Telecommunications Access for People with Disabilities

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has rules requiring telecommunications equipment manufacturers and service providers to make their products and services accessible to people with disabilities, if such access is readily achievable. These rules implement Section 255 of the Communications Act. Where access is not readily achievable, Section 255 requires manufacturers and service providers to make their devices and services compatible with peripheral devices and specialized customer premises equipment that are commonly used by people with disabilities, if such compatibility is readily achievable. The FCC has determined that interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers must comply with Section 255.

Products and Services Covered Under Section 255

The FCC’s rules cover all hardware and software telephone network equipment and customer premises equipment (CPE). CPE is telecommunications equipment used in the home or office (or other premises) to originate, route or terminate telecommunications. Examples of CPE are telephones, fax machines, answering machines and pagers. CPE that provides both telecommunications and non-telecommunications functions is covered only to the extent it provides telecommunications functions.

The FCC’s rules cover basic and special telecommunications services, including regular telephone calls, call waiting, speed dialing, call forwarding, computer-provided directory assistance, call monitoring, caller identification, call tracing and repeat dialing. In addition, the rules cover interactive voice response (IVR) systems and voice mail. IVR systems are phone systems that provide callers with menus of choices.

 

http://www.fcc.gov/guides/telecommunications-access-people-disabilities

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