FCC enforces HAC carrier requirements

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced that it has reached a settlement with two wireless carriers for failure to comply with the Commission’s regulations regarding the provision of hearing aid-compatible (HAC) handsets.

In the Commission’s recent settlement, Airadigm Communications and TeleGuam Holdings have agreed to voluntary payments to the U.S. Treasury totaling more than $500,000. The wireless carriers also agreed to implement robust programs to ensure future compliance with the Commission’s requirements, including new operating procedures, employee training programs, and mandatory reporting to the Commission.

The FCC requires that wireless service providers offer a minimum number of HAC handsets, so that hearing-impaired consumers are able to take advantage of wireless communications technology. Failure to comply with the FCC’s requirements can result in monetary forfeitures starting at $15,000 per violation for each month during a year in which the provider failed to provide the requisite number of HAC wireless handsets. Forfeiture amounts of as much as $150,000 per violation or for each day of a continuing violation, up to a maximum of $1,500,000 for a single violation, are permissible under the Commission’s rules.