[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 150 (Thursday, August 5, 2010)]
[Pages 47304-47305]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-19298]



[CG Docket No. 10-145; DA 10-1324]

Accessible Mobile Phone Options for People Who Are Blind, Deaf-
Blind, or Have Low Vision

AGENCY: Federal Communications Commission.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: In this document, the Commission, via the Wireless 
Telecommunications Bureau and the Consumer and Governmental Affairs 
Bureau (``the Bureaus''), seeks input from all stakeholders in order to 
be fully informed on issues raised by consumers and to determine the 
appropriate next steps to achieve telecommunications access. The 
Bureaus seek input on the following issues: 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 populations; the cost and feasibility of 
technical solutions to achieve wireless accessibility for these 
populations; 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; 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; 
recommendations on the most effective and efficient technical policy 
solutions for addressing the needs of consumers with vision 
disabilities, including those who are deaf-blind; and recommendations 
on actions that the 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 the Bureaus or the Commission facilitate a dialogue 
among stakeholders in order to reach a specific agreement to address 
the accessibility concerns outlined herein?

DATES: Comments are due on or before September 13, 2010. Reply comments 
are due on or before September 30, 2010.

ADDRESSES: Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street, SW., 
Washington, DC 20554. Pursuant to 47 CFR 1.415 and 1.419, interested 
parties may file comments and reply comments regarding document DA 10-
145 on or before the dates indicated on the first page of this 
document. You may submit comments, identified by [CG Docket number 10-
145] by any of the following methods:
     Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed electronically 
using the Internet by accessing the Commission's Electronic Comment 
Filing System (ECFS) http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/ or the Federal 
eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Filers should follow 
the instructions provided on the Web site for submitting comments. For 
ECFS filers, in completing the transmittal screen, filers should 
include their full name, U.S. Postal Service mailing address, and the 
applicable docket, which in this instance is CG Docket No. 10-145.
     Parties may also submit an electronic comment by Internet 
e-mail. To get filing instructions, filers should send an e-mail to 
[email protected], and include the following words in the body of the 
message, ``get form (your e-mail address).'' A sample form and 
directions will be sent in response.
     Paper Filers: Parties who choose to file by paper must 
file an original and four copies of each filing. Filings can be sent by 
hand or messenger delivery, by commercial overnight courier, or by 
first-class or overnight U.S. Postal Service mail. In addition, parties 
must send one copy of each pleading to: The Commission's duplicating 
contractor, Best Copy and Printing, Inc., 445 12th Street, SW., 
Washington, DC 20554.
     All filings must be addressed to the Commission's 
Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission. 
All hand-delivered or messenger-delivered paper filings for the 
Commission's Secretary must be delivered to FCC Headquarters at 445 
12th St., SW., Room TW-A325, Washington, DC 20554. All hand deliveries 
must be held together with rubber bands or fasteners. Any envelopes 
must be disposed of before entering the building. The filing hours are 
8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
     Commercial overnight mail (other than U.S. Postal Service 
Express Mail

[[Page 47305]]

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 

Telecommunications Bureau, (202) 418-1776 (voice), (202) 418-1169 
(TTY), or e-mail at [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This is a summary of the Commission's 
document DA 10-1324, released July 19, 2010 in CG Docket No. 10-145. 
Document DA 10-1324 was released under a new docket number, CG Docket 
No. 10-145, which shall be captioned ``Accessible Mobile Phone Options 
for People who are Blind, Deaf-blind, or Have Low Vision,'' and include 
all related matters. This new docket number is established to further 
administrative efficiency. The full text of document DA 10-1324 and 
copies of any subsequently filed documents in this matter will be 
available for public inspection and copying via ECFS and during regular 
business hours at the FCC Reference Information Center, Portals II, 445 
12th Street, SW., Room CY-A257, Washington, DC 20554. They may also be 
purchased from the Commission's duplicating contractor, Best Copy and 
Printing, Inc., Portals II, 445 12th Street, SW., Room CY-B402, 
Washington, DC 20554, telephone: (202) 488-5300, fax: (202) 488-5563, 
or e-mail http://www.bcpiweb.com. Document DA 10-1324 can also be 
downloaded in Word or Portable Document Format (PDF) at http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/dro/headlines.html.
    People with Disabilities: To request materials in accessible 
formats for people with disabilities (Braille, large print, electronic 
files, audio format), send an e-mail to [email protected] or call the 
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418-0530 (voice) or 
(202) 418-0432 (TTY).


    On May 13, 2010, the Bureaus 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. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss telecommunications 
and Internet barriers experienced by this population.
    Based on the input that Commission staff received during these 
events, along with the record developed in conjunction with the 
National Broadband Plan, the Bureaus are concerned that people who are 
blind or have other vision disabilities have few accessible and 
affordable wireless phone options. 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. The Bureaus 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.

Federal Communications Commission.
Karen Peltz Strauss,
Deputy Chief, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau.
[FR Doc. 2010-19298 Filed 8-4-10; 8:45 am]