FCC Tallies Telecom Access Complaints

The FCC's Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau (CGB) announced information regarding informal consumer complaints processed by its Disability Rights Office (DRO) during the first quarter of the calendar year 2009 (Jan. 1-March 31). DRO processes informal complaints in the following five categories: (1) access to telecommunications services and equipment (47 U.S.C Section 255), (2) telecommunications relay services (TRS) (Section 225), (3) closed captioning (Section 79.1), (4) accessibility of video programming providing emergency information (Section 79.2), and (5) hearing aid compatibility (Section 610).

For the first quarter of 2009, DRO received the following number of informal complaints, by subject matter, implicating the commission's disability access rules: 22 informal complaints raised Section 255 issues; 60 informal complaints raised TRS issues; 142 informal complaints raised closed captioning issues; 2 informal complaints raised accessibility of video programming providing emergency information issues; and no informal complaints raised hearing aid compatibility issues.

On Feb. 1, 2008, CGB launched a new database tracking system for informal complaints, called the Consumer Complaint Management System, which uses the Form 2000C for all disability access informal complaints regarding the five categories listed above. Consumers can access this complaint form at www.fcc.gov/cgb/form2000c.html.

The commission notes that it receives many inquiries and complaints that do not involve violations of the Communications Act, a commission rule, or a commission order and that the existence of a complaint does not necessarily indicate wrongdoing by the company at issue. For more information regarding access to telecommunications for people with disabilities and other related matters, visit the DRO Web site at www.fcc.gov/cgb/dro.

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