[Title 47 CFR 7]
[Code of Federal Regulations (annual edition) - October 1, 2004 Edition]
[Title 47 - TELECOMMUNICATION]
[Chapter I - FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION]
[Subchapter A - GENERAL]
[Part 7 - ACCESS TO VOICEMAIL AND INTERACTIVE MENU SERVICES AND EQUIPMENT]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]


47TELECOMMUNICATION12004-10-012004-10-01falseACCESS TO VOICEMAIL AND INTERACTIVE MENU SERVICES AND EQUIPMENT7PART 7TELECOMMUNICATIONFEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSIONGENERAL
PART 7_ACCESS TO VOICEMAIL AND INTERACTIVE MENU SERVICES AND EQUIPMENT 
BY PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES--Table of Contents




Sec.

            Subpart A_Scope_Who Must Comply With These Rules?

7.1 Who must comply with these rules?

                          Subpart B_Definitions

7.3 Definitions.

          Subpart C_Obligations_What Must Covered Entities Do?

7.5 General obligations.
7.7 Product design, development and evaluation.
7.9 Information pass through.
7.11 Information, documentation and training.

                          Subpart D_Enforcement

7.15 Generally.
7.16 Informal or formal complaints.
7.17 Informal complaints; form and content.
7.18 Procedure; designation of agents for service.
7.19 Answers to informal complaints.
7.20 Review and disposition of informal complaints.
7.21 Formal complaints, applicability of Sections 1.720 through 1.736 
          of this chapter.
7.22 Formal complaints based on unsatisfied informal complaints.
7.23 Actions by the Commission on its own motion.

    Authority: 47 U.S.C. 1, 154(i), 154(j) 208, and 255.

    Source: 64 FR 63255, Nov. 19, 1999, unless otherwise noted.



            Subpart A_Scope_Who Must Comply With These Rules?



Sec. 7.1  Who must comply with these rules?

    The rules in this part apply to:
    (a) Any provider of voicemail or interactive menu service;
    (b) Any manufacturer of telecommunications equipment or customer 
premises equipment which performs a voicemail or interactive menu 
function.



                          Subpart B_Definitions



Sec. 7.3  Definitions.

    (a) The term accessible shall mean that:
    (1) Input, control, and mechanical functions shall be locatable, 
identifiable, and operable in accordance with each of the following, 
assessed independently:
    (i) Operable without vision. Provide at least one mode that does not 
require user vision.
    (ii) Operable with low vision and limited or no hearing. Provide at 
least one mode that permits operation by users with visual acuity 
between 20/70 and 20/200, without relying on audio output.
    (iii) Operable with little or no color perception. Provide at least 
one mode that does not require user color perception.
    (iv) Operable without hearing. Provide at least one mode that does 
not require user auditory perception.
    (v) Operable with limited manual dexterity. Provide at least one 
mode that does not require user fine motor control or simultaneous 
actions.
    (vi) Operable with limited reach and strength. Provide at least one 
mode that is operable with user limited reach and strength.
    (vii) Operable with a Prosthetic Device. Controls shall be operable 
without requiring body contact or close body proximity.
    (viii) Operable without time-dependent controls. Provide at least 
one mode that does not require a response time or allows a response to 
be by-passed or adjusted by the user over a wide range.
    (ix) Operable without speech. Provide at least one mode that does 
not require user speech.
    (x) Operable with limited cognitive skills. Provide at least one 
mode that minimizes the cognitive, memory, language, and learning skills 
required of the user.
    (2) All information necessary to operate and use the product, 
including but not limited to, text, static or dynamic images, icons, 
labels, sounds, or incidental operating cues, comply with

[[Page 717]]

each of the following, assessed independently:
    (i) Availability of visual information. Provide visual information 
through at least one mode in auditory form.
    (ii) Availability of visual information for low vision users. 
Provide visual information through at least one mode to users with 
visual acuity between 20/70 and 20/200 without relying on audio.
    (iii) Access to moving text. Provide moving text in at least one 
static presentation mode at the option of the user.
    (iv) Availability of auditory information. Provide auditory 
information through at least one mode in visual form and, where 
appropriate, in tactile form.
    (v) Availability of auditory information for people who are hard of 
hearing. Provide audio or acoustic information, including any auditory 
feedback tones that are important for the use of the product, through at 
least one mode in enhanced auditory fashion (i.e., increased 
amplification, increased signal-to-noise ratio, or combination).
    (vi) Prevention of visually-induced seizures. Visual displays and 
indicators shall minimize visual flicker that might induce seizures in 
people with photosensitive epilepsy.
    (vii) Availability of audio cutoff. Where a product delivers audio 
output through an external speaker, provide an industry standard 
connector for headphones or personal listening devices (e.g., phone-like 
handset or earcup) which cuts off the speaker(s) when used.
    (viii) Non-interference with hearing technologies. Reduce 
interference to hearing technologies (including hearing aids, cochlear 
implants, and assistive listening devices) to the lowest possible level 
that allows a user to utilize the product.
    (ix) Hearing aid coupling. Where a product delivers output by an 
audio transducer which is normally held up to the ear, provide a means 
for effective wireless coupling to hearing aids.
    (b) The term compatibility shall mean compatible with peripheral 
devices and specialized customer premises equipment commonly used by 
individuals with disabilities to achieve accessibility to voicemail and 
interactive menus, and in compliance with the following provisions, as 
applicable:
    (1) External electronic access to all information and control 
mechanisms. Information needed for the operation of products (including 
output, alerts, icons, on-line help, and documentation) shall be 
available in a standard electronic text format on a cross-industry 
standard port and all input to and control of a product shall allow for 
real time operation by electronic text input into a cross-industry 
standard external port and in cross-industry standard format. The cross-
industry standard port shall not require manipulation of a connector by 
the user.
    (2) Connection point for external audio processing devices. Products 
providing auditory output shall provide the auditory signal at a 
standard signal level through an industry standard connector.
    (3) TTY connectability. Products which provide a function allowing 
voice communication and which do not themselves provide a TTY 
functionality shall provide a standard non-acoustic connection point for 
TTYs. It shall also be possible for the user to easily turn any 
microphone on and off to allow the user to intermix speech with TTY use.
    (4) TTY signal compatibility. Products, including those providing 
voice communication functionality, shall support use of all cross-
manufacturer non-proprietary standard signals used by TTYs.
    (c) The term customer premises equipment shall mean equipment 
employed on the premises of a person (other than a carrier) to 
originate, route, or terminate telecommunications.
    (d) The term disability shall mean a physical or mental impairment 
that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of an 
individual; a record of such an impairment; or being regarded as having 
such an impairment.
    (e) The term interactive menu shall mean a feature that allows a 
service provider or operator of CPE to transmit information to a caller 
in visual and/or audible format for the purpose of management, control, 
or operations of a telecommunications system or service; and/or to 
request information

[[Page 718]]

from the caller in visual and/or audible format for the purpose of 
management, control, or operations of a telecommunications system or 
service; and/or to receive information from the caller in visual and/or 
audible format in response to a request, for the purpose of management, 
control, or operations of a telecommunications system or service. This 
feature, however, does not include the capability for generating, 
acquiring, storing, transforming, processing, retrieving, utilizing, or 
making available information via telecommunications for any purpose 
other than management, control, or operations of a telecommunications 
system or service.
    (f) The term manufacturer shall mean an entity that makes or 
produces a product.
    (g) The term peripheral devices shall mean devices employed in 
connection with equipment covered by this part to translate, enhance, or 
otherwise transform telecommunications into a form accessible to 
individuals with disabilities.
    (h) The term readily achievable shall mean, in general, easily 
accomplishable and able to be carried out without much difficulty or 
expense. In determining whether an action is readily achievable, factors 
to be considered include:
    (1) The nature and cost of the action needed;
    (2) The overall financial resources of the manufacturer or service 
provider involved in the action (the covered entity); the number of 
persons employed by such manufacturer or service provider; the effect on 
expenses and resources, or the impact otherwise of such action upon the 
operations of the manufacturer or service provider;
    (3) If applicable, the overall financial resources of the parent of 
the covered entity; the overall size of the business of the parent of 
the covered entity with respect to the number of its employees; the 
number, type, and location of its facilities; and
    (4) If applicable, the type of operation or operations of the 
covered entity, including the composition, structure and functions of 
the workforce of such entity; and the geographic separateness, 
administrative or fiscal relationship of covered entity in question to 
the parent entity.
    (i) The term specialized customer premises equipment shall mean 
customer premise equipment which is commonly used by individuals with 
disabilities to achieve access.
    (j) The term telecommunications equipment shall mean equipment, 
other than customer premises equipment, used by a carrier to provide 
telecommunications services, and includes software integral to such 
equipment (including upgrades).
    (k) The term telecommunications service shall mean the offering of 
telecommunications for a fee directly to the public, or to such classes 
of users as to be effectively available directly to the public, 
regardless of the facilities used.
    (l) The term usable shall mean that individuals with disabilities 
have access to the full functionality and documentation for the product, 
including instructions, product information (including accessible 
feature information), documentation, bills and technical support which 
is provided to individuals without disabilities.
    (m) The term Voicemail shall mean the capability of answering calls 
and recording incoming messages when a line is busy or does not answer 
within a pre-specified amount of time or number of rings; receiving 
those messages at a later time; and may also include the ability to 
determine the sender and time of transmission without hearing the entire 
message; the ability to forward the message to another voice massaging 
customer, with and/or without an appended new message; the ability for 
the sender to confirm receipt of a message; the ability to send, 
receive, and/or store facsimile messages; and possibly other features.



          Subpart C_Obligations_What Must Covered Entities Do?



Sec. 7.5  General Obligations.

    (a) Obligation of Manufacturers. (1) A manufacturer of 
telecommunications equipment or customer premises equipment covered by 
this part shall ensure that the equipment is designed, developed and 
fabricated so that the

[[Page 719]]

voicemail and interactive menu functions are accessible to and usable by 
individuals with disabilities, if readily achievable;
    (2) Whenever the requirements of paragraph (a)(1) of this section 
are not readily achievable, the manufacturer shall ensure that the 
equipment is compatible with existing peripheral devices or specialized 
customer premises equipment commonly used by individuals with 
disabilities to achieve access, if readily achievable.
    (b) Obligation of Service Providers. (1) A provider of voicemail or 
interactive menu shall ensure that the service is accessible to and 
usable by individuals with disabilities, if readily achievable.
    (2) Whenever the requirements of paragraph (a)(1) of this section 
are not readily achievable, the service provider shall ensure that the 
service is compatible with existing peripheral devices or specialized 
customer premises equipment commonly used by individuals with 
disabilities to achieve access, if readily achievable.



Sec. 7.7  Product design, development, and evaluation.

    (a) Manufacturers and service providers shall evaluate the 
accessibility, usability, and compatibility of equipment and services 
covered by this part and shall incorporate such evaluation throughout 
product design, development, and fabrication, as early and consistently 
as possible. Manufacturers and service providers shall identify barriers 
to accessibility and usability as part of such a product design and 
development process.
    (b) In developing such a process, manufacturers and service 
providers shall consider the following factors, as the manufacturer 
deems appropriate:
    (1) Where market research is undertaken, including individuals with 
disabilities in target populations of such research;
    (2) Where product design, testing, pilot demonstrations, and product 
trials are conducted, including individuals with disabilities in such 
activities;
    (3) Working cooperatively with appropriate disability-related 
organizations; and
    (4) Making reasonable efforts to validate any unproven access 
solutions through testing with individuals with disabilities or with 
appropriate disability-related organizations that have established 
expertise with individuals with disabilities.



Sec. 7.9  Information pass through.

    Telecommunications equipment and customer premises equipment shall 
pass through cross-manufacturer, non-proprietary, industry-standard 
codes, translation protocols, formats or other information necessary to 
provide telecommunications in an accessible format, if readily 
achievable. In particular, signal compression technologies shall not 
remove information needed for access or shall restore it upon 
decompression.



Sec. 7.11  Information, documentation, and training.

    (a) Manufacturers and service providers shall ensure access to 
information and documentation it provides to its customers, if readily 
achievable. Such information and documentation includes user guides, 
bills, installation guides for end-user installable devices, and product 
support communications, regarding both the product in general and the 
accessibility features of the product. Manufacturers shall take such 
other readily achievable steps as necessary including:
    (1) Providing a description of the accessibility and compatibility 
features of the product upon request, including, as needed, in alternate 
formats or alternate modes at no additional charge;
    (2) Providing end-user product documentation in alternate formats or 
alternate modes upon request at no additional charge; and
    (3) Ensuring usable customer support and technical support in the 
call centers and service centers which support their products at no 
additional charge.
    (b) Manufacturers and service providers shall include in general 
product information the contact method for obtaining the information 
required by paragraph (a) of this section.
    (c) In developing, or incorporating existing training programs, 
manufacturers and service providers shall consider the following topics:

[[Page 720]]

    (1) Accessibility requirements of individuals with disabilities;
    (2) Means of communicating with individuals with disabilities;
    (3) Commonly used adaptive technology used with the manufacturer's 
products;
    (4) Designing for accessibility; and
    (5) Solutions for accessibility and compatibility.



                          Subpart D_Enforcement



Sec. 7.15  Generally.

    (a) For purposes of Sec. Sec. 7.15-7.23 of this subpart, the term 
``manufacturers'' shall denote any manufacturer of telecommunications 
equipment or customer premises equipment which performs a voicemail or 
interactive menu function.
    (b) All manufacturers of telecommunications equipment or customer 
premise equipment (CPE) and all providers of voicemail and interactive 
menu services, as defined under this subpart, are subject to the 
enforcement provisions specified in the Act and the Commission's rules.
    (c) The term ``providers'' shall denote any provider of voicemail or 
interactive menu service.



Sec. 7.16  Informal or formal complaints.

    Complaints against manufacturers or providers, as defined under this 
subpart, for alleged violations of this subpart may be either informal 
or formal.



Sec. 7.17  Informal complaints; form and content.

    (a) An informal complaint alleging a violation of section 255 of the 
Act or this subpart may be transmitted to the Commission by any 
reasonable means, e.g., letter, facsimile transmission, telephone 
(voice/TRS/TTY), Internet e-mail, ASCII text, Internet e-mail, audio-
cassette recording, and braille.
    (b) An informal complaint shall include:
    (1) The name and address of the complainant;
    (2) The name and address of the manufacturer or provider against 
whom the complaint is made;
    (3) A full description of the telecommunications equipment or CPE 
and/or the telecommunications service about which the complaint is made;
    (4) The date or dates on which the complainant either purchased, 
acquired or used, or attempted to purchase, acquire or use the 
telecommunications equipment, CPE or telecommunications service about 
which the complaint is being made;
    (5) A complete statement of the facts, including documentation where 
available, supporting the complainant's allegation that: such 
telecommunications service, or such telecommunications equipment or CPE, 
is not accessible to, or usable by, a person with a particular 
disability or persons with disabilities within the meaning of this 
subpart and section 255 of the Act; or that the defendant has otherwise 
failed to comply with the requirements of this subpart.
    (6) The specific relief or satisfaction sought by the complainant, 
and
    (7) The complainant's preferred format or method of response to the 
complaint by the Commission and defendant (e.g., letter, facsimile 
transmission, telephone (voice/TRS/TTY), Internet e-mail, ASCII text, 
audio-cassette recording, braille; or some other method that will best 
accommodate the complainant's disability).



Sec. 7.18  Procedure; designation of agents for service.

    (a) The Commission shall promptly forward any informal complaint 
meeting the requirements of Sec. 7.17 to each manufacturer and provider 
named in or determined by the staff to be implicated by the complaint. 
Such manufacturer(s) or provider(s) shall be called on to satisfy or 
answer the complaint within the time specified by the Commission.
    (b) To ensure prompt and effective service of informal and formal 
complaints filed under this subpart, every manufacturer and provider 
subject to the requirements of section 255 of the Act and this subpart, 
shall designate an agent, and may designate additional agents if it so 
chooses, upon whom service may be made of all notices, inquiries, 
orders, decisions, and other pronouncements of the Commission in any 
matter before the Commission. Such designation shall include, for

[[Page 721]]

both the manufacturer or the provider, a name or department designation, 
business address, telephone number, and, if available TTY number, 
facsimile number, and Internet e-mail address.



Sec. 7.19  Answers to informal complaints.

    Any manufacturer or provider to whom an informal complaint is 
directed by the Commission under this subpart shall file an answer 
within the time specified by the Commission. The answer shall:
    (a) Be prepared or formatted in the manner requested by the 
complainant pursuant to Sec. 7.17, unless otherwise permitted by the 
Commission for good cause shown;
    (b) Describe any actions that the defendant has taken or proposes to 
take to satisfy the complaint;
    (c) Advise the complainant and the Commission of the nature of the 
defense(s) claimed by the defendant;
    (d) Respond specifically to all material allegations of the 
complaint; and
    (e) Provide any other information or materials specified by the 
Commission as relevant to its consideration of the complaint.



Sec. 7.20  Review and disposition of informal complaints.

    (a) Where it appears from the defendant's answer, or from other 
communications with the parties, that an informal complaint has been 
satisfied, the Commission may, in its discretion, consider the informal 
complaint closed, without response to the complainant or defendant. In 
all other cases, the Commission shall inform the parties of its review 
and disposition of a complaint filed under this subpart. Where 
practicable, this information, the nature of which is specified in 
paragraphs (b) through (d) of this section, shall be transmitted to the 
complainant and defendant in the manner requested by the complainant, 
(e.g., letter, facsimile transmission, telephone (voice/TRS/TTY), 
Internet e-mail, ASCII text, audio-cassette recording, or braille).
    (b) In the event the Commission determines, based on a review of the 
information provided in the informal complaint and the defendant's 
answer thereto, that no further action is required by the Commission 
with respect to the allegations contained in the informal complaint, the 
informal complaint shall be closed and the complainant and defendant 
shall be duly informed of the reasons therefor. A complainant 
unsatisfied with the defendant's response to the informal complaint and 
the staff decision to terminate action on the informal complaint may 
file a formal complaint with the Commission, as specified in Sec. 7.22 
of this subpart.
    (c) In the event the Commission determines, based on a review of the 
information presented in the informal complaint and the defendant's 
answer thereto, that a material and substantial question remains as to 
the defendant's compliance with the requirements of this subpart, the 
Commission may conduct such further investigation or such further 
proceedings as may be necessary to determine the defendant's compliance 
with the requirements of this subpart and to determine what, if any, 
remedial actions and/or sanctions are warranted.
    (d) In the event that the Commission determines, based on a review 
of the information presented in the informal complaint and the 
defendant's answer thereto, that the defendant has failed to comply with 
or is presently not in compliance with the requirements of this subpart, 
the Commission may order or prescribe such remedial actions and/or 
sanctions as are authorized under the Act and the Commission's rules and 
which are deemed by the Commission to be appropriate under the facts and 
circumstances of the case.



Sec. 7.21  Formal complaints, applicability of Sec. Sec. 1.720 through 
1.736 of this chapter.

    Formal complaints against a manufacturer or provider, as defined 
under this subpart, may be filed in the form and in the manner 
prescribed under Sec. Sec. 1.720 through 1.736 of this chapter. 
Commission staff may grant waivers of, or exceptions to, particular 
requirements under Sec. Sec. 1.720 through 1.736 for good cause shown; 
provided, however, that such waiver authority may not be exercised in a 
manner that relieves, or

[[Page 722]]

has the effect of relieving, a complainant of the obligation under 
Sec. Sec. 1.720 and 1.728 of this chapter to allege facts which, if 
true, are sufficient to constitute a violation or violations of section 
255 of the Act or this chapter.



Sec. 7.22  Formal complaints based on unsatisfied informal complaints.

    A formal complaint filing based on an unsatisfied informal complaint 
filed pursuant to Sec. 4.16 of this chapter shall be deemed to relate 
back to the filing date of the informal complaint if it is filed within 
ninety days from the date that the Commission notifies the complainant 
of its disposition of the informal complaint and based on the same 
operative facts as those alleged in the informal complaint.



Sec. 7.23  Actions by the Commission on its own motion.

    The Commission may on its own motion conduct such inquiries and hold 
such proceedings as it may deem necessary to enforce the requirements of 
this part and Section 255 of the Communications Act. The procedures to 
be followed by the Commission shall, unless specifically prescribed in 
the Act and the Commission's rules, be such as in the opinion of the 
Commission will best serve the purposes of such inquiries and 
proceedings.