Sorenson Communications, Inc. v. FCC, No. 10-9536 (10th Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
Sorenson Communications, Inc. challenged the 2010-2011 rates set by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC or Commission) to compensate Video Relay Service providers, including Sorenson. Video Relay Service (VRS) is a type of telecommunication relay service (TRS), "which enables a person with a hearing disability to remotely communicate with a hearing person by means of a video link and a communications assistant." FCC regulations provide certain minimum standards that VRS providers must meet. Among these requirements, VRS providers must operate every day, twenty-four hours a day, and must answer 80 percent of all calls within 120 seconds. TRS customers do not pay to access the service. Instead, TRS providers are compensated by the TRS Fund at a rate determined by the FCC. The TRS Fund is financed by interstate telecommunications providers on the basis of interstate enduser telecommunications revenues. Until 2007, the Commission set VRS rates annually, which resulted in significant variation in compensation each year. In 2007, the FCC adopted a three-tiered rate structure for compensating VRS providers, with rates that declined as the number of minutes per month increased. Sorenson asked the FCC to stay its 2010 Order which retained the tiered structure of the 2007 order, but reduced rates on all tiers. Upon review, the Tenth Circuit denied Sorenson's petition for review because the Commission’s order was consistent with its statutory mandate and was not arbitrary or capricious.