, must, with each such submission, certify as follows:

I swear under penalty of perjury that I am __________________ (name and title), an officer of the above-named reporting entity, and that I have examined the foregoing submissions, and that all information required under the Commission's rules and orders has been provided and all statements of fact, as well as all documentation contained in this submission, are true, accurate, and complete.

(3) Each VRS provider shall include within its annual report a compliance plan describing the provider's policies, procedures, and practices for complying with the requirements of §64.604(c)(13) of this subpart. Such compliance plan shall include, at a minimum:

(i) Identification of any officer(s) or managerial employee(s) responsible for ensuring compliance with §64.604(c)(13) of this subpart;

(ii) A description of any compliance training provided to the provider's officers, employees, and contractors;

(iii) Identification of any telephone numbers, Web site addresses, or other mechanisms available to employees for reporting abuses;

(iv) A description of any internal audit processes used to ensure the accuracy and completeness of minutes submitted to the TRS Fund administrator; and

(v) A description of all policies and practices that the provider is following to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse of the TRS Fund. A provider that fails to file a compliance plan shall not be entitled to compensation for the provision of VRS during the period of noncompliance.

(4) If, at any time, the Commission determines that a VRS provider's compliance plan currently on file is inadequate to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse of the TRS Fund, the Commission shall so notify the provider, shall explain the reasons the plan is inadequate, and shall direct the provider to correct the identified defects and submit an amended compliance plan reflecting such correction within a specified time period not to exceed 60 days. A provider that fails to comply with such directive shall not be entitled to compensation for the provision of VRS during the period of noncompliance. A submitted compliance plan shall not be prima facie evidence of the plan's adequacy; nor shall it be evidence that the provider has fulfilled its obligations under §64.604(c)(13) of this subpart.

(h) Unauthorized service interruptions. (1) Each certified VRS provider must provide Internet-based TRS without unauthorized voluntary service interruptions.

(2) A VRS provider seeking to voluntarily interrupt service for a period of 30 minutes or more in duration must first obtain Commission authorization by submitting a written request to the Commission's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau (CGB) at least 60 days prior to any planned service interruption, with detailed information of:

(i) Its justification for such interruption;

(ii) Its plan to notify customers about the impending interruption; and

(iii) Its plans for resuming service, so as to minimize the impact of such disruption on consumers through a smooth transition of temporary service to another provider, and restoration of its service at the completion of such interruption. CGB will grant or deny such a request and provide a response to the provider at least 35 days prior to the proposed interruption, in order to afford an adequate period of notification to consumers. In evaluating such a request, CGB will consider such factors as the length of time of the proposed interruption, the reason for such interruption, the frequency with which such requests have been made by the provider in the past, the potential impact of the interruption on consumers, and the provider's plans for a smooth service restoration.

(3) In the event of an unforeseen service interruption due to circumstances beyond an Internet-based TRS service provider's control, or in the event of a VRS provider's voluntary service interruption of less than 30 minutes in duration, the provider must submit a written notification to CGB within two business days of the commencement of the service interruption, with an explanation of when and how the provider has restored service or the provider's plan to do so imminently. In the event the provider has not restored service at the time such report is filed, the provider must submit a second report within two business days of the restoration of service with an explanation of when and how the provider has restored service. The provider also must provide notification of service outages covered by this paragraph to consumers on an accessible Web site, and that notification of service status must be updated in a timely manner.

(4) A VRS provider that fails to obtain prior Commission authorization for a voluntary service interruption or fails to provide written notification after a voluntary service interruption of less than 30 minutes in duration, or an Internet-based TRS provider that fails to provide written notification after the commencement of an unforeseen service interruption due to circumstances beyond the provider's control in accordance with this subsection, may be subject to revocation of certification, suspension of payment from the TRS Fund, or other enforcement action by the Commission, as appropriate.

[70 FR 76215, Dec. 23, 2005. Redesignated at 73 FR 21259, Apr. 21, 2008; 76 FR 24402, May 2, 2011; 76 FR 47474, 47477, Aug. 5, 2011; 76 FR 67073, Oct. 31, 2011;77 FR 33662, June 7, 2012; 78 FR 40608, July 5, 2013; 78 FR 53694, Aug. 30, 2013; 82 FR 39683, Aug. 22, 2017]

§64.607   Furnishing related customer premises equipment.

(a) Any communications common carrier may provide, under tariff, customer premises equipment (other than hearing aid compatible telephones as defined in part 68 of this chapter, needed by persons with hearing, speech, vision or mobility disabilities. Such equipment may be provided to persons with those disabilities or to associations or institutions who require such equipment regularly to communicate with persons with disabilities. Examples of such equipment include, but are not limited to, artificial larynxes, bone conductor receivers and TTs.

(b) Any carrier which provides telecommunications devices for persons with hearing and/or speech disabilities, whether or not pursuant to tariff, shall respond to any inquiry concerning:

(1) The availability (including general price levels) of TTs using ASCII, Baudot, or both formats; and

(2) The compatibility of any TT with other such devices and computers.

[56 FR 36731, Aug. 1, 1991, as amended at 72 FR 43560, Aug. 6, 2007; 73 FR 21252, Apr. 21, 2008. Redesignated at 73 FR 21259, Apr. 21, 2008]

§64.608   Provision of hearing aid compatible telephones by exchange carriers.

In the absence of alternative suppliers in an exchange area, an exchange carrier must provide a hearing aid compatible telephone, as defined in §68.316 of this chapter, and provide related installation and maintenance services for such telephones on a detariffed basis to any customer with a hearing disability who requests such equipment or services.

[61 FR 42185, Aug. 14, 1996. Redesignated at 73 FR 21259, Apr. 21, 2008]

§64.609   Enforcement of related customer premises equipment rules.

Enforcement of §§64.607 and 64.608 is delegated to those state public utility or public service commissions which adopt those sections and provide for their enforcement. Subpart G—Furnishing of Enhanced Services and Customer-Premises Equipment by Communications Common Carriers

[56 FR 36731, Aug. 1, 1991. Redesignated and amended at 73 FR 21259, Apr. 21, 2008]

§64.610   Establishment of a National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program.

(a) The National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program (NDBEDP) is established as a pilot program to distribute specialized customer premises equipment (CPE) used for telecommunications service, Internet access service, and advanced communications, including interexchange services and advanced telecommunications and information services, to low-income individuals who are deaf-blind. The duration of this pilot program will be two years, with a Commission option to extend such program for an additional year.

(b) Certification to receive funding. For each state, the Commission will certify a single program as the sole authorized entity to participate in the NDBEDP and receive reimbursement for its program's activities from the Interstate Telecommunications Relay Service Fund (TRS Fund). Such entity will have full oversight and responsibility for distributing equipment and providing related services in that state, either directly or through collaboration, partnership, or contract with other individuals or entities in-state or out-of-state, including other NDBEDP certified programs.

(1) Any state with an equipment distribution program (EDP) may have its EDP apply to the Commission for certification as the sole authorized entity for the state to participate in the NDBEDP and receive reimbursement for its activities from the TRS Fund.

(2) Other public programs, including, but not limited to, vocational rehabilitation programs, assistive technology programs, or schools for the deaf, blind or deaf-blind; or private entities, including but not limited to, organizational affiliates, independent living centers, or private educational facilities, may apply to the Commission for certification as the sole authorized entity for the state to participate in the NDBEDP and receive reimbursement for its activities from the TRS Fund.

(3) The Commission shall review applications and determine whether to grant certification based on the ability of a program to meet the following qualifications, either directly or in coordination with other programs or entities, as evidenced in the application and any supplemental materials, including letters of recommendation:

(i) Expertise in the field of deaf-blindness, including familiarity with the culture and etiquette of people who are deaf-blind, to ensure that equipment distribution and the provision of related services occurs in a manner that is relevant and useful to consumers who are deaf-blind;

(ii) The ability to communicate effectively with people who are deaf-blind (for training and other purposes), by among other things, using sign language, providing materials in Braille, ensuring that information made available online is accessible, and using other assistive technologies and methods to achieve effective communication;

(iii) Staffing and facilities sufficient to administer the program, including the ability to distribute equipment and provide related services to eligible individuals throughout the state, including those in remote areas;

(iv) Experience with the distribution of specialized CPE, especially to people who are deaf-blind;

(v) Experience in how to train users on how to use the equipment and how to set up the equipment for its effective use; and

(vi) Familiarity with the telecommunications, Internet access, and advanced communications services that will be used with the distributed equipment.

(c) Definitions. For purposes of this section, the following definitions shall apply:

(1) Equipment. Hardware, software, and applications, whether separate or in combination, mainstream or specialized, needed by an individual who is deaf-blind to achieve access to telecommunications service, Internet access service, and advanced communications, including interexchange services and advanced telecommunications and information services, as these services have been defined by the Communications Act.

(2) Individual who is deaf-blind. (i) Any person:

(A) Who has a central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with corrective lenses, or a field defect such that the peripheral diameter of visual field subtends an angular distance no greater than 20 degrees, or a progressive visual loss having a prognosis leading to one or both these conditions;

(B) Who has a chronic hearing impairment so severe that most speech cannot be understood with optimum amplification, or a progressive hearing loss having a prognosis leading to this condition; and

(C) For whom the combination of impairments described in clauses (c)(2)(i)(A) and (B) of this section cause extreme difficulty in attaining independence in daily life activities, achieving psychosocial adjustment, or obtaining a vocation.

(ii) The definition in this paragraph also includes any individual who, despite the inability to be measured accurately for hearing and vision loss due to cognitive or behavioral constraints, or both, can be determined through functional and performance assessment to have severe hearing and visual disabilities that cause extreme difficulty in attaining independence in daily life activities, achieving psychosocial adjustment, or obtaining vocational objectives. An applicant's functional abilities with respect to using telecommunications, Internet access, and advanced communications services in various environments shall be considered when determining whether the individual is deaf-blind under clauses (c)(2)(i)(B) and (C) of this section.

(d) Eligibility criteria (1) Verification of disability. Individuals claiming eligibility under the NDBEDP must provide verification of disability from a professional with direct knowledge of the individual's disability.

(i) Such professionals may include, but are not limited to, community-based service providers, vision or hearing related professionals, vocational rehabilitation counselors, educators, audiologists, speech pathologists, hearing instrument specialists, and medical or health professionals.

(ii) Such professionals must attest, either to the best of their knowledge or under penalty of perjury, that the applicant is an individual who is deaf-blind (as defined in 47 CFR 64.610(b)). Such professionals may also include, in the attestation, information about the individual's functional abilities to use telecommunications, Internet access, and advanced communications services in various settings.

(iii) Existing documentation that a person is deaf-blind, such as an individualized education program (IEP) or a statement from a public or private agency, such as a Social Security determination letter, may serve as verification of disability.

(iv) The verification of disability must include the attesting professional's name, title, and contact information, including address, phone number, and e-mail address.

(2) Verification of low income status. An individual claiming eligibility under the NDBEDP must provide verification that he or she has an income that does not exceed 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines as defined at 42 U.S.C. 9902(2) or that he or she is enrolled in a federal program with a lesser income eligibility requirement, such as the Federal Public Housing Assistance or Section 8; Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as Food Stamps; Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program; Medicaid; National School Lunch Program's free lunch program; Supplemental Security Income; or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. The NDBEDP Administrator may identify state or other federal programs with income eligibility thresholds that do not exceed 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines for determining income eligibility for participation in the NDBEDP. Where an applicant is not already enrolled in a qualifying low-income program, low-income eligibility may be verified by the certified program using appropriate and reasonable means.

(3) Prohibition against requiring employment. No program certified under the NDBEDP may impose a requirement for eligibility in this program that an applicant be employed or actively seeking employment.

(4) Access to communications services. A program certified under the NDBEDP may impose, as a program eligibility criterion, a requirement that telecommunications, Internet access, or advanced communications services are available for use by the applicant.

(e) Equipment distribution and related services. (1) Each program certified under the NDBEDP must:

(i) Distribute specialized CPE and provide related services needed to make telecommunications service, Internet access service, and advanced communications, including interexchange services or advanced telecommunications and information services, accessible to individuals who are deaf-blind;

(ii) Obtain verification that NDBEDP applicants meet the definition of an individual who is deaf-blind contained in 47 CFR 64.610(c)(1) and the income eligibility requirements contained in 47 CFR 64.610(d)(2);

(iii) When a recipient relocates to another state, permit transfer of the recipient's account and any control of the distributed equipment to the new state's certified program; (iv) Permit transfer of equipment from a prior state, by that state's NDBEDP certified program;

[Reserved]

(v) Prohibit recipients from transferring equipment received under the NDBEDP to another person through sale or otherwise;

(vi) Conduct outreach, in accessible formats, to inform their state residents about the NDBEDP, which may include the development and maintenance of a program Web site;

(vii) Engage an independent auditor to perform annual audits designed to detect and prevent fraud, waste, and abuse, and submit, as necessary, to audits arranged by the Commission, the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, the NDBEDP Administrator, or the TRS Fund Administrator for such purpose;

(viii) Retain all records associated with the distribution of equipment and provision of related services under the NDBEDP for two years following the termination of the pilot program; and

(ix) Comply with the reporting requirements contained in 47 CFR 64.610(g).

(2) Each program certified under the NDBEDP may not:

(i) Impose restrictions on specific brands, models or types of communications technology that recipients may receive to access the communications services covered in this section;

(ii) Disable or otherwise intentionally make it difficult for recipients to use certain capabilities, functions, or features on distributed equipment that are needed to access the communications services covered in this section, or direct manufacturers or vendors of specialized CPE to disable or make it difficult for recipients to use certain capabilities, functions, or features on distributed equipment that are needed to access the communications services covered in this section; or

(iii) Accept any type of financial arrangement from equipment vendors that could incentivize the purchase of particular equipment.

(f) Payments to NDBEDP certified programs. (1) Programs certified under the NDBEDP shall be reimbursed for the cost of equipment that has been distributed to eligible individuals and authorized related services, up to the state's funding allotment under this program as determined by the Commission or any entity authorized to act for the Commission on delegated authority.

(2) Within 30 days after the end of each six-month period of the Fund Year, each program certified under the NDBEDP pilot must submit documentation that supports its claim for reimbursement of the reasonable costs of the following:

(i) Equipment and related expenses, including maintenance, repairs, warranties, returns, refurbishing, upgrading, and replacing equipment distributed to consumers;

(ii) Individual needs assessments;

(iii) Installation of equipment and individualized consumer training;

(iv) Maintenance of an inventory of equipment that can be loaned to the consumer during periods of equipment repair;

(v) Outreach efforts to inform state residents about the NDBEDP; and

(vi) Administration of the program, but not to exceed 15 percent of the total reimbursable costs for the distribution of equipment and related services permitted under the NDBEDP.

(3) With each request for payment, the chief executive officer, chief financial officer, or other senior executive of the certified program, such as a manager or director, with first-hand knowledge of the accuracy and completeness of the claim in the request, must certify as follows:

I swear under penalty of perjury that I am (name and title), an officer of the above-named reporting entity and that I have examined all cost data associated with equipment and related services for the claims submitted herein, and that all such data are true and an accurate statement of the affairs of the above-named certified program.

(g) Reporting requirements. (1) Each program certified under the NDBEDP must submit the following data electronically to the Commission, as instructed by the NDBEDP Administrator, every six months, commencing with the start of the pilot program:

(i) For each piece of equipment distributed, the identity of and contact information, including street and e-mail addresses, and phone number, for the individual receiving that equipment;

(ii) For each piece of equipment distributed, the identity of and contact information, including street and e-mail addresses, and phone number, for the individual attesting to the disability of the individual who is deaf-blind;

(iii) For each piece of equipment distributed, its name, serial number, brand, function, and cost, the type of communications service with which it is used, and the type of relay service it can access;

(iv) For each piece of equipment distributed, the amount of time, following any assessment conducted, that the requesting individual waited to receive that equipment;

(v) The cost, time and any other resources allocated to assessing an individual's equipment needs;

(vi) The cost, time and any other resources allocated to installing equipment and training deaf-blind individuals on using equipment;

(vii) The cost, time and any other resources allocated to maintain, repair, cover under warranty, and refurbish equipment;

(viii) The cost, time and any other resources allocated to outreach activities related to the NDBEDP, and the type of outreach efforts undertaken;

(ix) The cost, time and any other resources allocated to upgrading the distributed equipment, along with the nature of such upgrades;

(x) To the extent that the program has denied equipment requests made by their deaf-blind residents, a summary of the number and types of equipment requests denied and reasons for such denials;

(xi) To the extent that the program has received complaints related to the program, a summary of the number and types of such complaints and their resolution; and

(xii) The number of qualified applicants on waiting lists to receive equipment.

(2) With each report, the chief executive officer, chief financial officer, or other senior executive of the certified program, such as a director or manager, with first-hand knowledge of the accuracy and completeness of the information provided in the report, must certify as follows:

I swear under penalty of perjury that I am (name and title), an officer of the above-named reporting entity and that I have examined the foregoing reports and that all requested information has been provided and all statements of fact are true and an accurate statement of the affairs of the above-named certified program.

(h) Administration of the program. The Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau shall designate a Commission official as the NDBEDP Administrator.

(1) The NDBEDP Administrator will work in collaboration with the TRS Fund Administrator, and be responsible for:

(i) Reviewing program applications received from state EDPs and alternate entities and certifying those that qualify to participate in the program;

(ii) Allocating NDBEDP funding as appropriate and in consultation with the TRS Fund Administrator;

(iii) Reviewing certified program submissions for reimbursement of costs under the NDBEDP, in consultation with the TRS Fund Administrator;

(iv) Working with Commission staff to establish and maintain an NDBEDP Web site, accessible to individuals with disabilities, that includes contact information for certified programs by state and links to their respective Web sites, if any, and overseeing other outreach efforts that may be undertaken by the Commission;

(v) Obtaining, reviewing, and evaluating reported data for the purpose of assessing the pilot program and determining best practices;

(vi) Conferring with stakeholders, jointly or separately, during the course of the pilot program to obtain input and feedback on, among other things, the effectiveness of the pilot program, new technologies, equipment and services that are needed, and suggestions for the permanent program;

(vii) Working with Commission staff to adopt permanent rules for the NDBEDP; and

(viii) Serving as the Commission point of contact for the NDBEDP, including responding to inquiries from certified programs and consumer complaints filed directly with the Commission.

(2) The TRS Fund Administrator, as directed by the NDBEDP Administrator, shall have responsibility for:

(i) Reviewing cost submissions and releasing funds for equipment that has been distributed and authorized related services, including outreach efforts;

(ii) Releasing funds for other authorized purposes, as requested by the Commission or the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau; and

(iii) Collecting data as needed for delivery to the Commission and the NDBEDP Administrator.

(i) Whistleblower protections. (1) NDBEDP certified programs shall permit, without reprisal in the form of an adverse personnel action, purchase or contract cancellation or discontinuance, eligibility disqualification, or otherwise, any current or former employee, agent, contractor, manufacturer, vendor, applicant, or recipient, to disclose to a designated official of the certified program, the NDBEDP Administrator, the TRS Fund Administrator, the Commission's Office of Inspector General, or to any federal or state law enforcement entity, any known or suspected violations of the Act or Commission rules, or any other activity that the reporting person reasonably believes to be unlawful, wasteful, fraudulent, or abusive, or that otherwise could result in the improper distribution of equipment, provision of services, or billing to the TRS Fund.

(2) NDBEDP certified programs shall include these whistleblower protections with the information they provide about the program in any employee handbooks or manuals, on their Web sites, and in other appropriate publications.

(j) Suspension or revocation of certification. (1) The Commission may suspend or revoke NDBEDP certification if, after notice and opportunity for hearing, the Commission determines that such certification is no longer warranted.

(2) In the event of suspension or revocation, the Commission shall take such steps as may be necessary, consistent with this subpart, to ensure continuity of the NDBEDP for the state whose program has been suspended or revoked.

(3) The Commission may, at its discretion and on its own motion, require a certified program to submit documentation demonstrating ongoing compliance with the Commission's rules if, for example, the Commission receives evidence that a state program may not be in compliance with those rules.

(k) Expiration of rules. These rules will expire at the termination of the NDBEDP pilot program.

[76 FR 26647, May 9, 2011; 76 FR 31261, May 31, 2011]

§64.611   Internet-based TRS registration.

(a) Default provider registration. Every provider of VRS or IP Relay must, no later than December 31, 2008, provide users with the capability to register with that VRS or IP Relay provider as a “default provider.” Upon a user's registration, the VRS or IP Relay provider shall:

(1) Either:

(i) Facilitate the user's valid number portability request as set forth in 47 CFR 52.34; or, if the user does not wish to port a number,

(ii) Assign that user a geographically appropriate North American Numbering Plan telephone number; and

(2) Route and deliver all of that user's inbound and outbound calls unless the user chooses to place a call with, or receives a call from, an alternate provider.

(3) Certification of eligibility of VRS users. (i) A VRS provider seeking compensation from the TRS Fund for providing VRS to a particular user registered with that provider must first obtain a written certification from the user, attesting that the user is eligible to use VRS.

(ii) The certification required by paragraph (a)(3)(i) of this section must include the user's attestation that:

(A) The user has a hearing or speech disability; and

(B) The user understands that the cost of VRS calls is paid for by contributions from other telecommunications users to the TRS Fund.

(iii) The certification required by paragraph (a)(3)(i) of this section must be made on a form separate from any other agreement or form, and must include a separate user signature specific to the certification. For the purposes of this rule, an electronic signature, defined by the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act, as an electronic sound, symbol, or process, attached to or logically associated with a contract or other record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record, has the same legal effect as a written signature. For the purposes of this rule, an electronic record, defined by the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act as a contract or other record created, generated, sent, communicated, received, or stored by electronic means, constitutes a record.

(iv) Each VRS provider shall maintain the confidentiality of any registration and certification information obtained by the provider, and may not disclose such registration and certification information or the content of such registration and certification information except as required by law or regulation.

(v) VRS providers must, for existing registered Internet-based TRS users, submit the certification required by paragraph (a)(3)(i) of this section to the TRS User Registration Database within 60 days of notice from the Managing Director that the TRS User Registration Database is ready to accept such information.

(vi) When registering a user that is transferring service from another VRS provider, VRS providers shall obtain and submit a properly executed certification if a query of the TRS User Registration Database shows a properly executed certification has not been filed.

(vii) VRS providers shall require their CAs to terminate any call which does not involve an individual eligible to use VRS due to a hearing or speech disability or, pursuant to the provider's policies, the call does not appear to be a legitimate VRS call, and VRS providers may not seek compensation for such calls from the TRS Fund.

(4) TRS User Registration Database Information Requirements for VRS. Each VRS provider shall collect and transmit to the TRS User Registration Database, in a format prescribed by the administrator of the TRS User Registration Database, the following information for each of its new and existing registered internet-based TRS users: Full name; address; ten-digit telephone number assigned in the TRS numbering directory; last four digits of the social security number or Tribal Identification number, if the registered internet-based TRS user is a member of a Tribal nation and does not have a social security number; date of birth; Registered Location; VRS provider name and dates of service initiation and termination; a digital copy of the user's self-certification of eligibility for VRS and the date obtained by the provider; the date on which the user's identification was verified; and (for existing users only) the date on which the registered internet-based TRS user last placed a point-to-point or relay call.

(5) Assignment of iTRS Numbers to Hearing Point-to-Point Video Users. (i) Before assigning an iTRS telephone number to a hearing individual, a VRS provider shall obtain from such individual, the individual's full name, residential address, date of birth, and a written certification, attesting that the individual:

(A) Is proficient in sign language;

(B) Understands that the iTRS number may be used only for the purpose of point-to-point communication over distances with registered VRS users; and

(C) Understands that such iTRS number may not be used to access VRS.

(ii) Before assigning an iTRS telephone number to a hearing individual, a VRS provider also shall obtain the individual's consent to provide the information required by this paragraph (a)(5) to the TRS User Registration Database. Before obtaining such consent, the VRS provider, using clear, easily understood language, shall describe the specific information to be provided, explain that the information is provided to ensure proper administration of the TRS program and inform the individual that failure to provide consent will result in denial of service. VRS providers shall obtain and keep a record of affirmative acknowledgment of such consent by every hearing point-to-point video user to whom an iTRS number is assigned.

(iii) The certification required by paragraph (a)(5)(i) of this section must be made on a form separate from any other agreement or form, and must include a separate signature specific to the certification. For the purposes of this rule, an electronic signature, defined by the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act, as an electronic sound, symbol, or process, attached to or logically associated with a contract or other record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record, has the same legal effect as a written signature. For the purposes of this rule, an electronic record, defined by the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act as a contract or other record created, generated, sent, communicated, received, or stored by electronic means, constitutes a record.

(iv) Before commencing service to any hearing point-to-point video user to whom a VRS provider assigns an iTRS number on or after the TRS User Registration Database is operational, a VRS provider shall submit to the TRS User Registration Database the information listed in paragraph (a)(5)(i) of this section and the following additional information:

(A) The ten-digit telephone number assigned in the TRS Numbering Directory to the hearing point-to-point user;

(B) The VRS provider's name and the date of service initiation; and

(C) The date on which a ten-digit number was assigned to or removed from a hearing point-to-point user.

(v) For all other hearing point-to-point video users to whom a VRS provider has assigned an iTRS number, the VRS provider shall transmit the information required by paragraph (a)(5)(iv) of this section within 60 days after the TRS User Registration Database is operational.

(vi) Upon the termination of service to any hearing point-to-point video user, a VRS provider shall submit to the TRS User Registration Database the date of termination of service.

(vii) A VRS provider shall maintain the confidentiality of the information about hearing individuals required by this paragraph (a)(5) and may not disclose such information except as required by law or regulation.

(viii) Before commencing service to a hearing point-to-point video user who is transferring point-to-point video service from another VRS provider, a VRS provider shall notify the TRS User Registration Database of such transfer and shall obtain and submit a properly executed certification under paragraph (a)(5)(i) of this section.

(ix) Hearing individuals who are assigned iTRS numbers under this paragraph (a)(5) shall not be deemed registered VRS users. VRS providers shall not be compensated and shall not seek compensation from the TRS Fund for any VRS calls to or from such iTRS numbers.

(6) Enterprise and public videophones—(i) Definition. For purposes of this section, a default VRS provider for an enterprise or public videophone is the VRS provider that assigns a North American Numbering Plan (NANP) telephone number to such videophone or receives a port of such number.

(ii) Enterprise and public videophone certification. (A) Written certification. A default VRS provider for an enterprise or public videophone shall obtain a written certification from the individual responsible for the videophone, attesting that the individual understands the functions of the videophone and that the cost of VRS calls made on the videophone is financed by the federally regulated Interstate TRS Fund, and for enterprise videophones, that the organization, business, or agency will make reasonable efforts to ensure that only persons with a hearing or speech disability are permitted to use the phone for VRS.

(B) Electronic signatures. The certification required by paragraph (a)(6)(ii)(A) of this section must be made on a form separate from any other agreement or form, and must include a separate signature specific to the certification. For the purposes of this paragraph (a)(6)(ii)(B), an electronic signature, defined by the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act as an electronic sound, symbol, or process, attached to or logically associated with a contract or other record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record, has the same legal effect as a written signature. For the purposes of this paragraph (a)(6)(ii)(B), an electronic record, defined by the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act as a contract or other record created, generated, sent, communicated, received, or stored by electronic means, constitutes a record.

(C) Consent for transmission and confidentiality of enterprise and public videophone registration. A default VRS provider for an enterprise or public videophone must obtain consent from the individual responsible for the videophone to transmit the information required by this section to the TRS User Registration Database. Before obtaining such consent, a VRS provider must describe to such individual, using clear, easily understood language, the specific information being transmitted, that the information is being transmitted to the TRS User Registration Database to ensure proper administration of the TRS program, and that failure to provide consent will result in denial of service to the videophone. A VRS provider must obtain and keep a record of affirmative acknowledgment of such consent for every enterprise and public videophone. A VRS provider shall maintain the confidentiality of any registration and certification information obtained by the provider, and may not disclose such registration and certification information, or the content of such registration and certification information, except as required by law or regulation.

(iii) Enterprise and public videophone registration. A default VRS provider for an enterprise or public videophone shall transmit to the TRS User Registration Database, in a format prescribed by the administrator of the TRS User Registration Database, the following information for each enterprise or public videophone for which it assigns (or receives a port of) a North American Numbering Plan telephone number or for which it is the default VRS provider:

(A) The default VRS provider's name;

(B) The NANP telephone number assigned to the videophone;

(C) The name and physical address of the organization, business, or agency where the enterprise or public videophone is located, and the Registered Location of the phone if that is different from the physical address;

(D) Whether the videophone is a public or enterprise videophone, and for enterprise videophones, the type of location where the videophone is located within the organization, business, agency, or other entity, such as, but not limited to, a reception desk or other work area, a private workspace, a private room in a long-term care facility, or another restricted area;

(E) The date of initiation of service to the videophone by the default VRS provider;

(F) The name of the individual responsible for the videophone, confirmation that the provider has obtained the certification required by paragraph (a)(6)(ii) of this section, and the date the certification was obtained by the provider; and

(G) Whether the device is assigned to a hearing individual who knows sign language.

(iv) Transmission of data to the TRS User Registration Database. Default VRS providers shall transmit the information required by paragraph (a)(6)(iii) of this section for existing enterprise and public videophones within 120 days after notice from the Commission that the TRS User Registration Database is ready to accept such information. For videophones placed in service more than 120 days after such notice, the default VRS provider shall submit the required information and certification before initiating service. VRS calls placed to or from enterprise or public videophones more than 120 days after such notice shall not be compensable if the required registration information was not received by the TRS User Registration Database before placement of the call.

(v) Notice of removal or disconnection of enterprise and public videophones. VRS providers shall notify the TRS Fund administrator within one business day in the event that a registered enterprise or public videophone is removed or permanently disconnected from VRS.

(b) Mandatory registration of new users. As of December 31, 2008, VRS and IP Relay providers must, prior to the initiation of service for an individual that has not previously utilized VRS or IP Relay, register that new user as described in paragraph (a) of this section.

(c) Obligations of default providers and former default providers. (1) Default providers must:

(i) Obtain current routing information from their Registered internet-based TRS Users, registered enterprise and public videophones, and hearing point-to-point video users;

(ii) Provision such information to the TRS Numbering Directory; and

(iii) Maintain such information in their internal databases and in the TRS Numbering Directory.

(2) Internet-based TRS providers (and, to the extent necessary, their Numbering Partners) must:

(i) Take such steps as are necessary to cease acquiring routing information from any VRS, IP Relay, or hearing point-to-point video user, or any individual responsible for maintaining an enterprise or public videophone, that ports a NANP telephone number to another VRS or IP Relay provider or otherwise selects a new default provider; and

(ii) Communicate among themselves as necessary to ensure that:

(A) Only the default provider provisions routing information to the central database; and

(B) VRS and IP Relay providers other than the default provider are aware that they must query the TRS Numbering Directory in order to obtain accurate routing information for a particular user of VRS or IP Relay, or for an enterprise or public videophone.

(d) Proxy numbers. After December 31, 2008, a VRS or IP Relay provider:

(1) May not assign or issue a proxy or alias for a NANP telephone number to any user; and

(2) Must cease to use any proxy or alias for a NANP telephone number assigned or issued to any Registered Internet-based TRS User.

(e) Toll free numbers. A VRS or IP Relay provider:

(1) May not assign or issue a toll free number to any VRS or IP Relay user.

(2) That has already assigned or provided a toll free number to a VRS or IP Relay user must, at the VRS or IP Relay user's request, facilitate the transfer of the toll free number to a toll free subscription with a toll free service provider that is under the direct control of the user.

(3) Must within one year after the effective date of this Order remove from the Internet-based TRS Numbering Directory any toll free number that has not been transferred to a subscription with a toll free service provider and for which the user is the subscriber of record.

(f) iTRS access technology. (1) Every VRS or IP Relay provider must ensure that all iTRS access technology they have issued, leased, or otherwise provided to VRS or IP Relay users delivers routing information or other information only to the user's default provider, except as is necessary to complete or receive “dial around” calls on a case-by-case basis.

(2) All iTRS access technology issued, leased, or otherwise provided to VRS or IP Relay users by Internet-based TRS providers must be capable of facilitating the requirements of this section.

(g) User notification. Every VRS or IP Relay provider must include an advisory on its website and in any promotional materials addressing numbering or E911 services for VRS or IP Relay.

(1) At a minimum, the advisory must address the following issues:

(i) The process by which VRS or IP Relay users may obtain ten-digit telephone numbers, including a brief summary of the numbering assignment and administration processes adopted herein;

(ii) The portability of ten-digit telephone numbers assigned to VRS or IP Relay users;

(iii) The process by which persons using VRS or IP Relay may submit, update, and confirm receipt by the provider of their Registered Location information;

(iv) An explanation emphasizing the importance of maintaining accurate, up-to-date Registered Location information with the user's default provider in the event that the individual places an emergency call via an Internet-based relay service;

(v) The process by which a VRS or IP Relay user may acquire a toll free number, or transfer control of a toll free number from a VRS or IP Relay provider to the user;

(vi) The process by which persons holding a toll free number request that the toll free number be linked to their ten-digit telephone number in the TRS Numbering Directory; and

(vii) If the provider assigns iTRS numbers to hearing point-to-point video users, an explanation that hearing point-to-point video users will not be able to place an emergency call.

(2) VRS and IP Relay providers must obtain and keep a record of affirmative acknowledgment by every Registered Internet-based TRS User of having received and understood the advisory described in this subsection.

(h)-(i) [Reserved]

(j)(1) IP CTS Registration and Certification Requirements.

(i) IP CTS providers must first obtain the following registration information from each consumer prior to requesting compensation from the TRS Fund for service provided to the consumer: The consumer's full name, date of birth, last four digits of the consumer's social security number, full residential address, and telephone number.

(ii) [Reserved]

(iii) [Reserved]

(iv) Self-certification prior to August 28, 2014. IP CTS providers, in order to be eligible to receive compensation from the TRS Fund for providing IP CTS, also must first obtain a written certification from the consumer, and if obtained prior to August 28, 2014, such written certification shall attest that the consumer needs IP CTS to communicate in a manner that is functionally equivalent to the ability of a hearing individual to communicate using voice communication services. The certification must include the consumer's certification that:

(A) The consumer has a hearing loss that necessitates IP CTS to communicate in a manner that is functionally equivalent to communication by conventional voice telephone users;

(B) The consumer understands that the captioning service is provided by a live communications assistant; and

(C) The consumer understands that the cost of IP CTS is funded by the TRS Fund.

(v) Self-certification on or after August 28, 2014. IP CTS providers must also first obtain from each consumer prior to requesting compensation from the TRS Fund for the consumer, a written certification from the consumer, and if obtained on or after August 28, 2014, such certification shall state that:

(A) The consumer has a hearing loss that necessitates use of captioned telephone service;

(B) The consumer understands that the captioning on captioned telephone service is provided by a live communications assistant who listens to the other party on the line and provides the text on the captioned phone;

(C) The consumer understands that the cost of captioning each internet protocol captioned telephone call is funded through a federal program; and

(D) The consumer will not permit, to the best of the consumer's ability, persons who have not registered to use internet protocol captioned telephone service to make captioned telephone calls on the consumer's registered IP captioned telephone service or device.

(vi) The certification required by paragraphs (j)(1)(iv) and (v) of this section must be made on a form separate from any other agreement or form, and must include a separate consumer signature specific to the certification. Beginning on August 28, 2014, such certification shall be made under penalty of perjury. For purposes of this rule, an electronic signature, defined by the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act, 15 U.S.C. 7001 et seq., as an electronic sound, symbol, or process, attached to or logically associated with a contract or other record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record, has the same legal effect as a written signature.

(vii) Third-party certification prior to August 28, 2014. Where IP CTS equipment is or has been obtained by a consumer from an IP CTS provider, directly or indirectly, at no charge or for less than $75 and the consumer was registered in accordance with the requirements of paragraph (j)(1) of this section prior to August 28, 2014, the IP CTS provider must also obtain from each consumer prior to requesting compensation from the TRS Fund for the consumer, written certification provided and signed by an independent third-party professional, except as provided in paragraph (j)(1)(xi) of this section.

(viii) To comply with paragraph (j)(1)(vii) of this section, the independent professional providing certification must:

(A) Be qualified to evaluate an individual's hearing loss in accordance with applicable professional standards, and may include, but are not limited to, community-based social service providers, hearing related professionals, vocational rehabilitation counselors, occupational therapists, social workers, educators, audiologists, speech pathologists, hearing instrument specialists, and doctors, nurses and other medical or health professionals;

(B) Provide his or her name, title, and contact information, including address, telephone number, and email address; and

(C) Certify in writing that the IP CTS user is an individual with hearing loss who needs IP CTS to communicate in a manner that is functionally equivalent to telephone service experienced by individuals without hearing disabilities.

(ix) Third-party certification on or after August 28, 2014. Where IP CTS equipment is or has been obtained by a consumer from an IP CTS provider, directly or indirectly, at no charge or for less than $75, the consumer (in cases where the equipment was obtained directly from the IP CTS provider) has not subsequently paid $75 to the IP CTS provider for the equipment prior to the date the consumer is registered to use IP CTS, and the consumer is registered in accordance with the requirements of paragraph (j)(1) of this section on or after August 28, 2014, the IP CTS provider must also, prior to requesting compensation from the TRS Fund for service to the consumer, obtain from each consumer written certification provided and signed by an independent third-party professional, except as provided in paragraph (j)(1)(xi) of this section.

(x) To comply with paragraph (j)(1)(ix) of this section, the independent third-party professional providing certification must:

(A) Be qualified to evaluate an individual's hearing loss in accordance with applicable professional standards, and must be either a physician, audiologist, or other hearing related professional. Such professional shall not have been referred to the IP CTS user, either directly or indirectly, by any provider of TRS or any officer, director, partner, employee, agent, subcontractor, or sponsoring organization or entity (collectively “affiliate”) of any TRS provider. Nor shall the third party professional making such certification have any business, family or social relationship with the TRS provider or any affiliate of the TRS provider from which the consumer is receiving or will receive service.

(B) Provide his or her name, title, and contact information, including address, telephone number, and email address.

(C) Certify in writing, under penalty of perjury, that the IP CTS user is an individual with hearing loss that necessitates use of captioned telephone service and that the third party professional understands that the captioning on captioned telephone service is provided by a live communications assistant and is funded through a federal program.

(xi) In instances where the consumer has obtained IP CTS equipment from a local, state, or federal governmental program, the consumer may present documentation to the IP CTS provider demonstrating that the equipment was obtained through one of these programs, in lieu of providing an independent, third-party certification under paragraphs (j)(1)(vii) and (ix) of this section.

(xii) Each IP CTS provider shall maintain records of any registration and certification information for a period of at least five years after the consumer ceases to obtain service from the provider and shall maintain the confidentiality of such registration and certification information, and may not disclose such registration and certification information or the content of such registration and certification information except as required by law or regulation.

(xiii) [Reserved]

(2) TRS User Registration Database Information for IP CTS. (i) Each IP CTS Provider shall collect and transmit to the TRS User Registration Database, in a format prescribed by the administrator of the TRS User Registration Database, the following information for each of its new and existing registered IP CTS users:

(A) Full name;

(B) Full residential address;

(C) Telephone number;

(D) A unique identifier such as the electronic serial number (ESN) of the user's IP CTS device, the user's log-in identification, or the user's email address;

(E) The last four digits of the user's social security number or Tribal Identification number (or alternative documentation, if such documentation is permitted by and has been collected pursuant to Misuse of internet Protocol (IP) Captioned Telephone Service; Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech Disabilities, Order, 30 FCC Rcd 1093 (CGB 2015));

(F) Date of birth;

(G) Registered Location (if applicable);

(H) IP CTS provider name;

(I) Date of service initiation and (when applicable) termination;

(J) A digital copy of the user's self-certification of eligibility for IP CTS and the date obtained by the provider; and

(K) For existing users onlythe date on which the IP CTS user last placed an IP CTS call.

(ii) Each IP CTS provider shall obtain, from each new and existing registered IP CTS user, consent to transmit the registered IP CTS user's information to the TRS User Registration Database. Prior to obtaining such consent, the IP CTS provider shall describe to the registered IP CTS user, using clear, easily understood language, the specific information obtained by the IP CTS provider from the user that is to be transmitted, and inform the user that the information is being transmitted to the TRS User Registration Database to ensure proper administration of the TRS program, and that failure to provide consent will result in the registered IP CTS user being denied service. IP CTS providers shall keep a record of affirmative acknowledgment of such consent by every registered IP CTS user.

(iii) Registration of Emergency Shelter Devices. An IP CTS provider may seek and receive TRS Fund compensation for the provision of captioning service to users of a temporary, public IP CTS device set up in an emergency shelter, provided that, before commencing service to such a device, the IP CTS provider collects, maintains in its registration records, and submits to the TRS User Registration Database all information reasonably requested by the administrator, including the telephone number and location of the device. IP CTS providers shall remove the device's registration information from the Database when service for such a device is terminated.

(iv) By the date of initiation of service to an IP CTS user or device, or one year after notice from the Commission that the TRS User Registration Database is ready to accept such information, whichever is later, IP CTS providers shall submit to the TRS User Registration Database the registration information required by paragraph (j)(2)(i) or (iii) of this section. Calls from or to registered IP CTS users or devices whose registration information has not been populated in the TRS User Registration Database by the applicable date shall not be compensable, and an IP CTS provider shall not seek TRS Fund compensation for such calls.

(v) When registering a user who is transferring service from another IP CTS provider, IP CTS providers shall obtain and submit a digital copy of a user's self-certification of eligibility if a query of the TRS User Registration Database shows a properly executed certification has not been filed.

(3) An IP CTS provider shall not seek TRS Fund compensation for providing captioning service to any individual or device if the registration information for such individual or device has been removed from the TRS User Registration Database, or if the provider obtains information that the individual or device is not eligible to receive IP CTS.

(k) Compliance date. Paragraph (j)(2) of this section contains new or modified information-collection and recordkeeping requirements adopted in FCC 19-11. Compliance with these information-collection and recordkeeping requirements will not be required until after approval by the Office of Management and Budget. The Commission will publish a document in the Federal Register announcing that compliance date and revising this paragraph accordingly.

[73 FR 41295, July 18, 2008, as amended at 76 FR 59557, Sept. 27, 2011; 78 FR 40608, July 5, 2013; 82 FR 17763, Apr. 13, 2017; 82 FR 39683, Aug. 22, 2017; 84 FR 8461, Mar. 8, 2019; 84 FR 26371, June 6, 2019]

Effective Date Note: At 84 FR 26371, June 6, 2019, §64.611 was amended by adding paragraph (a)(6) and revising paragraphs (c)(1)(i), (c)(2)(i), and (c)(2)(ii)(B). These paragraphs contain information collection and recordkeeping requirements and will not become effective until approval has been given by the Office of Management and Budget.

§64.613   Numbering directory for Internet-based TRS users.

(a) TRS Numbering Directory. (1) The TRS Numbering Directory shall contain records mapping the geographically appropriate NANP telephone number of each Registered internet-based TRS User, registered enterprise videophone, registered public videophone, direct video customer support center, and hearing point-to-point video user to a unique Uniform Resource Identifier (URI).

(2) For each record associated with a geographically appropriate NANP telephone number for a registered VRS user, enterprise videophone, public videophone, direct video customer support center, or hearing point-to-point video user, the URI shall contain a server domain name or the IP address of the user's device. For each record associated with an IP Relay user's geographically appropriate NANP telephone number, the URI shall contain the user's user name and domain name that can be subsequently resolved to reach the user.

(3) Within one year after the effective date of this Order, Internet-based TRS providers must ensure that a user's toll free number that is associated with a geographically appropriate NANP number will be associated with the same URI as that geographically appropriate NANP telephone number.

(4) Only the TRS Numbering Administrator, internet-based TRS providers, and Qualified Direct Video Entities may access the TRS Numbering Directory.

(5) VRS providers shall route all calls placed to NANP numbers entered in the TRS Numbering Directory in accordance with the associated routing information, except that a call placed by a registered VRS user to a NANP number that is capable of receiving either voice or video calls may be handled and routed as a VRS call if the caller affirmatively so requests.

(b) Administration—(1) Neutrality. (i) The TRS Numbering Administrator shall be a non-governmental entity that is impartial and not an affiliate of any Internet-based TRS provider.

(ii) Neither the TRS Numbering Administrator nor any affiliate may issue a majority of its debt to, nor derive a majority of its revenues from, any Internet-based TRS provider.

(iii) Nor may the TRS Numbering Administrator nor any affiliate be unduly influenced, as determined by the North American Numbering Council, by parties with a vested interest in the outcome of TRS-related numbering administration and activities.

(iv) Any subcontractor that performs any function of the TRS Numbering Administrator must also meet these neutrality criteria.

(2) Terms of Administration. The TRS Numbering Administrator shall administer the TRS Numbering Directory pursuant to the terms of its contract.

(3) Compensation. The TRS Fund, as defined by 47 CFR 64.604(a)(5)(iii), may compensate the TRS Numbering Administrator for the reasonable costs of administration pursuant to the terms of its contract.

(c) Direct video customer support—(1) Registration. Any person seeking to access the TRS Numbering Directory as a Qualified Direct Video Entity shall submit an application to the Commission addressed to the Federal Communications Commission, Chief, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau and captioned “Direct Video Numbering Directory Access Application.” The application shall include:

(i) The applicant's name, address, telephone number, and email address;

(ii) A description of the service to be provided;

(iii) An acknowledgment that the authorization granted under this paragraph (c) is subject to compliance with applicable Commission rules;

(iv) Contact information for personnel responsible for addressing issues relating to such compliance; and

(v) Certification that the applicant's description of service meets the definition of direct video customer support and that the information provided is accurate and complete.

(2) Commission authorization. The Commission shall approve an application for a Qualified Direct Video Entity to have access to the TRS Numbering Directory if the applicant demonstrates, through its responses to each of the requests for information in paragraph (c)(1) of this section and any additional information requested by the Commission, that the applicant has a legitimate need for such access and is aware of its regulatory obligations.

(3) Termination of authorization. Authorization to access the TRS Numbering Directory shall terminate:

(i) If a Qualified Direct Video Entity relinquishes its authorization by notifying the Commission;

(ii) Automatically if one year elapses with no call-routing queries received regarding any of the Qualified Direct Video Entity's NANP telephone numbers; or

(iii) If the Commission determines, after notice to the entity and an opportunity for the entity to contest the proposed termination, that the entity is no longer qualified as described in its application, has materially misrepresented information to the Commission, the TRS Numbering administrator, or the TRS User Registration Database administrator, has failed to provide required information in the format requested, or has violated an applicable Commission rule or order or a requirement imposed by authority of the TRS Numbering administrator or the TRS User Registration Database administrator. Following the termination of an authorization, the TRS Numbering administrator shall remove the previously authorized entity's telephone numbers from the TRS Numbering Directory.

(4) Notification of material change. A Qualified Direct Video Entity that is granted access to the TRS Numbering Directory shall notify the Commission within 60 days of any material changes to information provided in its application.

(5) Qualified Direct Video Entities' obligations. A Qualified Direct Video Entity shall comply with all relevant rules and obligations applicable to VRS providers' access to the TRS Numbering Directory and the use of numbers provisioned in the TRS Numbering Directory, including, but not limited to:

(i) Provisioning and maintaining current routing information in the TRS Numbering Directory for each NANP telephone number that it enters in such directory;

(ii) Being able to make point-to-point calls and receive point-to-point or VRS calls from any VRS user in accordance with all interoperability standards applicable to VRS providers, including, but not limited to, the relevant technical standards specified in §64.621(b);

(iii) Protecting customer proprietary network information of any VRS user obtained in accordance with §§64.5101 through 64.5111 (TRS Customer Proprietary Network Information);

(iv) Following TRS Numbering Directory access procedures and performing related administrative functions as directed by the TRS Numbering administrator in consultation with the Managing Director and the Chief, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau; and

(v) Adhering to all other applicable standards pertaining to privacy, security, and reliability.

(6) Call transfer capability. A Qualified Direct Video Entity shall ensure that each customer support center is able to initiate a call transfer that converts a point-to-point video call into a VRS call, in the event that a VRS user communicating with a direct video customer agent needs to be transferred to a hearing person while the call is in progress. No later than December 6, 2019, each VRS provider shall be capable of activating an effective call transfer procedure within 60 days after receiving a request to do so from a Qualified Direct Video Entity.

(7) TRS User Registration Database. For each direct video number to be entered into the TRS Numbering Directory, unless otherwise instructed by the TRS User Registration Database administrator, a Qualified Direct Video Entity must create an equivalent entry in the TRS User Registration Database by providing:

(i) The Qualified Direct Video Entity's name;

(ii) The date that the Qualified Direct Video Entity was approved for TRS Numbering Directory access;

(iii) The name of the end-user customer support center (if different from the Qualified Direct Video Entity);

(iv) Contact information for the end-user customer support call center(s); and

(v) Other information reasonably requested by the TRS User Registration Database administrator.

[73 FR 41296, July 18, 2008, as amended at 76 FR 59577, Sept. 27, 2011; 82 FR 17764, Apr. 13, 2017; 82 FR 39683, Aug. 22, 2017; 84 FR 26371, June 6, 2019]

Effective Date Note: At 84 FR 26371, June 6, 2019, §64.613 was amended by revising paragraphs (a)(1),(2),(4) and adding paragraphs (a)(5) and (c). These paragraphs contain information collection and recordkeeping requirements and will not become effective until approval has been given by the Office of Management and Budget.

§64.615   TRS User Registration Database and administrator.

(a) TRS User Registration Database.

(1) VRS users call validation. VRS providers shall validate the eligibility of the party on the video side of each call by querying the TRS User Registration Database or the TRS Numbering Directory, as directed by the Commission, the TRS Fund administrator, or the TRS Numbering Administrator, on a per-call basis. Emergency 911 calls are excepted from the requirement in this paragraph (a)(1).

(i) Validation shall occur during the call setup process, prior to the placement of the call.

(ii) If the eligibility of at least one party to the call is not validated using the TRS User Registration Database, the call shall not be completed, and the VRS provider shall either terminate the call or, if appropriate, offer to register the user if they are able to demonstrate eligibility.

(iii) Calls that VRS providers are prohibited from completing because the user's eligibility cannot be validated shall not be included in speed of answer calculations and shall not be eligible for compensation from the TRS Fund.

(2) Enterprise and public videophone call validation. (i) VRS providers shall validate the registration of an enterprise or public videophone used for a VRS call by querying the designated database in accordance with paragraph (a)(1) of this section.

(ii) [Reserved]

(iii) VRS providers shall require their CAs to terminate any call which does not include a registered enterprise or public videophone or, pursuant to the provider's policies, the call does not appear to be a legitimate VRS call, and VRS providers may not seek compensation for such calls from the TRS Fund.

(iv) Emergency 911 calls from enterprise and public videophones shall be exempt from the videophone validation requirements of paragraph (a)(2)(i) of this section.

(3) The administrator of the TRS User Registration Database shall assign a unique identifier to each user in the TRS User Registration Database.

(4) Data integrity. (i) Each VRS and IP CTS provider shall request that the administrator of the TRS User Registration Database remove from the TRS User Registration Database user information for any registered user or hearing point-to-point user:

(A) Who informs its default VRS provider or its IP CTS provider that it no longer wants use of a ten-digit number for TRS or (in the case of a hearing point-to-point video user) for point-to-point video service; or

(B) For whom the provider obtains information that the user is not eligible to use the service.

(ii) The administrator of the TRS User Registration Database shall remove the data of:

(A) Any VRS user that has neither placed nor received a VRS or point-to-point call in a one-year period; and

(B) Any user for which a VRS or IP CTS provider makes a request under paragraph (a)(3)(i) of this section.

(5) A VRS or IP CTS provider may query the TRS User Registration Database only for the purposes provided in this subpart, and to determine whether information with respect to its registered users already in the database is correct and complete.

(6) User verification. (i) The TRS User Registration Database shall have the capability of performing an identification verification check when a VRS provider, IP CTS provider, or other party submits a query to the database about an existing or potential user or an enterprise or public videophone.

(ii) VRS and IP CTS providers shall not register individuals or enterprise or public videophones that do not pass the identification verification check conducted through the TRS User Registration Database.

(iii) VRS providers shall not seek compensation for calls placed by individuals or for calls placed to or from enterprise or public videophones that do not pass the identification verification check conducted through the TRS User Registration Database.

(iv) IP CTS providers shall not seek compensation for calls placed to or from individuals that do not pass the identification verification check conducted through the TRS User Registration Database.

(b) Administration—(1) Terms of administration. The administrator of the TRS User Registration Database shall administer the TRS User Registration Database pursuant to the terms of its contract.

(2) Compensation. The TRS Fund, as defined by §64.604(a)(5)(iii) of this subpart, may be used to compensate the administrator of the TRS User Registration Database for the reasonable costs of administration pursuant to the terms of its contract.

(c) Compliance date. Paragraphs (a)(3) and (a)(5) of this section contain new or modified information-collection and recordkeeping requirements adopted in FCC 19-11. Compliance with these information-collection and recordkeeping requirements will not be required until after approval by the Office of Management and Budget. The Commission will publish a document in the Federal Register announcing that compliance date and revising this paragraph accordingly.

[78 FR 40609, July 5, 2013, as amended at 82 FR 17764, Apr. 13, 2017; 84 FR 8463, Mar. 8, 2019; 84 FR 26372, June 6, 2019]

Effective Date Note: At 84 FR 26372, June 6, 2019, §64.615 was amended by revising paragraph (a)(1) introductory text, redesignating paragraphs (a)(2) through (5) as paragraphs (a)(3) through (6), adding new paragraph (a)(2), and revising newly redesignated paragraph (a)(6). These paragraphs contain information collection and recordkeeping requirements and will not become effective until approval has been given by the Office of Management and Budget.

§64.619   VRS Access Technology Reference Platform and administrator.

(a) VRS Access Technology Reference Platform. (1) The VRS Access Technology Reference Platform shall be a software product that performs consistently with the rules in this subpart, including any standards adopted in §64.621 of this subpart.

(2) The VRS Access Technology Reference Platform shall be available for use by the public and by developers.

(b) Administration—(1) Terms of administration. The administrator of the VRS Access Technology Reference Platform shall administer the VRS Access Technology Reference Platform pursuant to the terms of its contract.

(2) Compensation. The TRS Fund, as defined by §64.604(a)(5)(iii) of this subpart, may be used to compensate the administrator of the VRS Access Technology Reference Platform for the reasonable costs of administration pursuant to the terms of its contract.

[78 FR 40609, July 5, 2013]

§64.621   Interoperability and portability.

(a) General obligations of VRS providers. (1) All Video Relay Service (VRS) users and hearing point-to-point video users must be able to place a VRS or point-to-point video call through any of the VRS providers' services, and all VRS providers must be able to receive calls from, and make calls to, any VRS or hearing point-to-point video user.

(2) A VRS provider may not take steps that restrict a user's unfettered access to another provider's service, such as providing degraded service quality to VRS users using VRS equipment or service with another provider's service.

(3) Beginning no later than April 27, 2018, all VRS providers must ensure that their VRS access technologies and their video communication service platforms are interoperable with the VRS Access Technology Reference Platform, including for point-to-point calls, in accordance with the Interoperability Profile for Relay User Equipment (RUE Profile). No VRS provider shall be compensated for minutes of use involving their VRS access technologies or video communication service platforms that are not interoperable with the VRS Access Technology Reference Platform.

(4) All VRS providers must ensure that their VRS access technologies and their video communication service platforms are interoperable with the Neutral Video Communication Service Platform, including for point-to-point calls. No VRS provider shall be compensated for minutes of use involving their VRS access technologies or video communication service platforms that are not interoperable with the Neutral Video Communication Service Platform.

(b) Technical standards for interoperability and portability.

(1) Beginning no later than December 20, 2017, VRS providers shall ensure that their provision of VRS and video communications, including their access technology, meets the requirements of the VRS Provider Interoperability Profile.

(2) Beginning no later than October 24, 2017, VRS providers shall provide a standard xCard export interface to enable users to import their lists of contacts in xCard XML format, in accordance with IETF RFC 6351.

(c) Incorporation by reference. The standards required in this section are incorporated by reference into this section with the approval of the Director of the Federal Register under 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51. All approved material is available for inspection at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street, SW., Reference Information Center, Room CY-A257, Washington, DC 20554, (202) 418-0270, and is available from the sources indicated below. It is also available for inspection at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this material at NARA, call 202-741-6030 or go to http://www.archives.gov/federal__register/code__of__federal__regulations/ibr__locations.htm.

(1) FCC (on behalf of SIP Forum), 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554, (888) 225-5322 (voice), (844) 432-2275 (videophone), (888) 835-5322 (TTY).

(i) VRS US Providers Profile TWG-6.1, the US VRS Provider Interoperability Profile, September 23, 2015. https://www.fcc.gov/files/sip-forum-vrs-us-providers-profile-twg-6-1.

(ii) [Reserved]

(2) The following standards are available from the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) Secretariat, 5177 Brandin Court, Fremont, CA 94538, 510-492-4080.

(i) The Interoperability Profile for Relay User Equipment, draft-vrs-rue-dispatch-00, July 20, 2016 https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/draft-vrs-rue-dispatch/.

(ii) Request for Comments (RFC) 6351, xCard: vCard XML Representation (August 2011) https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc6351.

[78 FR 40609, July 5, 2013, as amended at 82 FR 17764, Apr. 13, 2017; 82 FR 19325, Apr. 27, 2017; 82 FR 39683, Aug. 22, 2017]

§64.623   Administrator requirements.

(a) For the purposes of this section, the term “Administrator” shall refer to each of the TRS Numbering administrator, the administrator of the TRS User Registration Database, the administrator of the VRS Access Technology Reference Platform, and the provider of the Neutral Video Communication Service Platform. A single entity may serve in one or more of these capacities.

(b) Neutrality. (1) The Administrator shall be a non-governmental entity that is impartial and not an affiliate of any Internet-based TRS provider.

(2) Neither the Administrator nor any affiliate thereof shall issue a majority of its debt to, nor derive a majority of its revenues from, any Internet-based TRS provider.

(3) Neither the TRS Numbering administrator nor any affiliate thereof shall be unduly influenced, as determined by the North American Numbering Council, by parties with a vested interest in the outcome of TRS-related numbering administration and activities.

(4) None of the administrator of the TRS User Registration Database, the administrator of the VRS Access Technology Reference Platform, or the provider of the Neutral Video Communication Service Platform, nor any affiliates thereof, shall be unduly influenced, as determined by the Commission, by parties with a vested interest in the outcome of TRS-related activities.

(5) Any subcontractor that performs any function of any Administrator shall also meet the neutrality criteria applicable to such Administrator.

(c) Terms of administration. The Administrator shall administer pursuant to the terms of its contract.

(d) Compensation. The TRS Fund, as defined by §64.604(a)(5)(iii) of this subpart, may be used to compensate the Administrator for the reasonable costs of administration pursuant to the terms of its contract.

[78 FR 40609, July 5, 2013]

§64.630   Applicability of change of default TRS provider rules.

(a) Sections 64.630 through 64.636 governing changes in default TRS providers shall apply to any provider of IP Relay or VRS eligible to receive payments from the TRS Fund.

(b) For purposes of §§64.630 through 64.636, the term iTRS users is defined as any individual that has been assigned a ten-digit NANP number from the TRS Numbering Directory for IP Relay, VRS, or point-to-point video service.

[82 FR 17764, Apr. 13, 2017]

§64.631   Verification of orders for change of default TRS providers.

(a) No iTRS provider, either directly or through its numbering partner, shall initiate or implement the process to change an iTRS user's selection of a default provider prior to obtaining:

(1) Authorization from the iTRS user, and

(2) Verification of that authorization in accordance with the procedures prescribed in this section. The new default provider shall maintain and preserve without alteration or modification all records of verification of the iTRS user's authorization for a minimum period of five years after obtaining such verification and shall make such records available to the Commission upon request. In any case where the iTRS provider is unable, unwilling or otherwise fails to make such records available to the Commission upon request, it shall be presumed that the iTRS provider has failed to comply with its verification obligations under the rules.

(b) Where an iTRS provider is offering more than one type of TRS, that provider must obtain separate authorization from the iTRS user for each service, although the authorizations may be obtained within the same transaction. Each authorization must be verified separately from any other authorizations obtained in the same transaction. Each authorization must be verified in accordance with the verification procedures prescribed in this part.

(c) A new iTRS provider shall not, either directly or through its numbering partner, initiate or implement the process to change a default provider unless and until the order has been verified in accordance with one of the following procedures:

(1) The iTRS provider has obtained the iTRS user's written or electronically signed authorization in a form that meets the requirements of §64.632 of this part; or

(2) An independent third party meeting the qualifications in this subsection has obtained, in accordance with the procedures set forth in paragraphs (c)(2)(i) through (iv) of this section, the iTRS user's authorization to implement the default provider change order that confirms and includes appropriate verification of registration data with the TRS User Registration Database as defined in §64.601(a) of this part. The independent third party must not be owned, managed, controlled, or directed by the iTRS provider or the iTRS provider's marketing agent; must not have any financial incentive to confirm default provider change orders for the iTRS provider or the iTRS provider's marketing agent; and must operate in a location physically separate from the iTRS provider or the iTRS provider's marketing agent.

(i) Methods of third party verification. Third party verification systems and three-way conference calls may be used for verification purposes so long as the requirements of paragraphs (c)(3)(ii) through (iv) of this section are satisfied. It shall be a per se violation of these rules if at any time the iTRS provider, an iTRS provider's marketing representative, or any other person misleads the iTRS user with respect to the authorization that the iTRS user is giving, the purpose of that authorization, the purpose of the verification, the verification process, or the identity of the person who is placing the call as well as on whose behalf the call is being placed, if applicable.

(ii) Provider initiation of third party verification. An iTRS provider or an iTRS provider's marketing representative initiating a three-way conference call must drop off the call once the three-way connection has been established.

(iii) Requirements for content and format of third party verification. Any description of the default provider change transaction by a third party verifier must not be misleading. At the start of the third party verification process, the third party verifier shall identify the new default provider to the iTRS user and shall confirm that the iTRS user understands that the iTRS user is changing default providers and will no longer receive service from the iTRS user's current iTRS provider. In addition, all third party verification methods shall elicit, at a minimum: The date of the verification; the identity of the iTRS user; confirmation that the person on the call is the iTRS user; confirmation that the iTRS user wants to make the default provider change; confirmation that the iTRS user understands that a default provider change, not an upgrade to existing service, or any other misleading description of the transaction, is being authorized; confirmation that the iTRS user understands what the change in default provider means, including that the iTRS user may need to return any video equipment belonging to the original default provider; the name of the new default provider affected by the change; the telephone number of record to be transferred to the new default provider; and the type of TRS used with the telephone number being transferred. If the iTRS user has additional questions for the iTRS provider's marketing representative during the verification process, the verifier shall instruct the iTRS user that they are terminating the verification process, that the iTRS user may contact the marketing representative with additional questions, and that the iTRS user's default provider will not be changed. The marketing representative may again initiate the verification process following the procedures set out in this section after the iTRS user contacts the marketing representative with any additional questions. Third party verifiers may not market the iTRS provider's services by providing additional information.

(iv) Other requirements for third party verification. All third party verifications shall be conducted in the same language and format that were used in the underlying marketing transaction and shall be recorded in their entirety. In the case of VRS, this means that if the marketing process was conducted in American Sign Language (ASL), then the third party verification shall be conducted in ASL. In the event that the underlying marketing transaction was conducted via text over IP Relay, such text format shall be used for the third party verification. The third party verifier shall inform both the iTRS user and, where applicable, the communications assistant relaying the call, that the call is being recorded. The third party verifier shall provide the new default provider an audio, video, or IP Relay transcript of the verification of the iTRS user authorization. New default providers shall maintain and preserve audio and video records of verification of iTRS user authorization in accordance with the procedures set forth in paragraph (a)(2) of this section.

(d) A new default provider shall implement an iTRS user's default provider change order within 60 days of obtaining either:

(1) A written or electronically signed letter of agency in accordance with §64.632 of this part or

(2) Third party verification of the iTRS user's default provider change order in accordance with paragraph (c)(2) of this section. If not implemented within 60 days as required herein, such default provider change order shall be deemed void.

(e) At any time during the process of changing an iTRS user's default provider, and until such process is completed, which is when the new default provider assumes the role of default provider, the original default provider shall not:

(1) Reduce the level or quality of iTRS service provided to such iTRS user, or

(2) Reduce the functionality of any VRS access technology provided by the iTRS provider to such iTRS user.

(f) An iTRS provider that is certified pursuant to §64.606(a)(2) of this part may acquire, through a sale or transfer, either part or all of another iTRS provider's iTRS user base without obtaining each iTRS user's authorization and verification in accordance with paragraph (c) of this section, provided that the acquiring iTRS provider complies with the following streamlined procedures. An iTRS provider shall not use these streamlined procedures for any fraudulent purpose, including any attempt to avoid liability for violations under part 64 of the Commission rules.

(1) Not later than 30 days before the transfer of the affected iTRS users from the selling or transferring iTRS provider to the acquiring iTRS provider, the acquiring iTRS provider shall provide notice to each affected iTRS user of the information specified herein. The acquiring iTRS provider is required to fulfill the obligations set forth in the advance iTRS user notice. In the case of VRS, the notice shall be provided as a pre-recorded video message in American Sign Language sent to all affected iTRS users. In the case of IP Relay, the notice shall be provided as a pre-recorded text message sent to all affected iTRS users. The advance iTRS user notice shall be provided in a manner consistent with 47 U.S.C. 255, 617, 619 and the Commission's rules regarding accessibility to blind and visually-impaired consumers, §§6.3, 6.5, 14.20, and 14.21 of this chapter. The following information must be included in the advance iTRS user notice:

(i) The date on which the acquiring iTRS provider will become the iTRS user's new default provider;

(ii) The iTRS user's right to select a different default provider for the iTRS at issue, if an alternative iTRS provider is available;

(iii) Whether the acquiring iTRS provider will be responsible for handling any complaints filed, or otherwise raised, prior to or during the transfer against the selling or transferring iTRS provider, and

(iv) The toll-free customer service telephone number of the acquiring iTRS provider.

(2) All iTRS users receiving the notice will be transferred to the acquiring iTRS provider, unless they have selected a different default provider before the transfer date.

[78 FR 40609, July 5, 2013]

§64.632   Letter of authorization form and content.

(a) An iTRS provider may use a written or electronically signed letter of authorization to obtain authorization of an iTRS user's request to change his or her default provider. A letter of authorization that does not conform with this section is invalid for purposes of this subpart.

(b) The letter of authorization shall be a separate document or located on a separate screen or Web page. The letter of authorization shall contain the following title “Letter of Authorization to Change my Default Provider” at the top of the page, screen, or Web page, as applicable, in clear and legible type.

(c) The letter of authorization shall contain only the authorizing language described in paragraph (d) of this section and be strictly limited to authorizing the new default provider to implement a default provider change order. The letter of authorization shall be signed and dated by the iTRS user requesting the default provider change.

(d) At a minimum, the letter of authorization must be printed with a type of sufficient size and readable type to be clearly legible and must contain clear and unambiguous language that confirms:

(1) The iTRS user's registered name and address and each telephone number to be covered by the default provider change order;

(2) The decision to change the default provider from the original default provider to the new default provider;

(3) That the iTRS user designates [insert the name of the new default provider] to act as the iTRS user's agent and authorizing the new default provider to implement the default provider change; and

(4) That the iTRS user understands that only one iTRS provider may be designated as the TRS user's default provider for any one telephone number.

(e) If any portion of a letter of authorization is translated into another language then all portions of the letter of authorization must be translated into that language. Every letter of authorization must be translated into the same language as any promotional materials, descriptions or instructions provided with the letter of authorization.

(f) Letters of authorization submitted with an electronically signed authorization must include the consumer disclosures required by Section 101(c) of the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act.

[78 FR 40609, July 5, 2013]

§64.633   Procedures for resolution of unauthorized changes in default provider.

(a) Notification of alleged unauthorized provider change. Original default providers who are informed of an unauthorized default provider change by an iTRS user shall immediately notify the allegedly unauthorized provider and the Commission's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau of the incident.

(b) Referral of complaint. Any iTRS provider that is informed by an iTRS user or original default provider of an unauthorized default provider change shall:

(1) Notify the Commission's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, and

(2) Shall inform that iTRS user of the iTRS user's right to file a complaint with the Commission's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau. iTRS providers shall also inform the iTRS user that the iTRS user may contact and file a complaint with the alleged unauthorized default provider. An original default provider shall have the right to file a complaint with the Commission in the event that one of its respective iTRS users is the subject of an alleged unauthorized default provider change.

(c) Notification of receipt of complaint. Upon receipt of an unauthorized default provider change complaint or notification filed pursuant to this section, the Commission will notify the allegedly unauthorized provider and the Fund administrator of the complaint or notification and order that the unauthorized provider identify to the Fund administrator all minutes attributable to the iTRS user after the alleged unauthorized change of default provider is alleged to have occurred. The Fund administrator shall withhold reimbursement for such minutes pending Commission determination of whether an unauthorized change, as defined by §64.601(a) of this part, has occurred, if it has not already done so.

(d) Proof of verification. Not more than 30 days after notification of the complaint or other notification, the alleged unauthorized default provider shall provide to the Commission's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau a copy of any valid proof of verification of the default provider change. This proof of verification must clearly demonstrate a valid authorized default provider change, as that term is defined in §§64.631 through 64.632 of this part. The Commission will determine whether an unauthorized change, as defined by §64.601(a) of this part, has occurred using such proof and any evidence supplied by the iTRS user or other iTRS providers. Failure by the allegedly unauthorized provider to respond or provide proof of verification will be presumed to be sufficient evidence of a violation.

[78 FR 40609, July 5, 2013]

§64.634   Procedures where the Fund has not yet reimbursed the provider.

(a) This section shall only apply after an iTRS user or iTRS provider has complained to or notified the Commission that an allegedly unauthorized change, as defined by §64.601(a) of this part, has occurred, and the TRS Fund (Fund), as defined in §64.604(c)(5)(iii) of this part, has not reimbursed the allegedly unauthorized default provider for service attributable to the iTRS user after the allegedly unauthorized change occurred.

(b) An allegedly unauthorized provider shall identify to the Fund administrator all minutes submitted by the allegedly unauthorized provider to the Fund for reimbursement that are attributable to the iTRS user after the allegedly unauthorized change of default provider, as defined by §64.601(a) of this part, is alleged to have occurred.

(c) If the Commission determines that an unauthorized change, as defined by §64.601(a) of this part, has occurred, the Commission shall direct the Fund administrator to not reimburse for any minutes attributable to the iTRS user after the unauthorized change occurred, and neither the authorized nor the unauthorized default provider may seek reimbursement from the fund for those charges. The remedies provided in this section are in addition to any other remedies available by law.

(d) If the Commission determines that the default provider change was authorized, the default provider may seek reimbursement from the Fund for minutes of service provided to the iTRS user.

[78 FR 40609, July 5, 2013]

§64.635   Procedures where the Fund has already reimbursed the provider.

(a) The procedures in this section shall only apply after an iTRS user or iTRS provider has complained to or notified the Commission that an unauthorized change, as defined by §64.601(a) of this part, has occurred, and the Fund has reimbursed the allegedly unauthorized default provider for minutes of service provided to the iTRS user.

(b) If the Commission determines that an unauthorized change, as defined by §64.601(a) of this part, has occurred, it shall direct the unauthorized default provider to remit to the Fund an amount equal to 100% of all payments the unauthorized default provider received from the Fund for minutes attributable to the iTRS user after the unauthorized change occurred. The remedies provided in this section are in addition to any other remedies available by law.

[78 FR 40609, July 5, 2013]

§64.636   Prohibition of default provider freezes.

(a) A default provider freeze prevents a change in an iTRS user's default provider selection unless the iTRS user gives the provider from whom the freeze was requested his or her express consent.

(b) Default provider freezes shall be prohibited.

[78 FR 40609, July 5, 2013]

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