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FCC extends disability provisions of Communications Act to VoIP

Late Thursday, The Federal Communications Commission extended the disability access requirements of Sections 225 and 255 of the Communications Act, which currently apply to traditional phone services, to providers of interconnected VoIP services and to manufacturers of equipment used to provide those services.
Written by Russell Shaw, Contributor on

Late Thursday, The Federal Communications Commission extended the disability access requirements of Sections 225 and 255 of the Communications Act, which currently apply to traditional phone services, to providers of interconnected VoIP services and to manufacturers of equipment used to provide those services.

Section 255 of the Communications Act requires manufacturers of “telecommunications equipment or customer premises equipment” and providers of “telecommunications service” to ensure that such equipment or service is accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, if readily achievable.

On March 10, 2004, the Commission initiated a rulemaking proceeding that sought comment on whether and, if so, how, it should apply the accessibility requirements of Section 255 to providers of interconnected VoIP or other IP-enabled services. It also asked how any actions it might take could affect the Interstate TRS Fund and whether it should amend the TRS rules in light of the increasing use of IP-enabled services.

The FCC noted that Thursday's action is a result of that rulemaking proceeding.

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