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Federal Communications Commission

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Disabilities Rights Enforcement

The Commission has a number of programs and rules designed to enhance the accessibility of communications technologies to individuals with disabilities. For example, the Commission:
  • requires video programming distributors to provide most programming with closed captions;
  • has established a fund that supports various forms of Telecommunications Relay Services - a service that allows individuals with hearing or speech disabilities to use communications technologies at the same cost as individuals without such disabilities - and requires providers of the service to comply with certain rules in order to qualify for reimbursement from the fund for their service; and
  • requires most wireless carriers to make available a minimum number of hearing aid compatible (HAC) handsets and to make periodic status reports and to post certain information at their websites, in order to ensure that consumers have access to up-to-date information and to ensure that the Commission can monitor compliance.
Because compliance with these rules ensures that all Americans benefit from developments in communications technologies, the Bureau has been and remains active in enforcing their requirements and those in other disabilities-related rules. Recently, the Bureau entered into a consent decree with the nation's largest cable operator to resolve alleged violations of the closed captioning rules, requiring it to pay 00,000 to the U.S. Treasury as part of the settlement and to adopt a compliance plan to minimize the occurrence of similar problems in the future; has issued an advisory to remind Internet-based relay service providers of the rules for handling emergency calls; and has taken a number of actions as well as released an advisory involving compliance with the HAC rules.
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