FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Washington, DC 20554
In the Matter of )
Amendment of the Commission?s Rules ) WT Docket No. 07-250
Governing Hearing Aid-Compatible Mobile )
To: Wireless Communications Bureau and Office of Engineering and Technology
COMMENTS OF CTIA ? THE WIRELESS ASSOCIATION®
CTIA ? The Wireless Association® (?CTIA?)1 hereby submits these Comments in
response to the above-captioned Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (?NPRM?)2
released by the Commission?s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (?WTB?) and Office of
Engineering and Technology (?OET?) (the ?Bureaus?), acting on delegated authority. The
NPRM proposes to revise the Commission?s hearing aid compatibility (?HAC?) rules by
incorporating the 2011 revision of American National Standards Institute (?ANSI?) technical
standard C63.19 (the ?2011 ANSI HAC Standard?)3 into the rules, replacing the 2007 version of
1 CTIA ? The Wireless Association® is the international organization of the wireless
communications industry for both wireless carriers and manufacturers. Membership in the
organization covers Commercial Mobile Radio Service (?CMRS?) providers and manufacturers,
including cellular, Advanced Wireless Service, 700 MHz, broadband PCS, and ESMR, as well as
providers and manufacturers of wireless data services and products.
2 Amendment of the Commission?s Rules Governing Hearing Aid-Compatible Mobile Handsets,
Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 26 FCC Rcd 14991 (WTB/OET 2011)
3 Accredited Standards Committee C63® ? Electromagnetic Compatibility, American National
Standard Methods of Measurement of Compatibility between Wireless Communications Devices
and Hearing Aids, ANSI C63.19-2011 (May 27, 2011) (?2011 ANSI HAC Standard?).
2that standard (?2007 ANSI HAC Standard?).4 Specifically, CTIA supports the adoption of the
2011 ANSI HAC Standard, which will extend HAC testing to new and innovative wireless
handsets and, consistent with Commission precedent, urges the Bureaus to:
? Expressly state that wireless handsets already certified under the 2007 ANSI HAC
Standard do not need to be recertified under the new standard going forward;
? Expressly state that service providers and manufacturers may count those already
certified handsets as hearing aid-compatible even after the 2011 ANSI HAC standard
becomes mandatory for new certifications; and
? Adopt a 24-month transition period that is necessary to account for the typical product
cycle in the wireless handset market.
The HAC rules for digital wireless handsets have successfully contributed to the
increased availability of hearing aid-compatible handsets, based in large part on the collaborative
efforts of consumers, industry and the Commission. Adoption of the 2011 ANSI HAC Standard
should help continue this success by updating, extending, and improving the technical standards
for HAC testing of wireless handsets. In fact, the Twenty-First Century Communication &
Video Accessibility Act (?CVAA?)5 largely ratifies the Commission?s deliberative approach to
wireless HAC compliance.6
4 Accredited Standards Committee C63® ? Electromagnetic Compatibility, American National
Standard Methods of Measurement of Compatibility between Wireless Communications Devices
and Hearing Aids, ANSI C63.19-2007 (Jun. 8, 2007) (?2007 ANSI HAC Standard?). Accredited
Standards Committee C63® ? Electromagnetic Compatibility (?ASC C63®?) is the committee
responsible for developing these standards.
5 See Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, § 102, Pub. L.
No. 111-260, 124 Stat. 2751 (2010) (codified in several sections of Title 47 of the United States
Code) (the ?CVAA?). See also Amendment of Twenty-First Century Communications and Video
4In contrast, in November 2006, manufacturers offered 113 models with an M3/M4 rating and 57
models with a T3/T4 rating.8
CTIA views the NPRM as proposing a meaningful step to keep the Commission?s HAC
rules current with new wireless technologies and testing methods.9 While CTIA and our member
companies support the Commission?s adoption of the 2011 ANSI HAC Standard, CTIA
continues to recommend that the Commission take a holistic approach to HAC with wireless
handsets by considering issues concerning hearing aid device immunity with respect to any
future rules and regulations. The Commission therefore should work with relevant federal
agencies and other stakeholders to determine the compatibility and immunity capabilities that
would be appropriate for hearing aid devices.10
II. CTIA SUPPORTS ADOPTION OF THE 2011 ANSI HAC STANDARD FOR
WIRELESS HANDSETS CONSISTENT WITH THE COMMISSION?S
LONGSTANDING APPROACH TO IMPLEMENTING THE HAC RULES
A. The Commission Should Incorporate the 2011 ANSI HAC Standard into the
CTIA supports the NPRM?s proposal to adopt the 2011 ANSI HAC Standard into the
HAC rules. Adoption of the 2011 ANSI HAC Standard as a technical standard for evaluating the
hearing aid compatibility of wireless handsets will advance the public interest by updating the
8 Section 68.4(a) of the Commission?s Rules Governing Hearing Aid-Compatible Telephones,
Report on the Status of Implementation of the Commission?s Hearing Aid Compatibility
Requirements, 22 FCC Rcd 17709, 17719?20, ¶ 21 (WTB 2007). See also Comments of CTIA,
WT Docket No. 10-133 (filed Jul. 30, 2010) at 20 (reporting that at least 33 companies
manufacture more than 630 unique devices for the U.S. market).
9 CTIA recognizes that the NPRM is limited in scope and does not address all pending issues
regarding hearing aid compatibility. See NPRM at 14994, ¶ 5.
10 See Comments of CTIA, WT Docket No. 07-250 (filed Oct. 25, 2010) at 12-13.
5Commission?s rules consistent with advances in technology and bringing additional frequency
bands and air interfaces into the Commission?s HAC regime.11
The proposed adoption will provide greater certainty and flexibility to service providers
and equipment manufacturers in determining compliance with the HAC rules. As the NPRM
notes,12 ?[t]he operating frequency range for wireless devices covered by the 2011 ANSI HAC
Standard has been expanded to 698 MHz - 6 GHz.?13 In addition, in the new standard, the radio
frequency (?RF?) interference level of wireless handsets to hearing aids is measured directly,
which, with other new features of the standard, ?allows testing procedures to be applied to
operations over any RF air interface or protocol.?14 Moreover, the 2011 ANSI HAC Standard
exempts from RF emissions testing some lower power transmitters that are ?unlikely to cause
unacceptable RF interference to hearing aids.?15 These transmitters are deemed to have an
acceptable M4 rating. Considering these factors, CTIA agrees with standards committee ASC
C63® that the improved tests in the 2011 ANSI HAC better measure the potential for hearing aid
interference,16 which will serve the interests of wireless consumers that use hearing aids.
11 See NPRM at 14994, ¶ 6.
12 See id. at 14992, ¶ 3.
13 See id., citing 2011 ANSI HAC Standard at 13.
14 See NPRM at 14993, ¶ 3, citing Supplemental Report and Comments of ANSI ASC C63®, WT
Docket Nos. 07-250, 01-309, 06-150 (June 24, 2011), Annex A at ii (?ASC C63® Supplemental
Report?); 2011 ANSI HAC Standard at 12, 14-15.
15 See NPRM at 14993, ¶ 3, citing 2011 ANSI Standard at 12-13; ASC C63® Supplemental
Report, Annex A at ii.
16 See ASC C63® Supplemental Report at 3.
6B. The Commission Should Make Clear that Wireless Handsets Already
Certified Under the 2007 ANSI HAC Standard Do Not Need Recertification
and that Such Handsets Will Continue to Count as HAC Compliant.
The NPRM appropriately offers manufacturers the flexibility to achieve certification
under the 2007 ANSI HAC Standard if a handset is launched within the transition period to the
adopted 2011 ANSI HAC Standard.17 The proposed rules provide that for RF interference, a
wireless handset submitted for equipment certification or for a permissive change relating to
hearing aid compatibility must meet, at a minimum, the M3 rating associated with either the
2007 ANSI HAC Standard or the 2011 ANSI HAC Standard.18 Similarly, for inductive
coupling, a wireless handset submitted for equipment certification or for a permissive change
relating to hearing aid compatibility must meet, at a minimum, the T3 rating associated with
either the 2007 ANSI HAC Standard or the 2011 ANSI HAC Standard.19
To avoid confusion and to ensure consistency with Commission precedent in this
proceeding,20 the Bureaus should make clear that manufacturers and/or service providers are not
required to recertify existing handsets under the new 2011 ANSI HAC Standard if those handsets
have been certified under a standard that the Commission accepted at the time of certification.
Recertification in these circumstances would introduce unnecessary and confusing compliance
issues for wireless handset manufacturers and service providers.
Moreover, the Bureaus should state expressly that for purposes of compliance with the
Commission?s HAC benchmarks, service providers and manufacturers should be able to count
17 See NPRM at 14994?95, ¶ 7.
18 See NPRM at 14999, Appendix A, proposed § 20.19(b)(1).
19 See id., proposed § 20.19(b)(2).
20 See Amendment of the Commission?s Rules Governing Hearing Aid-Compatible Mobile
Handsets; Petition of American National Standards Institute Accredited Standards Committee
C63 (EMC) ANSI ASC C63®, First Report and Order, 23 FCC Rcd 3406, 3439, ¶ 81 (2008).
7handsets previously certified under older standards that are offered after adoption of the 2011
ANSI HAC Standard. This approach will minimize handset manufacturer and wireless service
provider concerns regarding complying with the Commission?s HAC benchmarks while
continuing to maximize the availability of HAC wireless handsets for consumers.
These express statements by the Bureaus would be consistent with prior Commission
precedent in the HAC docket. In 2008, when adopting the 2007 ANSI HAC Standard as a
replacement for earlier standards, the Commission made clear the following:
We further determine not to require recertification of handsets previously certified
under one of the older standards, but instead to continue recognizing such phones as
hearing aid-compatible even after the 2007 standard becomes mandatory for new
The Bureaus should make similar determinations for service providers and manufacturers in this
case and revise the proposed rules accordingly, to simplify the transition for service providers,
manufacturers, and consumers.
C. The Proposed Rule Changes Will Likely Maintain Existing Compliance
Costs to Certify and Offer New HACWireless Handsets
As the NPRM recognizes, wireless handsets operating in newly covered air interfaces are
not expected to have technical difficulty meeting HAC ratings using the 2011 ANSI HAC
Standard.22 CTIA agrees that the adoption of the 2011 ANSI HAC Standard is also unlikely to
impose any new or additional major compliance issues or impose materially greater obligations
with respect to wireless handsets operating in newly covered frequency bands and air interfaces
21 Id. (emphasis added); see also id., 23 FCC Rcd at 3440, ¶ 83 (?Grants of equipment
certification previously issued under earlier versions of the standard will remain valid for hearing
aid compatibility purposes, and if a permissive change is submitted for a reason not related
primarily to a handset model?s hearing aid compatibility status, the analysis of the effect of that
change on a phone?s compliance status may use the version of the ANSI C63.19 standard under
which the hearing aid compatibility certification for that model was first made.?).
22 See NPRM at 14996, ¶ 9.
8than those already imposed under Commission rules.23 Nevertheless, service providers or
manufacturers may find that compliance costs significantly increase under the new HAC rules
given the expanded scope of covered frequency bands and air interfaces. Consistent with the
Commission?s HAC policy to account for technical feasibility, marketability and provide the
industry flexibility to meet consumers? needs, the Commission should expeditiously revise the
rules to address any significant increase to compliance costs to ensure that Americans with
hearing loss will reap the full benefits of new wireless technologies as they are introduced into
D. CTIA Supports an Appropriate 24-Month Transition Period Consistent with
CTIA believes a 24-month transition period is necessary and appropriate for benchmark
compliance for all covered service provider and manufacturing entities, commencing on the date
of Federal Register publication of the rules adopting the 2011 ANSI HAC Standard.25 While, as
noted above, CTIA is optimistic that adoption of the 2011 ANSI HAC Standard will not cause
significant new or additional costs beyond existing costs to comply with the Commission?s HAC
rules, manufacturers and service providers will need a reasonable opportunity to integrate the
new standard into typical product development, testing, certification and deployment cycles.
23 See id. at 14994, ¶ 6.
24 See Amendment of the Commission?s Rules Governing Hearing Aid-Compatible Mobile
Handsets, Policy Statement and Second Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking, 25 FCC Rcd 11167, 11174, ¶18 (2010) (?Policy Statement and Second Report and
Order and Further Notice?).
25 See NPRM at 14995, ¶ 8.
9A 24-month transition period is consistent with the Commission?s approach to
implementing the de minimis exception to the HAC rules,26 as well as its recent implementation
of Advanced Communications Services (?ACS?) provisions of the CVAA, which acknowledge
usual industry product cycles.27 As the NPRM explains, the Bureaus have authority delegated by
the Commission to adopt a 24-month transition period and CTIA believes such a period is both
necessary and consistent with Commission precedent.28
E. CTIA Supports the NPRM?s Proposal Regarding Disclosure
Consistent with the Commission?s existing HAC disclosure requirements, CTIA supports
the NPRM?s proposed approach for handsets introduced within 12 months of Federal Register
publication of rules adopting the 2011 ANSI HAC Standard that meet HAC criteria ?under
previously covered air interfaces, but that have been tested and found not to meet such criteria
under one or more newly covered air interfaces.?29 The NPRM proposes, for such handsets, ?to
rely on a general disclosure requirement backed by case-by-case resolution in the event of
26 See Policy Statement and Second Report and Order and Further Notice at 11185-11186, ¶¶
49-50 (establishing a 24-month transition period for various aspects of the HAC de minimis
rule); id., 25 FCC Rcd at 11199, ¶ 92 (noting that the initial benchmarks for acoustic coupling
capability became effective ?only two years? after the relevant Commission order).
27 See Implementation of Sections 716 and 717 of the Communications Act of 1934, as Enacted
by the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010; Amendments
to the Commission's Rules Implementing Sections 255 and 251(a)(2) of the Communications Act
of 1934, as Enacted by the Telecommunications Act of 1996; In the Matter of Accessible Mobile
Phone Options for People who are Blind, Deaf-Blind, or Have Low Vision, Report and Order and
Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 26 FCC Rcd 14557, 14602-03, ¶ 110 (2011)
(establishing a 24-month phase-in period of the ACS rules to ?give all covered entities the time
to incorporate their new obligations into their development processes.?)
28 See NPRM at14993?94, ¶ 4 & n. 19, citing 47 C.F.R. § 20.19(k)(1) (codifying timeframes
permitted under delegated authority).
29 See NPRM at 14996, ¶ 9.
disputes.?30 This approach is reasonable and protects consumers? interests as well as those of
service providers and manufacturers.
For the reasons stated above, CTIA supports the NPRM?s proposal to incorporate the
2011 ANSI HAC Standard into the Commission?s rule. The Bureaus should state expressly that
handsets already certified under the 2007 ANSI HAC Standard do not need to be recertified
under the new standard going forward, and that service providers and manufacturers can count
those handsets as hearing aid-compatible even after the 2011 ANSI HAC Standard becomes
mandatory for new certifications. The Bureaus also should adopt a 24-month transition period
for compliance with the HAC benchmarks, as proposed in the NPRM.
By: /s/ Matthew B. Gerst
Matthew B. Gerst
Counsel, External & State Affairs
Michael F. Altschul
Senior Vice President and General Counsel
Vice President, Regulatory Affairs
Assistant Vice President, Regulatory Affairs
CTIA ? The Wireless Association®
1400 Sixteenth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
January 13, 2012
30 See id. The Bureaus propose to promulgate rules to ensure adequate disclosure. Id.