DJ 192-180-04114 APR 10 1992 The Honorable E. Thomas Coleman U.S.

House of Representatives 2468 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 Dear Congressman Coleman: 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.coleman.constituents 01-00582

-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 01-00583

January 23, 1992 Honorable Ike Skelton United States Representative, District 4 2134 Rayburn Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515, 202/225-2876 Dear Representative Skelton: In 1984 Mid America Regional Council assisted the County of Platte, as well as other local governments in the region to install and make continued service improvements on the 9-1-1 services. During 1991 Mid America Regional Council assisted us in acquiring telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD machines) to allow 9-1-1 answering points to serve the area's hearing and speech impaired residents. Most hearing and speech impaired residents communicate using this type of machine. T.D.D. machines use a baudot modem to communicate over telephone lines. New technology allows hearing and speech impaired individuals to use personal computers to communicate over telephone lines. This communication system uses a language called ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange). Our 9-1-1 answering point, along with the other local answering points, are not able to receive and respond to ASCII calls. The regulations issued to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 require public agencies to provide direct access to individuals who use TDDs and computer modems, however, we have been informed that current computer modem technology is not compatible in the telephone service environment at this time. We would request your immediate attention and assistance by encouraging the Department of Justice to modify it's rules implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act by delaying implementation of the computer modem requirement until such time as industry can provide viable equipment, software and standards for the emergency services. 01-00584

Page 2 (continued) We appreciate your time and consideration in this matter. If we can assist you by providing further information, please do not hesitate to contact us. Sincerely, Carol Tomb, Presiding Commissioner Scott D. Spangler, 1st District Chuck Reineke, 2nd. District