TDI casts ominous cloud on FCC proposed VRS ‘09-’10 rate
Recent U.S. Appeals Court decision “in check”

A Consumer Group -Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing,Inc. (TDI) apparently is creating a menacing predicament for some VRS providers in establishing a ‘09-’10 VRS compensation rate. This is being accomplished by requesting to see NECAs “postulating” of the TRS compensation rate funding to VRS providers from the FCC.

A seemingly harmless “Motion for Protective Order” is stirring some murky waters. This Protective Order is dangerously close to “getting an inside” on VRS compensation from NECA. Forbidden territory to date.

In recognizing “the sensitive nature of the cost information used by NECA...” that is submitted by VRS providers to NECA, TDI is attempting to strike a deal based on an innocent inquiry for advocacy purposes and possible input.

In a flurry of activity since May 14, when the FCC announced its intent on revisiting the last year of funding to the 3 year NECA rate, attention has now shifted to TDI snooping around on the NECA rate to VRS providers with this Protective Order.

This “spying” has been opposed by Sorenson, along with ATT, Hamilton and Sprint.

Here are some key dynamics of this request that have come into focus.
A Consumer Group playing a role as an “Advisory Council” to the FCC and big fish VRS providers alienating the FCC in its position in overseeing the WHOLE VRS industry ( i.e. doing its job ).Going a step further,Sorenson has even chastised the FCC for its May 14 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. (“skimpy one-paragraph NPRM”)

One key dynamic- TDI;
TDI lists itself as “providing feedback to the FCC on matters involving disability access and other consumer issues in conjunction with other advocacy groups.”According to the FCC ‘07 Declaratory Ruling on the current rate methodology , an Advisory Council is encouraged to play “an important role in the oversight of TRS” and also agreeing that “there should be more transparency to the rate setting process.”However, as we have seen, unhappy VRS providers can run to a U.S. Court of Appeals and have that rescinded, OR ANY portion of the ruling to meet their needs.

Question. So who’s in charge here?

Another key dynamic- VRS providers in-the-mix;
With Sorenson as the headhunter, risky behavior of “biting the hand that feeds them” may return to haunt these VRS providers in their pursuit to play outside the FCC arena on this rate, or other future TRS matters.
Also, perceptions of “talking out of both sides of their mouth” to consumers ( i.e.Deaf ) on TRS issues, wih the “stamp of approval” of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, may carry consequences as well. A misleading posture of serving while conspicuously controlling Deaf consumers who utilize VRS is becoming more obvious and a precarious act at that.

With these dynamic, or “dynamite” issues beginning to detonate, TDI may force the FCC to establish the new rate based on some creative “postulating” of their own.The current “incentive-based” (appeals court), “actual-cost” (NECA) or “recalculated” (FCC) proposals ARE lacking a Deaf consumer perspective. Right ?

Public comment period terminates on July 6th on the ‘09-’10 rate matter...unless ???????


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