January 15 deadline to file Hearing Aid Compatibility Certification for ALL Wireless Service Providers (including De Minimis)

All wireless service providers, including de minimis wireless service providers offering two or fewer handsets and MVNOs, must electronically file their FCC Form 855 for the 2019 reporting period, certifying full compliance with the FCC’s hearing aid compatibility requirements by January 15, 2020. As the deadline fast approaches, wireless service providers are reminded that they no longer are required to file FCC Form 655.  Device manufacturers will still be required to file the Form 655, providing details about the hearing aid compatibility of offered handsets.  

For non-de minimis wireless service providers, the challenge will be ensuring compliance with new and enhanced website disclosure and document retention rules. While the FCC simplified the reporting obligation for service providers by requiring a certification of compliance using FCC Form 855, the recent modifications to the website posting and document retention policies will require service providers to retain and to provide greater detail to consumers about the handset models they offer to consumers.   

Service providers must file the certification electronically through the FCC’s online system.  Each FCC Form 855 certification must include the wireless service provider’s FRN, name of the signing executive and contact information, the company(ies) covered by the certification, the web site address of the pages containing the required handset model information (for non-de minimis providers), and the percentage of handsets offered that are hearing aid compatible. The wireless service provider must provide an explanation if it was not in full compliance with the Commission’s hearing aid compatibility requirements throughout the relevant reporting period.

The changes to the hearing aid compatibility requirements reflect the FCC’s decision to increase the availability of information to consumers about the various types of handsets available in the market. Non-de minimis wireless service providers must post on their websites information describing their hearing aid-compatible and non-hearing aid-compatible handsets, including: a list of all the handset models that are currently offered, the model name/number and FCC ID number of each model, the ratings and functionality of each model, and an explanation of how the functionality of the handsets varies at the different levels. Among other requirements, every website must include a link to the current FCC web page containing information about hearing aid compatibility.

Non-de minimis wireless service providers must also maintain certain internal records on hearing aid-compatible and non-hearing aid-compatible handsets that they no longer offer, including the ratings of each model (if applicable), the months and years each model was first and last offered, and the model name/number(s) and FCC ID number of each model no longer offered.

If you are a wireless service provider needing assistance with the FCC Form 855 or have questions about compliance with the new website and record retention requirements, please contact Linda G. McReynolds at 703-714-1318 or lgm@commlawgroup.com.

ATTORNEY ADVERTISING DISCLAIMER: This information may be considered advertising in some jurisdictions under the applicable law and ethical rules. The determination of the need for legal services and the choice of a lawyer are extremely important decisions and should not be based solely upon advertisements or self-proclaimed expertise. No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers