WASHINGTON, August 5, 2010 –The Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously to pass all items on the agenda before closing business. The orders were presented by agents of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, and included a report and order of proposed rulemaking allowing hearing-impaired people to enjoy the advances supplied by smartphone technology, as well as a notice of inquiry seeking to remove restrictions on uses of spectrum for wireless backhaul.
Speaking on the issue of disabilities access, the Commissioners gave specific praise to a change in the de minimis rule which would require all companies selling headsets to design at least one model for the hearing-impaired, a clear shift from previous regulation that only required headsets designed by providers to manufacture such technology. Speaking on this subject, Commissioner Mignon Clyburn said, “We must encourage manufacturers of the new technology to consider hearing aide compatibility at the earliest possible process.”
The backhaul proposal, meanwhile, also met with clear approval for its potential applications in rural areas, a topic where Commissioner Robert McDowell say particular cause for optimism. “"I've long thought that there's a tremendous amount of potential for backhaul to be used in the white spaces. Especially in rural areas, where there’s an abundance of white spaces,” McDowell said.