Convo Communications Receives Conditional FCC certification

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Deaf-owned provider of nationwide 24/7 video relay services is first to be certified under the new, more stringent FCC regulations.

On November 15, 2011, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted deaf-owned Convo Communications (Convo) conditional certification to provide video relay services (VRS), a subset of Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS).

Especially significant is that this marks the first TRS certification activity from the FCC since January 2009 and gives Convo the distinction of becoming the nation’s only deaf-owned company to be certified under the new, more stringent FCC regulations.

Convo is a nationally known provider 24/7 VRS, which enable deaf and hard of hearing people who use sign language to convo with hearing people via phone by utilizing true-to-life video connection with specially trained sign language interpreters.

“This is easily the most exciting milestone for Convo since the day we first opened our doors,” said our CEO Robin Horwitz, who is deaf and has been with Convo since its inception in March 2009. The company has since grown to 24/7 in-house uptime, four call centers and projected revenues of close to $4.5 million for 2011.

Watch announcement in sign language and with captions: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHxgbxg8SnE

The FCC grant of conditional certification is at http://fcc.us/veNTVw. While this is pending FCC’s verification of assertions provided in Convo's TRS certification application, said Horwitz, “This coming assurance to our customers of provider stability positions us for immediate growth and a long-term future in the market.”

Convo filed its initial application for TRS certification in March 2009. However, the FBI cracked down on an uncertified VRS provider in July 2009 then the FCC Enforcement Bureau demanded $22 million restitution from a certified VRS provider in September 2010. Immediately following, to combat “fraud, abuse and waste,” the FCC began reforming TRS regulations and as of November 15, 2011, began responding to applications submitted under the new, more rigorous requirements. Accordingly, this grant of conditional TRS certification nearly culminates Convo’s efforts of almost three years. As Horwitz wrote in an email announcement to employees, “The light at the end of the tunnel is so bright that the sunlight is warming our feet.”

In coming weeks, Convo expects to welcome FCC representatives to its offices. “We can’t wait to kick off a vendor relationship with the FCC that is grounded in transparency,” said Horwitz. “And, as you can imagine, we excitedly look forward to a future of VRS excellence service for the deaf community.”

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Convo Communications is a deaf-owned provider of 24/7 video relay services, which enables deaf and hard of hearing people who use sign language to convo with hearing people over the phone. Its services allow deaf and hard of hearing people civic and consumer participation and can be accessed via web browser, videophone, instant messenger, or mobile devices running on iOS. For further information, visit http://convorelay.com or follow via Facebook and Twitter at /convorelay.

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