Public Notice, Federal Communications Commission Seeks Comment: Accelerating Wireline Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Investment
In 1973, an engineer from Motorola made the first “handheld” phone call to his competitor at Bell Labs. Today’s cell phone technology allows much more than a phone call: we text, take photos, surf the web, send emails and more. The first phone available to the Deaf community was the teletypewriter (TTY), a bulky heavy device used by Western Union to send typed messages. With today’s smartphone technology communications apps, the Deaf community can communicate with whomever they want, either face to face or using downloadable video technology apps to access a sign language interpreter.
In Texas, people with disabilities who need special equipment to access the telephone network can get that special equipment at no cost through the Texas Specialized Telecommunication Assistance Program (STAP). STAP is a program that can help people who have a disability that interferes with their access to telephone networks to purchase needed basic specialized assistive equipment or services. STAP typically covers the cost of most phones included in the voucher categories listed at this link: Specialized Telecommunications Assistance Program. More information and how to apply for the STAP services can be found at the STAP website.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is seeking public comment in two areas: (1) the extent to which individuals with disabilities still rely on TTYs or other specialized devices or services transmitted over copper networks, and (2) the extent to which individuals with disabilities have adopted alternative means of communications, whether using telecommunications relay services, texting, videophones, or other online communications. Comments are due on June 15, 2017 and Reply Comments are due on July 17, 2017.
Comments may be filed using the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System at https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings. Proceeding number: WC Docket No. 17-84.
Links to the News Release:
Links to the FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Notice of Inquiry, and Request for Comment (see paragraphs 64 and 70):
Links to the Public Notice announcing the comment dates:
For additional information about this proceeding, please contact:
Michele Berlove, FCC Wireline Competition Bureau, Competition Policy Division
Phone: (202) 418-1477
Email: [email protected]
Michael Ray, FCC Wireline Competition Bureau, Competition Policy Division Phone: (202) 418-0357
Email: [email protected]
For those using videophones and fluent in American Sign Language, you may call the FCC’s ASL Consumer Support Line at 844-432-2275 (videophone).