[Title 47 CFR 6]
[Code of Federal Regulations (annual edition) - October 1, 2004 Edition]
[Title 47 - TELECOMMUNICATION]
[Chapter I - FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION]
[Subchapter A - GENERAL]
[Part 6 - ACCESS TO TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICE, TELECOMMUNICATIONS EQUIPMENT]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
47TELECOMMUNICATION12004-10-012004-10-01falseACCESS TO TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICE, TELECOMMUNICATIONS EQUIPMENT6PART 6TELECOMMUNICATIONFEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSIONGENERAL
PART 6_ACCESS TO TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICE, TELECOMMUNICATIONS EQUIPMENT
AND CUSTOMER PREMISES EQUIPMENT BY PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES--Table of
Subpart A_Scope_Who Must Comply With These Rules?
Subpart C_Obligations_What Must Covered Entities Do?
6.5 General obligations.
6.7 Product design, development and evaluation.
6.9 Information pass through.
6.11 Information, documentation and training.
6.16 Informal or formal complaints.
6.17 Informal complaints; form and content.
6.18 Procedure; designation of agents for service.
6.19 Answers to informal complaints.
6.20 Review and disposition of informal complaints.
6.21 Formal complaints, applicability of Sections 1.720 through 1.736
of this chapter.
6.22 Formal complaints based on unsatisfied informal complaints.
6.23 Actions by the Commission on its own motion.
Authority: 47 U.S.C. 154(i), 154(j), 208, 255.
Source: 64 FR 63251, Nov. 19, 1999, unless otherwise noted.
Subpart A_Scope_Who Must Comply With These Rules?
Sec. 6.1 Applicability.
The rules in this part apply to:
(a) Any provider of telecommunications service;
(b) Any manufacturer of telecommunications equipment or customer
premises equipment; and
(c) Any telecommunications carrier.
Sec. 6.3 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,
(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
(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 response time
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 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
telecommunications services, 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
(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
record of such an impairment; or being regarded as having such an
(e) The term manufacturer shall mean an entity that makes or
produces a product.
(f) 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.
(g) 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 entity; the overall size of the business of the parent 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 the covered entity in question
to the parent entity.
(h) The term specialized customer premises equipment shall mean
customer premise equipment which is commonly used by individuals with
disabilities to achieve access.
(i) 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).
(j) 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.
(k) 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.
Subpart C_Obligations_What Must Covered Entities Do?
Sec. 6.5 General obligations.
(a) Obligation of Manufacturers. (1) A manufacturer of
telecommunications equipment or customer premises equipment shall ensure
that the equipment is designed, developed and fabricated so that the
telecommunications functions of the equipment 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 a
telecommunications service shall ensure that the service is accessible
to and usable by individuals with disabilities, if readily achievable.
(2) Whenever the requirements of paragraph (b)(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.
(c) Obligation of Telecommunications Carriers. Each
telecommunications carrier must not install network features, functions,
or capabilities that do not comply with the guidelines and standards
established pursuant to this part or part 7 of this chapter.
Sec. 6.7 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
(b) In developing such a process, manufacturers and service
providers shall consider the following factors, as the manufacturer
(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
(3) Working cooperatively with appropriate disability-related
(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. 6.9 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
Sec. 6.11 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
(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
(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
(4) Designing for accessibility; and
(5) Solutions for accessibility and compatibility.
Sec. 6.15 Generally.
(a) All manufacturers of telecommunications equipment or customer
premise equipment (CPE) and all providers of telecommunications
services, as defined under this subpart, are subject to the enforcement
provisions specified in the Act and the Commission's rules.
(b) For purposes of Sec. Sec. 6.15 through 6.23, the term
``manufacturers'' shall denote manufacturers of telecommunications
equipment or CPE and the term ``providers'' shall denote providers of
Sec. 6.16 Informal or formal complaints.
Complaints against manufacturers or providers, as defined under this
subpart, for alleged violations of this subpart may be either informal
Sec. 6.17 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, audio-cassette recording,
(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,
(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. 6.18 Procedure; designation of agents for service.
(a) The Commission shall promptly forward any informal complaint
meeting the requirements of Sec. 6.17 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 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. 6.19 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. 6.17, 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
(e) Provide any other information or materials specified by the
Commission as relevant to its consideration of the complaint.
Sec. 6.20 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. 6.22.
(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. 6.21 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 of this chapter for
good cause shown; provided, however, that such waiver authority may not
be exercised in a manner that relieves, or 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 subpart.
Sec. 6.22 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. 6.23 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 subpart and section 255 of the Communications Act. The procedures
to be followed by the Commission shall, unless specifically prescribed
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