FCC Seeks Comment on Communications Needs of Prisoners with Disabilities

Comment Period Closes:  December 22, 2020


On August 7, 2020, the FCC released a Report and Order on Remand and a Fourth Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to reform inmate calling service rates and charges.  As part of its Fourth Further Notice, the FCC seeks comment on the needs of incarcerated people with disabilities, including the types of telecommunications relay services (TRS) access technologies that these individuals require.


Currently, the FCC requires two forms of TRS: TTY-based TRS and speech-to-speech services. The FCC recognizes that newer forms of these services, such as Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Service, Video Relay Service, and real-time text, have come to the market in part as a result of "ongoing technology transitions from circuit switched to IP-based networks."


The FCC seeks comment broadly on the needs of incarcerated people with hearing or speech disabilities, including whether they have adequate access to TRS and whether additional forms of TRS should be made available.


Interested parties may file comments by accessing the Electronic Comment Filing System at https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings.  All filings must reference WC Docket No. 12-375.  People with disabilities who need assistance to file comments online may request assistance by email to FCC504 [at] fcc [dot] gov.  


Report and Order on Remand and Fourth Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking:

URL:  https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-seeks-reduce-rates-and-charges-inmate-c...

PDF:  https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/FCC-20-111A1.pdf

Text:  https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/FCC-20-111A1.txt  


PN Announcing Comment Due Dates:

URL:  https://www.fcc.gov/document/wcb-announces-comment-dates-ics-proceeding  

Word:  https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-20-1256A1.docx  

PDF:  https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-20-1256A1.pdf  

Text:  https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-20-1256A1.txt  


For further information, please contact Erik Raven-Hansen of the Wireline Competition Bureau at (202) 418-1532 or Erik [dot] Raven-Hansen [at] fcc [dot] gov.  Individuals who use videophones and are fluent in American Sign Language (ASL) may call the FCC's ASL Consumer Support Line at (844) 432-2275 (videophone).