Sunday, May 9, 2010

Jon Ziev Disputed Sorenson's Claims About VRS Being Endangered

Jon Ziev, a deaf consumer advocate, disputed with the latest Sorneson's usual fear tactics about the VRS industry being endangered.

Here is Ziev's vlog posting -

Steve Baier aka the Deaf Sherlock posted the Sorenson's video to mobilize the deaf VRS users to call the FCC in protest of the commission's new proposed policy -

"Under the Hill" blogger also posted the NCEA's proposal and Sorenson e-video-

ASLize yours,
Robert L. Mason (RLM)


  1. The problem with blogs or vlogs like Ziev's is that they do not have the complete information needed to make neutral, unbiased comments like this.

    NECA made the proposal re: the reduced rates, yes. In the past 10years, the FCC has NEVER accepted NECA's recommendations. The FCC has always recognized the need for competitive rates in order to ensure ADA laws are being met and pursued. This year, however, the FCC accepted NECA's rates. This in itself should be a red flag.

    Every government agency is looking for ways to save money. The FCC does not care if VRS companies go out of business or suffer financially. They do not understand how important VRS is to Deaf consumers.

    The new proposed rate is ridiculously low--a fact that has been recognized by nearly every single VRS company out there.

    Sorenson, in fact, has proposed one flat rate for everyone, regardless of the size of business (meaning no tiered payments). This would be better for all VRS companies and put them all on a more even keel!

    Sorenson will, indeed, have a hard time staying in business with the new proposed rate. When they go bankrupt, who will be able to take over for them? No one! Sorenson has spent 10 years building their company--they've never been arrested or jailed for defrauding the FCC as other VRS companies have been. Sorenson employs nearly 7 thousand people, Deaf and hearing. Where will these people go when Sorenson goes bankrupt?

    This will have a domino effect and hurt other, smaller VRS companies. NO doubt about that!

  2. The problem with comments like the one above is that we don't know who the author is and thus we don't know if he/she is neutral and unbiased.

  3. Well, Tom, I think that knowing who wrote the above comment makes it biased. The comment presents some facts and perspectives. Knowing who would distort the bias, in my opinion. Why does it matter who wrote it?

    I did my own research and did the math. I can see what the above commenter is saying is true.

  4. I am an interpreter working for a VRI agency. I don't think it will be interpreters losing their jobs. It will be Middle management most likely and I read somewhere some Deaf support team members would MOST LIKELY be let go. It would be terrible if interpreters were let go because of Sorensons stupid ass No Compete clause in their contracts. If interpreters are let go then they can go back to working in the community but can not work for another VRS company for 6 months. If Sorenson really cared about their interpreters (which they don't!) they would eliminate that stupid clause! And if Sorenson were to go bankrupt as Anonymous says, who will be able to take over for them? A quick search on Google will show you many other VRS providers. Sorenson is not the only VRS provider. If they go bankrupt and close down, another one will take their place. No big loss! The deaf community is not losing VRS service like Sorenson wants people to believe.

  5. The FCC’s Bureau of Consumer and Governmental Affairs recently issued a statement stating that the FCC supports VRS and that VRS is not threatened by the FCC’s Public Notice proposing rates for VRS. This statement from the FCC has also appeared on numerous websites.

    Sorenson Communications is not at all surprised to hear that the FCC supports the mandate in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to provide functionally equivalent telecommunications for the deaf. But the FCC fails to mention that in addition to “functional equivalent telecommunications for the deaf,” the ADA also requires nationwide access and improvements in technology and efficiency. The FCC is completely incorrect to say that VRS as we know it today is not threatened by its April 30 VRS rate proposal.

    Sorenson provides the vast majority of VRS to the deaf community. Sorenson has provided VRS access to more deaf individuals than any other provider and continues to be the frontrunner in providing access and support to deaf individuals who have never before used VRS service. Sorenson developed the first deaf-centric videophone offering the most functionally- equivalent communication service available. And Sorenson has done all of this efficiently, as we continue to develop next generation solutions that the deaf community has been greatly anticipating.

    The rates that the FCC is endorsing will drive Sorenson, the leading provider of VRS, into bankruptcy. The FCC’s proposed compensation to Sorenson is $3.89 per minute. Sorenson’s true and audited costs are over $5 per minute. The FCC is incorrect in their assessment of what would happen if its proposal were adopted. Sorenson understands completely the impact the proposed rate would have on its business. It would be disastrous for consumers. If Sorenson is unable to sustain their business at $3.89 per minute, how can the FCC suggest that any other provider would be able to service Sorenson’s users at such a low rate?

    Sorenson continues to strongly urge everyone who relies on VRS to communicate to tell the FCC the facts: The FCC’s proposed rate will force Sorenson into bankruptcy and will end VRS as we know it today. The FCC Chairman and Commissioners must be made to understand that any rate proposal that resembles the April 30 Public Notice, will be a death blow to VRS and to the ADA’s mandate to provide functionally equivalent telecommunications service, national access, technology improvements and efficiency for deaf telecommunication.

    Michael D. Maddix
    Director of Government and Regulatory Affairs
    Sorenson Communications, Inc.