FCC Wants $819,000 from T-Mobile Over Lack of HAC Phones
The Federal Communications Commission today proposed that T-Mobile USA forfeit the amount of $819,000 for "willfully and repeatedly" failing to comply with rules mandating each carrier offer a certain number of hearing-aid compatible handsets. According to the FCC, T-Mobile violated the rules during 2009 and 2010. These hearing aid compatibility requirements make sure consumers with hearing loss have access to advanced telecommunications services. The minimum number of HAC phones required to be offered by Tier 1 carriers has evolved over the years, but at the moment 10 handsets or at least 50% of a carriers' breadth of devices must offer an M3 acoustic coupling, and 7 handsets or at least 33% must offer a T3 inductive coupling. T-Mobile USA is allowed to reduce or negate the proposed forfeiture by proving to the FCC that it didn't violate the rules, or that it didn't violate them as severely as the FCC alleges.
Apple Complains About FCC's Hearing Aid Push
Apple has filed comments with the FCC requesting the agency refrain from adopting new hearing aid rules. In November, the agency issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would require all phones to be accessible to people who use hearing aids or have cochlear implants.
FCC Wants All Cell Phones Hearing Aid Compatible
The FCC today expanded the scale of hearing aid compatibility in cell phones to include IP-based communications, such as WiFi and VoLTE. AT&T and Verizon Wireless recently sought and received waivers to offer WiFi calling along with an alternate to the legacy technology called RTT (real-time text).
Net Neutrality Rules Reach the Federal Register
The FCC's proposed rules regarding net neutrality were published in the Federal Register today and will become law in 60 days. The rules' appearance in the Federal Register means groups opposed to them may now file lawsuits to prevent the rules from taking final form.
FCC to Let Phone Companies Replace TTY with RTT
The FCC this week adopted rules that will allow carriers to replace their existing (but aging) TTY systems with the more modern RTT (real-time text) service. The move is meant to expand the tools for the deaf, hard of hearing, and blind.