Click here for Adobe Acrobat version
Click here for Microsoft Word version


This document was converted from Microsoft Word.

Content from the original version of the document such as
headers, footers, footnotes, endnotes, graphics, and page numbers
will not show up in this text version.

All text attributes such as bold, italic, underlining, etc. from the
original document will not show up in this text version.

Features of the original document layout such as
columns, tables, line and letter spacing, pagination, and margins
will not be preserved in the text version.

If you need the complete document, download the
Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat version.


                                                                     DA 10-93

                                                             January 15, 2010

                                             Enforcement Advisory No. 2010-02


              Enforcement Bureau Takes Action to Enhance Access to

       Digital Wireless Service for Individuals with Hearing Disabilities

     Wireless Service Providers and Handset Manufacturers Advised to Review

   The Enforcement Bureau has taken action against several companies for
   their failure to provide information that helps individuals with hearing
   disabilities fully utilize wireless phone services - allowing them to
   communicate effectively on their wireless phones without excessive
   feedback and noise.

   FCC rules require most digital wireless handset manufacturers and wireless
   service providers to make available a minimum number of hearing aid
   compatible handsets. In order to ensure that consumers have access to
   up-to-date information on the availability of those handsets, and to
   ensure that the Commission can monitor compliance, FCC rules also require
   these manufacturers and service providers to make periodic status reports
   and to post specific information on their public web sites. The
   Enforcement Bureau this week proposed forfeitures totaling $87,000 against
   seven companies, and issued Citations to two additional companies, for
   violating the reporting and posting requirements.

   The reports and web content provide valuable information to the public
   concerning the technical testing and commercial availability of hearing
   aid-compatible handsets, both for consumers, particularly those with
   hearing disabilities, and for service providers seeking information
   regarding the hearing aid compatibility of manufacturers' products. The
   rules at issue in this week's actions require the following:

     * Manufacturers were required to submit reports detailing their efforts
       toward compliance with the hearing aid compatibility requirements on
       January 15, 2009, on July 15, 2009, and must continue to file them on
       an annual basis on July 15 thereafter.

     * Service providers were required to submit status reports on January
       15, 2009, and must continue to file them on an annual basis on January
       15 thereafter.

     * Manufacturers and service providers with publicly-accessible web sites
       must also maintain a list of currently available hearing aid
       compatible handset models, the technical ratings of those models, and
       an explanation of the rating system.

   With these latest actions, we again confirm, consistent with past cases,
   that (i) a company's failure to familiarize itself with the relevant law
   does not excuse noncompliance; and (ii) there is no de minimis exception
   to the wireless hearing aid compatibility reporting requirement. We
   therefore urge closer attention to these rules by wireless service
   providers and handset manufacturers, as we intend to continue to strictly
   enforce these rules against those who fail to comply. Failure to comply
   with the reporting and web site posting requirements may result in
   monetary forfeitures starting at $6,000 per violation.

   The Bureau's actions this week follow a number of similar enforcement
   actions. Since May 2007, the Bureau has issued 31 Notices of Apparent
   Liability for Forfeitures and Consent Decrees totaling $665,500 for
   violations of the hearing aid compatibility handset, labeling and
   reporting requirements.

   For additional information regarding compliance and enforcement of the
   wireless hearing aid compatibility rules, please contact Ricardo Durham,
   (202) 418-1154,, or JoAnn Lucanik, (202) 418-0873, of the Enforcement Bureau. For general information
   on the wireless hearing aid compatibility rules, contact Michael Rowan,
   (202) 418-1883,, or Weiren Wang, (202) 418-7275,

   Media inquiries should be directed to David Fiske,,
   (202) 418-0513.

                                         Issued by: Chief, Enforcement Bureau


   The full text of the hearing aid compatibility rules is set forth at 47
   C.F.R. S: 20.19. These rules include technical standards that digital
   wireless handsets must meet to be considered compatible with hearing aids
   operating in acoustic coupling and inductive coupling (telecoil) modes,
   and establish deadlines by which manufacturers and wireless service
   providers, including resellers and Mobile Virtual Network Operators, are
   required to offer specified numbers or percentages of handsets per air
   interface that comply with the relevant standard. In addition,
   manufacturers and service providers must label the handsets with the
   appropriate technical rating, and explain the technical rating system in
   the owner's manual or as part of the packaging material for the handset.

   Manufacturers or service providers offering two or fewer digital wireless
   handset models per air interface qualify for the de minimis exception (47
   C.F.R. S: 20.19(e)) and are exempt from the hearing aid compatibility
   deployment requirements in 47 C.F.R. S: 20.19, but must still comply with
   the reporting requirement in 47 C.F.R. S: 20.19(i).


                                  Page 2 of 2

                            FCC ENFORCEMENT ADVISORY

   Federal Communications Commission

   445 12th St., S.W.

   Washington, D.C. 20554

                                        News Media Information 202 / 418-0500


                                                          TTY: 1-888-835-5322