Commission Selects Entity For NDBEDP For Iowa
Federal Communications Commission
News Media Information: 202-418-0500
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
Released: August 1, 2014
COMMISSION ANNOUNCES ENTITY SELECTED FOR
CERTIFICATION TO PARTICIPATE IN THE NATIONAL DEAF-BLIND
EQUIPMENT DISTRIBUTION PROGRAM FOR IOWA
Washington, D.C. – The Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau (CGB) of the Federal
Communications Commission (Commission) has selected the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-
Blind Youth and Adults (HKNC) for certification to participate in the National Deaf-Blind Equipment
Distribution Program (NDBEDP) for the state of Iowa, effective August 1, 2014.
The NDBEDP is a program mandated by Section 105 of the Twenty-First Century
Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) that provides funding of up to $10 million
annually for the distribution of communications equipment to low-income individuals who are deaf-
blind.1 On April 4, 2011, the Commission adopted the NDBEDP Pilot Program Order, establishing the
framework for a pilot program to fulfill this CVAA mandate.2 In that Order, the Commission determined
that it would certify one entity per state as eligible to receive support for the local distribution of
equipment to low-income individuals who are deaf-blind.3 Each certified entity has primary oversight
and responsibility for compliance with program requirements for its state, but certified entities may fulfill
their responsibilities either directly or through collaboration, partnership, or contract with other
individuals or entities in-state or out-of-state, including other NDBEDP certified programs.4 Participation
in the NDBEDP also entails the provision of related services, including local outreach, individual
assessments and training, as well as equipment installation and maintenance, that may be needed to
effectively provide a person who is deaf-blind with the equipment that he or she needs to access the
communications services covered by the CVAA.5
1 Pub. L. 111-260, 124 Stat. 2751 (2010); see also Pub. L. 111-265, 124 Stat. 2795 (2010) (making technical
corrections to the CVAA). Section 105 of the CVAA adds Section 719 to the Communications Act of 1934, as
amended, and is codified at 47 U.S.C. § 620. The CVAA authorizes the Commission to allocate these funds from
the interstate telecommunications relay service fund (TRS Fund).
2 See Implementation of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, Section
105, Relay Services for Deaf-Blind Individuals, CG Docket No. 10-210, Report and Order, 26 FCC Rcd 5640 (2011)
(NDBEDP Pilot Program Order).
3 Id., 26 FCC Rcd at 5646, ¶ 12.
4 Id., 26 FCC Rcd at 5647, ¶ 13.
5 Id., 26 FCC Rcd at 5667-5676, ¶¶ 63-79. The NDBEDP pilot program will cover the reasonable costs of such
related services. See 47 C.F.R. § 64.610(f)(2).
The Commission launched the NDBEDP on July 1, 2012.6 On July 2, 2012, the Commission
announced that it had selected one entity for each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico,
and the Virgin Islands to participate in the NDBEDP.7 The Commission selected the Iowa Utilities Board
as the certified program for the state of Iowa.8
On June 23, 2014, the Iowa Utilities Board notified the Commission that it would not continue
participating in the NDBEDP and that it would relinquish its certification effective July 1, 2014.9
3, 2014, the Bureau invited applications for certification to participate in the NDBEDP for the state of
Iowa.10 In response, the Bureau received one application from HKNC.11 In accordance with the
NDBEDP Pilot Program Order, the Bureau reviewed HKNC’s application for its ability to meet the
following qualifications, either directly or in coordination with other programs or entities:
expertise in the field of deaf-blindness, including familiarity with the culture and etiquette of
people who are deaf-blind, to ensure that equipment distribution and the provision of related
services occurs in a manner that is relevant and useful to consumers who are deaf-blind;
ability to communicate effectively with people who are deaf-blind (for training and other
purposes), by among other things, using sign language, providing materials in Braille, ensuring
that information made available online is accessible, and using other assistive technologies and
methods to achieve effective communication;
staffing and facilities sufficient to administer the program, including the ability to distribute
equipment and provide related services to eligible individuals throughout the state, including
those in remote areas;
experience with the distribution of specialized customer premises equipment, especially to people
who are deaf-blind;
experience in training users on how to use the equipment and how to set up the equipment for its
effective use; and
familiarity with the telecommunications, Internet access, and advanced communications services
that will be used with the distributed equipment.12
6 Commission Announces Launch of the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program, CG Docket No. 10-
210, Public Notice, 27 FCC Rcd 7403 (CGB July 2, 2012).
7 Commission Announces Entities Certified to Participate in the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution
Program, CG Docket No. 10-210, Public Notice, 27 FCC Rcd 7397 (CGB July 2, 2012).
9 Letter from Elizabeth S. Jacobs, Chair, Iowa Utilities Board, to Jacqueline Ellington, Attorney Advisor, Disability
Rights Office, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, FCC (June 23, 2014) (HKNC Application).
10 See FCC Invites Applications for Certification to Participate in the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution
Program in the State of Iowa, Public Notice, DA 14-964 (rel. July 3, 2014).
11 See Letter from Susan Ruzenski, HKNC Acting Executive Director, submitting application for NDBEDP
certification to NDBEDP Administrator, Disability Rights Office, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau
(July 18, 2014).
12 See 47 C.F.R. § 64.610(b)(3).
The Bureau has determined that HKNC meets the Commission’s qualifications for certification to
operate the NDBEDP program in Iowa. HKNC has operated the NDBEDP program in New York since
July 1, 2012.13 In addition, in partnership with the Perkins School for the Blind, HKNC has assisted in
operating NDBEDP programs in at least 12 other states since July 1, 2012,14 in Nevada since July 1,
2013,15 and in Mississippi since January 1, 2014.16 In this and other aspects of its programs, HKNC has
demonstrated extensive experience in providing accessible services in a manner that shows cultural
awareness of the deaf-blind community and considerable expertise in communications technology used
by individuals who are deaf-blind.17 As the NDBEDP certified program for Iowa, HKNC will work in
partnership with local agencies to meet the needs of the deaf-blind population throughout Iowa.18 In
addition, the HKNC application included letters of support from two organizations that provide related
services to individuals with disabilities and their families in Iowa and will work collaboratively with
HKNC to fulfill NDBEDP requirements.19
Accordingly, the Bureau has selected HKNC for certification to participate in the NDBEDP for
the state of Iowa. Certification for HKNC will continue for the duration of the NDBEDP pilot program,20
subject to HKNC’s compliance with the Commission’s program requirements.21
ACCESSIBLE FORMATS: To request materials in accessible formats for people with
disabilities (Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), send an e-mail to email@example.com or call
the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice), 202-418-0432 (TTY).
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jackie Ellington, Consumer and
Governmental Affairs Bureau, 202-418-1153, e-mail Jackie.Ellington@fcc.gov; or Rosaline Crawford,
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, 202-418-2075, e-mail Rosaline.Crawford@fcc.gov.
13 Commission Announces Entities Certified to Participate in the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution
Program, CG Docket No. 10-210, Public Notice, 27 FCC Rcd 7397 (CGB July 2, 2012).
15 Commission Announces Entity Selected for Certification to Participate in the National Deaf-Blind Equipment
Distribution Program for Nevada, CG Docket No. 10-210, Public Notice, 28 FCC Rcd 10223 (July 16, 2013).
16 Commission Announces Entity Selected for Certification to Participate in the National Deaf-Blind Equipment
Distribution Program for Mississippi, CG Docket No. 10-210, Public Notice, 28 FCC Rcd 16950 (December 19,
17 See HKNC Application at 2.
18 See HKNC Application at 3-4.
19 See, e.g., Letter from Richard Sorey, Director, Iowa Department for the Blind, to Sue Ruzenski, HKNC Acting
Executive Director (July 17, 2014); Letter from J.C. Dollar, Chief Executive Officer, Midland Empire Resource for
Independent Living, to Jackie Ellington, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Disability Rights Office,
Federal Communications Commission (undated).
20 The termination date for the NDBEDP pilot program is June 30, 2015. See Implementation of the Twenty-First
Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, Section 105, Relay Services for Deaf-Blind
Individuals, Order, 29 FCC Rcd 1234 (CGB 2014) (NDBEDP Third Year Order).
21 NDBEDP Pilot Program Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 5647, ¶ 14. See generally, 47 C.F.R. §§ 64.610(a)-(k).
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