FCC Acts on Violations of HAC Rules

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FCC Acts on Violations of HAC Rules

Jan 17 2012

Finding a Hearing Aid Compatible (HAC) mobile phone has always posed a problem for people who wear hearing aids. About a year ago, between January 28 and February 7, 2011, HLAA conducted an online survey to gather consumer experience with HAC mobile phones. We were surprised at the results. We found widespread discontent with the process of searching for HAC handsets and we found a surprising number of people who ended up settling for phones that didn’t really work with their hearing aids. We concluded:

It is clear that manufacturers and service providers are making and selling HAC mobile phones. However, the information about HAC mobile phones is not readily available to consumers, the task of finding and purchasing a HAC mobile phone is arduous, and consumers often feel “stuck” with mobile phones they do purchase. The fact that so many still report annoying interference on the mobile phones they do purchase suggests that this lack of understanding leads many to purchase and to keep a mobile phone that does not work well for them, either because they do not believe other phones will work for them, or they have a poor understanding of the return policy. Many complain bitterly of their experiences.

As a result of that survey, we urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) among other things, to increase the number of available mobile HAC handsets. 

The FCC has not yet issued its findings on the 2010 Review of HAC regulations, but they continue to enforce the HAC rules as they stand now. In December, 2011, the FCC issued Notices of Apparent Liability to 11 cellular carriers for Hearing Aid Compatibility (HAC) violations. The FCC compared the reports from the carriers with information obtained from handset manufacturers and found that not all of the models the carriers claimed to be HAC were reported by the manufacturers as meeting M3 and T3 ratings. The price tag was $15,000 for the number of HAC models the carrier was missing. Two carriers got the standard amount bumped up higher because they were in violation for the whole year. Centennial Communications Corporation was noticed at the significantly higher amount of $75,000 because, the FCC said, they are a larger company with a significant impact on consumers with hearing loss, and the FCC wanted to ensure that the level of fine would serve as an effective deterrent. The FCC also noted Centennial had previously violated HAC requirements. These Orders are not consent decrees, so they may be contested.

What follows is a list of the carriers who were noticed by the FCC.

North Central Wireless LC d/b/a i wireless Released Date: 12/23/2011 Description: Notified North Central Wireless LC d/b/a i wireless of its apparent liability for a forfeiture of $39,000 for apparent violation of 47 CFR 20.19(d)(3)(ii)of the Rules
Documents: Word : DA-11-2034A1.doc  Acrobat : DA-11-2034A1.pdf  Text : DA-11-2034A1.txt

Affordable Phone Services, Inc Released Date: 12/23/2011 Description: Notified Affordable Phone Services, Inc. of its Apparent Liability for Forfeiture in the amount of $30,000 for violations of the hearing aid compatibility handset deployment requirements
Documents: Word : DA-11-2035A1.doc  Acrobat : DA-11-2035A1.pdf  Text : DA-11-2035A1.txt

Airadigm Communications, Inc. dba Airfire Wireless Released Date: 12/23/2011 Description: Notified Airadigm Communications, Inc. dba Airfire Wireless of its Apparent Liability for Forfeiture of $30,000 for failure to comply with the hearing aid compatibility handset deployment requirements as set forth in Section 20.19 of the Rules Documents: Word : DA-11-2042A1.doc  Acrobat : DA-11-2042A1.pdf  Text : DA-11-2042A1.txt

Caprock Cellular Limited Partnership Released Date: 12/23/2011 Description: Proposed a forfeiture in the amount of $15,000 against Caprock Cellular Limited Partnership for apparently willfully and repeatedly violating section 20.19(c)(3)(ii) of the Commission's rules
Documents: Word : DA-11-2060A1.doc  Acrobat : DA-11-2060A1.pdf  Text : DA-11-2060A1.txt

iSmart Mobile, LLC d/b/a Big Sky Mobile Released Date: 12/23/2011 Description: Proposed a forfeiture in the amount of $21,000 against iSmart Mobile, LLC d/b/a Big Sky Mobile for apparently willfully and repeatedly violating section 20.19(c)(3)(ii) of the Commission's rules
Documents: Word : DA-11-2061A1.doc  Acrobat : DA-11-2061A1.pdf  Text : DA-11-2061A1.txt

General Communication, Inc Released Date: 12/28/2011 Description: Notified General Communication, Inc. of its Apparent Liability for a Forfeiture in the amount of $51,000 for apparently willfully and repeatedly violating section 20.19(d)(3)(ii) of the Rules
Documents: Word : DA-11-2075A1.doc  Acrobat : DA-11-2075A1.pdf  Text : DA-11-2075A1.txt

NEP Cellcorp, Inc Released Date: 12/28/2011 Description: Notified NEP Cellcorp, Inc. of its Apparent Liability for a Forfeiture of $25,500 for apparent violation of section 20.19(c)(3)(ii) of the Rules
Documents: Word : DA-11-2079A1.doc  Acrobat : DA-11-2079A1.pdf  Text : DA-11-2079A1.txt

Maximum Communications Cellular, LLC Released Date: 12/28/2011 Description: Notified Maximum Communications Cellular, LLC of its Apparent Liability for a Forfeiture of $30,000 for apparently violating section 20.19(c)(3)(ii) of the Commission's Rules
Documents: Word : DA-11-2080A1.doc  Acrobat : DA-11-2080A1.pdf  Text : DA-11-2080A1.txt

LOCUS TELECOMMUNICATIONS, INC.   Proposed a forfeiture in the amount of $25,500 and issued an admonishment against Locus Telecommunications, Inc., finding that Locus apparently willfully and repeatedly violated sections 20.19(c)(3)(ii)and 20.19(d)(3)(ii) of the Rules. Action by:  Chief, Enforcement Bureau. Adopted:  12/28/2011 by NAL. (DA No. 11-2078).  EB 
http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-11-2078A1.doc

http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-11-2078A1.pdf

http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-11-2078A1.txt

CENTENNIAL COMMUNICATIONS CORPORATION.   Notified Centennial Communications Corporation of its Apparent Liability for a Forfeiture in the amount of $75,000 for apparently willfully and repeatedly violating sections 20.19(d)(3)(ii) and 20.19(e)(2) of the Rules. Action by:  Chief, Enforcement Bureau. Adopted:  12/28/2011 by NAL. (DA No. 11-2076).  EB 
http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-11-2076A1.doc

http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-11-2076A1.pdf

http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-11-2076A1.txt

METROPOLITAN TELECOMMUNICATIONS HOLDING COMPANY D.B.A. METTEL.   Notified Metropolitan Telecommunications Holding Company d.b.a. MetTel of its Apparent Liability for Forfeiture in the amount of $48,000 for apparently willfully and repeatedly violating section 20.19(d)(3)(ii) of the Rules. Action by:  Chief, Enforcement Bureau. Adopted:  12/29/2011 by NAL. (DA No. 11-2077).  EB 
http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-11-2077A1.doc

http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-11-2077A1.pdf

http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-11-2077A1.txt