This has not been the best year for Sprint: after being ousted for illegal throttling practices, even after it was declared illegal due to net neutrality registration, Sprint has now been accused by the Federal Communications Commission of ignoring 911 calls made by callers who are hard-of-hearing (HoH).

Sprint purportedly avoided calls made from HoH customers for as little as five weeks and as long as almost a full year. These callers were readily identifiable through a captioning service that allows the caller to read what someone at the other end of the line is saying.

However, these devices aren't paid by the customer; rather, they're taken care of by companies by Sprint, who offer them to potential customers in need and are then reimbursed by the government. Sprint, rather than taking these calls, instead took the money issued by the government for these services without actually utilizing the service via picked up calls.

Sprint is not the only company to engage in these discriminatory and money-skimming practices: Hamilton Relay and InnoCaption are also under fire for allegedly fielding phone calls. 

"Today's settlements reaffirm our commitment to ensure that the hard of hearing community has essential 911 service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week," said chief of the FCC Enforcement Bureau Travis LeBlanc.

In total, the three corporations will pay around $1.4 million in fines, with Sprint responsible for $1,175,000, Hamilton Relay for $235,000 and InnoCaption for a comparatively paltry $25,000. 

"Not only are we fining these companies for failing to provide this vital service, but we are assuring that they provide it going forward," added LeBlanc. 

via The Hill

Photo: Mike Mozart | Flickr

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