FCC Record, Volume 27, No. 5, Pages 3728 to 4696, April 9 - April 27, 2012 Page: 3,761
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entities, will have an additional three months to meet this requirement. For handset models introduced
during the first 12 months after the rules are published in the Federal Register, manufacturers and service
providers will be required, when disclosing hearing aid compatibility information about a handset, to
indicate if a handset has been tested and found not to meet hearing aid compatibility criteria over
frequency bands and air interfaces that are outside the 2007 ANSI Standard. Manufacturers and service
providers, including small entities, are already subject to similar requirements under the existing hearing
aid compatibility rules, and the new rules will not impose materially greater compliance obligations on
E. Steps Taken to Minimize Significant Economic Impact on Small Entities, and
Significant Alternatives Considered
30. The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant, specifically small business
alternatives that it has considered in developing its approach, which may include the following four
alternatives (among others): "(1) the establishment of differing compliance or reporting requirements or
timetables that take into account the resources available to small entities; (2) the clarification,
consolidation, or simplification of compliance and reporting requirements under the rule for such small
entities; (3) the use of performance rather than design standards; and (4) an exemption from coverage of
the rule, or any part thereof, for such small entities."'0'
31. In adopting the Third Report and Order, we codify the new 2011 ANSI Standard as an
applicable technical standard, in addition to the 2007 ANSI Standard, for evaluating the hearing aid
compatibility of wireless phones. Permitting a choice of standards within the rule may ease burdens on
manufacturers, including small entities. Commenters, including those representing the interests of small
wireless carriers,to2 requested that we clarify that handsets already certified under the 2007 ANSI
Standard will continue to be treated as hearing aid-compatible without any need for recertification. Under
the rules we adopt, existing handset models will not need to be retested or recertified as hearing aid-
32. We also adopt a 12-month transition period for testing of new multi-band and multi-mode
handset models in order to reduce burdens on small entities and others with respect to handset models that
are currently in development. Under the rules that we adopt, multi-band and multi-mode handset models
launched earlier than 12 months after Federal Register publication of these rule changes will be
considered hearing aid-compatible for operations covered under the 2007 ANSI Standard even if they are
not certified as hearing aid-compatible for their other operations. We considered the alternative proposal
of a 24-month testing transition period.'13 We conclude based on all the comments that a 12-month
period is sufficient for manufacturers, including small entities, to arrange for testing under the new rules
of their products that are in development, and that a shorter period would better meet the needs of
consumers with hearing loss.
33. For handsets launched during the 12-month transition period that meet hearing aid
compatibility criteria over previously covered air interfaces and frequency bands, but that have been
tested and found not to meet such criteria over one or more newly covered air interfaces or frequency
bands, we require that manufacturers and service providers disclose to consumers by clear and effective
means that the handset does not meet hearing aid compatibility ratings for some of its operations. We
considered the alternative proposal of prescribing specific disclosure language, but we find it more
prudent to rely on a general disclosure requirement backed by case-by-case resolution in the event of
disputes given the lack of consensus for specific language and the fact that the situation is likely rarely to
To' 5 U.S.C. 603(c)() - (c)(4).
1o2 See generally RCA Reply Comments.
0Io3 See TIA Comments at 4-5.
Federal Communications Commission
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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/m1/50/: accessed March 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.