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  • Federal Communications Commission FCC 16-53

    Before the Federal Communications Commission

    Washington, D.C. 20554

    In the Matter of

    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

    ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) )

    CG Docket No. 16-145

    GN Docket No. 15-178

    NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULEMAKING

    Adopted: April 28, 2016 Released: April 29, 2016

    Comment Date: [45 days after publication in the Federal Register] Reply Comment Date: [60 days after publication in the Federal Register]

    By the Commission: Chairman Wheeler and Commissioners Clyburn, Rosenworcel, and Pai issuing separate statements; Commissioner O’Rielly approving in part, dissenting in part, and issuing a statement.

    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    Heading Paragraph #

    I. INTRODUCTION AND EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ........................................................................... 1 II. BACKGROUND.................................................................................................................................... 4 III. THE LIMITATIONS OF TTY TECHNOLOGY AND THE NEED FOR A RULEMAKING .......... 11

    A. The Limitations and Declining Use of TTY Technology .............................................................. 11 B. Need for a More Advanced Text Communications Solution......................................................... 13

    IV. PROPOSALS FOR RTT IMPLEMENTATION ................................................................................. 15 A. RTT Support by Wireless Providers and Manufacturers ............................................................... 16

    1. Transmission of RTT over IP-based Wireless Services .......................................................... 16 2. End User Device Support for RTT.......................................................................................... 17

    B. Timelines ....................................................................................................................................... 25 V. ADVANTAGES OF RTT .................................................................................................................... 32 VI. MINIMUM FUNCTIONALITIES OF RTT ........................................................................................ 43

    A. Interoperability............................................................................................................................... 45 1. Need for Interoperability ......................................................................................................... 45 2. RFC 4103 as a Safe Harbor RTT Standard ............................................................................. 48

    B. Backward Compatibility with TTY Technology ........................................................................... 60 C. Other RTT Functionalities for Wireless Services .......................................................................... 67

    1. Initiation of Calls Using RTT.................................................................................................. 68 2. Support for 911 Emergency Communications ........................................................................ 69

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    3. Latency and Error Rate of Text Transmittal............................................................................ 70 4. Multimedia and TRS ............................................................................................................... 73 5. Character and Text Capabilities .............................................................................................. 79 6. Accessibility, Usability, and Compatibility with Assistive Technologies .............................. 81 7. Other Features ......................................................................................................................... 83

    D. Support of RTT Functionalities in Wireless Devices .................................................................... 85 1. Features and Functionalities .................................................................................................... 85 2. Device Portability and Interface with Third-Party Applications............................................. 86 3. Minimizing Costs Incurred by Consumers.............................................................................. 89

    VII. CONSUMER OUTREACH AND NOTIFICATIONS ....................................................................... 91 VIII. OTHER MATTERS........................................................................................................................... 94 IX. RTT IMPLEMENTATION IN IP-BASED WIRELINE NETWORKS AND EQUIPMENT............. 95 X. LEGAL AUTHORITY....................................................................................................................... 100

    A. Amendment of Section 20.18 ...................................................................................................... 101 B. Amendment of Parts 6, 7, and 14................................................................................................. 106 C. Amendment of Part 64................................................................................................................. 109

    XI. PROCEDURAL MATTERS.............................................................................................................. 111 A. Comment Filing Procedures ........................................................................................................ 111 B. Ex Parte Presentations ................................................................................................................. 116 C. Regulatory Flexibility Act ........................................................................................................... 117 D. Paperwork Reduction Act Analysis ............................................................................................. 118 E. Materials in Accessible Formats .................................................................................................. 119

    XII. ORDERING CLAUSES.................................................................................................................... 121 APPENDIX A – Proposed Rules APPENDIX B – List of Commenters APPENDIX C – Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    I. INTRODUCTION AND EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

    1. In this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Notice), we propose amendments to our 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, speech disabled, and deaf-blind over Internet Protocol (IP) enabled networks and services. Real-time text is a mode of communication that permits text to be sent immediately as it is being created. As a technology designed for today’s IP environment, and one that allows the use of off-the-shelf rather than specialized end user devices, RTT can, for the first time in our nation’s history, enable people with disabilities who rely on text to use text-based communications services that are fully integrated with mainstream communications services and devices used by the general public. In addition, RTT’s advanced features, including its speed, full character set, reliability, and ease of use, can significantly improve access to emergency services for people with disabilities and help reduce reliance on telecommunications relay services.

    2. In order to facilitate an effective and seamless transition to RTT, we propose to amend the Commission’s rules as follows:

     We propose to replace our rules governing the obligations of wireless service providers and equipment manufacturers to support TTY technology with rules defining the obligations of these entities to support RTT over IP-based wireless voice services.

     We propose that, for wireless service providers’ and equipment manufacturers’ support of RTT to be deemed sufficient for compliance with our rules:

     RTT communications must be interoperable across networks and devices, and this may achieved through adherence to RFC 4103, as a “safe harbor” standard for RTT;

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  • Federal Communications Commission FCC 16-53

     RTT communications must be backward compatible with TTY technology, until the Commission determines that such compatibility is no longer necessary; and

     Wireless services and equipment capable of sending, receiving and displaying text must support specific RTT functions, features, and capabilities necessary to ensure that people with disabilities have accessible and effective text-based communications service.

     We propose establishing timelines for implementation of RTT as follows:

     For Tier I wireless service providers, and manufacturers that provide devices for such services, implementation of RTT would be required by December 31, 2017.

     For non-Tier I wireless providers, and manufacturers of equipment used with such services, we seek comment on an appropriate timeline for implementation of RTT.

     Finally, we seek comment on whether to amend the Commission’s rules to place comparable responsibilities to support RTT on providers and manufacturers of wireline IP services and equipment that enable consumers to initiate and receive communications by voice.

    3. We believe that the