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Part 22 Recon Order and Internet Working Group Summit

To: Consumer Contact List
From: Karen Peltz Strauss, RERC-TA
Re: Consumer Contact List - Part 22 Recon Order and Internet Working Group Summit
Date: February 13, 2004

1. 5 Year Sunset for Analog Phones - The Commission has upheld its decision to allow wireless carriers a 5 year sunset period for their analog phones. In 2002, the FCC had issued an Order under Part 22 of its rules (its biennial review), allowing analog service to be phased out over a 5 year period. AT&T Wireless and Western Wireless had filed petitions for reconsideration of this requirement, arguing that the transition period to digital services should be shorter. In part, the FCC had created the transition period to allow time for digital wireless manufacturers to make their phones compatible with hearing aids. The Commission has now concluded that the petitioners did not raise any rationales that had not already been considered and rejected in its Order on Part 22. The Commission has also reaffirmed that a transition period is necessary to ensure that mobile telephony services remain available and accessible to people with hearing disabilities while the transition to digital is taking place. Although AT&T Wireless and Western Wireless had argued that the FCC can achieve this goal through its mandates under Section 255, the FCC says that it need not rely on Section 255 complaints to achieve this goal, and that it has the authority to issue this separate Order to advance the public interest by ensuring accessibility. It rejects sole reliance on Section 255 to ensure access in this instance, noting that Section 255 complaints may require lengthy investigations. It concludes that "the public interest is better served by ensuring that there is no period of time, while a section 255 complaint is pending, in which persons with hearing disabilities would be without analog service. Because it is feasible that a carrier will not be in compliance with Section 255, we conclude that it was appropriate to establish a transition period to ensure uninterrupted access."

The link to this Order is below. Hearing aid compatibility issues are addressed in the following paragraphs: 10, 17-19, 24, 25, 27.

BIENNIAL REGULATORY REVIEW OF PART 22 - AMENDMENT OF PART 22 OF THE COMMISSION'S RULES TO MODIFY OR ELIMINATE OUTDATED RULES AFFECTING THE CELLULAR RADIOTELEPHONE SERVICE AND OTHER COMMERCIAL MOBILE RADIO SERVICES. Affirmed the decision to establish a five-year sunset period for the removal of the FCC's requirement that cellular carriers provide analog service. (Dkt No. 01-108). Action by: the Commission. Adopted: 02/04/2004 by Order on Reconsideration. (FCC No. 04-22). WTB
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-04-22A1.doc>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-04-22A2.doc>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-04-22A1.pdf>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-04-22A2.pdf>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-04-22A1.txt>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-04-22A2.txt>

2. FCC Group to look at Internet/E911 Issues - Approximately one month ago, the FCC created a new Internet policy working group. The first "summit" of this group will be held on March 18, 2004. The purpose of this first meeting will be to explore 911/E911 issues - i.e., accessing emergency services as telephone services migrate to the Internet. This subject matter can affect service by people with disabilities - both directly and through relay services. It is not clear whether the FCC currently intends to include disability issues in its agenda, but anyone interested in this issue is urged to contact the Commission at this time to be part of the day's event. The notice attached mentions that industry, public safety officials, and FCC staff will participate in the summit.

FCC INTERNET POLICY WORKING GROUP TO HOLD FIRST "SOLUTIONS SUMMIT" ON THURSDAY, MARCH 18, 2004. Meeting will focus on 911/E911 issues associated with Internet-based communications services.. News Release. News Media Contact: Meribeth McCarrick at (202) 418-0654 OSP. Contact Robert Pepper at (202) 418-2030 or Jeff Carlisle at (202) 418-1500
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-243851A1.doc>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-243851A1.pdf>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-243851A1.txt>


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