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IP captioned telephones; hearing aid compatibility; VRS emergency access; Hands On certification


Date:  January 2, 2007


HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! I hope you all had wonderful holidays! Lots occurred at the end of last year, as reported below:

1. FCC approves an IP version of captioned telephone relay service. On December 20, 2006, the FCC agreed that captioned telephone services provided over the Internet should be eligible for compensation from the Interstate TRS Fund. The FCC explained: "IP CTS will benefit consumers by giving them the flexibility of using a computer, PDA, or wireless device to make such a call, without having to purchase special telephone equipment. In addition, captions provided on a computer screen can accommodate a much wider group of individuals, including persons with low vision, because they can take advantage of the large text, variable fonts, and variable colors that are available." The order is  linked below, along with several statements from the FCC Commissioners.

INTERNET PROTOCOL CAPTIONED TELEPHONE SERVICE ELIGIBLE FOR COMPENSATION FROM INTERSTATE TRS FUND. Adopted Declaratory Ruling finding that IP captioned telephone service is a type of telecommunications relay service eligible for compensation from the Interstate TRS Fund. News Release.
Adopted: 12/20/2006. News Media Contact: Rosemary Kimball at
202-418-0511; email: Rosemary.Kimball@fcc.gov CGB. Contact Thomas
Chandler at (202) 418-1475
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-269113A1.doc>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-269113A2.doc>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-269113A3.doc>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-269113A4.doc>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-269113A5.doc>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-269113A6.doc>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-269113A1.pdf>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-269113A2.pdf>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-269113A3.pdf>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-269113A4.pdf>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-269113A5.pdf>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-269113A6.pdf>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-269113A1.txt>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-269113A2.txt>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-269113A3.txt>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-269113A4.txt>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-269113A5.txt>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-269113A6.txt>

2. FCC extends deadline for comments on hearing aid compatibility. The FCC has extended the deadline for filing comments on the obligations of wireless handset manufacturers to make their phones hearing aid compatible. The new deadline for comments is January 12, 2007; replies are due on January 31, 2007. Below is a description of this item, contained in a prior Consumer Contact List message:

On August 13, 2003, the FCC adopted various requirements for digital wireless handsets to be hearing aid compatible (HAC). At that time, the FCC required manufacturers and wireless carriers to periodically report to the FCC on their levels of compliance. In addition, the Commission promised that 3 years after the Order became effective, its staff would prepare a report examining 3 things: (1) the impact that the rules have had in achieving HAC compatibility with digital wireless phones; (2) the development of new technologies that could achieve greater or more efficient wireless telecommunications access for hearing aid users; and (3) the Order's impact on cochlear implant and middle ear implant users and their ability to use digital wireless phones. On November 8, 2006, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau released a Public Notice (attached) seeking public comment on these issues, to enable the bureau to prepare the report to the full Commission. The FCC will use the report to determine whether to take the following 3 actions: (1) increase or decrease the 2008 requirement for 50% of phone models to comply with a U3 rating; (2) adopt additional HAC implementation benchmarks after 2008; and (3) modify other HAC requirements.

Released: 12/12/2006. WIRELESS TELECOMMUNICATIONS BUREAU GRANTS MOTION FOR EXTENSION OF TIME TO FILE COMMENTS AND REPLY COMMENTS ON TOPICS TO BE ADDRESSED IN HEARING AID COMPATIBILITY REPORT. (DA No. 06-2498). (Dkt No 06-203). Comments Due: 01/12/2007. Reply Comments Due: 01/31/2007. WTB. Contact: Christina Clearwater or Peter Trachtenberg at (202) 418-1310 <http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-06-2498A1.doc> <http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-06-2498A1.pdf> <http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-06-2498A1.txt>

3. FCC extends waiver on emergency access by video relay service (VRS) providers. The FCC has extended, for one additional year, the waiver given to VRS providers to handle emergency calls. Under the FCC's telecommunications relay service rules, relay providers must immediately and automatically transfer calls to public safety answering points (PSAPs, more commonly known as 911 emergency centers). The FCC has explained that, at present, this is not technologically feasible for VRS providers. The waiver will now expire on January 1, 2008. The order is linked below.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS RELAY SERVICES AND SPEECH-TO-SPEECH SERVICES FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH HEARING AND SPEECH DISABILITIES. Extended the waiver for one year in view of these continued technological challenges. (Dkt No. 03-123). Action by: Chief, Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau.
Adopted: 12/15/2006 by ORDER. (DA No. 06-2532). CGB
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-06-2532A1.doc>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-06-2532A1.pdf>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-06-2532A1.txt>

4. Hands On VRS granted certification as a VRS and IP relay provider. On December 22, 2006, the FCC released an order approving Hands On VRS to provide VRS and IP relay service. Last year (on December 12, 2005), the Commission had released an order notifying carriers that they were now permitted to seek certification to offer IP Relay and/or VRS services and receive payment from the Interstate TRS Fund. Hands On submitted its application for such certification on October 4, 2006, and has now been granted such certification.

Released: 12/22/2006. NOTICE OF CERTIFICATION OF HANDS ON VIDEO RELAY SERVICES, INC. AS A PROVIDER OF INTERNET PROTOCOL RELAY (IP RELAY) AND VIDEO RELAY SERVICE (VRS) ELIGIBLE FOR COMPENSATION FROM THE INTERSTATE TELECOMMUNICATIONS RELAY SERVICE (TRS) FUND. (DA No. 06-2578). (Dkt No
03-123). CGB. Contact: Gregory Hlibok at (800) 311-4381, email:
Gregory.Hlibok@fcc.gov, TTY: (202) 418-0431
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-06-2578A1.doc>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-06-2578A1.pdf>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-06-2578A1.txt>

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