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be billed, that we would have a fairly consistent response across the country, that would encourage rather than discourage usage.
Ms. SCHWARTZ. One thing that I could offer is that it would be very easy to quickly poll the members, the State members of the NERU, as to what they can do
Mr. MARKEY. Can you do that for us?
Mr. MARKEY. OK. That would be very helpful to us. Mr. Tutton, how do you handle this now, in terms of what the rate would be?
Mr. MARKEY. Well, there is no interstate service per se today, and so we don't, but the way it is handled in the States, you know, that typically there is a modest discount on the actual message that is provided to the actual end user, and then the fund is paying the difference.
It is paying the difference in the actual transport of the call, as well-recognizing its added length, and as well as paying the difference in the labor intensive aspect of actually handling it. So, that is the purpose for the fund. Mr. MARKEY. Does that make sense to you? Mr. TUTTON. That makes sense, yes. Mr. MARKEY. Ms. Schwartz.
Ms. SCHWARTZ. I beg your pardon. I had a lapse, because I was thinking of how I could poll the people.
Mr. MARKEY. Let me ask Mr. Tutton another question and let's see if we can wrap this up. Regarding the TDD technology, Mr. Tutton, what can we expect to see developed which will automate the relay function in the future?
Mr. TUTTON. I think that there are a number of things. AT&T is investing for a variety of reasons, this being one, in some technologies on voice to text, and text to voice, and this clearly is a beautiful application that serves a fundamental need in our society for that type of service.
And so I would see on the horizon, and I would not want to pre dict a date, but I would see on the horizon the application of that technology, either in the network, or in the terminal, both of which could work, the capability of being able to do this translation capability in the network or in the terminal.
So, that would, one, it would make it more avouches in nature, as well as drive the costs down, because it removes the labor intensive element, which is essentially the price today, is that we are paying for a human being to do that translation.
Mr. MARKEY. Can you give us some estimate of the time that it might take for us to reach that point?
Mr. TUTTON. Well, there are things today, you know, that do speech to text, and text to speech.
Mr. MARKEY. But I am talking about automated, and also cost effective.
Mr. TUTTON. Right. May I please write you on that also?
Mr. MARKEY. Certainly. Also, as they are developing this are they conscious on an ongoing basis of the needs of the deaf and hearing impaired as they are developing this?
Mr. TUTTON. Yes. Yes, and that has been input into what we are doing; but, yes, I will write you on that also.
Mr. MARKEY. And how quickly after we pass this legislation and it is signed by the President and passed by the President could we expect the telephone companies to be able to implement this mandate?
Mr. TUTTON. I would say on an interstate basis, if AT&T were selected, I know what we can do, and the responsibility would lie within my organization, and -
Mr. MARKEY. Think of this as your first sales presentation.
Mr. TUTTON. If we can resolve the funding issues, and the central administration.
Mr. MARKEY. Let me wrap up the hearing this way. Let me ask each of you to give me a 1 minute, and no more, summary of what it is that you want us to retain from your testimony as we are now moving forth to resolve the questions which are—that are still remaining in this legislation and for markup. We will begin in reverse order to the opening statements. We will begin with Ms. Hershman.
Ms. HERSHMAN. I would say, Mr. Chairman, very briefly that there are issues that need to be resolved, and that all of the players have to be involved in the resolution of those issues.
And that we have to have someone responsible for implementing the legislation, and making sure that technology does keep up with the needs.
Mr. MARKEY. Thank you. Ms. Strauss.
Ms. STRAUSS. I would just say that our goal is to provide nationwide relay services that finally do achieve equality in telephone access, and that means blockage rates in turn, and no greater than that for voice users.
And systems that will be consistent with one another throughout the country, and meet certain minimum standards to ensure quality of service. Mr. MARKEY. Mr. Tutton.
Mr. TUTTON. AT&T and myself clearly think that this is a unique opportunity. We want to see this service brought to the public, and we support it. I think there is a funding issue that I think can be solved.
I think the Federal Communications Commission should be given the power and the authority to be able to solve this problem with grants and suggestions, and I think that the issue of some sort of central administration control needs to be addressed.
We debated on that, and I am very confident that this committee in its wisdom will come up with the appropriate solutions, and we, and I personally, and AT&T stand ready to help in any way we can.
Mr. MARKEY. Thank you. Ms. Strauss.
Ms. STRAUSS. This is obviously long overdue and a very timely extension of universal service. The funding problem ought to be
able to be solved, because it is not an extremely high price tag that we are talking about.
Clearly, the costs should not be imposed upon the hearing impaired and the speech impaired, and speaking for New York, and I am sure for those fellow State Commissioners, we will be happy to work with the Congress and the FCC to resolve the matters that remain outstanding.
Mr. MARKEY. Before we conclude, I would like to ask you one other comment, and that is on the subject of mandating a federally funded public service announcement to be close-captioned, or opencaptioned.
We are aware that although many prime time television shows are close-captioned, that public health announcements are not available. Can you give us some guidance or a comment on that?
Mr. JORDAN. Let me say, first, to the Federal relay. The national relay system, I think, I can sum up very easily by saying that it needs to be a national system that provides full and equal accessibility and does not place a cost burden on the hearing-impaired users, and has no restrictions, such as length of call, or number of calls.
And that in training programs and so forth that deaf people are involved in making the plan. The public service announcements are a very, very important area. Captioning is another accessibility. We now have accessibility to the television that we didn't have just a few years ago.
And public service announcements often provide emergency information that it is essential people see and understand. So, I would very strongly support open captioning on PSA's.
There are millions and millions of older hearing-impaired people who don't have captioners for their televisions, because either they can't afford to buy them, or they won't buy them because of the stigma of having something that is meant for hearing-impaired people.
So, I would strongly support open captioning. If I may be so bold, I would like to add a third area of communication accessibility. We talked about telecommunications accessibility, and we talked briefly about captioning for television communication accessibility.
I want to mention that the accessibility to this conference, this hearing, has been provided for me by sign language interpreting, and Mr. Adams came with me from Gallaudet University. He is one sign language interpreter who has stayed for 1/2 hours, which really goes beyond what the physical limitations of his ability are.
And think it relates to the issue of sensitivity. I would ask that the next time the committee holds hearings that other sign language interpreters be provided to make it accessible for us. Thank you.
Mr. MARKEY. Thank you, Dr. Jordan, very much; and your comments are well taken. We very much appreciate your participation here today. We would like to work towards reaching a closure on this part of the Disabilities Act as quickly as possible.
What I would like to do is to ask each of you and the interests that you represent to work very closely with us to produce a final product in a relatively brief period.
And, we, as well, would like to note our gratitude to the signer from Gallaudet University. Thank you very much. Thank you all very much. The hearing is adjourned.
(Whereupon, the hearing was adjourned.]
[The following statements were submitted for the record:] STATEMENT OF HON. STEVE GUNDERSON, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE
STATE OF WISCONSIN Chairman Markey, Vice Chairman Rinaldo, members of the subcommittee, it is indeed a privilege to be with you today as you open hearings on the Americans with Disabilities Act. This bill has been called the most significant piece of legislation ever to affect the disabled community of our country, and I sincerely believe we can work within ADA to truly empower all handicapped individuals.
In the Education and Labor Committee, of which I am a member, we heard testi. mony attesting to discrimination in the workplace and the need for the employment and accommodation provisions of this bill. And yet, Mr. Chairman, there is a quieter and far less apparent form of discrimination impeding the full participation of some 26 million Americans in our society. These 26 million Americans are the hearing and speech impaired, and for them discrimination comes in the form of denied access, access previously assured in the Communications Act of 1934.
Franky Ramont, an employee in my office, is deaf. She is a bright and lively individual, a full participant in our society and in her workplace in every sense, except when it comes to communicating with others. Although she is fluent in sign and can read lips very well, Franky is restricted to calling only those individuals proficient with and possessing a TDD device.
Calling the local pizza parlor or the child care center where her son Elijah is cared for, is a difficult and sometimes impossible task. Deafness does not discriminate and yet our communication system, largely because of insensitivity, has created a two-tiered communication society between the hearing and the hearing and speech impaired. Clearly this must come to an end.
Last year many Members of Congress indeed, many members of this subcommittee joined me in supporting the Telecommunications Enhancement Act of 1988, a bill which provided the hearing and speech-impaired community full access to the Federal Government. Today the House begins its journey to provide these individuals with universal telecommunications access to society at large.
Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, I need not dwell on the difficulties of Title V as it exists in H.R. 2273. The penalty provisions in H.R. 2273 are enormous, $10,000 a day for those who fail to offer services. Imagine what this would do to the smaller mom and pop operations, who traditionally have been the slowest to comply with Federal law.
Furthermore, I would offer that civil rights law is not the proper vehicle for communication enhancement, there is little or no precedent. The Communications Act of 1934 is the appropriate vehicle. Thus, the communications provisions in H.R. 2273 are not the proper bridge to ensure access for the hearing impaired. The Senate provisions as amended are the necessary bridge.
I introduced, in H.R. 3171, the same provisions Senator McCain successfully incorporated into the Senate's ADA bill as Title IV of Senate 933. In essence, H.R. 3171 builds on various State initiatives directing common carriers to provide improved access for the hearing impaired and speech impaired by providing relay services individually, through designees, or in concert with other carriers. This service would allow a deaf person to call your office, a business or a restaurant even if the destination of that person's call did not have a TDD on site. The relay service would translate the impulses of the TDD into voice automation and the voice of the respondent into TDD impulses.
I would urge you to seriously consider incorporating H.R. 3171 into the ADA. In so doing, you will provide the communications industry with a feasible formula for implementation, and you will provide the hearing and speech-impaired community with universal access.
419 North Robert St., Suite 300, St. Paul, MN 55101 (612) 297-5328 Voice & TDD
Written Testimony for
Robert B. Yoeger
My name is Robert Yooper and I am the Unit Manacor of the Direct Connect Minnesota Rolay Service ( o program of Doolness, Education and Advocacy Inc.), one of the newest and the most technologically advanced of the sight state-wide relay services in the country. I was previously the coordinator and one of the original operators with the Massachusetts Rolo Service, the third slalo-wido roloy service in the U.S.
I om writing in support of Ino Americans with Disabilities Act of 1989, specifically to address the dosperole need for comprehensivo Intrastate and interstole. Deal Consumer controlla TDD/lolophono raloy services across our country.
Eoch day we think nothing of phoning to moko a doctor's oppointment. oo business with a person or company in another clly, slale or country, chat with a friend or relativo, do our banking or investing, contact a parent whose child is sick at school, make travel or rangements or just or dar o pizza. How many times do you pick up the phone to make or answer a call everyday? Can you imagino having to leave your home or office and physically travel to handle the business for soch of those calls?
Millions of Amor Icons are denied the freedom and convenience of this device, tho telephone, which sits on our desk and with the touch of a button connects hearing people to the Jorpost lo lecommunication syslam on the planet.
As a former Relay Operator myself I have wilnessed the difference these services con moko in peoplo's Ilves. Consumers have written to say the service has opened doors for them.
provided a tool for Independence, a means to live their own life. A woman calls on ombulance . when her husband has a heart attack. Someono sets up an interview and gets their first job. A
lconegor pots their first dato.
A hearing father who never learned sion longuega nos ina first complete, genuine conversation of his life with his adult doof doughtor.