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Nationwide Test of the Emergency Alert System Scheduled for Sept. 28

September 15, 2016 in Emergency Preparedness

 

 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in partnership with the FCC, will conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) on:
September 28, 2016, at 2:20 PM EDT. 

If rescheduling is necessary, the alternate test date is October 5, 2016.

The EAS test is going to be broadcast through these ways:

•             Radio broadcast stations;
•             Television broadcast stations:
•             Cable systems;
•             Wireline video systems;
•             Direct broadcast satellite service providers; and
•             Digital audio radio service providers.

The EAS test will gauge the reliability, accessibility, and effectiveness of the EAS. The emergency test message will be transmitted in English and Spanish via audio and text, which can be used to create an accessible video crawl to ensure that all members of the public will be able to access this emergency test.

The FCC Public Safety Support Center welcomes feedback on the accessibility of this test.  If you observe any problems about this test, or have feedback about the test, please submit your comments at:   https://www.fcc.gov/general/public-safety-support-center.

Comment Deadline for Proposed Rule Amendment on VRS Interoperability and Portability Standards

August 31, 2016 in Advocacy & Access, Captioning / Relay, Technology

 

 

On August 4, 2016, the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau (Bureau) of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM), seeking comment on strengthening the Commission’s requirements for the interoperability and portability of video relay services (VRS). 

The Bureau set the deadline for filing comments 21 days after publication of the FNPRM in the Federal Register.  A summary of the FNPRM was published in the Federal Register on August 24, 2016, which established a deadline of September 14, 2016.  The Bureau announced this deadline by Public Notice released on August 25, 2016.

Links to the Public Notice:

Word:  https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-16-973A1.doc
PDF:  https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-16-973A1.pdf
Text:  https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-16-973A1.txt

Links to the Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (corrected):

Word: https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-16-893A1.doc
PDF: https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-16-893A1.pdf
Text:  https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-16-893A1.txt

For more information, contact:  Eliot Greenwald, Disability Rights Office, CGB, at 202-418-2235 or Eliot.Greenwald@fcc.gov, or Robert Aldrich, CGB, at 202-418-0996 orRobert.Aldrich@fcc.gov.  For those using videophones and fluent in American Sign Language, you may call the ASL Consumer Support Line at 844-432-2275.

FCC Reinstates InnoCaption Conditional Certification for IP CTS

June 23, 2016 in Captioning / Relay, Community News, Technology

 

 

The Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau (CGB) of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) lifted the suspension of the conditional certification of InnoCaption to provide Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Service (IP CTS).

In April of 2015, CGB suspended InnoCaption’s conditional certification to provide IP CTS because InnoCaption failed to provide 911 calling to emergency services as required by the FCC’s rules.  During the period of suspension, InnoCaption took steps to fix its service so it could handle 911 calls.  In the Order adopted today, CGB concludes that InnoCaption is now capable of handling 911 calls through its IP CTS service in compliance with the FCC’s rules.  As a result, InnoCaption is permitted to resume providing IP CTS.

The link(s) for the document are as follows:

https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-16-699A1.docx

https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-16-699A1.pdf

https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-16-699A1.txt

For further information contact Eliot Greenwald at eliot.greenwald@fcc.gov or 202-418-2235.

FCC requests comments on Video Navigation Choices

April 5, 2016 in Advocacy & Access, Community News

 

 

The FCC’s Media Bureau Announces Comment and Reply Deadlines for Video Navigation Choices NPRM and Establishes Schedule for Ex Parte Meetings

On February 18, 2016, the FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) seeking comment on proposed rules that will let consumers choose how they wish to access cable and other multichannel video programming.  The NPRM asks about allowing independent consumer electronics manufacturers, innovators, and other developers to build devices (i.e., set-top boxes) or software solutions that can navigate the universe of multichannel video programming.   Among other things, the NPRM seeks comment on implications of these actions for accessibility obligations, such as closed captioning, video description, and accessible user interfaces on set-top boxes that consumers would be able to acquire separately from their cable providers.

The comment dates for this proceeding have now been set:
Comments Due:  April 22, 2016
Reply Comments Due:  May 23, 2016

In addition, the Media Bureau is making the following dates available to meet with interested parties to discuss issues raised in the NPRM as follows:

Dates Set Aside for Ex Parte Meetings with Bureau: June 6-10, 2016

Links to the Public Notice:  

Word:  https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-16-290A1.doc
PDF:  https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-16-290A1.pdf

Links to the Video Navigation Choices NPRM:
Word: https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-16-18A1.docx
PDF: https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-16-18A1.pdf

For more information contact, Brendan Murray, Brendan.Murray@fcc.gov, or Lyle Elder, Lyle.Elder@fcc.gov, of the Media Bureau, Policy Division, (202) 418-2120.

Apple Urges FCC To Recognize Made for iPhone Hearing Aids

February 1, 2016 in Hearing Aids, Hearing Loss & Deafness

 

 


By Chance Miller

Apple recently has filed a new document with the Federal Communications Commission in which it argues that Made for iPhone, or MFi, accessories should be acknowledged by the organization as alternatives for hearing aid compatibility compliance. Recently, the FCC has proposed that all phones and consumer wireless devices must be compatible with hearing aids.

In response to the new proposal from the FCC, Apple says that all products that fall under its MFi hearing aid standards already comply with the FCC’s hearing aid compliance regulations. Apple argues that Made for iPhone hearing aids are already available to consumers everywhere, thus making them a valid alternative to the hearing aid compatibility requirement (via MacReports).

Read more  . . . Apple

Other Related Links
See FCC Filling by APPLE
Apple urges FCC to spike rules for universal compliance with hearing aids
Apple asks FCC to have its Made for iPhone accessories recognized as hearing aid alternatives

FCC Moves to Increase Hearing Aid Compatibility

November 17, 2015 in Technology

 

 

TDI
Nov 4, 2015

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has a longstanding commitment to ensuring that Americans with hearing loss are able to access wireline and wireless communications services through a wide array of phones, including voice-over-Internet protocol (VoIP) telephones and wireless handsets that use advanced mobile technologies. The Commission’s actions in this area have helped enable the millions of Americans with hearing loss to have greater access to and more fully benefit from wireline and wireless communications services and emerging technologies.

In FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), they propose to amend the Commission’s hearing aid compatibility (HAC) rules for wireline handsets. Specifically, they propose to take the following actions:

(1) incorporate into the rules a revised industry standard developed by the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) – ANSI/TIA-4965-2012 (2012 ANSI Wireline Volume Control Standard) – that appears likely to improve the ability of people with hearing loss to select wireline telephones with sufficient volume control to meet their communication needs and provide greater regulatory certainty for the industry; and

Sprint slapped with $1.2 million fine as a result of 911 outage

September 25, 2015 in Community News

 

 

Phonedog
By Alex Wagner
Editorial Director of News and Content
September 25, 2015

Sprint now owes the FCC a hefty chunk of change following the agency’s decision to hit it with a $1.2 million fine. The FCC announced today that it has fined Sprint because the big yellow carrier messed up 911 calls for hearing-impaired citizens for a six-month period.

From March 28 through September 18 of 2014, Sprint customers using the Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Service (IP CTS) were unable to make calls to 911. If they tried using the service, which provides a sort of closed captioning to . . .

Read More  . . . Sprint

FCC Boosting Open Video Platform for the Deaf

August 20, 2015 in Captioning / Relay, Community News, Technology

 

Initiative to Ease ASL Users’ Communication With Government

Multichannel News
By: John Eggerton
August 20,2015

WASHINGTON — Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler wants to give people with disabilities a hand. Make that two hands, and in the process, a stronger voice.

Wheeler plans to announce today at the TDI Conference in Baltimore that the FCC is making available an open-source video platform to make it easier for the deaf, hard of hearing and deaf-blind community to communicate with federal agencies and businesses in American Sign Language (ASL).   “It is time for people who speak with their hands and hear with their eyes to enjoy modern advancements in communications technologies,” Wheeler planned to tell the conference, according to the commission, which announced the initiative in tandem with the speech.

“It’s time for you to be able to have your video products work together, so you can call whomever you wish, whenever you wish, from anywhere. The platform we are launching has tremendous potential to ensure that you will be able to do this.”

The FCC already has a direct video system — it was the first federal agency to use interactive video to give the deaf and hard-of-hearing access to ASL consumer support, an agency spokesperson said — as does the Small Business Administration. The Census Bureau, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the City of New York have all announced plans to use such a system.

Read more   . . . 

AT&T Petitions FCC to Replace TTY with Real-Time Text for Hearing Impaired

July 9, 2015 in Community News

 

 

by Joshua Guyan

AT&T submitted a Petition for Rulemaking to the FCC, requesting that the Commission update its rules requiring support for text telephone (TTY) technology.  The petition asks the FCC to launch a proceeding to recognize real-time text (RTT) as an acceptable alternative to TTY under the Commission’s accessibility rules and, in the interim, AT&T is seeking a waiver to allow it to deploy IP (Internet protocol)-based voice services without support for TTY.

TTY technology has long been used to enable individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to communicate by typing messages on TTY devices that are transmitted over telephone lines to TTY devices at the receiving end.  Currently, TTY compatibility is required for a variety of communications services under the FCC’s accessibility rules.  The petition argues that TTY technology is outdated and incompatible with increasingly prevalent Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology.  Newer RTT communication has the advantages of interoperability with IP networks and instantaneous transmission that allows for interactive conversations.

By developing RTT so that it is interoperable with TTY, and permitting RTT to be used as an acceptable alternative to TTY, the petition argues that service providers and device manufacturers would be able to choose the accessibility method that works best for their service.  The petition posits that ultimately, RTT will fully replace the use TTY.

 

Original Article

Related resources:

FCC Announces 2015-2016 Funding for the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program

June 23, 2015 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Technology

 

On June 22, 2015, the FCC’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau released a Public Notice announcing the funding allocations for the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program (NDBEDP) for the 2015-2016 Fund year.  The NDBEDP is a program mandated by the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) that provides up to $10 million annually for the distribution of communications equipment to low-income individuals who are deaf-blind.

Links to the Public Notice:
Word:  https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-15-722A1.docx
PDF:  https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-15-722A1.pdf
Text:  https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-15-722A1.txt

For further information, contact the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Disability Rights Office:  Jackie Ellington at 202-418-1153 orJackie.Ellington@fcc.gov; or Rosaline Crawford at 202-418-2075 or Rosaline.Crawford@fcc.gov.

NTID named major subcontractor on FCC contract

June 12, 2015 in Community News

 

 

May 29, 2015
Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Institute for the Deaf has been tapped for its expertise by the Federal Communications Commission, RIT leaders said.

The Center on Access Technology Innovation Lab at NTID has been named the major technical subcontractor in a partnership with VTCSecure LLC.

The team will develop a video access technology reference platform, designed to advance telecommunications access for the deaf, hard-of-hearing and speech-disabled populations in the United States. NTID will provide technology support as well as alpha and beta testing.

Senator Markey Applauds FCC Extension of iCanConnect

May 22, 2015 in Community News, Disability Law

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Giselle Barry (Markey) 202-224-2742

Markey Applauds FCC Extension of iCanConnect

Program brings free 21st century communications technologies to low income Americans with combined vision and hearing loss

Washington (May 21, 2015) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today praised the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) for extending iCanConnect, a pilot program that provides free access to 21st century communication technologies to low-income Americans with significant combined hearing and vision loss. Senator Markey is the House author of the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) that established the iCanConnect program.

“Today’s decision by the FCC is an important step forward so that all Americans can participate in our increasingly interconnected world,” said Senator Markey, a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. “Deaf-blind Americans face unique communications challenges, and iCanConnect ensures that they are able to utilize communications services and equipment fully. I look forward to working with the FCC to make iCanConnect permanent so that all Americans can access the opportunities that come from 21st century communications technologies.”

iCanConnect ensures access to tools such as specialized keyboards and computer monitors, braille devices, phones with amplified speakers and software that enables screen readers and braille displays.

Passed in 2010, the CVAA mandates accessibility of devices and services for the 54 million Americans with disabilities and enabled the use of a wide range of devices and services needed in the digital era, including smart phones for accessing the Internet, closed captioning for online video, audio descriptions of television programming, audible emergency alerts and other technologies.

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FCC ANNOUNCES WEBINAR SERIES ON SENIORS AND TECHNOLOGY

May 7, 2015 in Community News, Technology

 

FCC ANNOUNCES WEBINAR SERIES ON SENIORS AND TECHNOLOGY IN RECOGNITION OF OLDER AMERICANS MONTH

Washington, D.C. – In honor of Older Americans Month, the Federal Communications Commission is launching a series of webinars to help seniors fully engage in using broadband-enabled communications technology to improve their quality of life. The first webinar – titled “Get into the Act…Online” – will be held Thursday, May 28, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. (EDT). Upcoming webinars will address digital literacy, broadband adoption and other issues affecting older Americans.
https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-333365A1.docx
https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-333365A1.pdf

Disability Advisory Committee Meeting-Live Webcast-March 17th

March 12, 2015 in Advocacy & Access, Community News, Technology

 

 

The FCC’s Disability Advisory Committee will hold its first meeting on Tuesday, March 17, 2015, at FCC headquarters, located at 445 12th Street, SW, in Washington, DC. 

The Committee meeting will begin at 9:00 a.m. (Eastern Time) and will be open to the public.  At 11:45 a.m., the Committee will break for lunch and subcommittee activities.  The Committee meeting will reconvene and will be open to the public at 3:30 p.m.  The Committee will receive comments from the public at 4:30 p.m.  Comments can be presented in person or by e-mail to livequestions@fcc.gov.  The Committee meeting will adjourn at 5:00 p.m.

The Committee meeting will be webcast with open captioning at www.fcc.gov/live

The agenda has been posted on the Committee’s webpage at http://www.fcc.gov/disability-advisory-committee.  Minutes of the Committee meeting will be posted at a later date.

Links to the agenda for March 17, 2015:
Word:  https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-332402A1.doc
PDF:  https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-332402A1.pdf

Links to the Public Notice announcing the meeting on March 17, 2015:|
Word:  https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-15-194A1.doc
PDF:  https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-15-194A1.pdf
Text:  https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-15-194A1.txt

FCC To Put New Focus On Disabilities

February 19, 2015 in Advocacy & Access, Community News

 

 


Disability Scoop
By
 February 17, 2015

The federal agency tasked with regulating telephones, television and other communications technology is looking for advice on how to better serve people with disabilities.

The Federal Communications Commission is convening a disability advisory committee for the first time.

The 40-member panel, which will hold its first meeting in March, will advise and provide recommendations to regulators on topics ranging from the accessibility of 911 services to closed captioning and telecommunications relay services.

Members include executives from major players like Yahoo, Verizon, AT&T and Comcast in addition to advocates from disability organizations, consumers and government officials.

“This new committee will provide sorely needed expertise and recommendations from consumer and industry stakeholders on communications and video programming issues,” FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said. “We look forward to using this expertise to improve our ability to meet the needs of consumers with disabilities.”

Original Article