Wireless RERC Filing to the Department of Justice on Next Generation 911
Regulatory Impact:Wireless RERC Helps to Advance Access to Technology
The Wireless RERC’s comments filed in the FCC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking concerning implementation of the Communications and Video Accessibility Act [CG Docket No. 10-213] [WT Docket No. 96-198] [CG Docket No. 10-145] were included in the recently released (R&O) concerning the same and helped to inform the final rules. Specifically, the Wireless RERC recommended that text messaging functionality in social media services fall under the Commission’s definition of "electronic messaging services." In the R&O the FCC concluded that electronic messaging services made available through social networking sites are covered by Sections 716 and 717. Additionally, the R&O agreed with Wireless RERC comments regarding harmonization of Section 716 and Section 255 rules based on the Access Board Draft Guidelines. “We agree with the Wireless RERC that this approach will “reduce both the potential for misunderstanding as well as the regulatory cost of compliance” and promote “the objective of consistency.” In total, Wireless RERC comments were included in the rulemaking text and/or cited ten times. This is noteworthy because it advances access to wireless technologies by people with disabilities and reinforces the importance of participating in the rulemaking process. To that end, we encourage all stakeholders to review and comment on the portion of the above-referenced document. The FNPRM seeks comment on small business exemptions, the accessibility of Internet browsers on mobile phones, how to achieve interoperability of video conferencing services; video mail coverage, information content accessibility; and other items. Initial comments are due 45 days after publication in the Federal Register and reply comments are due 75 days thereafter.
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Comments from the Wireless RERC on the Accessibility & Effectiveness of EAS alerts
On July 19, 2011, the Wireless RERC filed comments in response to the FCC’s Third Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking In the Matter of Review of the Emergency Alert System [EB Docket No. 04-296]. As a result of EAS field trials conducted by the Wireless RERC, recommendations included the need for presentation of alerts in both audio and visual formats and retaining the eight second EAS audio attention signal. Comments also recommended the mandatory filing of state and local EAS plans to include information on how to address the needs of people with disabilities. A recent review of 108 state and local EAS plans revealed that only one state plan addressed the needs of people with disabilities; one local plan provided procedures for sending text; and one local plan provided a note on captioning. Read the full filing at [http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7021694179]
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WiRERC Presents Emergency Communications Findings to FCC and FEMA
Dr. Helena Mitchell and Frank Lucia, WEC co-project directors, visited Washington, D.C. on April 25, 2011 for a series of meetings with FEMA (Office of Disability Integration and Coordination and IPAWS) and the FCC (Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, and Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau). They presented findings and recommendations from field trials and focus groups which examined accessible Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS) alerts to wireless devices. The results were submitted to the FCC public record as Ex Parte comments in the open EAS and CMAS proceedings. Also presented were preliminary findings on the use of social media by those with access and functional needs. Marcie Roth, Director of DHS/FEMA’s Office of Disability Integration and Coordination, will share information with working groups addressing these topics of concern. View the materials at [http://wirelessrercarchive.gatech.edu/content/publications/emergency-communications-and-people-disabilities].
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