DJ 192-180-04044 APR 7 1992 The Honorable Tom Lantos U.S.

House of Representatives 1526 Longworth House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 Dear Congressman Lantos: I am writing in response to your recent inquiry on behalf of your constituents. We are aware of the concern expressed by your constituents 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.

cc: Records; CRS Files; Oneglia; Wodatch; McDowney. :udd:jonessandra:911.lantos.constituents 01-00561

-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 01-00562

February 25, 1992 Mr. Robert Mather U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Coordination and Review Section P.O. Box 66118 Washington, D.C. 20035-6118 Dear Mr. Mather:

Several of my constituents who are emergency service providers have expressed concern over the implementation rules for Title II Section 35 of the Americans with Disabilities Act (A.D.A.) pertaining to the hearing and speech impaired. They argue that the reference to computer modems is too ambitious for the current state of technology and could make them liable for conditions over which they have no control. The hearing and speech impaired telecommunicate by using a device called a T.D.D. The Department of Justice specifies that all emergency services shall provide direct access to individuals who use T.D.D.'s and computer modems. However, with the advent of the personal computer and the use of new ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) modems, compatability has become a problem. In other words, if a hearing impaired person places an emergency call using the ASCII modem, the call could be disconnected, garbled, or not completed, resulting in possible loss of life and property. I understand that the Department is currently reviewing this matter. I would appreciate receiving a copy of the clarification when it becomes available. Thank you for your consideration of my request. Sincerely, Tom Lantos Member of Congress 01-00563