Background

Section 255 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 requires telecommunications products and services to be accessible to people with disabilities.  Under this law, the Board issued accessibility guidelines for the various types of telecommunications products covered.  These guidelines are used by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to enforce the accessibility requirements of the law. 

The Board organized the Telecommunications Access Advisory Committee (TAAC) to prepare recommendations on the guidelines to be developed.  This committee included representatives from product manufacturers, service providers, disability groups, and experts in communication access. The final guidelines were developed closely based upon this committee’s recommendations.

In April 1997, the Board published proposed guidelines for public comment based closely on the committee’s report.  The Board revised the guidelines based on the comments received and published them in final form on February 3, 1998.  They were later incorporated into the FCC’s Telecommunications Act regulations.

Section 255 Guidelines and Related Information

Telecommunications Access Advisory Committee (TAAC)

Timeline:

  • President Clinton signs the Telecommunications Act of 1996 into law, February 8, 1996
  • Board creates the Telecommunications Access Advisory Committee (TAAC), May 24, 1996
  • Advisory Committee submits its report to the Board, January 15, 1997
  • Board publishes proposed guidelines for public comment, April 18, 1997
  • Close of comment period, June 2, 1997
  • Board publishes original Telecommunications Act Accessibility Guidelines, February 3, 1998