The Clear2Connect Coalition represents organizations, advocates and institutions working to preserve the right to communicate via Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Service (IP CTS). We’re educating people with hearing loss who could benefit from this service and provide a unified voice that asks policymakers to preserve access to these services.
IP CTS is a service that lets people with hearing loss speak during a call and then read captions on a specialized device when the other party responds. IP CTS providers use cutting-edge speech recognition technology, along with skilled transcribers, to provide this real-time service. And users of the technology get verbatim captions of conversations on their phones, which can be vitally important for users who are speaking with health care providers or emergency responders. If you are interested in using this service, click here to learn more about the options available.
This popular service is administered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which is considering changes which would limit its growth. The Clear2Connect Coalition believes that destabilizing this service by restricting consumer eligibility, forcing consumers to use unproven technology or taking other actions to reduce consumer choice and competitive options would hurt Americans with hearing loss who rely on it to connect with others. Services like IP CTS help those with hearing loss stay connected and feel less isolated, encouraging positive physical and emotional health.
The FCC should focus on ensuring all Americans with hearing loss who qualify for this critical program have access to these services. Americans with hearing loss shouldn’t have to worry that their ability to live a productive, connected life using services like caption phones is secondary to fiscal concerns.
IP CTS is a critical communications tool for people who are hard-of-hearing. Policymakers need to understand why this service is so important to Americans with hearing loss.
Promising new technologies, such as Automated Speech Recognition (ASR), are being developed to help Americans with hearing loss communicate. These technologies cannot yet replicate the precision of human transcribers, but they are being used as part of IP CTS services.
The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) guarantees Americans with hearing loss access to communications technologies which are “functionally equivalent” to those used by Americans without hearing loss. We support eligibility requirements that remain true to the spirit of the ADA and do not keep people from the communications support they need.
We support transparent and predictable policies for the sustainability of the IP CTS program that put people first. The Federal Communications Commission shouldn’t take any actions that have the effect of rationing service for Americans with hearing loss.