Telecommunications Access for People with Disabilities

Background

For people with a disabling condition, using the telephone can be difficult. People with all types of disabilities benefit from access to data and communications technology. Service providers, manufacturers, and public officials should intentionally try to ensure that technological innovations are available and accessible for people with disabilities. This maximizes access to this technology.

For example, in 2008 the Federal Communications Commission mandated that consumers with hearing and speech disabilities must have access to a telephone network that is “functionally equivalent” to voice telephone services.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS ACCESS FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: Policy

Ensuring access

In this policy: Federal

The Federal Communications Commission should ensure access to technological advancements for people with disabilities. Technological advancements should benefit people with all types of disabilities, including sensory, physical, speech-related, and cognitive disabilities.

The Federal Communications Commission should develop, in consultation with representatives of the disability community, standards to ensure that advances in telecommunications services and networks are designed to be affordable and accessible to people with disabilities. The Department of Justice should enforce these standards.