National Association of the Deaf

Relay Consumer Alert: New FCC Rules on Toll Free Numbers



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REMINDER: Tomorrow, November 21st, is the last day your 800 or 866 toll-free VRS phone numbers will work! Change to a local phone number through your VRS provider, and be sure to let your family, friends, co-workers and doctors know about your new phone number. Read our original August 2011 release for more information on the FCC ruling:

The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) is pleased to announce that on August 4, 2011, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released its final rules on the use of toll free (800 or 866 numbers). The order stops the assignment of new toll-free numbers to Video Relay Service (VRS) users and requires the transition to local ten-digit numbers. If a VRS user wishes to obtain a toll free number or continue using his/her toll free number, he/she must pay separately for the toll free number. Telephone users use local ten-digit numbers and can pay separately for toll free numbers. This order will not affect the deaf and hard of hearing consumer's ability to make calls to toll free numbers. 

The FCC also adopted a one-year transition period where previously assigned toll free numbers will continue to work until November 21, 2012. If you use a toll free number, you need to start using your local ten-digit number and let your family, friends, and colleagues know to contact you at your local ten-digit number. Your toll free number will no longer work after November 21, 2012 unless you make arrangements to pay for it separately. Both providers and the FCC will do outreach on this issue to consumers.

We applaud the FCC for its hard work and making this important step towards the goal of functional equivalency for all deaf and hard of hearing people.

To read the August 4, 2011 FCC order:
http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2011/db0804/FCC-11-123A1.pdf 

Here are some of our previous press releases and vlogs on this topic:

10-digit Numbers for VRS and IP Relay Users Are Superior to Toll Free Numbers
http://www.nad.org/blogs/debrapatkin/local-10-digit-numbers-are-superior-toll-free-numbers

FCC to Transition 800 Number Users to Toll Free Providers
http://www.nad.org/news/2010/12/fcc-transition-800-number-users-toll-free-providers

Relay Consumer Alert: 800 Numbers No Longer Interoperable
http://www.nad.org/news/2009/11/consumer-alert-800-numbers-no-longer-interoperable