Important information for TTY users

As you may recall from my September 1 blog, AAPD submitted comments to support a waiver request submitted to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) by AT&T. The waiver, which was granted by the FCC on October 6, provides a temporary waiver through December 31, 2017 (or until new accessibility rules are promulgated, whichever comes first) of FCC rules requiring support for “text telephony (TTY) technology” in cases where AT&T’s services are offered over a wireless Internet Protocol (IP) network.  AAPD supported this waiver to allow AT&T and other carriers to develop new IP based alternatives, such as real time text, that will give people who are deaf and hard of hearing or have speech disabilities better accessibility solutions for contacting 911 for the 21st Century.

The FCC also included some requirements for AT&T when it granted the waiver, including that AT&T had to give customers notice that wireless IP-networks do not support TTY calls to 911 and that alternative accessibility solutions are available for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing and/or have speech disabilities to contact 911.

Here is the notice we recently received from AT&T that they asked us to share with all of you:

911 calls with a TTY device are not supported by wireless IP networks, such as Wi-Fi.  If your wireless device is operating exclusively over an IP network, persons with communications disabilities can still reach 911 services by either:

  1. dialing 911 directly using a TTY from a wireless phone over a cellular network or from a landline phone, or
  2. sending a text message to 911 directly (in areas where text-to-911 is available) using a wireless device, or
  3. using relay services to place a TTY or captioned telephone service (CTS) call from a wireless phone over the cellular network or from a landline phone, or
  4. using relay services to place a IP Relay or IP CTS call over a cellular data or other IP network.

TTY users should keep these options in mind for accessing 911 during this time when better, easier accessible technologies are under development.

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