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FCC Supports Adoption of ATIS Hearing Aid Compatibility Incubator Recommendations

November 12, 2007, Washington, DC- ATIS announced today that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) tentatively adopted a number of proposed rule changes set forth by the ATIS Hearing Aid Compatibility (HAC) Incubator, a work group consisting of representatives of the wireless service providers, wireless manufacturers and advocates for consumers with hearing loss.

The Joint Consensus Plan submitted by the ATIS HAC Incubator in WT Docket No 06-203 includes new requirements and modified deadlines for manufacturers and service providers to make at least fifty percent of their mobile wireless handsets hearing aid compatible. The Joint Consensus Plan also recommends that the wireless manufacturers make available a certain number of new models that are hearing aid compatible. In this Second Report and Order (Order) and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Notice), the FCC also tentatively adopted the 2007 version of ANSI C63.19 technical standard and new reporting requirements put forth in the Joint Consensus Plan.

"ATIS commends the participants of the HAC Incubator for its work," stated Susan Miller, President and CEO of ATIS. "The FCC's tentative adoption of the Joint Consensus Plan demonstrates that the ATIS HAC is successfully coordinating the technology offerings of the wireless service provider and manufacturer community with the needs of persons with hearing disabilities."

In the Order, the FCC also sought renewed comment on its decisions regarding whether to require independent phone retailers to make hearing-aid compatible phones available for in-store testing and whether to change the de minimis exception, which exempts wireless service providers and manufacturers that offer two or fewer digital handset models from the hearing aid compatibility rules.

The FCC intends to issue another Report and Order prior to the original February 18, 2008 benchmark; however, it stayed enforcement of the benchmark until April 18, 2008 to provide advance notice of the revised requirements for manufacturers and service providers. Comments are due 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. Comment replies are due 45 days after publication in the Federal Register.

About the ATIS Hearing Aid Compatibility Incubator

The ATIS HAC Incubator works to identify and address key technical issues related to the advancement of the ANSI C63.19 Standard and achieving a broad range of hearing aid compatible wireless devices as required by the FCC. 

About ATIS

ATIS is a leading standards development and technical planning organization committed to rapidly developing and promoting technical and operations standards for the communications and related information technologies industry worldwide using a pragmatic, flexible and open approach. Participants from more than 300 communications companies are active in ATIS' 22 industry committees, Incubator Solutions Program, and other activities. www.atis.org

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