FCC Launches Closed-Captioning Review, Adopts VSR Rules

July 15, 2005
The FCC opened a proceeding to assess how its closed-captioning rules are working. The proceeding seeks comments on compliance and quality issues that were raised in a petition filed by several organizations doing advocacy for the deaf.
A few of those issues include adopting standards for transcription accuracy; creating additional procedures for addressing technical problems; standardizing monitoring mechanisms; changing the complaint process; instituting fines for noncompliance; requiring compliance reports; and banning the use of electronic newsroom captioning as a substitute for closed captioning beyond the top 25 markets.

The commission also adopted new rules for video relay service, which allows communications in sign language via a communications assistant and a video link. The new rules establish mandatory speed-of-answer; require VRS to be offered 24/7, and permit VRS providers to be compensated for providing VRS mail. Round-the-clock service will be mandatory for providers to receive compensation from the Interstate telecommunications relay service fund.

In a separate item, the FCC ruled that Spanish-translation VRS is compensable from the save fund.

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