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FCC Invites Applications For NDBEDP Certification For Iowa

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Released: July 3, 2014
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PUBLIC NOTICE

Federal Communications Commission

News Media Information: 202-418-0500

445 12th Street, S.W.

Internet: https://www.fcc.gov

Washington, D.C. 20554

TTY:

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DA 14-964

Released: July 3, 2014

FCC INVITES APPLICATIONS FOR CERTIFICATION TO PARTICIPATE IN THE

NATIONAL DEAF-BLIND EQUIPMENT DISTRIBUTION PROGRAM

IN THE STATE OF IOWA

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 the Iowa

Utilities Board as the NDBEDP certified program for the state of Iowa.3

In June 2014, the Iowa Utilities Board informed the Commission that it would not continue

participating in the NDBEDP and that it would relinquish its certification as of July 1, 2014.4 To ensure

that Iowa 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 Iowa.5 The Commission will accept applications for this purpose until July 18, 2014.6

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 Elizabeth S. Jacobs, Chair, Iowa Utilities Board, to Jacqueline Ellington, Attorney Advisor, Disability

Rights Office, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, FCC (June 23, 2014).

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 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 the Iowa Utilities Board with

another certified entity. 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.

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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 was two years (beginning with the July 2012

launch). Recently, the Commission extended the program for an additional year, through June 2015.8

Certification to Receive Funding: As provided in the Commission’s rules,9 the Commission will

certify an individual entity for Iowa, which will act as the sole authorized entity to participate in the

NDBEDP for this state. The entity will have full oversight and responsibility for distributing equipment

and providing related services in Iowa,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 entity selected will be eligible to receive reimbursement for its NDBEDP activities from the

Interstate Telecommunications Relay Service Fund (TRS Fund).12 The certified program selected for

Iowa will be reimbursed for eligible NDBEDP related costs that it incurs after its 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 Iowa 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 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

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 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).

9 47 C.F.R. § 64.610(b).

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 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).

13 47 C.F.R. § 64.610(b)(2).

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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:

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

14 47 C.F.R. § 64.610(b)(3).

15 NDBEDP Report and Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 5649, ¶ 21.

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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.

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