Federal Communications Commission
News Media Information: 202-418-0500
445 12th Street, S.W.
Internet: http://www.fcc.gov 
Washington, D.C. 20554
Released: June 4, 2014
FCC INVITES APPLICATIONS FOR CERTIFICATION TO PARTICIPATE IN THE
NATIONAL DEAF-BLIND EQUIPMENT DISTRIBUTION PROGRAM
IN THE STATES OF INDIANA AND MINNESOTA
Washington, D.C. – On July 2, 2012, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or
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 Indiana State
University as the NDBEDP certified program for the state of Indiana, and the Minnesota Department of
Human Services Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Division (DHHS) as the NDBEDP certified program
In April 2014, Indiana State University informed the Commission that it would not continue
participating in the NDBEDP and that it would relinquish its certification as of June 30, 2014.4
April 2014, DHHS informed the Commission that it would no longer participate in the NDBEDP and that
it would relinquish its certification as of July 1, 2014.5
To ensure that Indiana and Minnesota are 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 Indiana and
The Commission will accept applications for this purpose until June 19, 2014.7
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).
4 Letter from Carol Wetherell, Director, Blumberg Center, Indiana State University, to Jacqueline Ellington,
Attorney Advisor, Disability Rights Office, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, FCC (April 29, 2014).
5 Letter from David S. Rosenthal, Director, Minnesota Department of Human Services Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Services Division, to Jacqueline Ellington, Attorney Advisor, Disability Rights Office, Consumer and Governmental
Affairs Bureau, FCC (April 3, 2014).
6 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.
7 In the NDBEDP Report and Order, the Commission announced a 60-day filing deadline for entities seeking
certification to operate an NDBEDP program. 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 Indiana State University and
Section 105 of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010
(CVAA), signed into law by President Obama on October 8, 2010,8 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 was two years (beginning with the July 2012
launch). Recently, the Commission extended the program for an additional year, through June 2015.9
Certification to Receive Funding: As provided in the Commission’s rules,10 the Commission will
certify individual entities for Indiana and Minnesota, which will each act as the sole authorized entity to
participate in the NDBEDP for these states. Each entity will have full oversight and responsibility for
distributing equipment and providing related services in Indiana and Minnesota, respectively,11 either
directly or through collaboration, partnership, or contract with other individuals or entities in-state or out-
of-state, including other NDBEDP certified programs.12
Each of the entities selected will be eligible to
receive reimbursement for their NDBEDP activities from the Interstate Telecommunications Relay
Service Fund (TRS Fund).13
The certified programs selected for Indiana and Minnesota will be
reimbursed for eligible NDBEDP related costs that they incur after their selection and during the third
year of the NDBEDP pilot program, which begins July 1, 2014 and ends June 30, 2015.
Who May Apply: Any public program or private entity may apply to the Commission for
certification to become the sole authorized entity for Indiana or Minnesota to participate in the NDBEDP
and receive reimbursement for NDBEDP activities from the TRS Fund.14
For example, public programs,
such as state equipment distribution programs, vocational rehabilitation programs, assistive technology
programs, or schools for the deaf, blind or deaf-blind may apply. Likewise, private entities, such as
DHHS with other certified entities. Because the initial certification process already has been conducted, interested
parties are more likely to be familiar with the filing requirements and in some instances may wish to re-use prior
filings with minor modifications.
8 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.
9 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 (2014).
10 47 C.F.R. § 64.610(b).
11 See NDBEDP Report and Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 5659-5676, ¶¶ 45-80 (discussing various categories of related
12 47 C.F.R. § 64.610(b).
13 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 (2012) (conditionally
waiving the Commission’s rules to permit NDBEDP certified programs to submit claims for reimbursement on a
monthly or quarterly basis).
14 47 C.F.R. § 64.610(b)(2).
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:15
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.16
Applications may be submitted electronically to NDBEDP@fcc.gov or mailed to the following
15 47 C.F.R. § 64.610(b)(3).
16 NDBEDP Report and Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 5649, ¶ 21.
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
ACCESSIBLE FORMATS: To request materials in accessible formats for people with
disabilities (Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
17 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.
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