A few years ago I asked you to help me speak up to the FCC and your local poloticians to help keep communication rights for people who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing equivialent. Now again I need your help. The FCC has written a new Public Notice that to be honest is written quite harsly and in my personal opinion is done so simply to gain favor to their proposal. Is there truth to what they say about fraud? Yes however from my understanding (since it primarily happened with other companies) it was not the company trying to defraud the government it was individuals with in the companies. I can say definitively it is certainly not an industry trying to take advantage it is an industry trying to provide a service to the best of its abilities.
Skip to the link in the last paragraph if you already know you want to send in your comment
Video Relay Service (VRS) is a service provided for those Americans who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing. We interpret phone calls for people who use sign language. Think about all the calls you make in a day, to family, your doctor, your banker…on and on for business and pleasure. These calls would not be possible for Deaf people without an interpreter. This service is provided by the government as a part of the ADA law (Americans with Disabilities Act) the same law that requires wheelchair ramps and such. While many who are Deaf or HoH would disagree (just like many disabled people) with the term disabled but I want to emphasize that this service is provided because of a disability NOT a language barrier.
This time the FCC is proposing a few things but these are the two things i’m concerned about:
- Per minute pay cuts, which may not have a huge impact on the larger companies but WILL greatly impact the small and mid sized companies. In order to be a thriving industry you must have competition and this will eliminate that and therefore impact customer service, technology improvements and the like. Why? because of there is no competition there is no reason to improve or even be your best.
- Use of off the self equipment and the same software by every company. This not only impacts customer service as I talked about above, it also takes a sever step back in the quality of service we are currently providing. The software companies use have been in development for YEARS with tons of improvements and changes. Going to a new standardized software would take us back years in developments. Using off the self video phones just plain won’t work. The quality of picture needed for sign language (think dance not just sitting their talking at each other) is extrema and just simply can’t be matched by anything you can buy at Wal Mart. If the picture quality goes down, the ability to interpret accurately also goes down.
I know this is alot and I know the federal budget is tight but equal access for all those who are deemed disabled is not a choice its mandated by the ADA. If you agree this web site has made it really easy to submit your comments to the FCC before Nov 14th. They even have written a letter for you (that you can proof read and adjust.) Just go to http://www.savemyvrs.com/takeaction and click the appropriate choice for you (I am Deaf, I’m hearing I’m and interpreter) fill our your personal info and click continue that’s it.
Please help keep communication equal