Thanks to the wireless industry’s relentless competition throughout the ecosystem, countless innovative products and services have been developed to meet the demands of consumers, including the accessibility community. With so many accessibility options in wireless devices available today, CTIA created AccessWiress.org, which offers a variety of useful tools. For example, consumers can use MMF’s Global Accessibility Reporting Initiative (GARI) to compare and select wireless devices from the most comprehensive database of accessible phones in the U.S. that would best meet their needs.
As the FCC implements the Accessibility Act of 2010, we strongly believe the Commission should adopt a flexible framework for accessibility requirements to encourage the continued innovation and competition in areas such as hearing aid compatibility, next generation 911 networks and more.
In our reply comments to the FCC on Monday, we urged the Commission to implement the Act by providing clarity in the requirements, greater certainty about what is covered and flexibility in how to achieve accessibility. We supported the Act as it was passed by Congress and believe the limits that Congress placed on industry obligations for accessibility should not be ignored by the Commission. We also believe that the Commission’s implementation rules should:
- Adhere to the Act’s carefully tailored definition of advanced communications services (ACS) with a reasonable waiver process to ensure the Act only applies to services and devices with ACS as their primary purpose;
- Establish a balanced approach that allows service providers and manufacturers flexibility in how to achieve accessibility in their products and services; and
- Rely on existing informal complaint process that expeditiously addresses cognizable claims.
With these considerations, the Accessibility Act will ensure that people with disabilities will have full participation in advanced communication servies through wireless innovation and competition. A balanced, flexible regulatory framework will ensure that wireless continues to meet the needs of all consumers.