FCC Increases HAC Device Availability Requirement for Wireless Carriers, Manufacturers

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The FCC has released a Report and Order amending the hearing aid compatibility requirements that are generally applicable to wireless service providers and manufacturers of digital wireless handsets.  Specifically, the FCC has increased the number of HAC handsets that must be offered by adding two new percentage “benchmarks” used to measure compliance.  The first new benchmark requires that 66 percent of offered handset models must be compliant following a two-year transition period for device manufacturers, with additional compliance time for service providers.  The second new benchmark requires that 85 percent of offered handset models must be compliant following a five-year transition period for manufacturers, with additional compliance time for service providers. However, the FCC’s new HAC rules do establish a more limited obligation for entities offering only four or five handsets, total.  This most recent HAC initiative by the FCC reconfirms its commitment to pursuing 100 percent HAC compatibility within eight years.

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