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Blog Posts by Susan Fisenne

Accessibility and Innovation Initiative Speaker Series

by Susan Fisenne, Outreach Specialist, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Consumer Affairs and Outreach Division
August 26, 2013

Those of us working at the FCC strongly believe that the power of technology should benefit and be available to all Americans, including those with disabilities.  Communications technology is empowering to all, but for people with disabilities, it is especially promising.  It can enable someone to telecommute or run a business out of their home; shop online; get involved in their community; receive remote healthcare; take online classes; stay connected with friends and family.  The list goes on and on, but all of these opportunities would be lost if people with disabilities do not have access to the Web.

Dr. Yevgen Borodin and the company he co-founded, Charmtech Labs LLC, are driven by the social cause of making the Web universally accessible for all.  And for that reason, the FCC’s Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau is honored to have Dr. Borodin as the guest presenter at the Accessibility & Innovation Initiative Speaker Series scheduled for September 14, 2013, from 10 am to 12 noon in the Commission Meeting Room.  The Accessibility & Innovation Initiative launched its speaker series earlier this summer to raise awareness and encourage innovation in accessible communications technologies that will benefit people with disabilities. 

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Senior Consumers Also Experience Cell Phone Bill Shock

by Susan Fisenne
October 18, 2010

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The response from consumers to the Commission's actions on bill shock has been an encouraging sign that our initiatives are resonating with the people that need them the most.

Earlier this week, Chairman Genachowski spoke at the Center for American Progress about ways consumers can avoid cell phone bill shock. Consumers who have personally experienced bill shock were also on hand to share their stories. My conversations with consumers leading up that event gave me second-hand bill shock — I just cannot fathom getting an $18,000 cell phone bill!

Reaching out to consumers raised two points in my mind. The first was a creeping anxiety about my own family's cell plan. Did we really have the unlimited text and data plan I believed we did? Was I about to get the bill shock of my life courtesy of my texting tween at home? Thankfully, a call to my carrier was all it took to confirm my plan and clear my mind.

Secondly, I wondered how bill shock might affect America's seniors. I visited a local assisted living facility and, with the help of the Director of Resident Services, chatted with five residents. Sure enough, two of those residents had experienced bill shock. Ms. Ana's voice-only plan — typically $80 a month — jumped unexpectedly by over 50%. Unable to get help or a clear explanation from her cell provider, Ms. Ana gave up. She returned her phone to her provider's nearest retail store, terminated her contract and paid the early termination fee. She is now a very satisfied customer of AARP's Consumer Cellular plan.

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