Yesterday, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) released a Public Notice reminding telecommunications service providers, VoIP providers and advanced communications service (“ACS”) providers and equipment manufacturers of their obligation to maintain records of their efforts to implement accessibility requirements, and to annual certify their recordkeeping efforts. The April 1, 2015 filing will certify to compliance during 2014.
The annual certification requirement applies to traditional telecommunications service providers (wireline and wireless), but also to interconnected VoIP providers, ACS providers (e.g., electronic messaging, video conferencing, non-interconnected VoIP) and equipment manufacturers. Although it is unlikely to be in place for this year’s certification, it appears that the certification obligation will also likely be extended to broadband Internet service providers as part of the Open Internet Order.
The annual certification includes: (1) annual recordkeeping compliance certifications; (2) current contact information for consumers; and (3) current U.S. agent for service contact information. Entities subject to the recordkeeping requirements are required to maintain records regarding: (a) efforts to consult with individuals with disabilities; (b) descriptions of the accessibility features of products and services; and (c) information about the compatibility of products and services with peripheral or specialized devices commonly used by individuals with disabilities. These vague requirements will likely only become clearer through a complaint and enforcement process, so service providers and equipment manufacturers should carefully develop compliance efforts and recordkeeping policies.
The certification can be completed online in the FCC’s Recordkeeping Compliance Certification and Contact Information Registry.