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Commission Selects Entity to Participate in the NDBEDP for Mississippi

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Released: December 19, 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 13-2432

Released: December 19, 2013

COMMISSION ANNOUNCES ENTITY SELECTED FOR

CERTIFICATION TO PARTICIPATE IN THE NATIONAL DEAF-BLIND

EQUIPMENT DISTRIBUTION PROGRAM FOR MISSISSIPPI

Washington, D.C. – The Federal Communications Commission’s (Commission) Consumer and
Governmental Affairs Bureau (CGB) has selected the Perkins School for the Blind for certification to
participate in the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program (NDBEDP) for the state of
Mississippi.
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) (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 allows 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). The NDBEDP pilot program will run for two years, with an option for the
Commission to extend the program for another year. Id., 26 FCC Rcd at 5649, ¶ 22.
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).

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 CGB selected The Arc of Mississippi (The Arc) as
the certified program to participate in the NDBEDP for Mississippi.8
The Arc notified the Commission that it will relinquish its certification to participate in the
NDBEDP for Mississippi, effective January 1, 2014.9 On October 30, 2013, CGB invited applications for
certification to participate in the NDBEDP for the state of Mississippi.10 In response, the Commission
received one application from the Perkins School for the Blind (Perkins). In accordance with the
NDBEDP Pilot Program Order, CGB reviewed Perkins’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.11
CGB has determined that Perkins meets the Commission’s qualifications for certification to
operate the NDBEDP program in Mississippi. As the NDBEDP certified program for Mississippi,

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 Matt Nalker, Executive Director, The Arc of Mississippi, to Jacqueline Ellington, Disability Rights
Office, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, FCC (September 25, 2013).
10 FCC Invites Applications for Certification to Participate in the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution
Program in the State of Mississippi
, Public Notice, 28 FCC Rcd 14869 (CGB October 30, 2013).
11 See 47 C.F.R. § 64.610(b)(3).
2

Perkins will be partnering with the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youth and Adults
(HKNC). Perkins and HKNC, collectively, have more than 200 years of experience working with
children and adults who are deaf-blind, both employ individuals who are deaf-blind, and both are
experienced in providing accessible services in a manner that shows cultural awareness of the deaf-blind
community. In addition, Perkins, in partnership with HKNC, has been operating NDBEDP programs in
12 other states since July 1, 2012,12 and in Nevada since July 1, 2013.13
Accordingly, CGB has selected the Perkins School for the Blind for certification to participate in
the NDBEDP for the state of Mississippi. Certification is granted to the Perkins School for the Blind
effective January 1, 2014, and continues for the duration of the NDBEDP pilot program, subject to
compliance with program requirements.14

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-

12 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).
13 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).
14 NDBEDP Pilot Program Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 5647, ¶ 14. See generally, 47 C.F.R. §§ 64.610(a)-(k).
3

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