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AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES:
TELECOMMUNICATIONS RELAY SERVICES

HEARING

BEFORE THE

SUBCOMMITTEE ON
TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND FINANCE

OF THE
COMMITTEE ON
ENERGY AND COMMERCE
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED FIRST CONGRESS

FIRST SESSION

ON

Title V of H.R. 2273 A BILL TO ESTABLISH A CLEAR AND COMPREHENSIVE PROHIBITION OF

DISCRIMINATION ON THE BASIS OF DISABILITY

SEPTEMBER 27, 1989

Serial No. 101-96

Printed for the use of the Committee on Energy and Commerce

U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE

WASHINGTON : 1990

256315

For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, Congressional Sales Office

U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402

COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND COMMERCE

JOHN D. DINGELL, Michigan, Chairman JAMES H. SCHEUER, New York

NORMAN F. LENT, New York HENRY A. WAXMAN, California

EDWARD R. MADIGAN, Illinois PHILIP R. SHARP, Indiana

CARLOS J. MOORHEAD, California JAMES J. FLORIO, New Jersey

MATTHEW J. RINALDO, New Jersey EDWARD J. MARKEY, Massachusetts WILLIAM E. DANNEMEYER, California THOMAS A. LUKEN, Ohio

BOB WHITTAKER, Kansas DOUG WALGREN, Pennsylvania

THOMAS J. TAUKE, Iowa AL SWIFT, Washington

DON RITTER, Pennsylvania MICKEY LELAND, Texas

THOMAS J. BLILEY, JR., Virginia CARDISS COLLINS, Illinois

JACK FIELDS, Texas MIKE SYNAR, Oklahoma

MICHAEL G. OXLEY, Ohio W.J. "BILLY" TAUZIN, Louisiana

HOWARD C. NIELSON, Utah RON WYDEN, Oregon

MICHAEL BILIRAKIS, Florida RALPH M. HALL, Texas

DAN SCHAEFER, Colorado DENNIS E. ECKART, Ohio

JOE BARTON, Texas BILL RICHARDSON, New Mexico

SONNY CALLAHAN, Alabama
JIM SLATTERY, Kansas

ALEX MCMILLAN, North Carolina
GERRY SIKORSKI, Minnesota
JOHN BRYANT, Texas
JIM BATES, California
RICK BOUCHER, Virginia
JIM COOPER, Tennessee
TERRY L. BRUCE, Illinois
J. ROY ROWLAND, Georgia
THOMAS J. MANTON, New York

John S. ORLANDO, Chief of Staff

JOHN M. CLOUGH, JR., Staff Director
MARGARET A. DURBIN, Minority Chief Counsel/Staff Director

SUBCOMMITTEE ON TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND FINANCE

EDWARD J. MARKEY, Massachusetts, Chairman AL SWIFT, Washington

MATTHEW J. RINALDO, New Jersey MICKEY LELAND, Texas

EDWARD R. MADIGAN, Illinois CARDISS COLLINS, Mlinois

CARLOS J. MOORHEAD, California MIKE SYNAR, Oklahoma

THOMAS J. TAUKE. Iowa W.J. “BILLY” TAUZIN, Louisiana

DON RITTER, Pennsylvania RALPH M. HALL, Texas

THOMAS J. BLILEY, JR., Virginia DENNIS E. ECKART, Ohio

JACK FIELDS, Texas BILL RICHARDSON, New Mexico

MICHAEL G. OXLEY, Ohio JIM SLATTERY, Kansas

DAN SCHAEFER, Colorado JOHN BRYANT, Texas

NORMAN F. LENT, New York RICK BOUCHER, Virginia

(Ex Officio)
JIM COOPER, Tennessee
THOMAS J. MANTON, New York
RON WYDEN, Oregon
JOHN D. DINGELL, Michigan
(Ex Officio)

GERARD SALEMME, Policy Analyst
KEVIN JOSEPH, Legislative Assistant
TERRY HAINES, Minority Counsel

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Text of Title V of H.R. 2273......

Testimony of:

Hershman, Linda D., general manager, Government Relations, Southern

New England Telephone Co., on behalf of United States Telephone

Association..

Hoyer, Hon. Steny H., a Representative in Congress from the State of

Maryland.....

Jordan, I. King, president, Gallaudet University
Schwartz, Gail Garfield, Deputy chairman, New York State Public Serv-

ice Commission.........
Strauss, Karen Peltz, attorney, National Center for Law and the Deaf,

Gallaudet University
Tutton, Merrill R., vice president, Consumer Services, American Tele-

phone and Telegraph Co.
Material submitted for the record by:

Direct Connect, Minnesota Relay Service, statement .....
Gunderson, Hon. Steve, a Representative in Congress from the State of

Wisconsin, statement....

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AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES:
TELECOMMUNICATIONS RELAY SERVICES

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 1989

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,

COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND COMMERCE,
SUBCOMMITTEE ON TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND FINANCE,

Washington, DC. The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 9:37 a.m., in room 2322, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Edward J. Markey (chairman) presiding.

Mr. MARKEY. Good morning. The subcommittee will come to order. Today we will hold a hearing on Title V of H.R. 2273, the "Americans with Disabilities Act of 1989." This landmark legislation will extend civil rights protection to those Americans with disabilities, and help tear down the barriers that have prevented the disabled from becoming full and equal members of society.

Today the subcommittee will examine legislation designed to bridge the gaps in our Nation's telecommunications system that have been unwillingly created by an insensitive and unsympathetic society.

This bill will guarantee communications for impaired Americans and for those people with speech or hearing disabilities, equal access to the Nation's telecommunications networks.

At present, there are many times, often when it matters the most, that a hearing-impaired person simply cannot use the telephone. Imagine not being able to call home from a friend's house, or use the phone in someone else's office, or even call 911 outside your home in an emergency.

Well, for many of the Nation's 26 million hearing-impaired persons, this is not some far fetched nightmare. It is a daily reality,

The enactment of the Communications Act of 1934, with the goal of universal service for all Americans, we in the Congress have been trying to ensure that all Americans have access to the phone. Today this goal is more important than ever because information and communications drive our society. The telephone is no more a luxury item, but an essential part of our everyday lives. Our link to the rest of the world.

The legislation that we are considering today will bring the communications impaired much closer to the realization of the universal service goal, and open up an entire new market of consumers. In essence, this bill will enable the communications impaired to use the telephone for the same purposes the rest of the population has come to take for granted.

Title V of H.R. 2273 establishes a seamless, interstate, and intrastate relay system for the use of telecommunications devices for the deaf, TDD's. That will be the vital link through which communications-impaired individuals will have access to the outside world.

This device, connected to an operator relay system, will allow a communications-impaired caller to communicate with anyone who has a telephone anywhere in the country. The relay operator, acting as an intermediary between the two parties, will translate typed TDD messages by voice and vice versa.

A few States already have relay systems in place, and have seen how the access they provide benefits segments of the communications-impaired population. In California, for example, the call volume has reached approximately 245,000 calls a month.

An entire segment of the population now has an opportunity to escape from a world of virtual silence, and into one of modern communication, and information services, but more needs to be done to open an escape route for the many States that have not progressed as rapidly as others.

Last year, the enactment of the Hearing Aid Compatibility Act of 1988, a bill which originated in this subcommittee, was a great step forward in improving the access of the communications-impaired to telephone services. We are now poised to take the next step, providing the communications tools and services needed for them to become more productive in society, and thereby benefiting all of us.

As chairman of the subcommittee, one of my highest priorities has been to ensure that the wonders of modern telecommunications are available to all Americans at affordable rates. I am certain that all of us in Congress agree that achieving the goal of universal service in an ever expanding telephone network is not possible without providing equal access to the communications-impaired.

With that, time for a statement by the Chair has expired, and I now turn and recognize the ranking minority member, the gentleman from New Jersey, Mr. Rinaldo.

Mr. RINALDO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to commend you for calling a hearing on this important legislation. The basic pur. pose of the "Americans with Disabilities Act of 1989” is to remove barriers that prevent disabled citizens from leading productive lives, and contributing fully to their communities.

Nowhere is this bill more important to achieve than in the world of telecommunications. More and more, telecommunications provide the essential link with our fellow man. It has become the glue, you might say, that holds society together.

Unfortunately, very little progress has been made in providing our hearing- and speech-impaired citizens with full and equal access to the telephone network. Just last July the FCC concluded that interstate TDD relays are virtually nonexistent.

I am proud that this subcommittee has been the most active body in Congress in trying to correct that situation. Last year we passed two important bills to close the gap. The Hearing Aid Compatibility Act requires all telephones to be able to use with hearing aid.

The Telecommunications Accessibility and Enhancement Act requires the Government to provide ATDD relay systems so that

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