FCC Issues Temporary ACS Waiver to E-Readers


In an Order released on Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted the Coalition of E-Reader Manufacturers (Coalition) a temporary waiver (until Jan. 28, 2014) of its rule requiring advanced communications services (ACS) and equipment introduced or upgraded after Oct. 8, 2013 to be accessible to persons with disabilities for a defined class of e-reader equipment. The FCC’s rules require, among other things, that ACS be operable without vision. To view our prior ACS news update, click here

FCC rules state that the FCC may waive the accessibility requirements for ACS, individually or as a class, upon petition, where ACS “is designed for multiple purposes, but is designed primarily for purposes other than using advanced communications services.” Among other things, the Coalition argued that while the E-Readers for which waivers were sought were capable of accessing ACS, they are designed and marketed primarily for the purpose of reading written material, and ACS is neither a primary or co-primary purpose of the equipment. 

A large number of commenters opposed the Coalition’s request for a waiver, including the National Federation of the Blind together with 23 other consumer organizations, and over 150 individuals. Commenters objected on the grounds that e-readers are commonly used to access ACS, including the electronic messaging functions of social media. The FCC did not decide the merits of the petition but instead stated it would consider the merits during the temporary waiver period. Notably, the FCC did not waive its rules requiring covered entities to take accessibility into account in the design and development of ACS, in effect since Jan. 1, 2012, nor did it waive its record keeping requirements, which have been in effect since Jan. 1, 2013.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Davis Wright Tremaine LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:


Davis Wright Tremaine LLP on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:

Sign up to create your digest using LinkedIn*

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.

Already signed up? Log in here

*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.