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FCC Invites Applications To Participate In The NDBEDP In Mississippi

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Released: October 30, 2013

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 13-2097

Released: October 30, 2013

FCC INVITES APPLICATIONS FOR CERTIFICATION TO PARTICIPATE IN THE

NATIONAL DEAF-BLIND EQUIPMENT DISTRIBUTION PROGRAM

IN THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI

Washington, D.C. – On July 2, 2012, the Federal Communications Commission (“Commission”)
announced the launch of the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program (“NDBEDP”) pilot
program.1 The Commission also announced the selection of 53 applicants to become certified programs
authorized to distribute equipment under the NDBEDP in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia,
Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.2 The Commission selected The Arc of Mississippi (“The Arc”)
as the NDBEDP certified program for the state of Mississippi.3 Recently, The Arc informed the
Commission that it was unable to continue participating in the NDBEDP and that it would relinquish its
certification effective January 1, 2014.4 To ensure that Mississippi is able to continue participating in the
NDBEDP, the Commission invites applications from entities interested in receiving certification to
distribute equipment under the NDBEDP to qualifying residents in Mississippi.5 The Commission will
accept applications for this purpose until November 14, 2013.6


1 See Commission Announces Launch of the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program, Public Notice,
27 FCC Rcd 7403 (2012). See also Implementation of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video
Accessibility Act of 2010, Section 105, Relay Services for Deaf-Blind Individuals,
Report and Order, 26 FCC Rcd
5640 (2011) (“NDBEDP Report and Order”).
2 See Commission Announces Entities Certified to Participate in the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution
Program
, Public Notice, 27 FCC Rcd 7397 (2012).
3 Id.
4 Letter from Matt Nalker, Executive Director, The Arc of Mississippi, to Jacqueline Ellington, Attorney Advisor,
Disability Rights Office, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, FCC (September 25, 2013).
5 As noted in the NDBEDP Report and Order, the Commission reserved the right to accept applications for
certification at any time during the pilot program, as may be needed to fill program gaps, with the goal of ensuring
that one certified program is operating in every state. NDBEDP Report and Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 5647, 14, n.49.
6 In the NDBEDP Report and Order, the Commission announced a 60-day filing deadline. Id., 26 FCC Rcd at 5647,
14; FCC Announces 60-Day Period to Apply for Certification to Participate in the National Deaf-Blind Equipment
Distribution Program
, 26 FCC Rcd 13118 (CGB 2011). Here, we set a 15-day deadline in order to expeditiously
replace The Arc with another certified entity. Since the initial certification process has already been conducted,
interested parties are more likely to be familiar with the filing requirements and in some instances may re-use prior
filings with only minor modifications.

Section 105 of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010
(“CVAA”), signed into law by President Obama on October 8, 2010,7 directed the Commission to
establish rules that define as eligible for funding support programs that distribute specialized customer
premises equipment to low-income individuals who are deaf-blind. In accordance with this directive, in
April 2011, the Commission established the NDBEDP as a pilot program to distribute equipment used for
telecommunications services, Internet access services, and advanced communications, including
interexchange services and advanced telecommunications and information services, to eligible people
who are deaf-blind. The duration of the pilot program is two years (beginning with the July 2012 launch),
and the Commission retained the option to extend the program for an additional year.
Certification to Receive Funding. As provided in the Commission’s rules,8 the Commission will
certify a single program as the sole authorized entity to participate in the NDBEDP for Mississippi and
receive reimbursement for its NDBEDP activities from the Interstate Telecommunications Relay Service
Fund (“TRS Fund”).9 Such entity will have full oversight and responsibility for distributing equipment
and providing related services in Mississippi,10 either directly or through collaboration, partnership, or
contract with other individuals or entities in-state or out-of-state, including other NDBEDP certified
programs.11 The certified program will be eligible to receive reimbursement for eligible NDBEDP-
related costs that it incurs after its selection and through June 30, 2014, up to the amount of unused funds
remaining from the allocation for Mississippi for the second year of the pilot program.12 The selected
entity will receive the full funding allocation for Mississippi for year three, if applicable, of the pilot
program.
Who May Apply: Any public program or private entity may apply to the Commission for
certification to become the sole authorized entity for Mississippi to participate in the NDBEDP and
receive reimbursement for NDBEDP activities from the TRS Fund.13 For example, public programs, such
as state equipment distribution programs, vocational rehabilitation programs, assistive technology


7 Pub. L. No. 111-260, 124 Stat. 2751 (2010). See also Amendment of Twenty-First Century Communications and
Video Accessibility Act of 2010, Pub. L. 111-265, 124 Stat. 2795 (2010) (making technical corrections to the
CVAA). Section 105 adds Section 719 to the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and is codified at 47
U.S.C. § 620.
8 47 C.F.R. § 64.610(b).
9 Claims for reimbursement must be submitted, at a minimum, within 30 days after the end of each six-month period
of the Fund Year. See 47 C.F.R. § 64.610(f)(2). See also NDBEDP Report and Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 5678-79, ¶¶
86-88. But see Implementation of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010,
Section 105, Relay Services for Deaf-Blind Individuals,
Order, 27 FCC Rcd 2812 (2011) (conditionally waiving the
Commission’s rules to permit NDBEDP certified programs to submit claims for reimbursement on a monthly or
quarterly basis).
10 See NDBEDP Report and Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 5659-5676, ¶¶ 45-80 (discussing various categories of related
services).
11 47 C.F.R. § 64.610(b).
12 The amount allocated for the second year of the NDBEDP pilot program, July 1, 2013 – June 30, 2014, for the
state of Mississippi was $114,361. See Commission Announces Entities Certified to Participate in the National
Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program
, Public Notice, 28 FCC Rcd 9243, 9244 (2013). The amount of
unused funds remaining will be determined by the TRS Fund Administrator prior to selection of the new certified
program.
13 47 C.F.R. § 64.610(b)(2).
2

programs, or schools for the deaf, blind or deaf-blind may apply. Likewise, private entities, such as
organizational affiliates, independent living centers, or private educational facilities, may apply. Local or
national entities may also apply.
Applications: There is no application form or fee to apply for certification in the NDBEDP pilot
program. Applicants may compile their application in any manner that they believe will most effectively
present their qualifications for certification. The Commission will review applications and determine
whether to grant certification based on the ability of a program to meet the following qualifications, either
directly or in coordination with other programs or entities, as evidenced in the application and any
supplemental materials, including letters of recommendation:14
·
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.
Applicants are encouraged to include the identity of the other programs or entities with whom the
applicant will collaborate, partner, or contract, and the functions or services that they or individual
contractors (who do not need to be identified by name) will fulfill. Applicants may also include
recommendations with their certification applications from members of the deaf-blind community in their
state, experts or others with direct knowledge of their capabilities and qualifications.15
Applications may be submitted electronically to NDBEDP@fcc.gov or mailed to the following
address:


14 47 C.F.R. § 64.610(b)(3).
15 NDBEDP Report and Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 5649, ¶ 21.
3

NDBEDP Administrator
Disability Rights Office
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20554
This Public Notice summarizes the qualifications for obtaining certification to participate in the
NDBEDP pilot program. We encourage every applicant to familiarize itself with the complete
requirements for program participation and the rules governing the NDBEDP pilot program contained in
47 C.F.R. § 64.610 before submitting its application. The certified applicant must comply with the
NDBEDP rules.16

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-


16 See NDBEDP Report and Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 5694-5701, Appendix A (setting out the NDBEDP pilot program
rules). See also 47 C.F.R. § 64.610.
4

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