[tabi] FCC seeks comments on cell service for the blind

  • From: "Chip Orange" <Corange@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 22 Jul 2010 15:53:29 -0400

DA 10-1324

Released: July 19, 2010

Wireless Telecommunications Bureau

And Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau

Seek Comment on Accessible Mobile Phone Options for

People who are Blind, Deaf-blind, or Have Low Vision

Comment Date: September 13, 2010

Reply Comment Date: September 30, 2010

On May 13, 2010, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau and the

Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau held a workshop on "Expanding

Disability Access with Wireless Technologies" (Wireless Access

Workshop) to learn more about mobile communications issues facing

people with disabilities and the ways in which new technologies can

offer opportunities to meet the communications access needs of this

community. Participants included stakeholders from the disability

community, industry, academia, and non-profit organizations. On June

15, 2010, the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau met with twelve

members of the deaf-blind community, along with representatives of the

Helen Keller National Center and the American Association of the

Deaf-Blind.1 The purpose of this meeting was to discuss

telecommunications and Internet barriers experienced by this


Based on the input that Commission staff received during these

events, along with the record developed in conjunction with the

National Broadband Plan,2 we are concerned that people who are blind

or have other vision disabilities have few accessible and affordable

wireless phone options.3 More specifically, according to statements

made at the workshop, the vast majority of mobile telephones are not

accessible to this population without the addition of expensive

software. We are also concerned that many wireless technologies may

not be compatible with Braille displays needed by individuals who are

deaf-blind. In addition, according to the participants of the June

15th meeting, many specialized technologies needed to enable wireless

telecommunications access for the deaf-blind community are cost

prohibitive and difficult to find.

In order to be fully informed on the issues raised by consumers and

determine appropriate next steps to achieve telecommunications access

for these populations, we seek input from all stakeholders on the


(1) The wireless phone features and functions in the current

marketplace that are not accessible for people who are blind, have

vision loss, or are deaf-blind and the extent to which gaps in

accessibility are preventing wireless communication access by these


(2) The cost and feasibility of technical solutions to achieve

wireless accessibility for these populations;

(3) Reasons why there are not a greater number of wireless phones -

particularly among less expensive or moderately-priced handset models

- that are accessible to people who are blind or have vision loss;

(4) Technical obstacles, if any, to making wireless technologies

compatible with Braille displays, as well as the cost and feasibility

of technical solutions to achieve other forms of compatibility with

wireless products and services for people who are deaf-blind;

(5) Recommendations on the most effective and efficient technical and

policy solutions for addressing the needs of consumers with vision

disabilities, including those who are deaf-blind.

(6) Recommendations on actions that our bureaus or the Commission

should take to address the current lack of access. For example, is

additional guidance needed on specific access features that should be

included in wireless products? Should we facilitate a dialogue among

stakeholders in order to reach a specific agreement to address the

accessibility concerns outlined above?

Pursuant to sections 1.415 and 1.419 of the Commission's rules,

interested parties may file comments on or before September 13, 2010

and reply comments on or before September 30, 2010. Comments may be

filed using: (1) the Commission's Electronic Comment Filing System

(ECFS), (2) the Federal Government's eRulemaking Portal, or (3) by

filing paper copies. See Electronic Filing of Documents in Rulemaking

Proceedings, 63 FR 24121 (1998).

* Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed electronically using the

Internet by accessing the ECFS: http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/ecfs/
<http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/ecfs/> . Filers

should follow the instructions provided on the website for submitting


* Paper Filers: Parties who choose to file by paper must file an

original and four copies of each filing. If more than one docket or

rulemaking number appears in the caption of this proceeding, filers

must submit two additional copies for each additional docket or

rulemaking number.

* Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, by commercial

overnight courier, or by first-class or overnight U.S. Postal Service

mail (although we continue to experience delays in receiving U.S.

Postal Service mail). All filings must be addressed to the

Commission's Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal

Communications Commission.

* The Commission's contractor will receive hand-delivered or

messenger-delivered paper filings for the Commission's Secretary at

236 Massachusetts Avenue, NE, Suite 110, Washington, DC 20002. The

filing hours at this location are 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. All hand

deliveries must be held together with rubber bands or fasteners. Any

envelopes must be disposed of before entering the building.

* Commercial overnight mail (other than U.S. Postal Service Express

Mail and Priority Mail) must be sent to 9300 East Hampton Drive,

Capitol Heights, MD 20743.

* U.S. Postal Service first-class, Express, and Priority mail must be

addressed to 445 12th Street, SW, Washington DC 20554.

A copy of this document and any subsequently filed documents in this

matter will be available during regular business hours at the FCC

Reference Center, Portals II, 445 12th Street, SW, Room CY-A257,

Washington, DC 20554, (202) 418-0270. This document and any

subsequently filed documents in this matter may also be purchased from

the Commission's duplicating contractor at their website,

www.bcpiweb.com <outbind://37/www.bcpiweb.com> , or by calling
1-800-378-3160. A copy of the

submission may also be found by searching on the Commission's

Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) at

http://www.fcc.gov.cgb/ecfs <http://www.fcc.gov.cgb/ecfs> .

To request materials in accessible formats for people with

disabilities (Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format),

send an e-mail to fcc504@xxxxxxx or call the Consumer & Governmental

Affairs Bureau at (202) 418-0530 (voice), (202) 418-0432 (TTY).


Telecommunications Bureau, (202) 418-1776; TTY (202) 418-1169 or email

at Elizabeth.Lyle@xxxxxxxx



1 Meeting summary available at

<http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020511584> .

2 See, e.g., American Association of the Deaf-Blind Comments in re:

NBP PN#4 (Comment Sought on Broadband Accessibility for People with

Disabilities Workshop II: Barriers, Opportunities, and Policy

Recommendations - NBP Public Notice #4, GN Docket Nos. 09-47, 09-51,

09-137, Public Notice 24 FCC Rcd 11968 (CGB 2009), filed Oct. 6, 2009,

at 1-2.

3 See e.g., Comments of Paul Schroeder, American Foundation for the

Blind, "Expanding Disability Access with Wireless Technologies," (May

13, 2010), (Wireless Access Workshop),

<http://reboot.fcc.gov/video-archives> .





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