Telecommunications Access Advisory Committee
June 12-14, 1996
The minutes below have not yet been approved and accepted as the
official minutes of the June meeting, and should be regarded as a draft
version until acceptance at the August meeting.
Telecommunications Access Advisory Committee June 12-14, 1996
Wednesday, June 12.
Jo-Anne Basile, Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association
Brenda Battat, Self Help for Hard of Hearing People
Betsy Bayha, World Institute on Disability
Stephen Berger, Siemens Rolm Communications
Roberta Breden, Telecommunications Industry Association
Judy Brewer, Massachusetts Assistive Technology Partnership Center
Mary Brooner*, Motorola
Julie Carroll, American Council of the Blind
Neal Chandra, Broad Alliance for Multimedia Technology & Applications
Tim Cranmer, National Federation of the Blind
Steven Crosby, Lucent Technologies
Michael Delcasino, AT&T
James Fruchterman, Arkenstone
Mark Golden, Personal Communications Industry Association
George Hanover, Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association
Steven Jacobs, NCR Project Freedom
Holly Kaplan, American Speech-Language & Hearing Association
Lars-Goran Larsson, Ericsson
Willis Mann, National Association of State Relay Administrators
Mary McDermott, United States Telephone Association
Jack O'Keeffe, Pennsylvania Citizens Consumer Council
Paul Schroeder, American Foundation for the Blind
Jenifer Simpson, United Cerebral Palsy Association
Al Sonnenstrahl, Consumer Action Network, A. G. Bell Association
Marcia Straehly, Pacific Bell
Karen Peltz Strauss, Council of Organizational Representatives
Leigh Thorpe, Northern Telecom
Jim Tobias, Inclusive Technologies
Gregg Vanderheiden, Trace R & D Center
Ann Whelehan*, NYNEX
Norman Williams*, Gallaudet
*alternate (listed only when substituting for a member)
(Judith Harkins, Gallaudet, June 13-14; Alfred Lucas, Motorola, June 14)
Shelley Bergum, Deaf & Disabled Telecommunications Program
Alexandra Enders, RESNA
Robert Segalman, US Society for Augmentative & Alternative
The first meeting of the Telecommunications Access Advisory Committee
(TAAC) was convened at 9:30 am, Wednesday, June 12, 1996, at the
American Speech-Language and Hearing Association conference center in
Judith Heumann, Access Board Chair welcomed the members. Board
Executive Director Lawrence Roffee presented an overview of the Board,
its responsibilities and relationship to other federal agencies. Office
of Technical and Information Services Director David Capozzi outlined
the Board's responsibilities under the Telecommunications Act of 1996
and the role of the Committee to provide advice on the substance of the
regulations the Board will issue. Capozzi also introduced Roberta
Breden, appointed by Heumann to chair the Committee. Elizabeth Lyle,
FCC, read a welcoming letter from FCC Chairman Reed Hundt and outlined
the duties of the FCC under the Act and the relationship to the Access
Board and the TAAC.
Each Committee member briefly introduced him- or herself and stated what
he or she hoped to get from, and contribute to the process.
The remainder of the afternoon consisted of panels and presentations on
various topics. The first panel gave an overview of the activities
leading to inclusion of accessibility requirements in the Act, from both
the disability and industry perspectives. The second presentation
covered the industry perspective on the future of telecommunications.
The third presentation discussed the concept of "Universal
Design" applied to telecommunications. Examples were an
information kiosk accessible to blind persons and talking Caller-ID.
During the public participation portion of the program, one person
addressed the problems a person who is deaf has with voice mail systems.
Thursday, June 13 and Friday, June 14.
The meeting began at 9:30 with a video outlining the requirements of the
Federal Advisory Committee Act under which the TAAC is chartered. The
Committee then discussed its draft protocols and recommended several
changes. A draft, revised according to comments will be sent to members
The Committee considered applications for reconsideration of membership
from two organizations and voted to add the two additional members,
Motorola and the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association.
The Committee spent the remainder of Thursday and all of Friday
identifying and discussing issues to be addressed in the guideline
development process. The following major points were raised:
- Good definitions are critical.
- Telecommunications equipment should be construed broadly.
- A change in information format (e.g., text to Braille, text to
speech) to provide access is not an excluded "change in form or
content" under the definition of telecommunications.
- Keep the service in mind when developing guidelines.
- The service and the equipment should be compatible.
- Keep in mind how the guidelines will be applied and to whom.
- The guidelines should be usable by small and large companies;
"readily achievable" might be different for each.
- Subjective evaluation takes time, adds to development time.
- The technology is changing rapidly.
- The guidelines should be flexible.
- Guidelines should be performance based.
- Performance shouldn't matter whether it is achieved by software or
- Guidelines should include how to implement/plan for
- There should be alternative methods for solving problems.
- Guidelines should provide for timely and appropriate implementation.
- The guidelines should take into consideration non-traditional
- Computers used as telephones should be covered.
- Teleconferencing should be captioned.
- Accessibility should be "practical"; not too hard for
consumers to use.
- Documentation should be available in usable formats.
- To the maximum extent, accessibility should be integral to the design.
- Minimize the need for assistive technologies.
- There should be user-controlled choices for input and output,
- Standard interfaces for adaptive equipment should be available.
- Voice services should be available in text, and vice versa.
- Equipment should not strip information content from the source
(don't lose information needed to provide access).
- Equipment and systems should be portable.
- Graphical user interfaces need an alternative system of operational
and navigational controls.
- Guidelines should incorporate the principle of Universal Design.
- Universal Design should be a process not a product.
- Universal Design should become part of the normal business process.
- Guidelines should help develop a public expectation of Universal Design.
- Guidelines should encourage integration of solutions for maximum
- Manufacturers and product developers need to consider the effects of
technologies before they are introduced.
- Manufacturers and product developers need to ensure adaptive
devices, when needed, are available and don't interfere with other
- Guidelines should be easy to understand and implement.
- Manufacturers and product developers should be able to identify
barriers in order to know what needs to be done.
- Manufacturers and product developers need to know how to respond to
different consumer needs.
- Manufacturers and developers should be able to confirm that a
potential solution works (easy tests).
- It should be clear when a performance criterion is met.
- Guidelines should incorporate product development checklists.
During the public comment period, the issue of incompatibility of many
computer modems and TTYs was raised. The Committee was urged to
consider requiring modems to incorporate the new V.18 standard.
The Trace Center set up a "listserv" for the Committee.
Committee members can post any materials and non-members can receive all
the correspondence. Non-members who want to post materials can submit
them to Roberta Breden, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Dennis Cannon,
email@example.com. To subscribe, send e-mail to:
with the message:
subscribe TAAC-L <firstname lastname>
with no subject.
The Committee established a task group to develop a "trial
balloon" format and framework for the guidelines, to be discussed
at the next meeting. Members of the task group are Roberta Brosnahan,
Todd Colquit, Steven Crosby, Alan Dinsmore, James Fruchterman, Judith
Harkins, Steven Jacobs, Mary McDermott, Gerard Nelson, Karen
Peltz-Strauss, Paul Schroeder, Leigh Thorpe, Jim Tobias, Gregg
Vanderheiden, and Norman Williams.
Future meeting dates are: August 14-16, September 25-27, November 6-8,
December 16-18, and January 14-15.