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Commission Selects Entity For NDBEDP For Iowa

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Released: August 1, 2014
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PUBLIC NOTICE

Federal Communications Commission

News Media Information: 202-418-0500

445 12th Street, S.W.

Internet: http://www.fcc.gov

Washington, D.C. 20554

TTY: 1-888-835-5322

DA 14-1123

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).

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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

On July

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).

8 Id.

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).

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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 fcc504@fcc.gov 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.

-FCC-

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).

14 Id.

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,

2013).

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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