FCC Petition: Direct Video Calling
Please use docket numbers 10-51 and 03-123 when filing your comments.
We need your help to convince the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to provide support for a new service that lets you communicate in sign language – directly and without the use of a relay service – with ASL-fluent customer service agents in business and government call centers.
If you are like most consumers, you frequently need to call companies about bills, orders, returns, repairs, and technical matters concerning the products and services you use in your homes and offices. You might also have to call government agencies for information about benefits, taxes, health care, education, transportation, and more. If you are an ASL user, it is likely that you a video relay service (VRS) to make these calls. In this way, VRS has filled a major communication gap. But there is now a better, more direct way of communicating with companies and government agencies – Direct Video Calling.
What is Direct Video Calling?
Direct Video Calling, or “DVC” allows ASL users to communicate directly in real-time with ASL-fluent customer service representatives who have been trained by their companies or government agencies to provide assistance to the public. DVC enables a superior calling experience in which spoken and signed languages are finally equal, allowing you to have one-on-one conversations with customer service agents who use your language.
Just as some call centers offer communication in other languages (e.g., Spanish, French, etc.), DVC allows organizations to add ASL to the list of languages offered. What you say no longer needs to go through an interpreter. You can resolve matters affecting your purchases, finances, benefits, health, and much more by speaking directly to the customer representative who is also fluent in ASL—resulting in calls that are faster, effective, and more private.
Make Accessible Customer Service a Reality
On May 5, 2023, the FCC released a Public Notice seeking comment on a petition filed by Communication Service for the Deaf to make DVC eligible for funding support through an FCC program. The petition explains that DVC “enables the most accurate, private, and efficient video communications in real-time between ASL users who are Deaf, hard-of-hearing, DeafBlind or have speech disabilities and customer service representatives in business and government call centers.”
Although a few companies have begun providing DVC in their customer service centers, most still rely on VRS to communicate with Deaf customers, perhaps because VRS is free to them, funded through the FCC’s relay program. CSD believes funding support is now needed to encourage more businesses and government agencies to offer DVC.
We encourage you to tell the FCC that you want to be able to use DVC! You may do so in two ways:
- File your comments directly through the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System at https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings/express or
- Send your comments electronically to email@example.com and we will file them with the FCC for you.
- If you prefer to have us submit your comment for you, please send us what you want to say and make sure to include your name, physical address and email address. We will then file it for you and use your email address if you want to receive confirmation.
Below are some examples of feedback that you can provide to the FCC. Click on the plus sign to read each option. You can use these or write your own thoughts about why you want the FCC to help support DVC for communicating with customer call centers:
Click Here To See Comments You Can Use
Finally! A way to communicate in my own language with customer service representatives! I have long waited for this – at last I don’t have to use a relay operator to communicate what I want to say. I can get my points across faster and on my own, knowing that the representative on the other end will understand me clearly. They will even be able to see my facial expressions. I urge the FCC to do whatever is necessary to make this happen in customer call centers.
Finally, a way to ensure that we, Deaf people, can access call centers in a way that is fully equal. Nothing will get lost in translation. We will be able to control the conversation ourselves in real-time. We ask the FCC to do whatever it can to bring this wonderful service to call centers across the United States!
Please grant CSD’s petition to provide funding support for direct video calling. This service will enable me, a Deaf ASL user, to have greater privacy on my calls with banks, government agencies and the companies with whom I do business. It will also save me time because it will be faster and more efficient for me to communicate directly with the customer representative.
Direct video calling will break down a major barrier for deaf communities. Rather than having to communicate through an interpreter, DVC will finally allow me to communicate in real-time with customer service representatives who are themselves ASL users and who know and understand my language and culture.
I have been able to use DVC with one of the companies that has adopted it and love it! It allows me to sign one-on-one with a customer service agent who can communicate with me directly, without having to go through a third person. Please take action to support this service so I can use it in other call centers as well!
How to File a Comment Using the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System
The simplest way to file a brief comment with the FCC here: https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings/express. Here’s how to fill out each line on the form that will appear:
Specify the FCC proceedings to which your filing refers:
There are two docket numbers for CSD’s petition. First type in 10-51 and select the option that pops up. Then, in the same box, type in 03-123 and select the option that pops up.
Name(s) of Filer(s):
Enter the name(s) of the persons or entities whose views the filing represents:
Type your name in the text box where it says REQUIRED.
Primary Contact E-Mail:
For confirmation receipt (Optional)
If you would like confirmation of your filing, put your email address here.
Add your address here.
In this box, you should type in why you think the FCC should support DVC. You can use your own words, or cut and paste the sample comments noted above.
Do you want an email confirmation of your filing?
You may click No or Yes.
Check the box in the yellow box that says:
Note: By checking this box, I acknowledge that I am filing a document into an official FCC proceeding. All information submitted, including names and addresses, will be publicly available via the web.
Click the blue box that says “Continue to Review Screen,”
Continue to follow prompts on the screen(s) that follow to submit your filing. Make sure you reach the final screen that indicates that your comment has been filed.
For longer comments, you may submit a “standard filing” through the following link: https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings/standard. Most of the instructions are the same as for an express filing (noted above), except that there are some additional places to enter the names of a law firm, attorney, file and report numbers, and a link at the bottom to attach a separate document from your files.
For further information, the FCC provides the following instructions for making a filing in its electronic filing system: https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/help/ecfs. If you need additional assistance to file comments online you also may request assistance by sending an email to FCC504@fcc.gov.