The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued their Report and Order and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on Hearing Aid Compatible Wireless Phones. Posted with the Order are comments from the Commissioners. Chairman Tom Wheeler notes:
[The] Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeks comment on a groundbreaking consensus plan developed through collaborative discussion among consumer and industry representatives. Their plan would, for the first time, establish a goal of achieving hearing aid compatibility for one hundred percent of new handsets, and it would also set out a staged roadmap, fixed timeline, and benchmarks to get to that important point. We seek comment on this approach, but we also note that we presumptively support it, and we highlight it in the NPRM as the core proposal.
…[E]xpanding the scope to cover new technologies and enlisting stakeholders to make all devices compatible – will result in greater access to wireless technologies for the tens of millions of Americans with hearing loss. We are not forced to choose between innovative technologies in the one hand and devices accessible to people with hearing loss on the other. American innovation can enable – not limit – accessibility for all devices and technology by those with hearing loss.