FCC Record, Volume 27, No. 5, Pages 3728 to 4696, April 9 - April 27, 2012 Page: 3,741
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Federal Communications Commission
20. In the absence of a consensus or a demonstrated problem, we find it prudent not to
prescribe language that may hinder regulated entities from developing and employing more effective
disclosures. Moreover, as explained in the Second Further Notice, it is likely that few handsets that meet
hearing aid compatibility standards for operations that are covered under the 2007 ANSI Standard will not
also meet the hearing aid compatibility standards for newly covered operations.6 Nonetheless, we note
that the language proposed by Consumer Groups appears to provide appropriate information to
consumers, and to the extent it is applicable to their particular circumstances, we encourage
manufacturers and service providers to consider modeling their disclosures on this language.57 We will
resolve any disputes over the adequacy of individual disclosures on a case-by-case basis. In addition, we
will revisit the possibility of prescribing disclosure language in the event disputes or misunderstandings
develop in practice.
C. Transition Period for Applying Deployment Benchmarks
21. As discussed above, the 2011 ANSI Standard enables handsets to be tested for hearing
aid compatibility over a broad range of frequency bands and independent of air interface technology.
Therefore, following our adoption of this new standard and completion of the applicable transition period,
the Commission's benchmark rules for hearing aid-compatible handset deployment will apply to handset
operations over additional air interfaces and frequency bands. Under Section 20.19(k)(1), WTB and OET
shall set the date when existing deployment benchmarks, and other attendant Section 20.19 hearing aid
compatibility obligations, shall begin to apply to handset operations over newly covered air interfaces and
frequency bands no earlier than one year after release of the order for manufacturers and Tier I carriers
and no earlier than 15 months after release for other service providers.5"
22. As proposed in the Second Further Notice,59 we adopt a 24-month transition period for
manufacturers and Tier I service providers, and 27 months for non-Tier I service providers, to apply the
Commission's existing deployment benchmarks to handset operations over air interfaces and frequency
bands that are not covered under the 2007 ANSI Standard but are covered under the 2011 ANSI Standard.
Consumer Groups argue that we should adopt the minimum permissible 12-month and 15-month
transition periods in order to serve the needs of consumers with hearing loss, stating that the changes in
the standard are not dramatic and that manufacturers and service providers have had ample time to
anticipate any possible effects.6 Other commenters contend, however, that a longer, two-year period is
necessary to allow affected parties to adjust existing handset inventories.6"
23. While we recognize that a shorter transition period would benefit consumers if sufficient
hearing aid-compatible models were in fact made available within that period to meet the benchmarks, we
are not persuaded that meeting these targets is generally feasible for manufacturers and service providers.
Meeting deployment benchmarks requires not only that hearing aid-compatible handsets be designed and
tested under the new standard, but that manufacturers and service providers adjust their portfolios over
56 Second Further Notice. 26 FCC Red at 14996 9.
57 We note that Consumer Groups modeled their disclosure after the existing language for handsets with untested
operations that was previously agreed to by representatives of all interests. See 47 C.F.R. 20.19(f)(2).
5" Id. 20.19(k)(1).
59 Second Further Notice, 26 FCC Rcd at 15000-01 App. A (setting forth proposed rule Sections 20.19(c), (d)).
60 See Consumer Groups Comments at 2. Indeed, Consumer Groups state that they would prefer an even tighter
schedule. Id. HIA also states generally that it supports "expeditious transition periods." HIA Comments at 2.
61 See AT&T Reply Comments at 4; CTIA Reply Comments at 5-6; RCA Reply Comments at 2; Sprint Comments
at 1-2; TIA Reply Comments at 2-3.
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United States. Federal Communications Commission. FCC Record, Volume 27, No. 5, Pages 3728 to 4696, April 9 - April 27, 2012, book, April 2012; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc102307/m1/30/: accessed July 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.