Transition From TTY to Real-Time Text Technology, 7699-7708 [2017-01377]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 13 / Monday, January 23, 2017 / Rules and Regulations Dated: January 6, 2017. Michael M. Grimm, Assistant Administrator for Mitigation, Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency. [FR Doc. 2017–01102 Filed 1–19–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110–12–P FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION 47 CFR Parts 6, 7, 14, 20, 64, and 67 [CG Docket No. 16–145 and GN Docket No. 15–178; FCC 16–169] Transition From TTY to Real-Time Text Technology Federal Communications Commission. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: In this document, the Commission adopts amendments to its rules to facilitate a transition from outdated text telephone (TTY) technology to a reliable and interoperable means of providing realtime text (RTT) communication for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, or have a speech disability over Internet Protocol (IP) enabled networks and services. DATES: Document FCC 16–169 will become effective February 22, 2017. The incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in the rules is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as of February 22, 2017. ADDRESSES: Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michael Scott, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, at (202) 418–1264; email: Michael.Scott@fcc.gov or Suzy Rosen Singleton, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, at (202) 510–9446; email: Suzanne.Singleton@ fcc.gov. SUMMARY: This is a summary of the Commission’s Transition from TTY to Real-Time Text Technology; Petition for Rulemaking to Update the Commission’s Rules for Access to Support the Transition from TTY to Real-Time Text Technology, and Petition for Waiver of Rules Requiring Support of TTY Technology, Report and Order, document FCC 16–169, adopted on December 15, 2016 and released on December 16, 2016, in CG Docket No. 16–145, GN Docket No. 15–178. The Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, FCC 16–169, adopted on December 15, mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with RULES SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:54 Jan 19, 2017 Jkt 241001 2016 and released on December 16, 2016, is published elsewhere in this issue. The full text of document FCC 16–169 will be available for public inspection and copying via ECFS, and during regular business hours at the FCC Reference Information Center, Portals II, 445 12th Street SW., Room CY–A257, Washington, DC 20554. To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities (Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), send an email to fcc504@fcc.gov or call the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418–0530 (voice), (844) 432–2272 (videophone), or (202) 418–0432 (TTY). Incorporation by Reference The Office of Federal Register (OFR) recently revised its regulations to require that agencies must discuss in the preamble of a final rule ways that the materials the agency is incorporating by reference are reasonably available to interested parties or how it worked to make those materials reasonably available to interested parties. In addition, the preamble of the final rule must summarize the material. The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) Request for Comments (RFC) 4103, Realtime Transport Protocol Payload for Text Conversation, June 2005, Gunnar Hellstrom & Paul E. Jones, provides technical specifications for carrying real-time text conversation session contents in RTP packets on Internal Protocol-based communications networks. This document is available for download at the Internet Engineering Task Force Web site at http://ietf.org or directly at https://www.ietf.org/rfc/ rfc4103.txt, and is available for inspection at the Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th St. SW., Reference Information Center, Room CY–A257, Washington, DC 20554, (202) 418–0270. It is also available for inspection at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this material at NARA, call 202–741–6030 or go to http://www.archives.gov/federal_ register/code_of_federal_regulations/ ibr_locations.html. Congressional Review Act The Commission will send a copy of document FCC 16–169 to Congress and the Government Accountability Office pursuant to the Congressional Review Act, see 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(1)(A). Final Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 Analysis Paragraphs 42 and 43 of document FCC 16–169 contain new information collection requirements, which are not PO 00000 Frm 00069 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 7699 applicable until approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The Commission, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, will invite the general public to comment on these information collection requirements as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995, Public Law 104–13. The Commission will publish a separate document in the Federal Register announcing approval of the information collection requirements contained in document FCC 16–169. In addition, the Commission notes that, pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 107–198, 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(4), the Commission previously sought comment on how the Commission might ‘‘further reduce the information burden for small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees.’’ Transition from TTY to Real-Time Text Technology; Petition for Rulemaking to Update the Commission’s Rules for Access to Support the Transition from TTY to Real-Time Text Technology, and Petition for Waiver of Rules Requiring Support of TTY Technology, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, published at 81 FR 33170, May 25, 2016 (NPRM). Synopsis 1. In document FCC 16–169, the Commission amends its rules to facilitate a transition from text telephone (TTY) technology to real-time text (RTT) as a reliable and interoperable universal text solution over wireless Internet protocol (IP) enabled networks for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, or have a speech disability (collectively, ‘‘people with disabilities’’ or ‘‘textreliant users’’). The instant proceeding responds to a petition filed by AT&T in June 2015, requesting the Commission to update its accessibility rules to allow RTT to replace TTY technology over IPbased networks. On April 28, 2016, the Commission adopted an NPRM proposing to amend its rules to facilitate an effective and seamless transition from TTY technology to RTT over wireless IP-based networks and services. In response, 25 parties filed comments and 13 filed reply comments. RTT Is an Effective and Efficient Replacement for TTY Technology 2. There is consensus among the commenters that, in light of its technical and functional limitations, TTY technology needs to be replaced with an alternative text technology for IP-based networks. The Commission adopts its tentative conclusion that RTT is an effective alternative to TTY technology E:\FR\FM\23JAR1.SGM 23JAR1 mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with RULES 7700 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 13 / Monday, January 23, 2017 / Rules and Regulations for the IP environment. RTT is a native IP technology designed for the packetswitched network environment that allows users to make RTT calls using the built-in functionality of numerous off-the-shelf devices. Commenters confirm that RTT features, including its full duplex operation, seamless integration of voice and text, international character set, and speed, will greatly improve the availability, efficiency and reliability of text-based communications sent over IP-based networks. In addition, RTT has the potential to enhance the ability of telecommunications relay services (TRS) to provide functionally equivalent telephone service, while at the same time reducing reliance on some forms of TRS. Finally, all of the major and several smaller wireless service providers already have committed to deploying this technology. 3. RTT is a superior accessibility technology to messaging-type text communication services because it provides a more natural and efficient way to meet the communication needs of consumers with disabilities, especially in the event of an emergency, when the need for effective and timely communication with a 911 center is at a premium. Because RTT allows instant transmissions and the improved delivery of messages, it is the text alternative that is the most functionally equivalent to voice communication. Specifically, RTT messages are immediately conveyed to and received by the recipient as the message is composed, as compared to all other textbased messaging services, which require parties to press a key to transmit the message. This enables the user to see what the other person is typing and begin developing a response before the entire message has been conveyed, similar to voice conversations. This capability also lets a user know that the other party is indeed responding to the message, which allows for a more direct exchange of information and avoids confusion, crossed answers, and errors. The transition to RTT is also expected to help facilitate the transition to Next Generation 911 (NG911)—which will allow the transmission of voice, text and video to public safety answering points (PSAPs)—because broadly supported NG911 standards, such as i3, specify support standards for RTT communications. Further, RTT has built-in redundancy and the capacity to detect when information is lost, provides a more conversational flow, and avoids the out-of-sequence and delay pitfalls of short message service (SMS) text messaging. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:54 Jan 19, 2017 Jkt 241001 Permitting RTT Support in Lieu of TTY Support Over IP-Based Wireless Voice Services and Devices 4. The Commission adopts rules permitting IP-based wireless providers and manufacturers (covered entities) to support RTT in lieu of supporting TTY technology. These rule changes cover only those entities that are involved in the provision of IP-based wireless voice communication service, and only to the extent that their services are subject to existing TTY technology support requirements under parts 6, 7, 14, 20, or 64 of the Commission’s rules. Given the relative novelty of RTT, it is not appropriate for these rules to apply to entities who were not already subject to an equivalent obligation to support TTY technology. 5. The Commission concludes that it would be premature at this time to address application of RTT to the wireline environment. However, given RTT’s superiority to TTY technology, the Commission will keep this docket open to receive further input and conduct continued exploration on the appropriateness of using this technology as an alternative to TTY technology to achieve a universal, integrated text solution for voice service accessibility on wireline IP-based voice services and end user devices. Wireless Service Support for RTT 6. To establish an effective and timely transition to RTT, the Commission amends parts 6, 7, 14, 20, and 64 of its rules to permit wireless service providers offering IP-based voice communications, in lieu of supporting TTY technology: • To support 911 access, pursuant to § 20.18 of the Commission’s rules, through RTT communications; • To support RTT over telecommunications services and interconnected voice-over-IP (VoIP) services covered by parts 6 and 7 of the Commission’s rules, if readily achievable; • To support RTT over interconnected VoIP services covered by part 14 of the Commission’s rules, unless not achievable; • To support TRS access, pursuant to § 64.603 of the Commission’s rules, through RTT communications, including 711 abbreviated dialing access. For purposes of this transition, ‘‘to support’’ is defined in a new part 67 of the Commission’s rules as ‘‘to enable users to initiate, send, transmit, receive, and display RTT communications in accordance with the applicable provisions of this part.’’ PO 00000 Frm 00070 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 7. The Commission finds that it has sufficient legal authority to amend the above rule parts to allow support for RTT in lieu of TTY technology. The Commission affirms that its RTT amendments to § 20.18(c) are within the Commission’s general Title III authority to regulate wireless service providers. Section 106 of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, Public Law 111–260 (CVAA), 47 U.S.C. 615c(g), section 251 of the Communications Act (the Act), 47 U.S.C. 251(e)(3), the Wireless Communications and Public Safety Act of 1999, 47 U.S.C. 615– 615(b), and the NET 911 Improvement Act of 2008, 47 U.S.C. 615a–l, further support the Commission’s adoption of RTT as a superior solution for enabling text-reliant users to access 911. 8. The Commission next affirms that it is within the Commission’s authority under sections 255 and 716 of the Communications Act (the Act) to amend parts 6, 7, and 14 of the Commission’s rules to permit wireless telecommunications and interconnected VoIP service providers to support RTT in lieu of supporting TTY technology. Given the limitations of TTY technology in an IP environment, this action is necessary to fulfill the intent of the CVAA to ‘‘update the communications laws to help ensure that individuals with disabilities are able to fully utilize communications services and equipment’’ as these continue to undergo a ‘‘fundamental transformation.’’ 9. Finally, the Commission concludes that the Commission has sufficient authority under section 225 of the Act, 47 U.S.C. 225, to amend its TRS rules to permit common carriers and interconnected VoIP service providers to support the transmission of RTT calls to and from TRS providers, including 711 abbreviated dialing. Section 225 of the Act directs the Commission to ensure that TRS is available ‘‘in the most efficient manner’’ and to ‘‘ensure that regulations prescribed to implement this section encourage . . . the use of existing technology and do not discourage or impair the development of improved technology.’’ End User Device Support for RTT 10. The Commission amends § 20.18 of its rules to allow new IP-enabled wireless devices used for voice communications that have the capability to send, receive, and display text activated for wireless voice services transmitted over IP facilities (hereinafter, text-capable) to support RTT in lieu of TTY communications. In addition, the Commission amends parts E:\FR\FM\23JAR1.SGM 23JAR1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 13 / Monday, January 23, 2017 / Rules and Regulations 6, 7, and 14 to provide manufacturers of end user equipment for use with wireless interconnected VoIP services with the option of supporting RTT communications in lieu of TTY technology ‘‘if readily achievable’’ or ‘‘unless not achievable,’’ as applicable. The Commission concludes that the same statutory provisions that provide the Commission with authority to allow RTT support in lieu of TTY support requirements for wireless services also provide authority to allow support for RTT on end user devices in lieu of support for TTYs. 11. The Commission does not require service providers and manufacturers to add RTT capability by recalling or retrofitting end user devices already in service or manufactured prior to the applicable compliance dates. At the same time, the Commission encourages covered entities to ‘‘push out’’ downloadable RTT applications to existing text-capable user devices, to the extent practicable, to help consumers who use IP-based voice services make the transition to RTT technology without necessarily incurring the cost of a new device. mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with RULES Regulatory Relief 12. Covered entities that support RTT in compliance with the Commission’s rules will be relieved of their TTY support requirements on all wireless networks and equipment, including services and devices used for legacy (non-IP) facilities, as of the applicable compliance dates. Given the declining use of TTYs, especially with wireless services, elimination of the TTY support obligation on wireless services is not expected to impose a hardship for textreliant consumers. Additionally, given the progress being made to move ahead with the swift deployment of RTT, the Commission believes that allowing RTT to replace TTY technology on all IPbased wireless services will allow companies to devote greater time and resources to the effective deployment of RTT, instead of continuing to invest in outdated TTY technology. Performance Objectives 13. The Act defines an electronic messaging service as ‘‘a service that provides real-time or near real-time nonvoice messages in text form between individuals over communications networks.’’ Because RTT is similar to other examples of two-way interactive electronic messaging services cited in the legislative history of the CVAA— such as text messaging, instant messaging, and electronic mail—the Commission concludes that RTT is an electronic messaging service for VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:54 Jan 19, 2017 Jkt 241001 purposes of section 716 of the Act. Thus, services and equipment used for RTT must comply more generally with the performance objectives contained in part 14 of the Commission’s rules unless these are not achievable. Minimum Functionalities of RTT 14. The Commission believes that in order to meet the objectives of sections 225, 255, and 716 of the Act, communications services and equipment that support RTT should be as accessible, usable, and effective for people with disabilities as voice-based services over IP-networks. To achieve this goal, the Commission concludes that RTT communications must be interoperable, backward compatible with TTY technology, and capable of supporting certain basic features and capabilities that are routinely available to users of wireless voice services. Interoperability 15. The Commission concludes that effective RTT communications can only be achieved if the communications transmissions carried across, and the devices used with, various RTTsupporting platforms and networks are interoperable with one another. Absent interoperability, consumers, TRS call centers, and PSAPs would be burdened with having to support multiple versions of RTT. The record supports the use of a safe harbor technical standard to achieve interoperability while preserving technological neutrality and flexibility for the covered entities. This approach provides industry the flexibility to have individual internal RTT standards, so long as they can support the minimum functions and capabilities defined by the Commission’s rules and can interoperate in a format specified in the common standard (or a mutually agreed alternative) where they connect with other providers’ systems and transport technologies. 16. The Commission adopts RFC 4103, a non-proprietary, freely available standard that has been widely referenced by leading standards organizations and has been designated for RTT implementation by numerous domestic and foreign carriers as well as emergency communications groups, as the appropriate safe harbor standard for compliance with RTT interoperability requirements and certain performance objectives. Accordingly, any service or device that enables the initiation, transmission, reception, and display of RTT communications in conformity with RFC 4103 will meet the RTT interoperability requirement. Because RFC 4103 is subject to modification, PO 00000 Frm 00071 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 7701 service providers may use subsequent versions of RFC 4103 or a successor protocol, by mutual agreement. Backward Compatibility with TTY Technology 17. To ensure that TTY-reliant consumers continue to have a method of communicating during the transition to RTT technology, the Commission requires wireless service providers to ensure that their RTT technology is backward compatible with TTY technology. A migration to RTT without backward compatibility to TTY technology could leave certain people who are still reliant on TTYs without communication options, including persons who cannot afford high speed access, people in rural areas for whom IP service is not available, and senior citizens who might be reluctant to try new technology. Further, because many PSAPs are still reliant on TTY technology to receive calls from people with disabilities and it may be a while before they migrate to RTT, enabling RTT users to reach 911 emergency services during the transition period is particularly compelling. 18. No parties suggest that the costs of carrying out a backward compatibility requirement would be burdensome, and the record generally supports the feasibility of implementing this requirement through, for example, the use of gateways and RFC 4103. Some commenters recommend limiting backward compatibility to 911 and 711 (TRS) calls, to ensure that congestion does not prevent RTT calls from getting through to these essential services. However, these concerns can be avoided by letting transcoding of such calls be performed by 911 service providers or TRS providers, and ongoing testing should allow service providers to identify and find TTY–RTT and RTT– TTY solutions to the extent that technical issues arise. 19. Commenters point out that incompatibilities between RTT and TTY technologies, namely differences in transmission speed, character sets, and other features, may impact user experience, particularly if the RTT user is unfamiliar with TTY protocols and etiquette. With the exception of providing guidance on transliterations between characters, discussed below, the Commission does not address specific solutions to resolve RTT–TTY incompatibility issues, but instead allows service providers and other stakeholders the flexibility to develop their own technical solutions to resolve inconsistencies between the two technologies. The Commission stresses that public outreach and consumer E:\FR\FM\23JAR1.SGM 23JAR1 7702 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 13 / Monday, January 23, 2017 / Rules and Regulations mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with RULES education about the transition will play an important role in minimizing any adverse effects that RTT–TTY incompatibilities might have on users. 20. The Commission will allow use of ITU–T Recommendation V.18, which contains a table showing transliterations from the most commonly used characters in the United States to TTY characters, to serve as a safe harbor for transliterating RTT to TTY characters. While the Commission concludes that this approach may provide one effective means of transliterating characters between the two technologies, the Commission also will permit covered entities to choose their own transliteration approach, so long as it can effectively convey the meaning of characters sent to the receiving party. The Commission further encourages use of a standard missing-symbol signal, as well as consumer outreach and education, to help minimize inconsistencies that users may experience as a result of differences between the two character sets. 21. Given the uncertainty as to how soon RTT will be universally available and familiar to users of wireline and wireless services, the Commission concludes that it is premature at this time to set a date by which the TTY backward compatibility obligation should expire. Support for 911 Communications 22. Commercial mobile radio service (CMRS) providers transmitting over an IP network that choose to enable the transmission and receipt of communications via RTT—in lieu of TTY technology—to and from any PSAP served by their network, must do so in a manner that fully complies with all applicable 911 rules. Support for RTT in lieu of TTY technology is especially beneficial in emergency situations, and the record shows that the use of RTT for emergency communications is technically and economically feasible in the IP environment. There are a variety of existing options for configuring PSAP systems to receive RTT calls, and many PSAPs have installed or will soon install capabilities that will permit them to accept and effectively process RTT calls. Accordingly, to the extent RTT is the accessibility method chosen, RTT must be delivered without RTT–TTY conversion to PSAPs that are able to receive RTT after the dates specified for compliance by CMRS providers in document FCC 16–169. 23. The Commission amends its rules to require that once a PSAP is capable of receiving RTT communications, a service provider receiving a service request must begin delivering RTT VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:54 Jan 19, 2017 Jkt 241001 communications in an RTT format within six months after such request is made—to the extent the provider has selected RTT as its accessible text communication method. The Commission does not dictate the manner in which RTT–RTT communications must be transmitted to PSAPs, so long as they are otherwise in compliance with the rules adopted in document FCC 16–169. In the event that there are compelling reasons why it would not be feasible for a wireless service provider to transport RTT communications to the PSAP, the service provider may apply for a waiver from this requirement. 24. Many commenters agree that transcoding gateways offer an effective, feasible, and available means to allow TTY users to reach RTT-enabled PSAPs and RTT users to reach legacy PSAPs. T-Mobile, however, claims that this obligation would shift certain burdens now borne by PSAPs onto wireless carriers. Because the components of 911 call delivery referenced by T-Mobile are all basic 911 elements that carriers have been required to provide when transmitting calls from TTYs under § 20.18 of the Commission’s rules, the Commission does not believe that requiring the delivery of RTT 911 calls to PSAPs with the elements required by § 20.18 of the rules would involve any burden shifting. T-Mobile also claims that wireless carriers should not be held responsible for RTT-to-TTY conversion of 911 calls, but providers of 911 services commenting in this proceeding affirm the feasibility of accepting RTT calls. Given this record and the lack of a basis to conclude otherwise, the Commission rejects T-Mobile’s argument. 25. The Commission encourages carriers and state and local governments to conduct testing of RTT and training of 911 call-takers in consultation with consumers, prior to RTT deployment, and to share the results with other jurisdictions. 26. Under the Commission’s rules, wireless CMRS providers supporting TTY calling to 911 must ensure that location information is provided in accordance with the applicable requirements of § 20.18. Given the importance of this feature, RTT 911 calls should be subject to the same location information requirements as TTY 911 calls, and the Commission amends its rules accordingly. However, given concerns raised about the feasibility of achieving compliance with this requirement via RTT provided through a downloadable application, the Commission will entertain requests for waivers from this requirement that PO 00000 Frm 00072 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 allege that this is not technically feasible. 27. Regarding non-service initialized (NSI) devices, because the Commission has an open proceeding to sunset or revise rules for 911 calling from such devices, the Commission defers consideration of the use of NSI devices for RTT calling to 911 to that proceeding. Core RTT Features 28. The following RTT features are needed to take the place of TTY technology and provide an effective communication alternative to voice communications. Two of these— initiating and receiving calls via the same ten-digit numbers used for voice calls and simultaneous voice and text— will be required for entities seeking to support RTT in lieu of TTY technology. 29. Initiating and Receiving Calls Using RTT. The Commission adopts its proposal that for wireless service providers and manufacturers to meet their accessibility obligations by supporting RTT, their networks and devices must be configured so that RTT communications can be initiated to and received from the same telephone number that can be used to initiate and receive voice communications on a given terminal device. The ability to initiate RTT communications through ten-digit telephone numbers will encourage and promote seamless integration of RTT and enabling access to ten-digit numbers is necessary to reach and be reached by any other person with a phone number and to ensure that RTT users can access 911 services. No commenters question the feasibility of providing this feature, or suggest that it would be overly burdensome. 30. Accessible Indicators. The Commission agrees with some commenters that without an accessible indicator that a call is being received, text-reliant users will not have communications equivalent to voice service, which produces an audio ring or other sounds to alert people who can hear. Given the importance of this feature for individuals who cannot hear and individuals who can neither hear nor see, the Commission recommends that device manufacturers and service providers incorporate accessible indicators in their RTT implementation to alert users to the receipt of, and audio activity on, an RTT call. 31. Simultaneous voice and text. The Commission adopts its proposal that users of RTT must be able to send and receive both text and voice simultaneously in both directions over IP on the same call session and via a E:\FR\FM\23JAR1.SGM 23JAR1 mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 13 / Monday, January 23, 2017 / Rules and Regulations single device. Providing the ability to send and receive simultaneous voice and text is feasible, is supported by RFC 4103, and is an essential feature of RTT. Simultaneous voice and text also can allow for more robust exchanges between RTT users and PSAPs. Further, it can be particularly beneficial to people for whom speech is their primary mode of communication, but who find it necessary to augment speech with text, such as older adults who have progressive hearing loss, many of whom currently rely on relay services to make telephone calls. Finally, this feature can prove to be life-saving in emergencies, when a person in distress may want to type out an emergency’s exact location to a 911 call taker to ensure accuracy, or when a person is no longer able to speak. Because TTY users currently have the ability to use both voice and text in the same call session, requiring this for RTT implementation will ensure that people with disabilities do not lose access to services they have had, should their providers opt to support RTT in lieu of TTY technology. Accordingly, an essential element of RTT support for entities choosing to support RTT over TTY technology will be the ability of users to have simultaneous voice and text capability on the same call session as of the compliance deadlines for CMRS providers opting to provide RTT support for all new authorized user devices activated on their networks. 32. Latency and Error Rate of Text Transmittal. The Commission believes that ensuring a latency and error rate that is functionally equivalent to the real-time nature of voice telephone communications is important to making real-time text effective for text-reliant users. It is the Commission’s understanding that this component is addressed through the safe harbor standard RFC 4103, which sets a maximum typing-to-transmission latency. The Commission recommends that industry and consumer stakeholders work together to determine appropriate latency and error rate parameters. The Commission believes that this approach will provide much needed flexibility for industry, while minimizing delays and errors that could impede effective communication for people with disabilities. 33. Device Functionality. A significant advantage to RTT is that it will allow text-reliant users to select off-the-shelf IP-based wireless devices offered to the public for their telephone communications. 34. The extent to which RTT is successful as a replacement for TTY and as an alternative to voice communications, however, will turn in VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:54 Jan 19, 2017 Jkt 241001 large part on its ease of use by not only text-reliant users, but also members of the public with whom they are likely to converse. For this reason various commenters have urged inclusion of RTT as a pre-installed feature of enduser devices that is enabled by a default function. The Commission is concerned that some of the advantages of RTT as a universal text solution might not be realized if RTT is not enabled by default. The Commission strongly encourages covered entities seeking to meet their accessibility obligations by supporting RTT in lieu of TTY technology to take measures that facilitate, rather than discourage RTT use. While the Commission does not impose mandates for RTT to be preinstalled or accessed through a default function at this time, the Commission notes that the success of RTT’s deployment and use may turn on its ease of use, and that its swift adoption is likely to expedite the date for phasing out requirements for TTY support, including the requirement for RTT to be backward compatible with TTYs. The Commission encourages collaboration among industry and consumer stakeholders to reach agreement on the appropriate features and technical aspects of RTT implementation. 35. Calling Features. In the NPRM, the Commission tentatively concluded that certain calling features that are commonly available to voice telephone users are necessary to ensure that RTT is as accessible, usable, and effective for people with disabilities as wireless voice communications service is for people without disabilities, including the ability to transfer calls, enable multiparty teleconferencing, and utilize automated attendant, interactive voice response systems, and caller identification features. Given that the deployment of RTT is still in its infancy in the U.S., rather than mandate specific calling features or capabilities, the Commission notes more generally the overarching goal of enabling RTT to serve as a universally integrated accessibility solution that is functionally equivalent to voice communications. Consideration of the above calling features may be relevant as wireless voice communications service providers and equipment manufacturers work to identify and eliminate barriers to accessibility and usability during the design and development phases of their RTT products and services. The Commission also reminds companies that parts 6 and 7 of the rules require inclusion of people with disabilities in market research, product design, testing, pilot PO 00000 Frm 00073 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 7703 demonstrations, and product trials. These rules also require covered entities to work cooperatively with disabilityrelated organizations, and to keep records of their efforts to implement parts 6, 7, and 14, including information about their efforts to consult with people with disabilities regarding RTT accessibility features. Timeline for RTT Implementation by Service Providers 36. At present all Commission waivers from the TTY support obligations expire on December 31, 2017, or upon the effective date of rules providing for alternative IP-based wireless accessibility solutions, whichever is earlier. To the extent that a service provider prefers to support RTT access in lieu of TTY technology and does not wish to seek an extension of the current waiver, it can meet the following compliance timelines, which will supersede the December 31, 2017 deadline: By December 31, 2017, each Tier I service provider must either (1) offer a downloadable application or plug-in that supports RTT or (2) comply with the following: (i) Implement in its core network the capability to support RTT; (ii) offer at least one new handset that supports native RTT functionality, and (iii) for all authorized end user devices specified on or after that date, include in future design specifications the requirement to support RTT. For all other (non-Tier I) carriers opting to provide RTT support, such compliance must be achieved by June 30, 2020. A carrier must meet these obligations except to the extent that it is not achievable for a particular manufacturer to support RTT on that carrier’s network. 37. By December 31, 2019, each Tier I service provider opting to support RTT in lieu of TTY technology must provide such support for all new authorized user devices activated on its networks. NonTier I service providers (including resellers) that opt to support RTT must do so for all new authorized user devices activated on their networks by June 30, 2021. A carrier must meet these obligations except to the extent that it is not achievable for a particular manufacturer to support RTT on that carrier’s network. A carrier may rely in good faith on a manufacturer’s representations that it has complied with its obligations under sections 716 and 717 of the Communications Act. 38. These deadlines are set in order to accommodate variances in manufacturer product lifecycles, while still ensuring that devices with native RTT functionality are available by a date certain. Among other things, they allow E:\FR\FM\23JAR1.SGM 23JAR1 7704 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 13 / Monday, January 23, 2017 / Rules and Regulations CMRS providers that do not fall into Tier I with additional time to comply with the RTT support requirements because they serve small subscriber populations, have fewer device options, often acquire the latest handset models much later than Tier I providers, and have limited influence on the technical ecosystem and standards setting. The Commission expects that handsets offered pursuant to these timelines will be compatible with at least the current versions of the operating systems available on text-capable handsets offered for sale by the service providers. mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with RULES Timeline for RTT Implementation by Manufacturers 39. The Commission requires manufacturers opting to provide RTT support, in lieu of supporting TTY technology, to provide RTT functionality in handsets and other textcapable end user devices for wireless IPbased voice services, subject to the readily achievable or achievable limitation, as applicable, for all devices manufactured on or after December 31, 2018. Other Compliance Deadlines and Related Matters 40. Although all compliance timelines contained in this section are prospective only, in that they do not require covered entities to retrofit ‘‘in-service’’ devices, pursuant to parts 6, 7, and 14 of the Commission’s rules, entities covered under sections 255 and 716 of the Act are required to meet accessibility obligations as natural opportunities occur. As discussed earlier, the Commission encourages covered entities, to the extent practicable, to ‘‘push out’’ downloadable apps or upgrades to operating systems to any inservice handsets that can support those apps or upgrades after each applicable compliance deadline. 41. The Commission clarifies that a wireless service provider or manufacturer in compliance with the RTT obligations adopted in this Report and Order will be relieved of its TTY support obligations on all wireless networks and equipment, including services and devices used for legacy (non-IP) facilities. To provide an incentive for early implementation of RTT, a provider or manufacturer that achieves early compliance with the RTT support requirements will be relieved of its TTY support obligations as of the date upon which such provider or manufacturer achieves such RTT support compliance. The Commission further provides that, for those carriers currently subject to a limited waiver of their TTY support requirements that VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:54 Jan 19, 2017 Jkt 241001 would expire prior to their earliest applicable RTT compliance date, the Commission extends the waiver to that date. sought written public comment on the proposals in the NPRM, including comment on the IRFA. No comments were received on the IRFA. Education, Outreach, and Notifications 42. To inform the public about the transition from TTY technology to RTT and the mechanics of how RTT technology will work, the Commission encourages consumer outreach and education efforts to include (1) the development and dissemination of educational materials that contain information pertinent to the nature, purpose and timelines of the RTT transition; (2) Internet postings, in an accessible format, of information about the TTY to RTT transition on the Web sites of covered entities; (3) the creation of a telephone hotline and online interactive and accessible service that can answer consumer questions about RTT; and (4) appropriate training of staff to effectively respond to consumer questions. All consumer outreach and education needs to be provided in a manner that is accessible to individuals with disabilities. The Commission encourages service providers and manufacturers to coordinate with consumer, public safety, and industry stakeholders to develop and distribute education and outreach materials. The Commission further directs the Commission’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau (CGB) to implement an outreach plan to complement industry’s efforts to fully inform the public about RTT. 43. The Commission also adopts its proposal to have the notice conditions imposed in the Bureau’s waiver orders remain in effect until the full implementation of the rules adopted in this proceeding. The continued provision of this information is necessary to ensure consumers with disabilities do not expect that TTY technology will be supported by IPbased wireless services when calling 911 services, to educate consumers about the availability of RTT, including its limitations when communicating with PSAPs that have only TTY capability, and to ensure these consumers know alternative accessible telecommunications options exist for this purpose. These notifications should also be provided in formats that are fully accessible to consumers with disabilities. Need for, and Objectives of, the Report and Order 45. In document FCC 16–169, the Commission takes specific steps to amend its rules to facilitate a transition from outdated TTY technology to a reliable and interoperable means of providing RTT communication over IP enabled networks and services for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, speech disabled, and deaf-blind. Realtime text is a mode of communication that permits text to be sent immediately as it is being created. In response to various proposals made in the NPRM adopted earlier this year, the Commission adopts rules to: • Permit CMRS providers to support RTT in lieu of TTY technology for communications using wireless IP-based voice services; • Allow providers of telecommunications and interconnected VoIP services provided over wireless IP facilities and manufacturers of equipment used with such services to support RTT in lieu of supporting TTY technology, ‘‘if readily achievable’’ or ‘‘unless not achievable’’; • Relieve wireless service providers and equipment manufacturers of all TTY support obligations to the extent they support RTT on IP facilities in accordance with Commission rules; • Establish the following criteria defining what constitutes support for RTT: Æ RTT communications must be interoperable across networks and devices, and this may be achieved through adherence to RFC 4103, as a ‘‘safe harbor’’ standard for RTT; Æ RTT communications must be backward compatible with TTY technology; Æ RTT must support 911 communications and 711 relay communications; and • Establish that support for RTT includes support for the ability to initiate and receive calls with the same telephone numbers as are used for voice communications and simultaneous voice and text in the same call session; • Recognize that the provision of accessible indicators for call answering and activity, appropriate latency and error rates, and pre-installed and default functionality on devices can facilitate making RTT service functionally equivalent to voice communications; • Permit manufacturers and service providers, to the extent the latter are responsible for the accessibility of end Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis 44. As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended (RFA), the Commission incorporated an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analyses (IRFA) into the NPRM. The Commission PO 00000 Frm 00074 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\23JAR1.SGM 23JAR1 mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 13 / Monday, January 23, 2017 / Rules and Regulations user devices activated on their IP-based wireless voice communications networks, to ensure that devices that have the ability to send, receive, and display text include RTT capability in lieu of supporting TTY technology, subject to the readily achievable and achievable limitations for parts 6, 7, and 14, as applicable; • Find that RTT is an ‘‘electronic messaging service’’ that is subject to the performance objectives of parts 6, 7, and 14 of the Commission’s rules, if readily achievable or unless not achievable, as applicable. • Establish the following timelines for implementation of RTT: Æ By December 31, 2017, each Tier I CMRS provider and, by June 30, 2020, each non-Tier I provider choosing to support RTT in lieu of TTY over IP facilities shall support RTT either (1) through a downloadable RTT application or plug-in that supports RTT; or (2) by implementing native RTT functionality into its core network, offering at least one handset model that supports RTT, and including the requirement to support RTT in future design specifications for all authorized user devices specified on or after these dates; Æ By December 31, 2018, manufacturers that provide devices for CMRS providers’ IP-based voice services and that choose to support RTT in lieu of TTY technology shall implement RTT in newly manufactured equipment, if readily achievable or unless not achievable, as applicable. Æ By December 31, 2019, each Tier I CMRS provider and, by June 30, 2021, each non-Tier I CMRS provider choosing to support RTT in lieu of TTY over IP facilities shall support RTT for all new authorized user devices; Æ A carrier is subject to the above timelines except to the extent that it is not achievable for a particular manufacturer to support RTT on that carrier’s network, in which case a carrier may rely in good faith on a manufacturer’s representations in this regard; and • Establish consumer outreach, education, and notice guidelines to inform the public about the transition from TTY Technology to RTT, including how this technology will work. Summary of Significant Issues Raised by Public Comments in Response to the IRFA 46. No comments were filed in response to the IRFA. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:54 Jan 19, 2017 Jkt 241001 Listing of the Number of Small Entities Impacted 47. The majority of the rules adopted in document FCC 16–169 will affect obligations on telecommunications carriers and providers, VoIP service providers, wireline and wireless service providers, advanced communications services (ACS) providers, and telecommunications equipment and software manufacturers. Other entities, however, that choose to object to the substitution of RTT for TTY technology under the Commission’s amended rules may be economically impacted by document FCC 16–169. Affected small entities as defined by industry are as follows. • Wired Telecommunications Carriers; • Local Exchange Carriers (LECs); • Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers (Incumbent LECs); • Competitive Local Exchange Carriers (Competitive LECs), Competitive Access Providers (CAPs), Shared-Tenant Service Providers, and Other Local Service Providers; • Interexchange Carriers; • Other Toll Carriers; • Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except Satellite); • Cable Companies and Systems (Rate Regulation); • All Other Telecommunications; • TRS Providers; • Electronic Computer Manufacturing; • Telephone Apparatus Manufacturing (wireline); • Computer Terminal and Other Computer Peripheral Equipment Manufacturing; • Radio and Television Broadcasting and Wireless Communications Equipment Manufacturing; • Other Communications Equipment Manufacturing; and • Software Publishers. Description of Projected Reporting, Record Keeping and Other Compliance Requirements 48. The rule changes adopted in document FCC 16–169 to permit support for RTT in lieu of TTY Technologies in all IP-based wireless services do not modify reporting, recordkeeping, and other compliance requirements. However, document FCC 16–169 requires that notice conditions imposed on waiver recipients remain in effect until the full implementation of the rules adopted in document FCC 16– 169. The waiver recipients must continue to apprise their customers, through effective and accessible channels of communication, that (1) PO 00000 Frm 00075 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 7705 until TTY is sunset, TTY technology will not be supported for calls to 911 services over IP-based wireless services, and (2) there are alternative public switched telephone network (PSTN)based and IP-based accessibility solutions for people with communication disabilities to reach 911 services. These notices must be developed in coordination with PSAPs and national consumer organizations, and include a listing of text-based alternatives to 911, including, but not limited to, TTY capability over the PSTN, various forms of PSTN-based and IP-based TRS, and text-to-911 (where available). The waiver recipients must also file a report every six months regarding their progress toward and the status of the availability of new IP-based accessibility solutions, such as RTT. The only entities that will be affected by this requirement are those entities that have previously petitioned for and received or will receive a waiver of the TTY obligations. The Commission believes the only burden associated with the reporting requirement will be the time required to continue to prepare and send out notifications to customers and to complete the progress and status report every six months. Steps Taken To Minimize Significant Impact on Small Entities and Significant Alternatives Considered 49. In amending its rules, the Commission believes that it has minimized the effect on small entities while facilitating an effective and seamless transition from TTY technology to RTT. The Commission had considered other possible proposals and sought comment on the requirements and the analysis presented. The requirements adopted by the Commission to provide notices to customers and file reports with the Commission apply only to entities that have specifically sought waivers of the TTY obligations. Further, RTT technology may simplify the accessibility obligations of small businesses, because RTT allows calls to be made using the built-in functionality of a wide selection of off-the shelf devices such as cellphones, and thus may alleviate the high costs and challenges faced by small businesses and customers in locating dedicated external assistive devices, such as specialty phones. Additionally, in phasing out TTY technology, the burden is reduced for small entities and emergency call centers to maintain such technology in the long term. 50. The Commission also establishes a phased timeline for implementation of RTT technology. In response to E:\FR\FM\23JAR1.SGM 23JAR1 mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with RULES 7706 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 13 / Monday, January 23, 2017 / Rules and Regulations comments in the proceeding and to reduce the burden and relieve possible adverse economic impact on small entities, by December 31, 2017, each Tier I CMRS provider and, by June 30, 2020, each non-Tier I provider may choose to support RTT in lieu of TTY over IP facilities. The Commission establishes a second period for each Tier I CMRS provider and non-Tier I CMRS provider choosing to support RTT in lieu of TTY over IP facilities to be required to support RTT for all new authorized user devices. Tier I CMRS providers must meet this requirement by December 31, 2019, and non-Tier I providers must meet this requirement by June 30, 2021. Manufacturers that provide devices for CMRS providers’ IPbased voice services and that choose to support RTT in lieu of TTY technology shall implement RTT in newly manufactured equipment by December 31, 2018, if readily achievable or unless not achievable, as applicable. 51. In addition, the Commission is permitting rather than requiring service providers to support RTT. With regards to implementing RTT, while the Commission adopts a ‘‘safe harbor’’ technical standard to ensure RTT interoperability, it also allows service providers to use alternative protocols for RTT, provided that they are interoperable. Further, throughout the item, flexibility is integrated into the criteria for RTT support in order to take into consideration the limitations of small businesses. For example, a service provider choosing to support RTT rather than TTY is not required to support RTT on new authorized end user devices to the extent that is not achievable for a particular manufacturer to support RTT on that provider’s network. As such, the Commission anticipates that the requirements will have little to no impact on small entities that are eligible to rely on the claim that supporting RTT on a particular device is not achievable. 52. The Commission also determined to establish outreach and education guidelines to encourage rather than require service providers and manufacturers to implement efforts to notify consumers about the transition from TTY technology to RTT, and to allow small entities to determine the extent of resources they allocate to inform consumers of the changes in the services and associated equipment they will be receiving. Ordering Clauses 53. Pursuant to sections 4(i), 225, 255, 301, 303(r), 316, 403, 715, and 716 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and section 106 of the CVAA, 47 U.S.C. 154(i), 225, 255, 301, 303(r), VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:54 Jan 19, 2017 Jkt 241001 316, 403, 615c, 616, 617, document FCC 16–169 IS ADOPTED and parts 6, 7, 14, 20, and 64 of the Commission’s rules ARE AMENDED and part 67 IS ADOPTED. 54. The Commission’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Reference Information Center, SHALL SEND a copy of document FCC 16–169, including the Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration. 47 CFR Part 14 Individuals with disabilities, access to advanced communication services and equipment. (3) Real-Time Text. Voice communication services subject to this part that are provided over wireless IP facilities and handsets and other textcapable end user devices used with such service that do not themselves provide TTY functionality, may provide TTY connectability and signal compatibility pursuant to paragraphs (b)(3) and (4) of this section, or support real-time text communications, in accordance with 47 CFR part 67. (b) * * * (5) TTY Support Exemption. Voice communication services subject to this part that are provided over wireless IP facilities and equipment used with such services are not required to provide TTY connectability and TTY signal compatibility if such services and equipment support real-time text, in accordance with 47 CFR part 67. * * * * * (m) The term real-time text shall have the meaning set forth in § 67.1 of this chapter. (n) The term text-capable end user device means customer premises equipment that is able to send, receive, and display text. 47 CFR Part 20 Commercial mobile services, individuals with disabilities, access to 911 services. PART 7—ACCESS TO VOICEMAIL AND INTERACTIVE MENU SERVICES AND EQUIPMENT BY PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES 47 CFR Part 64 Telecommunications relay services, individuals with disabilities. ■ List of Subjects 47 CFR Part 6 Individuals with disabilities, access to telecommunication service and equipment, and customer premise equipment. 47 CFR Part 7 Individuals with disabilities, access to voice mail and interactive menu services and equipment. 47 CFR Part 67 Real-time text, individuals with disabilities, incorporation by reference. Federal Communications Commission. Katura Howard, Federal Register Liaison, Office of the Secretary. For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Federal Communications Commission amends 47 CFR parts 6, 7, 14, 20, 64, and adds 67 as follows: PART 6—ACCESS TO TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICE, TELECOMMUNICATIONS EQUIPMENT AND CUSTOMER PREMISES EQUIPMENT BY PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES 1. The authority citation for part 6 is revised to read as follows: ■ Authority: 47 U.S.C. 151–154, 208, 255, and 303(r). 2. Amend § 6.3 by adding paragraphs (a)(3), (b)(5), (m), and (n) to read as follows: ■ § 6.3 Definitions. (a) * * * PO 00000 Frm 00076 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 3. The authority citation for part 7 is revised to read as follows: Authority: 47 U.S.C. 151–154, 208, 255, and 303(r). 4. Amend § 7.3 by adding paragraphs (a)(3), (b)(5), (n), and (o) to read as follows: ■ § 7.3 Definitions. (a) * * * (3) Real-Time Text. Voice communication services subject to this part that are provided over wireless IP facilities and handsets and other textcapable end user devices used with such service that do not themselves provide TTY functionality, may provide TTY connectability and signal compatibility pursuant to paragraphs (b)(3) and (4) of this section, or support real-time text communications, in accordance with 47 CFR part 67. (b) * * * (5) TTY Support Exemption. Voice communication services subject to this part that are offered over wireless IP facilities and equipment used with such services are not required to provide TTY connectability and TTY signal compatibility if such services and equipment support real-time text, in accordance with 47 CFR part 67. * * * * * E:\FR\FM\23JAR1.SGM 23JAR1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 13 / Monday, January 23, 2017 / Rules and Regulations (n) The term real-time text shall have the meaning set forth in § 67.1 of this chapter. (o) The term text-capable end user device means customer premises equipment that is able to send, receive, and display text. PART 14—ACCESS TO ADVANCED COMMUNICATIONS SERVICES AND EQUIPMENT BY PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES 5. The authority citation for part 14 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 47 U.S.C. 151–154, 255, 303, 403, 503, 617, 618, 619 unless otherwise noted. 6. Amend § 14.10 by adding paragraphs (w) and (x) to read as follows: ■ § 14.10 Definitions. * * * * * (w) The term real-time text shall have the meaning set forth in § 67.1 of this chapter. (x) The term text-capable end user device means end user equipment that is able to send, receive, and display text. ■ 7. Amend § 14.21 by adding paragraphs (b)(3) and (d)(5) to read as follows: § 14.21 Performance Objectives. * * * * (b) * * * (3) Real-Time Text. Wireless interconnected VoIP services subject to this part and text-capable end user devices used with such services that do not themselves provide TTY functionality, may provide TTY connectability and signal compatibility pursuant to paragraphs (b)(3) and (4) of this section, or support real-time text communications, in accordance with 47 CFR part 67. * * * * * (d) * * * (5) TTY Support Exemption. Interconnected and non-interconnected VoIP services subject to this part that are provided over wireless IP facilities and equipment are not required to provide TTY connectability and TTY signal compatibility if such services and equipment support real-time text, in accordance with 47 CFR part 67. mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with RULES * PART 20—COMMERCIAL MOBILE SERVICES 9. Amend § 20.18 by revising paragraph (c) to read as follows: ■ § 20.18 911 Service. * * * * * (c) Access to 911 services. CMRS providers subject to this section must be capable of transmitting 911 calls from individuals with speech or hearing disabilities through means other than mobile radio handsets, e.g., through the use of Text Telephone Devices (TTY). CMRS providers that provide voice communications over IP facilities are not required to support 911 access via TTYs if they provide 911 access via realtime text (RTT) communications, in accordance with 47 CFR part 67, except that RTT support is not required to the extent that it is not achievable for a particular manufacturer to support RTT on the provider’s network. * * * * * PART 64—MISCELLANEOUS RULES RELATING TO COMMON CARRIERS 10. The authority citation for part 64 is revised to read as follows: ■ Authority: 47 U.S.C. 154, 225, 403(b)(2)(B), (c), 715, Pub. L. 104–104, 110 Stat. 56. Interpret or apply 47 U.S.C. 201, 218, 222, 225, 226, 227, 228, 254(k), 616, 620, and the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, Pub. L. 112–96, unless otherwise noted. 11. Amend § 64.601 by revising paragraph (a)(15) and adding paragraph (a)(46) to read as follows: ■ § 64.601 Definitions and provisions of general applicability. (a) * * * (15) Internet-based TRS (iTRS). A telecommunications relay service (TRS) in which an individual with a hearing or a speech disability connects to a TRS communications assistant using an Internet Protocol-enabled device via the Internet, rather than the public switched telephone network. Except as authorized or required by the Commission, Internet-based TRS does not include the use of a text telephone (TTY) or RTT over an interconnected voice over Internet Protocol service. * * * * * (46) Real-Time Text (RTT). The term real-time text shall have the meaning set forth in § 67.1 of this chapter. * * * * * ■ 12. Revise § 64.603 to read as follows: ■ § 64.603 Authority: 47 U.S.C. 151, 152(a), 154(i), 157, 160, 201, 214, 222, 251(e), 301, 302, 303, 303(b), 303(r), 307, 307(a), 309, 309(j)(3), 316, 316(a), 332, 615, 615a, 615b, 615c. (a) Each common carrier providing telephone voice transmission services shall provide, in compliance with the regulations prescribed herein, throughout the area in which it offers 8. The authority citation for part 20 continues to read as follows: VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:54 Jan 19, 2017 Jkt 241001 PO 00000 Provision of services. Frm 00077 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 7707 services, telecommunications relay services, individually, through designees, through a competitively selected vendor, or in concert with other carriers. Interstate Spanish language relay service shall be provided. Speechto-speech relay service also shall be provided, except that speech-to-speech relay service need not be provided by IP Relay providers, VRS providers, captioned telephone relay service providers, and IP CTS providers. In addition, each common carrier providing telephone voice transmission services shall provide access via the 711 dialing code to all relay services as a toll free call. CMRS providers subject to this 711 access requirement are not required to provide 711 dialing code access to TTY users if they provide 711 dialing code access via real-time text communications, in accordance with 47 CFR part 67. (b) A common carrier shall be considered to be in compliance with this section: (1) With respect to intrastate telecommunications relay services in any state that does not have a certified program under § 64.606 and with respect to interstate telecommunications relay services, if such common carrier (or other entity through which the carrier is providing such relay services) is in compliance with § 64.604; or (2) With respect to intrastate telecommunications relay services in any state that has a certified program under § 64.606 for such state, if such common carrier (or other entity through which the carrier is providing such relay services) is in compliance with the program certified under § 64.606 for such state. PART 67—REAL-TIME TEXT 13. Add new part 67 to read as follows: ■ PART 67—REAL-TIME TEXT Sec. 67.1 67.2 67.3 Definitions. Minimum Functionalities of RTT. Incorporation by Reference. Authority: 47 U.S.C. 151–154, 225, 251, 255, 301, 303, 307, 309, 316, 615c, 616, 617. § 67.1 Definitions. (a) Authorized end user device means a handset or other end user device that is authorized by the provider of a covered service for use with that service and is able to send, receive, and display text. (b) CMRS provider means a CMRS provider as defined in § 20.18(c) of this chapter. E:\FR\FM\23JAR1.SGM 23JAR1 7708 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 13 / Monday, January 23, 2017 / Rules and Regulations (c) Covered service means a service that meets accessibility requirements by supporting RTT pursuant to part 6, 7, 14, 20, or 64 of this chapter. (d) RFC 4103 means IETF’s Request for Comments (RFC) 4103 (incorporated by reference, see § 67.3 of this part). (e) RFC 4103-conforming service or user device means a covered service or authorized end user device that enables initiation, sending, transmission, reception, and display of RTT communications in conformity with RFC 4103. (f) RFC 4103–TTY gateway means a gateway that is able to reliably and accurately transcode communications between (1) RFC 4103-conforming services and devices and (2) circuitswitched networks that support communications between TTYs. (g) Real-time text (RTT) or RTT communications means text communications that are transmitted over Internet Protocol (IP) networks immediately as they are created, e.g., on a character-by-character basis. (h) Support RTT or support RTT communications means to enable users to initiate, send, transmit, receive, and display RTT communications in accordance with the applicable provisions of this part. mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with RULES § 67.2 Minimum Functionalities of RTT. (a) RTT–RTT Interoperability. Covered services and authorized end user devices shall be interoperable with other services and devices that support RTT in accordance with this part. A service or authorized end user device shall be deemed to comply with this paragraph (a) if: (1) It is an RFC 4103-conforming end user device; (2) RTT communications between such service or end user device and an RFC 4103-conforming service or end user device are reliably and accurately transcoded— (i) to and from RFC 4103, or (ii) to and from an internetworking protocol mutually agreed-upon with the owner of the network serving the RFC 4103-conforming service or device. (b) RTT–TTY Interoperability. Covered services and authorized end user devices shall be interoperable with TTYs connected to other networks. Covered services and authorized end user devices shall be deemed to comply with this paragraph (b) if communications to and from such TTYs: (1) Pass through an RFC 4103–TTY gateway, or (2) are reliably and accurately transcoded to and from an internetworking protocol mutually VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:54 Jan 19, 2017 Jkt 241001 agreed-upon with the owner of the network serving the TTY. (c) Features and Capabilities. Covered services and authorized end user devices shall enable the user to: (1) Initiate and receive RTT calls to and from the same telephone numbers for which voice calls can be initiated and received; (2) transmit and receive RTT communications to and from any 911 public safety answering point (PSAP) in the United States; and (3) send and receive text and voice simultaneously in both directions on the same call using a single device. § 67.3 Incorporation by Reference. (a) Certain material is incorporated by reference into this part with the approval of the Director of the Federal Register under 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51. All approved material is available for inspection at the Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th St. SW., Reference Information Center, Room CY–A257, Washington, DC 20554, (202) 418–0270, and is available from the sources listed below. It is also available for inspection at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this material at NARA, call 202–741–6030 or go to http:// www.archives.gov/federal_register/ code_of_federal_regulations/ibr_ locations.html. (b) Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), c/o Association Management Solutions, LLC (AMS) 5177 Brandin Court, Fremont, California 94538, phone (510) 492–4080, Web site at http:// ietf.org or directly at https:// www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc4103.txt. (1) Request for Comments (RFC) 4103, Real-time Transport Protocol Payload for Text Conversation (2005), IBR approved for § 67.1. (2) [Reserved] [FR Doc. 2017–01377 Filed 1–19–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712–01–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service 50 CFR Parts 13 and 22 [Docket No. FWS–R9–MB–2011–0094; FF09M20300–167–FXMB123109EAGLE] RIN 1018–AY30 Eagle Permits; Revisions to Regulations for Eagle Incidental Take and Take of Eagle Nests AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. PO 00000 Frm 00078 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Final rule; information collection requirements. ACTION: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), recently published a final rule that revises the regulations for eagle nonpurposeful take permits and eagle nest take permits. In that final rule, we stated that the Office of Management (OMB) had not yet approved the information collection requirements associated with the rule. This document announces that OMB has now approved the information collection requirements. DATES: OMB approved the information collection requirements on January 6, 2017, for the final rule that published at 81 FR 91494 on December 16, 2016. ADDRESSES: Relevant information and documents related to the eagle permit rule may be found on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov in Docket No. FWS–R9–MB–2011–0094. You may review the information collection request online at http:// www.reginfo.gov. Follow the instructions to review Department of the Interior collections. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tina Campbell, Chief, Division of Policy, Performance, and Management Programs; 703–358–2676. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: SUMMARY: Background We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), published a final rule in the December 16, 2016, Federal Register (81 FR 91494) that revises the regulations in part 22 of title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) for eagle nonpurposeful take permits and eagle nest take permits. Revisions included changes to permit issuance criteria and duration, definitions, compensatory mitigation standards, criteria for eagle nest removal permits, permit application requirements, and fees. In the final rule, we stated that the Office of Management (OMB) had not yet approved the information collection requirements associated with the rule. We also stated that we would announce the approval via a separate notification in the Federal Register. This document provides that notification. The following text sets forth the information collection requirements approved by OMB: Title: Eagle Take Permits and Fees, 50 CFR part 22. OMB Control Number: 1018–0167. Service Form Number(s): 3–200–71, 3–200–72. Description of Respondents: Individuals and businesses. We expect that the majority of applicants seeking E:\FR\FM\23JAR1.SGM 23JAR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 13 (Monday, January 23, 2017)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 7699-7708]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-01377]


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FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

47 CFR Parts 6, 7, 14, 20, 64, and 67

[CG Docket No. 16-145 and GN Docket No. 15-178; FCC 16-169]


Transition From TTY to Real-Time Text Technology

AGENCY: Federal Communications Commission.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: In this document, the Commission adopts amendments to its 
rules to facilitate a transition from outdated text telephone (TTY) 
technology to a reliable and interoperable means of providing real-time 
text (RTT) communication for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, 
deaf-blind, or have a speech disability over Internet Protocol (IP) 
enabled networks and services.

DATES: Document FCC 16-169 will become effective February 22, 2017. The 
incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in the rules 
is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as of February 22, 
2017.

ADDRESSES: Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street SW., 
Washington, DC 20554.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michael Scott, Consumer and 
Governmental Affairs Bureau, at (202) 418-1264; email: 
Michael.Scott@fcc.gov or Suzy Rosen Singleton, Consumer and 
Governmental Affairs Bureau, at (202) 510-9446; email: 
Suzanne.Singleton@fcc.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This is a summary of the Commission's 
Transition from TTY to Real-Time Text Technology; Petition for 
Rulemaking to Update the Commission's Rules for Access to Support the 
Transition from TTY to Real-Time Text Technology, and Petition for 
Waiver of Rules Requiring Support of TTY Technology, Report and Order, 
document FCC 16-169, adopted on December 15, 2016 and released on 
December 16, 2016, in CG Docket No. 16-145, GN Docket No. 15-178. The 
Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, FCC 16-169, adopted on December 
15, 2016 and released on December 16, 2016, is published elsewhere in 
this issue. The full text of document FCC 16-169 will be available for 
public inspection and copying via ECFS, and during regular business 
hours at the FCC Reference Information Center, Portals II, 445 12th 
Street SW., Room CY-A257, Washington, DC 20554. To request materials in 
accessible formats for people with disabilities (Braille, large print, 
electronic files, audio format), send an email to fcc504@fcc.gov or 
call the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418-0530 
(voice), (844) 432-2272 (videophone), or (202) 418-0432 (TTY).

Incorporation by Reference

    The Office of Federal Register (OFR) recently revised its 
regulations to require that agencies must discuss in the preamble of a 
final rule ways that the materials the agency is incorporating by 
reference are reasonably available to interested parties or how it 
worked to make those materials reasonably available to interested 
parties. In addition, the preamble of the final rule must summarize the 
material. The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) Request for 
Comments (RFC) 4103, Real-time Transport Protocol Payload for Text 
Conversation, June 2005, Gunnar Hellstrom & Paul E. Jones, provides 
technical specifications for carrying real-time text conversation 
session contents in RTP packets on Internal Protocol-based 
communications networks. This document is available for download at the 
Internet Engineering Task Force Web site at http://ietf.org or directly 
at https://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc4103.txt, and is available for 
inspection at the Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th St. SW., 
Reference Information Center, Room CY-A257, Washington, DC 20554, (202) 
418-0270. It is also available for inspection at the National Archives 
and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability 
of this material at NARA, call 202-741-6030 or go to http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/code_of_federal_regulations/ibr_locations.html.

Congressional Review Act

    The Commission will send a copy of document FCC 16-169 to Congress 
and the Government Accountability Office pursuant to the Congressional 
Review Act, see 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(1)(A).

Final Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 Analysis

    Paragraphs 42 and 43 of document FCC 16-169 contain new information 
collection requirements, which are not applicable until approved by the 
Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The Commission, as part of its 
continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, will invite the general 
public to comment on these information collection requirements as 
required by the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995, Public Law 104-
13. The Commission will publish a separate document in the Federal 
Register announcing approval of the information collection requirements 
contained in document FCC 16-169. In addition, the Commission notes 
that, pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, 
Public Law 107-198, 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(4), the Commission previously 
sought comment on how the Commission might ``further reduce the 
information burden for small business concerns with fewer than 25 
employees.'' Transition from TTY to Real-Time Text Technology; Petition 
for Rulemaking to Update the Commission's Rules for Access to Support 
the Transition from TTY to Real-Time Text Technology, and Petition for 
Waiver of Rules Requiring Support of TTY Technology, Notice of Proposed 
Rulemaking, published at 81 FR 33170, May 25, 2016 (NPRM).

Synopsis

    1. In document FCC 16-169, the Commission amends its rules to 
facilitate a transition from text telephone (TTY) technology to real-
time text (RTT) as a reliable and interoperable universal text solution 
over wireless Internet protocol (IP) enabled networks for people who 
are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, or have a speech disability 
(collectively, ``people with disabilities'' or ``text-reliant users''). 
The instant proceeding responds to a petition filed by AT&T in June 
2015, requesting the Commission to update its accessibility rules to 
allow RTT to replace TTY technology over IP-based networks. On April 
28, 2016, the Commission adopted an NPRM proposing to amend its rules 
to facilitate an effective and seamless transition from TTY technology 
to RTT over wireless IP-based networks and services. In response, 25 
parties filed comments and 13 filed reply comments.

RTT Is an Effective and Efficient Replacement for TTY Technology

    2. There is consensus among the commenters that, in light of its 
technical and functional limitations, TTY technology needs to be 
replaced with an alternative text technology for IP-based networks. The 
Commission adopts its tentative conclusion that RTT is an effective 
alternative to TTY technology

[[Page 7700]]

for the IP environment. RTT is a native IP technology designed for the 
packet-switched network environment that allows users to make RTT calls 
using the built-in functionality of numerous off-the-shelf devices. 
Commenters confirm that RTT features, including its full duplex 
operation, seamless integration of voice and text, international 
character set, and speed, will greatly improve the availability, 
efficiency and reliability of text-based communications sent over IP-
based networks. In addition, RTT has the potential to enhance the 
ability of telecommunications relay services (TRS) to provide 
functionally equivalent telephone service, while at the same time 
reducing reliance on some forms of TRS. Finally, all of the major and 
several smaller wireless service providers already have committed to 
deploying this technology.
    3. RTT is a superior accessibility technology to messaging-type 
text communication services because it provides a more natural and 
efficient way to meet the communication needs of consumers with 
disabilities, especially in the event of an emergency, when the need 
for effective and timely communication with a 911 center is at a 
premium. Because RTT allows instant transmissions and the improved 
delivery of messages, it is the text alternative that is the most 
functionally equivalent to voice communication. Specifically, RTT 
messages are immediately conveyed to and received by the recipient as 
the message is composed, as compared to all other text-based messaging 
services, which require parties to press a key to transmit the message. 
This enables the user to see what the other person is typing and begin 
developing a response before the entire message has been conveyed, 
similar to voice conversations. This capability also lets a user know 
that the other party is indeed responding to the message, which allows 
for a more direct exchange of information and avoids confusion, crossed 
answers, and errors. The transition to RTT is also expected to help 
facilitate the transition to Next Generation 911 (NG911)--which will 
allow the transmission of voice, text and video to public safety 
answering points (PSAPs)--because broadly supported NG911 standards, 
such as i3, specify support standards for RTT communications. Further, 
RTT has built-in redundancy and the capacity to detect when information 
is lost, provides a more conversational flow, and avoids the out-of-
sequence and delay pitfalls of short message service (SMS) text 
messaging.

Permitting RTT Support in Lieu of TTY Support Over IP-Based Wireless 
Voice Services and Devices

    4. The Commission adopts rules permitting IP-based wireless 
providers and manufacturers (covered entities) to support RTT in lieu 
of supporting TTY technology. These rule changes cover only those 
entities that are involved in the provision of IP-based wireless voice 
communication service, and only to the extent that their services are 
subject to existing TTY technology support requirements under parts 6, 
7, 14, 20, or 64 of the Commission's rules. Given the relative novelty 
of RTT, it is not appropriate for these rules to apply to entities who 
were not already subject to an equivalent obligation to support TTY 
technology.
    5. The Commission concludes that it would be premature at this time 
to address application of RTT to the wireline environment. However, 
given RTT's superiority to TTY technology, the Commission will keep 
this docket open to receive further input and conduct continued 
exploration on the appropriateness of using this technology as an 
alternative to TTY technology to achieve a universal, integrated text 
solution for voice service accessibility on wireline IP-based voice 
services and end user devices.

Wireless Service Support for RTT

    6. To establish an effective and timely transition to RTT, the 
Commission amends parts 6, 7, 14, 20, and 64 of its rules to permit 
wireless service providers offering IP-based voice communications, in 
lieu of supporting TTY technology:
     To support 911 access, pursuant to Sec.  20.18 of the 
Commission's rules, through RTT communications;
     To support RTT over telecommunications services and 
interconnected voice-over-IP (VoIP) services covered by parts 6 and 7 
of the Commission's rules, if readily achievable;
     To support RTT over interconnected VoIP services covered 
by part 14 of the Commission's rules, unless not achievable;
     To support TRS access, pursuant to Sec.  64.603 of the 
Commission's rules, through RTT communications, including 711 
abbreviated dialing access.
    For purposes of this transition, ``to support'' is defined in a new 
part 67 of the Commission's rules as ``to enable users to initiate, 
send, transmit, receive, and display RTT communications in accordance 
with the applicable provisions of this part.''
    7. The Commission finds that it has sufficient legal authority to 
amend the above rule parts to allow support for RTT in lieu of TTY 
technology. The Commission affirms that its RTT amendments to Sec.  
20.18(c) are within the Commission's general Title III authority to 
regulate wireless service providers. Section 106 of the Twenty-First 
Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, Public Law 
111-260 (CVAA), 47 U.S.C. 615c(g), section 251 of the Communications 
Act (the Act), 47 U.S.C. 251(e)(3), the Wireless Communications and 
Public Safety Act of 1999, 47 U.S.C. 615-615(b), and the NET 911 
Improvement Act of 2008, 47 U.S.C. 615a-l, further support the 
Commission's adoption of RTT as a superior solution for enabling text-
reliant users to access 911.
    8. The Commission next affirms that it is within the Commission's 
authority under sections 255 and 716 of the Communications Act (the 
Act) to amend parts 6, 7, and 14 of the Commission's rules to permit 
wireless telecommunications and interconnected VoIP service providers 
to support RTT in lieu of supporting TTY technology. Given the 
limitations of TTY technology in an IP environment, this action is 
necessary to fulfill the intent of the CVAA to ``update the 
communications laws to help ensure that individuals with disabilities 
are able to fully utilize communications services and equipment'' as 
these continue to undergo a ``fundamental transformation.''
    9. Finally, the Commission concludes that the Commission has 
sufficient authority under section 225 of the Act, 47 U.S.C. 225, to 
amend its TRS rules to permit common carriers and interconnected VoIP 
service providers to support the transmission of RTT calls to and from 
TRS providers, including 711 abbreviated dialing. Section 225 of the 
Act directs the Commission to ensure that TRS is available ``in the 
most efficient manner'' and to ``ensure that regulations prescribed to 
implement this section encourage . . . the use of existing technology 
and do not discourage or impair the development of improved 
technology.''

End User Device Support for RTT

    10. The Commission amends Sec.  20.18 of its rules to allow new IP-
enabled wireless devices used for voice communications that have the 
capability to send, receive, and display text activated for wireless 
voice services transmitted over IP facilities (hereinafter, text-
capable) to support RTT in lieu of TTY communications. In addition, the 
Commission amends parts

[[Page 7701]]

6, 7, and 14 to provide manufacturers of end user equipment for use 
with wireless interconnected VoIP services with the option of 
supporting RTT communications in lieu of TTY technology ``if readily 
achievable'' or ``unless not achievable,'' as applicable. The 
Commission concludes that the same statutory provisions that provide 
the Commission with authority to allow RTT support in lieu of TTY 
support requirements for wireless services also provide authority to 
allow support for RTT on end user devices in lieu of support for TTYs.
    11. The Commission does not require service providers and 
manufacturers to add RTT capability by recalling or retrofitting end 
user devices already in service or manufactured prior to the applicable 
compliance dates. At the same time, the Commission encourages covered 
entities to ``push out'' downloadable RTT applications to existing 
text-capable user devices, to the extent practicable, to help consumers 
who use IP-based voice services make the transition to RTT technology 
without necessarily incurring the cost of a new device.

Regulatory Relief

    12. Covered entities that support RTT in compliance with the 
Commission's rules will be relieved of their TTY support requirements 
on all wireless networks and equipment, including services and devices 
used for legacy (non-IP) facilities, as of the applicable compliance 
dates. Given the declining use of TTYs, especially with wireless 
services, elimination of the TTY support obligation on wireless 
services is not expected to impose a hardship for text-reliant 
consumers. Additionally, given the progress being made to move ahead 
with the swift deployment of RTT, the Commission believes that allowing 
RTT to replace TTY technology on all IP-based wireless services will 
allow companies to devote greater time and resources to the effective 
deployment of RTT, instead of continuing to invest in outdated TTY 
technology.

Performance Objectives

    13. The Act defines an electronic messaging service as ``a service 
that provides real-time or near real-time non-voice messages in text 
form between individuals over communications networks.'' Because RTT is 
similar to other examples of two-way interactive electronic messaging 
services cited in the legislative history of the CVAA--such as text 
messaging, instant messaging, and electronic mail--the Commission 
concludes that RTT is an electronic messaging service for purposes of 
section 716 of the Act. Thus, services and equipment used for RTT must 
comply more generally with the performance objectives contained in part 
14 of the Commission's rules unless these are not achievable.

Minimum Functionalities of RTT

    14. The Commission believes that in order to meet the objectives of 
sections 225, 255, and 716 of the Act, communications services and 
equipment that support RTT should be as accessible, usable, and 
effective for people with disabilities as voice-based services over IP-
networks. To achieve this goal, the Commission concludes that RTT 
communications must be interoperable, backward compatible with TTY 
technology, and capable of supporting certain basic features and 
capabilities that are routinely available to users of wireless voice 
services.

Interoperability

    15. The Commission concludes that effective RTT communications can 
only be achieved if the communications transmissions carried across, 
and the devices used with, various RTT-supporting platforms and 
networks are interoperable with one another. Absent interoperability, 
consumers, TRS call centers, and PSAPs would be burdened with having to 
support multiple versions of RTT. The record supports the use of a safe 
harbor technical standard to achieve interoperability while preserving 
technological neutrality and flexibility for the covered entities. This 
approach provides industry the flexibility to have individual internal 
RTT standards, so long as they can support the minimum functions and 
capabilities defined by the Commission's rules and can interoperate in 
a format specified in the common standard (or a mutually agreed 
alternative) where they connect with other providers' systems and 
transport technologies.
    16. The Commission adopts RFC 4103, a non-proprietary, freely 
available standard that has been widely referenced by leading standards 
organizations and has been designated for RTT implementation by 
numerous domestic and foreign carriers as well as emergency 
communications groups, as the appropriate safe harbor standard for 
compliance with RTT interoperability requirements and certain 
performance objectives. Accordingly, any service or device that enables 
the initiation, transmission, reception, and display of RTT 
communications in conformity with RFC 4103 will meet the RTT 
interoperability requirement. Because RFC 4103 is subject to 
modification, service providers may use subsequent versions of RFC 4103 
or a successor protocol, by mutual agreement.

Backward Compatibility with TTY Technology

    17. To ensure that TTY-reliant consumers continue to have a method 
of communicating during the transition to RTT technology, the 
Commission requires wireless service providers to ensure that their RTT 
technology is backward compatible with TTY technology. A migration to 
RTT without backward compatibility to TTY technology could leave 
certain people who are still reliant on TTYs without communication 
options, including persons who cannot afford high speed access, people 
in rural areas for whom IP service is not available, and senior 
citizens who might be reluctant to try new technology. Further, because 
many PSAPs are still reliant on TTY technology to receive calls from 
people with disabilities and it may be a while before they migrate to 
RTT, enabling RTT users to reach 911 emergency services during the 
transition period is particularly compelling.
    18. No parties suggest that the costs of carrying out a backward 
compatibility requirement would be burdensome, and the record generally 
supports the feasibility of implementing this requirement through, for 
example, the use of gateways and RFC 4103. Some commenters recommend 
limiting backward compatibility to 911 and 711 (TRS) calls, to ensure 
that congestion does not prevent RTT calls from getting through to 
these essential services. However, these concerns can be avoided by 
letting transcoding of such calls be performed by 911 service providers 
or TRS providers, and ongoing testing should allow service providers to 
identify and find TTY-RTT and RTT-TTY solutions to the extent that 
technical issues arise.
    19. Commenters point out that incompatibilities between RTT and TTY 
technologies, namely differences in transmission speed, character sets, 
and other features, may impact user experience, particularly if the RTT 
user is unfamiliar with TTY protocols and etiquette. With the exception 
of providing guidance on transliterations between characters, discussed 
below, the Commission does not address specific solutions to resolve 
RTT-TTY incompatibility issues, but instead allows service providers 
and other stakeholders the flexibility to develop their own technical 
solutions to resolve inconsistencies between the two technologies. The 
Commission stresses that public outreach and consumer

[[Page 7702]]

education about the transition will play an important role in 
minimizing any adverse effects that RTT-TTY incompatibilities might 
have on users.
    20. The Commission will allow use of ITU-T Recommendation V.18, 
which contains a table showing transliterations from the most commonly 
used characters in the United States to TTY characters, to serve as a 
safe harbor for transliterating RTT to TTY characters. While the 
Commission concludes that this approach may provide one effective means 
of transliterating characters between the two technologies, the 
Commission also will permit covered entities to choose their own 
transliteration approach, so long as it can effectively convey the 
meaning of characters sent to the receiving party. The Commission 
further encourages use of a standard missing-symbol signal, as well as 
consumer outreach and education, to help minimize inconsistencies that 
users may experience as a result of differences between the two 
character sets.
    21. Given the uncertainty as to how soon RTT will be universally 
available and familiar to users of wireline and wireless services, the 
Commission concludes that it is premature at this time to set a date by 
which the TTY backward compatibility obligation should expire.

Support for 911 Communications

    22. Commercial mobile radio service (CMRS) providers transmitting 
over an IP network that choose to enable the transmission and receipt 
of communications via RTT--in lieu of TTY technology--to and from any 
PSAP served by their network, must do so in a manner that fully 
complies with all applicable 911 rules. Support for RTT in lieu of TTY 
technology is especially beneficial in emergency situations, and the 
record shows that the use of RTT for emergency communications is 
technically and economically feasible in the IP environment. There are 
a variety of existing options for configuring PSAP systems to receive 
RTT calls, and many PSAPs have installed or will soon install 
capabilities that will permit them to accept and effectively process 
RTT calls. Accordingly, to the extent RTT is the accessibility method 
chosen, RTT must be delivered without RTT-TTY conversion to PSAPs that 
are able to receive RTT after the dates specified for compliance by 
CMRS providers in document FCC 16-169.
    23. The Commission amends its rules to require that once a PSAP is 
capable of receiving RTT communications, a service provider receiving a 
service request must begin delivering RTT communications in an RTT 
format within six months after such request is made--to the extent the 
provider has selected RTT as its accessible text communication method. 
The Commission does not dictate the manner in which RTT-RTT 
communications must be transmitted to PSAPs, so long as they are 
otherwise in compliance with the rules adopted in document FCC 16-169. 
In the event that there are compelling reasons why it would not be 
feasible for a wireless service provider to transport RTT 
communications to the PSAP, the service provider may apply for a waiver 
from this requirement.
    24. Many commenters agree that transcoding gateways offer an 
effective, feasible, and available means to allow TTY users to reach 
RTT-enabled PSAPs and RTT users to reach legacy PSAPs. T-Mobile, 
however, claims that this obligation would shift certain burdens now 
borne by PSAPs onto wireless carriers. Because the components of 911 
call delivery referenced by T-Mobile are all basic 911 elements that 
carriers have been required to provide when transmitting calls from 
TTYs under Sec.  20.18 of the Commission's rules, the Commission does 
not believe that requiring the delivery of RTT 911 calls to PSAPs with 
the elements required by Sec.  20.18 of the rules would involve any 
burden shifting. T-Mobile also claims that wireless carriers should not 
be held responsible for RTT-to-TTY conversion of 911 calls, but 
providers of 911 services commenting in this proceeding affirm the 
feasibility of accepting RTT calls. Given this record and the lack of a 
basis to conclude otherwise, the Commission rejects T-Mobile's 
argument.
    25. The Commission encourages carriers and state and local 
governments to conduct testing of RTT and training of 911 call-takers 
in consultation with consumers, prior to RTT deployment, and to share 
the results with other jurisdictions.
    26. Under the Commission's rules, wireless CMRS providers 
supporting TTY calling to 911 must ensure that location information is 
provided in accordance with the applicable requirements of Sec.  20.18. 
Given the importance of this feature, RTT 911 calls should be subject 
to the same location information requirements as TTY 911 calls, and the 
Commission amends its rules accordingly. However, given concerns raised 
about the feasibility of achieving compliance with this requirement via 
RTT provided through a downloadable application, the Commission will 
entertain requests for waivers from this requirement that allege that 
this is not technically feasible.
    27. Regarding non-service initialized (NSI) devices, because the 
Commission has an open proceeding to sunset or revise rules for 911 
calling from such devices, the Commission defers consideration of the 
use of NSI devices for RTT calling to 911 to that proceeding.

Core RTT Features

    28. The following RTT features are needed to take the place of TTY 
technology and provide an effective communication alternative to voice 
communications. Two of these--initiating and receiving calls via the 
same ten-digit numbers used for voice calls and simultaneous voice and 
text--will be required for entities seeking to support RTT in lieu of 
TTY technology.
    29. Initiating and Receiving Calls Using RTT. The Commission adopts 
its proposal that for wireless service providers and manufacturers to 
meet their accessibility obligations by supporting RTT, their networks 
and devices must be configured so that RTT communications can be 
initiated to and received from the same telephone number that can be 
used to initiate and receive voice communications on a given terminal 
device. The ability to initiate RTT communications through ten-digit 
telephone numbers will encourage and promote seamless integration of 
RTT and enabling access to ten-digit numbers is necessary to reach and 
be reached by any other person with a phone number and to ensure that 
RTT users can access 911 services. No commenters question the 
feasibility of providing this feature, or suggest that it would be 
overly burdensome.
    30. Accessible Indicators. The Commission agrees with some 
commenters that without an accessible indicator that a call is being 
received, text-reliant users will not have communications equivalent to 
voice service, which produces an audio ring or other sounds to alert 
people who can hear. Given the importance of this feature for 
individuals who cannot hear and individuals who can neither hear nor 
see, the Commission recommends that device manufacturers and service 
providers incorporate accessible indicators in their RTT implementation 
to alert users to the receipt of, and audio activity on, an RTT call.
    31. Simultaneous voice and text. The Commission adopts its proposal 
that users of RTT must be able to send and receive both text and voice 
simultaneously in both directions over IP on the same call session and 
via a

[[Page 7703]]

single device. Providing the ability to send and receive simultaneous 
voice and text is feasible, is supported by RFC 4103, and is an 
essential feature of RTT. Simultaneous voice and text also can allow 
for more robust exchanges between RTT users and PSAPs. Further, it can 
be particularly beneficial to people for whom speech is their primary 
mode of communication, but who find it necessary to augment speech with 
text, such as older adults who have progressive hearing loss, many of 
whom currently rely on relay services to make telephone calls. Finally, 
this feature can prove to be life-saving in emergencies, when a person 
in distress may want to type out an emergency's exact location to a 911 
call taker to ensure accuracy, or when a person is no longer able to 
speak. Because TTY users currently have the ability to use both voice 
and text in the same call session, requiring this for RTT 
implementation will ensure that people with disabilities do not lose 
access to services they have had, should their providers opt to support 
RTT in lieu of TTY technology. Accordingly, an essential element of RTT 
support for entities choosing to support RTT over TTY technology will 
be the ability of users to have simultaneous voice and text capability 
on the same call session as of the compliance deadlines for CMRS 
providers opting to provide RTT support for all new authorized user 
devices activated on their networks.
    32. Latency and Error Rate of Text Transmittal. The Commission 
believes that ensuring a latency and error rate that is functionally 
equivalent to the real-time nature of voice telephone communications is 
important to making real-time text effective for text-reliant users. It 
is the Commission's understanding that this component is addressed 
through the safe harbor standard RFC 4103, which sets a maximum typing-
to-transmission latency. The Commission recommends that industry and 
consumer stakeholders work together to determine appropriate latency 
and error rate parameters. The Commission believes that this approach 
will provide much needed flexibility for industry, while minimizing 
delays and errors that could impede effective communication for people 
with disabilities.
    33. Device Functionality. A significant advantage to RTT is that it 
will allow text-reliant users to select off-the-shelf IP-based wireless 
devices offered to the public for their telephone communications.
    34. The extent to which RTT is successful as a replacement for TTY 
and as an alternative to voice communications, however, will turn in 
large part on its ease of use by not only text-reliant users, but also 
members of the public with whom they are likely to converse. For this 
reason various commenters have urged inclusion of RTT as a pre-
installed feature of end-user devices that is enabled by a default 
function. The Commission is concerned that some of the advantages of 
RTT as a universal text solution might not be realized if RTT is not 
enabled by default. The Commission strongly encourages covered entities 
seeking to meet their accessibility obligations by supporting RTT in 
lieu of TTY technology to take measures that facilitate, rather than 
discourage RTT use. While the Commission does not impose mandates for 
RTT to be pre-installed or accessed through a default function at this 
time, the Commission notes that the success of RTT's deployment and use 
may turn on its ease of use, and that its swift adoption is likely to 
expedite the date for phasing out requirements for TTY support, 
including the requirement for RTT to be backward compatible with TTYs. 
The Commission encourages collaboration among industry and consumer 
stakeholders to reach agreement on the appropriate features and 
technical aspects of RTT implementation.
    35. Calling Features. In the NPRM, the Commission tentatively 
concluded that certain calling features that are commonly available to 
voice telephone users are necessary to ensure that RTT is as 
accessible, usable, and effective for people with disabilities as 
wireless voice communications service is for people without 
disabilities, including the ability to transfer calls, enable multi-
party teleconferencing, and utilize automated attendant, interactive 
voice response systems, and caller identification features. Given that 
the deployment of RTT is still in its infancy in the U.S., rather than 
mandate specific calling features or capabilities, the Commission notes 
more generally the overarching goal of enabling RTT to serve as a 
universally integrated accessibility solution that is functionally 
equivalent to voice communications. Consideration of the above calling 
features may be relevant as wireless voice communications service 
providers and equipment manufacturers work to identify and eliminate 
barriers to accessibility and usability during the design and 
development phases of their RTT products and services. The Commission 
also reminds companies that parts 6 and 7 of the rules require 
inclusion of people with disabilities in market research, product 
design, testing, pilot demonstrations, and product trials. These rules 
also require covered entities to work cooperatively with disability-
related organizations, and to keep records of their efforts to 
implement parts 6, 7, and 14, including information about their efforts 
to consult with people with disabilities regarding RTT accessibility 
features.

Timeline for RTT Implementation by Service Providers

    36. At present all Commission waivers from the TTY support 
obligations expire on December 31, 2017, or upon the effective date of 
rules providing for alternative IP-based wireless accessibility 
solutions, whichever is earlier. To the extent that a service provider 
prefers to support RTT access in lieu of TTY technology and does not 
wish to seek an extension of the current waiver, it can meet the 
following compliance timelines, which will supersede the December 31, 
2017 deadline: By December 31, 2017, each Tier I service provider must 
either (1) offer a downloadable application or plug-in that supports 
RTT or (2) comply with the following: (i) Implement in its core network 
the capability to support RTT; (ii) offer at least one new handset that 
supports native RTT functionality, and (iii) for all authorized end 
user devices specified on or after that date, include in future design 
specifications the requirement to support RTT. For all other (non-Tier 
I) carriers opting to provide RTT support, such compliance must be 
achieved by June 30, 2020. A carrier must meet these obligations except 
to the extent that it is not achievable for a particular manufacturer 
to support RTT on that carrier's network.
    37. By December 31, 2019, each Tier I service provider opting to 
support RTT in lieu of TTY technology must provide such support for all 
new authorized user devices activated on its networks. Non-Tier I 
service providers (including resellers) that opt to support RTT must do 
so for all new authorized user devices activated on their networks by 
June 30, 2021. A carrier must meet these obligations except to the 
extent that it is not achievable for a particular manufacturer to 
support RTT on that carrier's network. A carrier may rely in good faith 
on a manufacturer's representations that it has complied with its 
obligations under sections 716 and 717 of the Communications Act.
    38. These deadlines are set in order to accommodate variances in 
manufacturer product lifecycles, while still ensuring that devices with 
native RTT functionality are available by a date certain. Among other 
things, they allow

[[Page 7704]]

CMRS providers that do not fall into Tier I with additional time to 
comply with the RTT support requirements because they serve small 
subscriber populations, have fewer device options, often acquire the 
latest handset models much later than Tier I providers, and have 
limited influence on the technical ecosystem and standards setting. The 
Commission expects that handsets offered pursuant to these timelines 
will be compatible with at least the current versions of the operating 
systems available on text-capable handsets offered for sale by the 
service providers.

Timeline for RTT Implementation by Manufacturers

    39. The Commission requires manufacturers opting to provide RTT 
support, in lieu of supporting TTY technology, to provide RTT 
functionality in handsets and other text-capable end user devices for 
wireless IP-based voice services, subject to the readily achievable or 
achievable limitation, as applicable, for all devices manufactured on 
or after December 31, 2018.

Other Compliance Deadlines and Related Matters

    40. Although all compliance timelines contained in this section are 
prospective only, in that they do not require covered entities to 
retrofit ``in-service'' devices, pursuant to parts 6, 7, and 14 of the 
Commission's rules, entities covered under sections 255 and 716 of the 
Act are required to meet accessibility obligations as natural 
opportunities occur. As discussed earlier, the Commission encourages 
covered entities, to the extent practicable, to ``push out'' 
downloadable apps or upgrades to operating systems to any in-service 
handsets that can support those apps or upgrades after each applicable 
compliance deadline.
    41. The Commission clarifies that a wireless service provider or 
manufacturer in compliance with the RTT obligations adopted in this 
Report and Order will be relieved of its TTY support obligations on all 
wireless networks and equipment, including services and devices used 
for legacy (non-IP) facilities. To provide an incentive for early 
implementation of RTT, a provider or manufacturer that achieves early 
compliance with the RTT support requirements will be relieved of its 
TTY support obligations as of the date upon which such provider or 
manufacturer achieves such RTT support compliance. The Commission 
further provides that, for those carriers currently subject to a 
limited waiver of their TTY support requirements that would expire 
prior to their earliest applicable RTT compliance date, the Commission 
extends the waiver to that date.

Education, Outreach, and Notifications

    42. To inform the public about the transition from TTY technology 
to RTT and the mechanics of how RTT technology will work, the 
Commission encourages consumer outreach and education efforts to 
include (1) the development and dissemination of educational materials 
that contain information pertinent to the nature, purpose and timelines 
of the RTT transition; (2) Internet postings, in an accessible format, 
of information about the TTY to RTT transition on the Web sites of 
covered entities; (3) the creation of a telephone hotline and online 
interactive and accessible service that can answer consumer questions 
about RTT; and (4) appropriate training of staff to effectively respond 
to consumer questions. All consumer outreach and education needs to be 
provided in a manner that is accessible to individuals with 
disabilities. The Commission encourages service providers and 
manufacturers to coordinate with consumer, public safety, and industry 
stakeholders to develop and distribute education and outreach 
materials. The Commission further directs the Commission's Consumer and 
Governmental Affairs Bureau (CGB) to implement an outreach plan to 
complement industry's efforts to fully inform the public about RTT.
    43. The Commission also adopts its proposal to have the notice 
conditions imposed in the Bureau's waiver orders remain in effect until 
the full implementation of the rules adopted in this proceeding. The 
continued provision of this information is necessary to ensure 
consumers with disabilities do not expect that TTY technology will be 
supported by IP-based wireless services when calling 911 services, to 
educate consumers about the availability of RTT, including its 
limitations when communicating with PSAPs that have only TTY 
capability, and to ensure these consumers know alternative accessible 
telecommunications options exist for this purpose. These notifications 
should also be provided in formats that are fully accessible to 
consumers with disabilities.

Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    44. As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as 
amended (RFA), the Commission incorporated an Initial Regulatory 
Flexibility Analyses (IRFA) into the NPRM. The Commission sought 
written public comment on the proposals in the NPRM, including comment 
on the IRFA. No comments were received on the IRFA.

Need for, and Objectives of, the Report and Order

    45. In document FCC 16-169, the Commission takes specific steps to 
amend its rules to facilitate a transition from outdated TTY technology 
to a reliable and interoperable means of providing RTT communication 
over IP enabled networks and services for people who are deaf, hard of 
hearing, speech disabled, and deaf-blind. Real-time text is a mode of 
communication that permits text to be sent immediately as it is being 
created. In response to various proposals made in the NPRM adopted 
earlier this year, the Commission adopts rules to:
     Permit CMRS providers to support RTT in lieu of TTY 
technology for communications using wireless IP-based voice services;
     Allow providers of telecommunications and interconnected 
VoIP services provided over wireless IP facilities and manufacturers of 
equipment used with such services to support RTT in lieu of supporting 
TTY technology, ``if readily achievable'' or ``unless not achievable'';
     Relieve wireless service providers and equipment 
manufacturers of all TTY support obligations to the extent they support 
RTT on IP facilities in accordance with Commission rules;
     Establish the following criteria defining what constitutes 
support for RTT:
    [cir] RTT communications must be interoperable across networks and 
devices, and this may be achieved through adherence to RFC 4103, as a 
``safe harbor'' standard for RTT;
    [cir] RTT communications must be backward compatible with TTY 
technology;
    [cir] RTT must support 911 communications and 711 relay 
communications; and
     Establish that support for RTT includes support for the 
ability to initiate and receive calls with the same telephone numbers 
as are used for voice communications and simultaneous voice and text in 
the same call session;
     Recognize that the provision of accessible indicators for 
call answering and activity, appropriate latency and error rates, and 
pre-installed and default functionality on devices can facilitate 
making RTT service functionally equivalent to voice communications;
     Permit manufacturers and service providers, to the extent 
the latter are responsible for the accessibility of end

[[Page 7705]]

user devices activated on their IP-based wireless voice communications 
networks, to ensure that devices that have the ability to send, 
receive, and display text include RTT capability in lieu of supporting 
TTY technology, subject to the readily achievable and achievable 
limitations for parts 6, 7, and 14, as applicable;
     Find that RTT is an ``electronic messaging service'' that 
is subject to the performance objectives of parts 6, 7, and 14 of the 
Commission's rules, if readily achievable or unless not achievable, as 
applicable.
     Establish the following timelines for implementation of 
RTT:
    [cir] By December 31, 2017, each Tier I CMRS provider and, by June 
30, 2020, each non-Tier I provider choosing to support RTT in lieu of 
TTY over IP facilities shall support RTT either (1) through a 
downloadable RTT application or plug-in that supports RTT; or (2) by 
implementing native RTT functionality into its core network, offering 
at least one handset model that supports RTT, and including the 
requirement to support RTT in future design specifications for all 
authorized user devices specified on or after these dates;
    [cir] By December 31, 2018, manufacturers that provide devices for 
CMRS providers' IP-based voice services and that choose to support RTT 
in lieu of TTY technology shall implement RTT in newly manufactured 
equipment, if readily achievable or unless not achievable, as 
applicable.
    [cir] By December 31, 2019, each Tier I CMRS provider and, by June 
30, 2021, each non-Tier I CMRS provider choosing to support RTT in lieu 
of TTY over IP facilities shall support RTT for all new authorized user 
devices;
    [cir] A carrier is subject to the above timelines except to the 
extent that it is not achievable for a particular manufacturer to 
support RTT on that carrier's network, in which case a carrier may rely 
in good faith on a manufacturer's representations in this regard; and
     Establish consumer outreach, education, and notice 
guidelines to inform the public about the transition from TTY 
Technology to RTT, including how this technology will work.

Summary of Significant Issues Raised by Public Comments in Response to 
the IRFA

    46. No comments were filed in response to the IRFA.

Listing of the Number of Small Entities Impacted

    47. The majority of the rules adopted in document FCC 16-169 will 
affect obligations on telecommunications carriers and providers, VoIP 
service providers, wireline and wireless service providers, advanced 
communications services (ACS) providers, and telecommunications 
equipment and software manufacturers. Other entities, however, that 
choose to object to the substitution of RTT for TTY technology under 
the Commission's amended rules may be economically impacted by document 
FCC 16-169. Affected small entities as defined by industry are as 
follows.
     Wired Telecommunications Carriers;
     Local Exchange Carriers (LECs);
     Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers (Incumbent LECs);
     Competitive Local Exchange Carriers (Competitive LECs), 
Competitive Access Providers (CAPs), Shared-Tenant Service Providers, 
and Other Local Service Providers;
     Interexchange Carriers;
     Other Toll Carriers;
     Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except Satellite);
     Cable Companies and Systems (Rate Regulation);
     All Other Telecommunications;
     TRS Providers;
     Electronic Computer Manufacturing;
     Telephone Apparatus Manufacturing (wireline);
     Computer Terminal and Other Computer Peripheral Equipment 
Manufacturing;
     Radio and Television Broadcasting and Wireless 
Communications Equipment Manufacturing;
     Other Communications Equipment Manufacturing; and
     Software Publishers.

Description of Projected Reporting, Record Keeping and Other Compliance 
Requirements

    48. The rule changes adopted in document FCC 16-169 to permit 
support for RTT in lieu of TTY Technologies in all IP-based wireless 
services do not modify reporting, recordkeeping, and other compliance 
requirements. However, document FCC 16-169 requires that notice 
conditions imposed on waiver recipients remain in effect until the full 
implementation of the rules adopted in document FCC 16-169. The waiver 
recipients must continue to apprise their customers, through effective 
and accessible channels of communication, that (1) until TTY is sunset, 
TTY technology will not be supported for calls to 911 services over IP-
based wireless services, and (2) there are alternative public switched 
telephone network (PSTN)-based and IP-based accessibility solutions for 
people with communication disabilities to reach 911 services. These 
notices must be developed in coordination with PSAPs and national 
consumer organizations, and include a listing of text-based 
alternatives to 911, including, but not limited to, TTY capability over 
the PSTN, various forms of PSTN-based and IP-based TRS, and text-to-911 
(where available). The waiver recipients must also file a report every 
six months regarding their progress toward and the status of the 
availability of new IP-based accessibility solutions, such as RTT. The 
only entities that will be affected by this requirement are those 
entities that have previously petitioned for and received or will 
receive a waiver of the TTY obligations. The Commission believes the 
only burden associated with the reporting requirement will be the time 
required to continue to prepare and send out notifications to customers 
and to complete the progress and status report every six months.

Steps Taken To Minimize Significant Impact on Small Entities and 
Significant Alternatives Considered

    49. In amending its rules, the Commission believes that it has 
minimized the effect on small entities while facilitating an effective 
and seamless transition from TTY technology to RTT. The Commission had 
considered other possible proposals and sought comment on the 
requirements and the analysis presented. The requirements adopted by 
the Commission to provide notices to customers and file reports with 
the Commission apply only to entities that have specifically sought 
waivers of the TTY obligations. Further, RTT technology may simplify 
the accessibility obligations of small businesses, because RTT allows 
calls to be made using the built-in functionality of a wide selection 
of off-the shelf devices such as cellphones, and thus may alleviate the 
high costs and challenges faced by small businesses and customers in 
locating dedicated external assistive devices, such as specialty 
phones. Additionally, in phasing out TTY technology, the burden is 
reduced for small entities and emergency call centers to maintain such 
technology in the long term.
    50. The Commission also establishes a phased timeline for 
implementation of RTT technology. In response to

[[Page 7706]]

comments in the proceeding and to reduce the burden and relieve 
possible adverse economic impact on small entities, by December 31, 
2017, each Tier I CMRS provider and, by June 30, 2020, each non-Tier I 
provider may choose to support RTT in lieu of TTY over IP facilities. 
The Commission establishes a second period for each Tier I CMRS 
provider and non-Tier I CMRS provider choosing to support RTT in lieu 
of TTY over IP facilities to be required to support RTT for all new 
authorized user devices. Tier I CMRS providers must meet this 
requirement by December 31, 2019, and non-Tier I providers must meet 
this requirement by June 30, 2021. Manufacturers that provide devices 
for CMRS providers' IP-based voice services and that choose to support 
RTT in lieu of TTY technology shall implement RTT in newly manufactured 
equipment by December 31, 2018, if readily achievable or unless not 
achievable, as applicable.
    51. In addition, the Commission is permitting rather than requiring 
service providers to support RTT. With regards to implementing RTT, 
while the Commission adopts a ``safe harbor'' technical standard to 
ensure RTT interoperability, it also allows service providers to use 
alternative protocols for RTT, provided that they are interoperable. 
Further, throughout the item, flexibility is integrated into the 
criteria for RTT support in order to take into consideration the 
limitations of small businesses. For example, a service provider 
choosing to support RTT rather than TTY is not required to support RTT 
on new authorized end user devices to the extent that is not achievable 
for a particular manufacturer to support RTT on that provider's 
network. As such, the Commission anticipates that the requirements will 
have little to no impact on small entities that are eligible to rely on 
the claim that supporting RTT on a particular device is not achievable.
    52. The Commission also determined to establish outreach and 
education guidelines to encourage rather than require service providers 
and manufacturers to implement efforts to notify consumers about the 
transition from TTY technology to RTT, and to allow small entities to 
determine the extent of resources they allocate to inform consumers of 
the changes in the services and associated equipment they will be 
receiving.

Ordering Clauses

    53. Pursuant to sections 4(i), 225, 255, 301, 303(r), 316, 403, 
715, and 716 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and section 
106 of the CVAA, 47 U.S.C. 154(i), 225, 255, 301, 303(r), 316, 403, 
615c, 616, 617, document FCC 16-169 IS ADOPTED and parts 6, 7, 14, 20, 
and 64 of the Commission's rules ARE AMENDED and part 67 IS ADOPTED.
    54. The Commission's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, 
Reference Information Center, SHALL SEND a copy of document FCC 16-169, 
including the Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis to the Chief 
Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration.

List of Subjects

47 CFR Part 6

    Individuals with disabilities, access to telecommunication service 
and equipment, and customer premise equipment.

47 CFR Part 7

    Individuals with disabilities, access to voice mail and interactive 
menu services and equipment.

47 CFR Part 14

    Individuals with disabilities, access to advanced communication 
services and equipment.

47 CFR Part 20

    Commercial mobile services, individuals with disabilities, access 
to 911 services.

47 CFR Part 64

    Telecommunications relay services, individuals with disabilities.

47 CFR Part 67

    Real-time text, individuals with disabilities, incorporation by 
reference.

Federal Communications Commission.
Katura Howard,
Federal Register Liaison, Office of the Secretary.
    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Federal 
Communications Commission amends 47 CFR parts 6, 7, 14, 20, 64, and 
adds 67 as follows:

PART 6--ACCESS TO TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICE, TELECOMMUNICATIONS 
EQUIPMENT AND CUSTOMER PREMISES EQUIPMENT BY PERSONS WITH 
DISABILITIES

0
1. The authority citation for part 6 is revised to read as follows:

    Authority: 47 U.S.C. 151-154, 208, 255, and 303(r).


0
2. Amend Sec.  6.3 by adding paragraphs (a)(3), (b)(5), (m), and (n) to 
read as follows:


Sec.  6.3  Definitions.

    (a) * * *
    (3) Real-Time Text. Voice communication services subject to this 
part that are provided over wireless IP facilities and handsets and 
other text-capable end user devices used with such service that do not 
themselves provide TTY functionality, may provide TTY connectability 
and signal compatibility pursuant to paragraphs (b)(3) and (4) of this 
section, or support real-time text communications, in accordance with 
47 CFR part 67.
    (b) * * *
    (5) TTY Support Exemption. Voice communication services subject to 
this part that are provided over wireless IP facilities and equipment 
used with such services are not required to provide TTY connectability 
and TTY signal compatibility if such services and equipment support 
real-time text, in accordance with 47 CFR part 67.
* * * * *
    (m) The term real-time text shall have the meaning set forth in 
Sec.  67.1 of this chapter.
    (n) The term text-capable end user device means customer premises 
equipment that is able to send, receive, and display text.

PART 7--ACCESS TO VOICEMAIL AND INTERACTIVE MENU SERVICES AND 
EQUIPMENT BY PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

0
3. The authority citation for part 7 is revised to read as follows:

    Authority:  47 U.S.C. 151-154, 208, 255, and 303(r).


0
4. Amend Sec.  7.3 by adding paragraphs (a)(3), (b)(5), (n), and (o) to 
read as follows:


Sec.  7.3  Definitions.

    (a) * * *
    (3) Real-Time Text. Voice communication services subject to this 
part that are provided over wireless IP facilities and handsets and 
other text-capable end user devices used with such service that do not 
themselves provide TTY functionality, may provide TTY connectability 
and signal compatibility pursuant to paragraphs (b)(3) and (4) of this 
section, or support real-time text communications, in accordance with 
47 CFR part 67.
    (b) * * *
    (5) TTY Support Exemption. Voice communication services subject to 
this part that are offered over wireless IP facilities and equipment 
used with such services are not required to provide TTY connectability 
and TTY signal compatibility if such services and equipment support 
real-time text, in accordance with 47 CFR part 67.
* * * * *

[[Page 7707]]

    (n) The term real-time text shall have the meaning set forth in 
Sec.  67.1 of this chapter.
    (o) The term text-capable end user device means customer premises 
equipment that is able to send, receive, and display text.

PART 14--ACCESS TO ADVANCED COMMUNICATIONS SERVICES AND EQUIPMENT 
BY PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

0
5. The authority citation for part 14 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 47 U.S.C. 151-154, 255, 303, 403, 503, 617, 618, 619 
unless otherwise noted.


0
6. Amend Sec.  14.10 by adding paragraphs (w) and (x) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  14.10  Definitions.

* * * * *
    (w) The term real-time text shall have the meaning set forth in 
Sec.  67.1 of this chapter.
    (x) The term text-capable end user device means end user equipment 
that is able to send, receive, and display text.

0
7. Amend Sec.  14.21 by adding paragraphs (b)(3) and (d)(5) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  14.21  Performance Objectives.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (3) Real-Time Text. Wireless interconnected VoIP services subject 
to this part and text-capable end user devices used with such services 
that do not themselves provide TTY functionality, may provide TTY 
connectability and signal compatibility pursuant to paragraphs (b)(3) 
and (4) of this section, or support real-time text communications, in 
accordance with 47 CFR part 67.
* * * * *
    (d) * * *
    (5) TTY Support Exemption. Interconnected and non-interconnected 
VoIP services subject to this part that are provided over wireless IP 
facilities and equipment are not required to provide TTY connectability 
and TTY signal compatibility if such services and equipment support 
real-time text, in accordance with 47 CFR part 67.

PART 20--COMMERCIAL MOBILE SERVICES

0
8. The authority citation for part 20 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  47 U.S.C. 151, 152(a), 154(i), 157, 160, 201, 214, 
222, 251(e), 301, 302, 303, 303(b), 303(r), 307, 307(a), 309, 
309(j)(3), 316, 316(a), 332, 615, 615a, 615b, 615c.


0
9. Amend Sec.  20.18 by revising paragraph (c) to read as follows:


Sec.  20.18  911 Service.

* * * * *
    (c) Access to 911 services. CMRS providers subject to this section 
must be capable of transmitting 911 calls from individuals with speech 
or hearing disabilities through means other than mobile radio handsets, 
e.g., through the use of Text Telephone Devices (TTY). CMRS providers 
that provide voice communications over IP facilities are not required 
to support 911 access via TTYs if they provide 911 access via real-time 
text (RTT) communications, in accordance with 47 CFR part 67, except 
that RTT support is not required to the extent that it is not 
achievable for a particular manufacturer to support RTT on the 
provider's network.
* * * * *

PART 64--MISCELLANEOUS RULES RELATING TO COMMON CARRIERS

0
10. The authority citation for part 64 is revised to read as follows:

    Authority:  47 U.S.C. 154, 225, 403(b)(2)(B), (c), 715, Pub. L. 
104-104, 110 Stat. 56. Interpret or apply 47 U.S.C. 201, 218, 222, 
225, 226, 227, 228, 254(k), 616, 620, and the Middle Class Tax 
Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, Pub. L. 112-96, unless 
otherwise noted.


0
11. Amend Sec.  64.601 by revising paragraph (a)(15) and adding 
paragraph (a)(46) to read as follows:


Sec.  64.601  Definitions and provisions of general applicability.

    (a) * * *
    (15) Internet-based TRS (iTRS). A telecommunications relay service 
(TRS) in which an individual with a hearing or a speech disability 
connects to a TRS communications assistant using an Internet Protocol-
enabled device via the Internet, rather than the public switched 
telephone network. Except as authorized or required by the Commission, 
Internet-based TRS does not include the use of a text telephone (TTY) 
or RTT over an interconnected voice over Internet Protocol service.
* * * * *
    (46) Real-Time Text (RTT). The term real-time text shall have the 
meaning set forth in Sec.  67.1 of this chapter.
* * * * *

0
12. Revise Sec.  64.603 to read as follows:


Sec.  64.603  Provision of services.

    (a) Each common carrier providing telephone voice transmission 
services shall provide, in compliance with the regulations prescribed 
herein, throughout the area in which it offers services, 
telecommunications relay services, individually, through designees, 
through a competitively selected vendor, or in concert with other 
carriers. Interstate Spanish language relay service shall be provided. 
Speech-to-speech relay service also shall be provided, except that 
speech-to-speech relay service need not be provided by IP Relay 
providers, VRS providers, captioned telephone relay service providers, 
and IP CTS providers. In addition, each common carrier providing 
telephone voice transmission services shall provide access via the 711 
dialing code to all relay services as a toll free call. CMRS providers 
subject to this 711 access requirement are not required to provide 711 
dialing code access to TTY users if they provide 711 dialing code 
access via real-time text communications, in accordance with 47 CFR 
part 67.
    (b) A common carrier shall be considered to be in compliance with 
this section:
    (1) With respect to intrastate telecommunications relay services in 
any state that does not have a certified program under Sec.  64.606 and 
with respect to interstate telecommunications relay services, if such 
common carrier (or other entity through which the carrier is providing 
such relay services) is in compliance with Sec.  64.604; or
    (2) With respect to intrastate telecommunications relay services in 
any state that has a certified program under Sec.  64.606 for such 
state, if such common carrier (or other entity through which the 
carrier is providing such relay services) is in compliance with the 
program certified under Sec.  64.606 for such state.

PART 67--REAL-TIME TEXT

0
13. Add new part 67 to read as follows:

PART 67--REAL-TIME TEXT

Sec.
67.1 Definitions.
67.2 Minimum Functionalities of RTT.
67.3 Incorporation by Reference.

    Authority: 47 U.S.C. 151-154, 225, 251, 255, 301, 303, 307, 309, 
316, 615c, 616, 617.


Sec.  67.1  Definitions.

    (a) Authorized end user device means a handset or other end user 
device that is authorized by the provider of a covered service for use 
with that service and is able to send, receive, and display text.
    (b) CMRS provider means a CMRS provider as defined in Sec.  
20.18(c) of this chapter.

[[Page 7708]]

    (c) Covered service means a service that meets accessibility 
requirements by supporting RTT pursuant to part 6, 7, 14, 20, or 64 of 
this chapter.
    (d) RFC 4103 means IETF's Request for Comments (RFC) 4103 
(incorporated by reference, see Sec.  67.3 of this part).
    (e) RFC 4103-conforming service or user device means a covered 
service or authorized end user device that enables initiation, sending, 
transmission, reception, and display of RTT communications in 
conformity with RFC 4103.
    (f) RFC 4103-TTY gateway means a gateway that is able to reliably 
and accurately transcode communications between (1) RFC 4103-conforming 
services and devices and (2) circuit-switched networks that support 
communications between TTYs.
    (g) Real-time text (RTT) or RTT communications means text 
communications that are transmitted over Internet Protocol (IP) 
networks immediately as they are created, e.g., on a character-by-
character basis.
    (h) Support RTT or support RTT communications means to enable users 
to initiate, send, transmit, receive, and display RTT communications in 
accordance with the applicable provisions of this part.


Sec.  67.2  Minimum Functionalities of RTT.

    (a) RTT-RTT Interoperability. Covered services and authorized end 
user devices shall be interoperable with other services and devices 
that support RTT in accordance with this part. A service or authorized 
end user device shall be deemed to comply with this paragraph (a) if:
    (1) It is an RFC 4103-conforming end user device;
    (2) RTT communications between such service or end user device and 
an RFC 4103-conforming service or end user device are reliably and 
accurately transcoded--
    (i) to and from RFC 4103, or
    (ii) to and from an internetworking protocol mutually agreed-upon 
with the owner of the network serving the RFC 4103-conforming service 
or device.
    (b) RTT-TTY Interoperability. Covered services and authorized end 
user devices shall be interoperable with TTYs connected to other 
networks. Covered services and authorized end user devices shall be 
deemed to comply with this paragraph (b) if communications to and from 
such TTYs:
    (1) Pass through an RFC 4103-TTY gateway, or
    (2) are reliably and accurately transcoded to and from an 
internetworking protocol mutually agreed-upon with the owner of the 
network serving the TTY.
    (c) Features and Capabilities. Covered services and authorized end 
user devices shall enable the user to:
    (1) Initiate and receive RTT calls to and from the same telephone 
numbers for which voice calls can be initiated and received;
    (2) transmit and receive RTT communications to and from any 911 
public safety answering point (PSAP) in the United States; and
    (3) send and receive text and voice simultaneously in both 
directions on the same call using a single device.


Sec.  67.3  Incorporation by Reference.

    (a) Certain material is incorporated by reference into this part 
with the approval of the Director of the Federal Register under 5 
U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51. All approved material is available for 
inspection at the Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th St. SW., 
Reference Information Center, Room CY-A257, Washington, DC 20554, (202) 
418-0270, and is available from the sources listed below. It is also 
available for inspection at the National Archives and Records 
Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this 
material at NARA, call 202-741-6030 or go to http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/code_of_federal_regulations/ibr_locations.html.
    (b) Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), c/o Association 
Management Solutions, LLC (AMS) 5177 Brandin Court, Fremont, California 
94538, phone (510) 492-4080, Web site at http://ietf.org or directly at 
https://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc4103.txt.
    (1) Request for Comments (RFC) 4103, Real-time Transport Protocol 
Payload for Text Conversation (2005), IBR approved for Sec.  67.1.
    (2) [Reserved]

[FR Doc. 2017-01377 Filed 1-19-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 6712-01-P