Wireless carrier settles FCC HAC investigation

A wireless carrier will pay a six-figure “voluntary contribution” for failing to comply with regulations designed to ensure the availability of hearing aid-compatible (HAC) phones in the marketplace.

NTT DOCOMO USA has agreed to pay $100,000 to end an investigation by the Enforcement Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) into the company’s provision of HAC phones to consumers. FCC regulations specify technical standards that digital wireless phones must meet to ensure compatibility with hearing aids, and establish deadlines by which carriers must offer specified numbers or percentages of HAC phones to consumers.

As part of the settlement agreement, NTT DOCOMO USA has also agreed to implement a formal plan to achieve compliance with FCC HAC regulations, including new operating procedures, comprehensive training of employees and agents, and additional reporting requirements.

According to the FCC, the settlement with NTT DOCOMO USA is the latest in a series of HAC-related enforcement actions against wireless carriers in 2013, which has reportedly generated more than $1.4 million.

Read the complete text of the FCC’s Consent Decree with NTT DOCOMO USA.