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Waiver of Volume Control Reset, 47 C.F.R. Section 68.317(f)

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Released: December 27, 2012

Federal Communications Commission

DA 12-2093

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of
)
)

Clarity, A Division of Plantronics, Inc.
)
Request For Waiver of Volume Control Reset,
)
47 C.F.R. § 68.317(f)
)

ORDER

Adopted: December 27, 2012 Released: December 27, 2012

By the Chief, Disability Rights Office, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau:
1.
In this Order, we grant a petition for waiver of 47 C.F.R. § 68.317(f) of the
Commission’s rules filed by Clarity, A Division of Plantronics, Inc. (Clarity), on December 20, 2012.
Section 68.317(f) requires that telephones with amplification greater than 18 dB (designed for persons
with hearing disabilities) must reset to a volume no greater than 18 dB once the telephone is returned to
an on-hook position. Clarity seeks a waiver of Section 68.317(f) pursuant to the Commission’s
streamlined waiver procedures1 for certain telephone devices, Models XL40D and XL45, that include a
volume control override switch so that persons with hearing disabilities can use the telephone without
having to turn the volume back up each time.
2.
Background: Part 68 Registration Process. All terminal equipment manufactured in, or
imported into, the United States and connected to the public switched telephone network (PSTN) must
conform to the requirements of Part 68 of the Commission’s rules.2 To that end, Part 68 requires either
that terminal equipment be tested by a Telecommunications Certification Body (TCB)3 or that the
responsible party follow the procedures for a Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity (SDOC).4 A waiver
of section 68.317(f) allows the petitioner to request testing from a TCB, or to file its SDOC pursuant to

1 See Tandy Corporation, Walker Equipment Company, Ameriphone, Inc., and Ultratec, Inc., Request for Waiver of
Volume Control Reset, 47 C.F.R. § 68.317(f)
, NSD-L-00-17, NSD-L-00-22, NSD-L-00-63, NSD-L-00-193, DA 01-
578, 16 FCC Rcd 5253 (Com. Car. Bur. 2001) (Tandy Corporation).
2 Part 68 is intended to prevent harm to the PSTN from the connection of terminal equipment and associated
wiring. 47 C.F.R. § 68.1. Pursuant to Part 68, all terminal equipment that may be connected to the telephone
network must meet the technical requirements of both Part 68 and those published by the Administrative Council for
Terminal Attachments (ACTA) as required in sections 68.7, 68.102, and subpart C of Part 68 of the Commission’s
rules. See 47 C.F.R. §§ 68.7, 68.102; 47 C.F.R. Subpart C.
3 TCBs are equipment test laboratories certified by the Commission pursuant to sections 68.160 and 68.162 of the
Commission’s rules to approve terminal equipment for connection to the telephone network. Each TCB has its own
application procedure and operates independently of the Commission. In addition, bodies outside the United States
are also permitted to approve equipment. See 47 C.F.R. §§ 68.160(c), 162.
4 SDOC procedures are set forth in sections 68.320 – 68.353 of the Commission’s rules. 47 C.F.R. §§ 68.320 –
68.353.

Federal Communications Commission

DA 12-2093

the Part 68 equipment approval requirements, despite the fact that the device does not meet the technical
standards of section 68.317(f).
3.
Streamlined Volume Reset Switch Waiver Process. On March 5, 2001, the Commission’s
Common Carrier Bureau, Network Services Division, released an order adopting a streamlined waiver
process for deciding section 68.317(f) waiver petitions.5 The Bureau identified five safety conditions
that, if met, would allow for the grant of a waiver. Those conditions are:
(1) the volume reset override switch shall be labeled as such and located on the telephone in such
a way as not to be accessible to accidental engagement;
(2) a bright indicator light shall be prominently displayed on the front of the telephone and shall
light up when the override is engaged and the telephone is placed in an off-hook condition;
(3) next to the light shall be a warning that the amplification is at a high level;
(4) a caution on the use of the volume reset override switch shall be included in the users’
manual; and
(5) the telephone shall include a warning printed in Braille that can be securely attached to the
back of the handset, or, if the telephone has only a headset, above the dial buttons, to indicate that
a high volume setting may be engaged.
With this streamlined waiver process, the Commission eliminated the usual public notice and comment
procedures for petitions for waivers of Commission rules.6
4.
Accordingly, a party may request waiver of section 68.317(f) by submitting a letter
certifying that the equipment for which the waiver is requested complies with the five safety conditions
set forth in Tandy Corporation.7 The letter (waiver request) must be signed “by a company representative
or other officer responsible for its truthfulness.”8 “If the request is in order and if no other issues are
present that preclude a grant, the [Commission] will issue an order granting the waiver request.”9 The
party receiving such a waiver may then pursue equipment approval under the applicable Part 68 rules.10
5.
Discussion. Clarity has provided a letter dated December20, 2012, certifying that its
telephone devices, Models XL40D and XL45, comply with the five safety conditions specified in Tandy
Corporation
. Its statement of certification is signed by John Lowe, the Supply Chain and QA Manager of
Clarity. Based on this letter, we conclude that it is appropriate to grant the requested waiver. This Order
therefore grants Clarity’s waiver request. Clarity may therefore proceed with either TCB certification or a
Self-Declaration of Conformity pursuant to Part 68 of the Commission’s rules.
6.
Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to authority delegated in sections 0.141 and
0.361 of the Commission’s rules, 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.141, 0.361, and section 1.3 of the Commission’s rules,
47 C.F.R. § 1.3, the request for waiver of section 68.317(f) for Models XL40D and XL45, filed by
Clarity, A Division of Plantronics, Inc., IS GRANTED SUBJECT TO THE FOLLOWING

5 Tandy Corporation at ¶¶ 13-15.
6 Id. at ¶ 15.
7 Id. at ¶ 17.
8 Id. at ¶ 15.
9 Id.
10 Id. at ¶ 15.
2

Federal Communications Commission

DA 12-2093

CONDITIONS: (1) the volume reset override switch shall be labeled as such and located on the
telephone in such a way as to not be accessible to accidental engagement; (2) a bright indicator light shall
be prominently displayed on the front of the telephone and shall light up when the override is engaged
and the telephone is placed in an off-hook condition; (3) next to the light shall be a warning that the
amplification is at a high level; (4) a caution on the use of the volume reset override switch shall be
included in the users’ manual; and (5) the telephone includes a warning printed in Braille that can be
securely attached to the back of the handset, or, if the telephone has only a headset, above the dial
buttons, to indicate that a high volume setting may be engaged.
7.
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 & Governmental
Affairs Bureau at (202) 418-0530 (voice), (202) 418-0432 (TTY). This Order can also be downloaded in
Word or Portable Document Format (PDF) at: http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/dro/hearing.html.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Gregory Hlibok
Chief, Disability Rights Office

Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau
3

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