[Nfbmo] FCC Seeks Comments on Accessible, Affordable Cell Phone Options

Fred Olver goodfolks at charter.net
Fri Jul 23 12:00:58 UTC 2010

  Subject: FCC Seeks Comments on Accessible, Affordable Cell Phone Options 
  for the Blind

  Below is a notice the Federal Communications Commission released
  Monday seeking comments on systemic approaches the agency can take in
  increasing accessible and affordable cell phone options for the blind.
  For those in the United States, this is an excellent opportunity to
  share our concerns and ideas for something better.  The footnotes are
  at the end of the document.
 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/.  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, 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
  To request materials in accessible formats for people with
  disabilities (Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format),
  send an e-mail to fcc504 at fcc.gov 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 at fcc.gov.
  1 Meeting summary available at
  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),

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