GlobalVRS is pleased to recognize that the FCC has finally passed the much needed rate freeze for Tier 1 VRS providers. This rate freeze is long overdue, as is seen by the fact that one of the distinguished VRS providers with the community perspective, CAAG/StarVRS has had to withdraw from the VRS field. GlobalVRS salutes the work StarVRS has provided, and has stepped in to support the initiative they provided. GlobalVRS has assured the FCC it is moving swiftly to support the Deaf-Blind VRS callers, since it is equipped with the exact same platform capabilities as Star VRS and the transitioning the services smoothly and effectively are already underway.
This rate freeze, according to President & CEO Angela Roth, will give GlobalVRS its first real opportunity since it entered the market in 2011 to begin supporting its specialized deaf community focused services, providing a VRS connection with the community that comes from the community based perspective. When GlobalVRS (formerly Gracias), along with CAAG and Convo entered the VRS arena, the FCC, while calling to promote diversity and completion, found itself addressing not only major fraud issues and initiated a cut off all outreach research and development funds along with establishing a glide path in rate cuts in response to activates by larger providers already in the field. In effect, says CEO Angela Roth, “we were cut to the knees from the start, hampering any real opportunity to be competitive in a market where already one provider has been allowed to monopolize the VRS industry commanding 80% one the market and two larger ones right on its heels.” Global and the other two providers never has the same huge FCC financial support to truly have competitive footing. Yet the services provided by GlobalVRS and by each of the other smaller providers have been uniquely distinguished representatives of the communities that VRS is supposed to serve.
Roth states “I cannot say thank you enough to the FCC, CGB, and the fund administrator for finally taking such a strong positive step forward in recognizing the value of the deaf communities’ diverse needs and turn its attention to ensure the much needed and delayed structural reforms will be addressed. While there is more to be done in stabilizing the future of VRS providers, this is a great first step.”
Global will be the only woman owner, Latina, interpreter VRS, now also providing Deaf-blind VRS services. CEO Roth adds, “It’s a unique position and the responsibility of it has never been lost on me. I was once asked why, despite all the difficulties and loses, have I stayed in VRS; my response was simple: someone has to be at the table to bring not the voice of its own company, but be the “voice” at the VRS table that is not one of the corporate lawyers; to be genuine and bring and the total range of deaf and hard of hearing needs from a connected community service capacity and understanding that comes with over 25 years of experience and service nationwide which must include the perspective of interpreters & Spanish speaking community.”
“Some have even tried to put us down as ‘tiny’,” says Roth. “Well, a stick of dynamite is not that big either, but carries a powerful punch. It can bring down a mountain.”