Updated HAC Comments Sought on Wi-Fi, LTE

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The FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau and Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau (Bureaus) have issued a public notice soliciting updated information regarding the effectiveness of the FCC’s hearing aid compatibility (HAC) rules for wireless handsets in light of recent developments in mobile wireless.  The Bureaus mention a number of developments since the FCC last developed its HAC record in 2012, including the deployment of LTE networks, LTE-only handsets, greater use of Wi-Fi for making calls, growing consumer demand for mobile data, and the increase of wireless-only households.  The Bureaus’ request for comment focuses on two principal issues: (1) whether the FCC should revise its HAC rules to apply in a technologically neutral manner to all mobile wireless devices that can be used for voice communications; and (2) whether the FCC should consider moving away from its current “fractional compliance regime” (i.e., requiring handset manufacturers and service providers to achieve compliance only for a percentage of the total number of handset models that they offer) in favor of an “all mobile wireless devices” compliance rule.   Comments on the HAC public notice will be due 30 days from publication in the Federal Register, which has not yet occurred.  Reply comments will be due 15 days thereafter.

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