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3/24/92 SBO:rjc DJ#192-180-03991 APR 3 1992

The Honorable Paul B. Henry U.S. House of Representatives 215 Cannon House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515-2205 Dear Congressman Henry: I am writing in response to your recent inquiry on behalf of your constituent, Ms. Julie R. Deboer. We are aware of the concern expressed by your constituent and the National Emergency Number Association about the provision in our regulation implementing title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act that states "telephone emergency services, including 911 services, shall provide direct access to individuals who use TDD's and computer modems." The apparent concern is that by mandating access to persons using computer modems, the regulation may require that there be access by every format that could be used by a modem, including those that are not compatible with equipment presently used by emergency service systems. That is not the case. The regulation does not require telephone emergency systems to do anything that is technologically infeasible; accordingly, we are interpreting the requirement for access by computer modems to mean only when the modem is using the Baudot format. Until it can be technically proven that communications in another format can operate in a reliable and compatible manner in a given telephone emergency, the public service answering point is not required to provide direct access to computer modems using other formats. Records, CRS, Oneglia, McDowney :UDD:Craig:Henry.911

-2This interpretive guidance has been issued by the Department of Justice in its recently published Technical Assistance Manual, which is available from the Office on the Americans with Disabilities Act, Post Office Box 66738, Washington D.C. 200359998, telephone: (202) 514-0301. Sincerely,

John R. Dunne Assistant Attorney General Civil Rights Division

January 8, 1992

Paul Henry House of Representatives Washington, DC 20515 Dear Congressman:

I am a member of the National Emergency Number Association (NENA). I am writing to you to alert you to a flaw in the implementation rules for Title II Section 35 of the A.D.A. Law. (Hearing and Speech Impaired). Our organization supports the A.D.A. Law 100%. However; the Department of Justice, who provided these rules, have set in motion a situation that could be fatal to a hearing and speech impaired person. The hearing and speech impaired community must communicate by using a device similar to a typewriter (called a T.D.D.) They also communicate using a personal computer (P.C.). The Justice Department specifies that all emergency services shall provide direct access to individuals who use T.D.D.'s and computer modems. In the past, they have communicated using a baudot modem. It still services virtually all of the hearing and speech impaired today. It is compatible with our emergency centers. But with the advent of the personal computer, a new modem with a language called ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) appeared. Its original design was for a business machine to communicate with another business machine, without human involvement. However; since it is being placed into T.D.D.'s and is the norm for P.C.'s it presents a problem. It is not compatible with emergency centers equipment. Also, there is at this time, no technology that exists that will connect an incoming ASCII call to an ASCII modem in the emergency centers and guarantee connection.

Simply put, if a hearing impaired person places an emergency call using ASCII mode, chances are virtually certain that the call would not be handled properly. It could disconnect, receive garbled data or made not connection at all. The result could be a possible loss of life or property. Emergency centers will be held liable for conditions over which they have no control. The hearing and speech impaired will not be served with the same quality assurance that others have come to expect of their emergency centers and the advent of 9-1-1 systems. We need your help to keep this from happening. We feel that the reference to "computer modem" should be removed from the implementation rules until technology can assure that every T.D.D. call will be answered with the same quality as a voice placed call. Please contact the Department of Justice and urge this change to be made. Out contact is: Mr. Robert Mather, Attorney U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Coordination and Review Section P.O. Box 66118 Washington, DC 20035-6118 Phone: (202) 307-2236 Respectfully,

Julie R. DeBoer Director

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