The FCC and Captioned Telephone Services

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The FCC and Captioned Telephone Services

Sep 24 2013

On August 26, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted the final Order regarding IP CTS (Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Services). The new rules change the way consumers get the phones and use the phones. The rules include:

  • Captions will not appear on the phone until the consumer turns the captions on, with exceptions made for people with documented physical or cognitive disabilities
  • Consumers are required to pay $75 or more for a captioned phone, unless the consumer receives the phone from a state equipment distribution program
  • Apps (software applications) for mobile phones will cost $75 or more, unless the consumer already has an IP CTS phone
  • Consumers must register with the provider of the phone
  • Consumers must certify under penalty of perjury that they have a hearing loss which requires the use of a captioned phone
  • Consumers must certify that they will not permit anyone who is not registered to use their captioned phone

The FCC also asked questions about the way captioned services should work, and have provided an opportunity for stakeholders to weigh in through their Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM). Some of the questions they asked:

  • Should the FCC turn over all Captioned Telephone Services (CTS) to the states?
  • Should the FCC establish mandatory minimum performance requirements (speed, delay, accuracy)?
  • Should there be any other exemptions to the requirement that the captions must be off until the registered user turns them on?
  • What are the most effective ways to educate consumers about IP CTS?

HLAA will be filing comments once again with the FCC, based on the information we have at hand, and what we gather through our online surveys. Comments on the FNPRM are due October 18, 2013.

But it’s essential that the Commission hears directly from you. You can do that by emailing or writing the FCC anytime with your feedback on how IP CTS is working for you – or not.

Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC 20554
Phone: 1-888-225-5322 NOTE: Due to the government shutdown, this link is not currently working. Please check back later to submit your feedback.

We encourage you to let HLAA know as well. Knowing what works for you will help us in our fight for equal telecommunications access for all consumers who have a hearing loss. For more information email