In a truly remarkable and stunning development, the Administrator of the Telecommunications Relay Services (“TRS”) Fund — Rolke Loube Salzer & Associates (“RLSA”) — appears poised to extend TRS fund contribution obligations to providers of “private carriage” services. RLSA’s apparent extension of TRS funding obligations to this statutorily exempt class of communications service providers runs counter to the Communications Act, the FCC rules & regulations, the FCC Form 499 and its instructions, fundamental notions of fairness and over 15 years of TRS Fund administration practice by both RLSA and its predecessor, NECA. Never before in the history of the TRS Fund has a TRS Administrator attempted to collect contributions from Private Carriage / Private Service Providers.
Last week, several CommLaw Group clients received emails from RLSA stating the following:
As the Administrator of the Interstate Telecommunications Relay Service Fund (“TRS Fund”), I am writing to alert you to the fact that organizations filing with a primary business code of PRIV are no longer considered exempt from contributing to the Interstate TRS fund. This change is effective with the 2014 499-A form filing…
For additional information concerning Interstate Telecommunications Fund contributions please refer to regulation 47 C.F.R §64.604(c)(5)(iii)(A) on the FCC website or visit our website at www.r-l-s-a.com
The impact of the TRS Administrator’s ultra vires extension of TRS fund contributions to private carriers will most likely be felt by any Form 499 Filer that identified itself as a “Private Service Provider” in Line 105 of its 2014 FCC Form 499-A. The economic impact will likely be the application of the proposed 1.174% TRS Fund Fee Factor to the interstate, international and “wholly international” revenue reported by companies primarily designated as Private Service Providers. TRS Fund invoices are expected to be issued by RLSA in late July.
If your company received a similar email from RLSA or if you provide communications services on a “Private Carriage / Private Service Provider” basis, please contact Jonathan S. Marashlian at 703-714-1313 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss the economic impacts of the TRS Administrator’s actions and your options for responding thereto.