APPENDIX D: ARCHITECTURAL AND TRANSPORTATION BARRIERS COMPLIANCE BOARD

Telecommunications Act Accessibility Guidelines for Customer Premises Equipment and Telecommunications Equipment

AGENCY: Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board.

ACTION: Notice of intent to establish advisory committee.

SUMMARY: The Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board) announces its intent to establish a Telecommunications Access Advisory Committee (Committee) to develop accessibility guidelines under the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and requests applications from interested organizations for representatives to serve on the Committee. The Committee will make recommendations to the Access Board on accessibility guidelines for telecommunications equipment and customer premises equipment.

DATES: Applications should be received by April 27, 1996.

ADDRESSES: Applications should be sent to the Office of Technical and Information Services, Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, 1331 F Street, NW., suite 1000, Washington, D.C. 20004-1111. Fax number (202) 272-5447. Applications may also be sent via electronic mail to the Access Board at the following address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dennis Cannon, Office of Technical and Information Services, Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, 1331 F Street, NW., suite 1000, Washington, D.C. 20004-1111. Telephone number (202) 272-5434 extension 35 (Voice); (202) 272-5449 (TTY). Electronic mail address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . This document is available in alternate formats (cassette tape, braille, large print, or computer disc) upon request.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On February 8, 1996, the President signed the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board) is responsible for developing accessibility guidelines in conjunction with the Federal Communications Commission under section 255 (e) of the Act for telecommunications equipment and customer premises equipment.

The term "telecommunications equipment" is defined as equipment, other than customer premises equipment, used by a carrier to provide telecommunications services, and includes software integral to such equipment (including upgrades). P.L. 104-104, sec. 3 (a)(2)(50). The term "customer premises equipment" is defined as equipment employed on the premises of a person (other than a carrier) to originate, route, or terminate telecommunications. P.L. 104-104, sec. 3 (a)(2)(38).

The Telecommunications Act requires the accessibility guidelines to be issued within 18 months after the date of enactment. The Board is also required to review and update the guidelines periodically. The Board's guidelines for telecommunications equipment and customer premises equipment are required to principally address the access needs of individuals with disabilities affecting hearing, vision, movement, manipulation, speech, and interpretation of information.

The Senate report to the Telecommunications Act directs the Board to develop its guidelines by involving parties affected by the law. "The Committee expects that manufacturers of equipment and providers of service will be fully included in this process." S. Rept. 104-23, at 53. Throughout the process of developing its guidelines, the Access Board, in conjunction with the Federal Communications Commission, intends to coordinate and consult with representatives of individuals with disabilities and interested telecommunications equipment and service providers to ensure that their concerns and interests are given full consideration in the rulemaking process.

The Access Board will begin the process of developing the accessibility guidelines by establishing a Telecommunications Access Advisory Committee. The establishment of the Committee is in the public interest and will support the agency in performing its duties and responsibilities under the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The Access Board believes that the Committee will facilitate the involvement of individuals with disabilities and telecommunications equipment and service providers in the development of the guidelines.

The Committee will make recommendations to the Access Board on issues such as:

  • types of equipment to be covered by the guidelines;
  • barriers to the use of such equipment by persons with disabilities affecting hearing, vision, movement, manipulation, speech, and interpretation of information;
  • solutions to such barriers, if known, categorized by disability (different solutions may be needed for different disabilities) and research on such barriers; and
  • contents of the guidelines.

The Committee will be expected to present a report with its recommendations to the Access Board within six months of the Committee's first meeting. The Access Board requests applications from organizations representing the following interests for membership on the Committee:

  • manufacturers of telecommunications equipment and customer premises equipment;
  • manufacturers and developers of peripheral devices or specialized customer premises equipment commonly used by individuals with disabilities to achieve access;
  • organizations representing the access needs of individuals with disabilities affecting hearing, vision, movement, manipulation, speech, and interpretation of information;
  • telecommunications providers and carriers;
  • developers of telecommunications software; and
  • other persons affected by these accessibility guidelines.

The number of Committee members will be limited to effectively accomplish the Committee's work and will be balanced in terms of interests represented. Organizations with similar interests are encouraged to nominate a single organization to represent their interest. Although the Committee will be limited in size, there will be opportunities for the public to present written information to the Committee, participate through the Internet and to comment at Committee meetings.

Applications should be sent to the Access Board at the address listed at the beginning of this notice. The application should include a statement of the organization's interests and the name, title, address and telephone number of the person who would represent the organization on the Committee. The application should also describe the person's qualifications, including any experience the person has had with making telecommunications equipment and customer premises equipment accessible to individuals with disabilities.

Committee members will not be compensated for their service. The Access Board may pay travel expenses for a limited number of persons who would otherwise be unable to participate on the Committee. Committee members will serve as representatives of their organizations, not as individuals. They will not be considered special government employees and will not be required to file confidential financial disclosure reports.

After the applications have been reviewed, the Access Board will publish a notice in the Federal Register announcing the appointment of Committee members and the first meeting of the Committee. The first meeting of the Committee is tentatively scheduled for June 10-12, 1996 in Washington, D.C. The Committee will operate in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act, 5 U.S.C. app 2. Committee meetings will be held in Washington, D.C. Each meeting will be open to the public. A notice of each meeting will be published in the Federal Register at least fifteen days in advance of the meeting. Records will be kept of each meeting and made available for public inspection.

________________________________

Judith E. Heumann,
Chairman, U.S. Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board.


ARCHITECTURAL AND TRANSPORTATION BARRIERS COMPLIANCE BOARD

Telecommunications Act Accessibility Guidelines for Telecommunications Equipment and Customer Premises Equipment

AGENCY: Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board.

ACTION: Notice of appointment of advisory committee members and notice of first meeting.

SUMMARY: The Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board) is announcing the appointment of members to its Telecommunications Access Advisory Committee (Committee). The Committee will make recommendations to the Access Board on accessibility guidelines for telecommunications equipment and customer premises equipment. These recommendations will be used by the Access Board to develop accessibility guidelines under section 255 (e) of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The Committee is composed of representatives of manufacturers of telecommunications equipment and customer premises equipment; organizations representing the access needs of individuals with disabilities; telecommunications providers and carriers; and other persons affected by the guidelines. This notice also announces the time and place of the first Committee meeting, which will be open to the public.

DATES: The first meeting of the Committee is scheduled for Wednesday, June 12, 1996 through Friday, June 14, 1996, beginning at 9:30 a.m. each day. Decisions with respect to future meetings will be made at the first meeting and from time to time thereafter. Notices of future meetings will be published in the Federal Register.

ADDRESSES: The first meeting of the Committee will be held at the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association offices, 10801 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852. Persons attending the meetings are strongly encouraged to use public transportation since parking is extremely limited. The American Speech-Language and Hearing Association offices are located north of the Grosvenor Metro subway station. Persons who must drive should call Dennis Cannon at the Access Board. The facility is accessible to individuals with disabilities. Sign language interpreters, assistive listening systems and real time transcription will be available. Subsequent meetings will be held at locations to be announced.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dennis Cannon, Office of Technical and Information Services, Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, 1331 F Street, NW., suite 1000, Washington, D.C. 20004-1111. Telephone number (202) 272-5434 extension 35 (Voice); (202) 272-5449 (TTY). Electronic mail address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . This document is available in alternate formats (cassette tape, braille, large print, or computer disc) upon request.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On March 28, 1996, the Access Board published a notice of intent to establish an advisory committee to make recommendations to the Access Board on accessibility guidelines for telecommunications equipment and customer premises equipment. 61 FR 13813 (March 28, 1996). Under section 255 (e) of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the Access Board is responsible for developing these guidelines, in conjunction with the Federal Communications Commission. The notice requested nominations for membership on the Committee from manufacturers of telecommunications equipment and customer premises equipment; manufacturers and developers of peripheral devices or specialized customer premises equipment commonly used by individuals with disabilities to achieve access; organizations representing the access needs of individuals with disabilities affecting hearing, vision, movement, manipulation, speech, and interpretation of information; telecommunications providers and carriers; developers of telecommunications software; and other persons affected by these accessibility guidelines.

Over 60 nominations were submitted. For the reasons stated in the notice of intent, the Access Board has determined that establishing the Committee is necessary and in the public interest. The Access Board has appointed members to the Committee from the following organizations:

AT&T
American Council of the Blind
American Foundation for the Blind
Arkenstone
Broad Alliance for Multimedia Technology and Applications
Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association
Consumer Action Network
Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association
The Council of Organizational Representatives
Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program
Digital Equipment Corporation
The Ericsson Corporation
Gallaudet University
Inclusive Technologies
Lucent Technologies
Massachusetts Assistive Technology Partnership
NCR
National Association for State Relay Administration
National Federation of the Blind
Northern Telecom
NYNEX Corporation
Pacific Bell
Pennsylvania Citizens Consumer Council
Personal Communications Industry Association
RESNA
Self Help for Hard of Hearing People, Inc.
Siemens Rolm Communications, Inc.
Telecommunications Industry Association
Trace Research and Development Center
United Cerebral Palsy Associations, Inc.
U.S. Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication
United States Telephone Association
World Institute on Disability

The Access Board regrets being unable to accommodate all requests for membership on the Committee. There were several factors which were important in the Access Board's decision not to add more members. In order to keep the Committee to a size that can be effective, it is necessary to limit membership. It is also desirable to have balance among members of the Committee representing different clusters of interest, such as disability organizations and the telecommunications industry. In addition, it is not essential that every concerned organization is represented, so long as every interest is represented by an appropriate organization. The Committee membership identified above provides representation for each interest affected by issues to be discussed.

Committee meetings will be open to the public and interested persons can attend the meetings and communicate their views. Members of the public will have an opportunity to address the Committee on issues of interest to them and the Committee. Members of groups or individuals who are not members of the Committee may also have the opportunity to participate with subcommittees of the Committee. The Access Board believes that participation of this kind can be very valuable for the advisory committee process. Additionally, all interested persons will have the opportunity to comment when the proposed accessibility guidelines for telecommunications equipment and customer premises equipment are issued in the Federal Register by the Access Board.

_________________________________

Judith E. Heumann,
Chairman, U.S. Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board.


Addendum
to the Telecommunications Access Advisory Committee
January 1997
Final Report


Page 12. The final report has the following definition for the term "accessible".

Accessible -- Means that a person with a disability can use the equipment to perform the same tasks, access the same information, with the same ease, in the same time and at the same cost as a person using the equipment without a disability, and that the person can use the product in its standard manufactured and shipped form without having to modify the product or to purchase special technologies.

The following should be added immediately after the definition:

Comment -- Some committee members believed that this term should be defined as follows: "A product is accessible to a person with disabilities when that person can use the product in its standard manufactured and shipped form without having to modify the product or purchase special technologies."

Page 12. The final report has the following definition for the term "Customer Premises User Interface".

Customer Premises User Interface (CPUI) -- the interface which the user must interact with when using CPE for telecommunications.

The definition should be deleted since the term is not used elsewhere in the final report.

Page 14. The final report has the following definition for the term "Usable".

Usable -- The term usable means the telecommunications equipment or CPE can be effectively used by individuals with disabilities, including, but not limited to, the availability of instructions, accessible feature information, documentation, technical support and delivery in alternate formats or through alternate methods.

The following should be added immediately after the definition:

Comment -- Some committee members believed that "usable" is given ample meaning in the context of Sections 4 and 5 and need not be defined separately.

April 8, 1997