FCC Votes to Adopt IP CTS Rules, Notice of Rulemaking

One of the items on the agenda for the June 7, 2018 Open Meeting of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) related to Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Services (IP CTS). Under the heading of Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Service Reform, the Commission considered a Report and Order, Declaratory Ruling, Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, and Notice of Inquiry to adopt measures and seek comment to ensure IP CTS remains sustainable for people with hearing loss who need it. (CG Docket Nos. 13-24, 03-123).

In brief:

  • The Report and Order establishes new compensation rates, adopts rules to limit IP CTS use, rules to separate captions from amplification controls, includes a requirement that IP CTS providers include notifications about IP CTS and how it works, and has a general prohibition against providing IP CTS to ineligible users.
  • The Declaratory Ruling allows IP CTS providers to use fully automated speech recognition, that is, captions that are generated without the use of caller assistants.
  • The Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposes and seeks comments on measures to improve the compensation, plan funding and structure of IP CTS and proposes to clarify requirements for IP CTS marketing. The FCC seeks comments on whether state equipment distribution centers should have an expanded role in providing IP CTS, including authority to certify providers of these services and handle user eligibility assessments.
  • The Notice of Inquiry seeks comment on IP CTS performance goals.

IP CTS is an important tool for many of us who have a hearing loss. The Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking invites everyone to weigh in with her or his own, or in the case of industry, their companies’ opinions on the rules governing IP CTS.

The FCC is interested in taking advantage of some of the rapidly-evolving technology to help drive down costs. They are also proposing that the gatekeepers for this program be shifted to equipment distribution centers in the states. If you have an opinion any aspect of IP CTS that the FCC is considering, it’s important that the FCC hear from you.

In the coming weeks, we will post a full summary of these documents and provide you with suggestions for comments that you can send. Stay tuned, there is more to come.

More information is available on the FCC website.