Accessibility and Assistive Technology

Key Points

  • Thanks to the wireless industry’s constant innovation and close working relationship with the disability community, people with disabilities may customize their mobile devices, including apps and accessories, to fit their unique needs.
  • In order to continue this innovation and development of accessibility and assistive technology, the U.S. wireless industry must have flexibility in federal and regulatory policy.
  • Fueled by the U.S. wireless industry’s intense competition, there are incredible advancements in services, devices and apps for individuals with disabilities. For example, wireless handset manufacturers provide Hearing Aid Compatible (HAC) handsets that meet industry standards.
  • Through CTIA’s AccessWireless.org, these devices, apps and accessories are easily searchable via the Mobile Manufacturer Forum’s Global Accessibility Reporting Initiative (GARI). Winner of the Federal Communications Commission Chairman’s Award for Advancement in Accessibility, AccessWireless.org serves as the first-stop website for individuals with disabilities and their families to find the best wireless devices and services for their needs.

CTIA Position

As wireless companies continue to innovate, accessibility is a key component of the design and implementation of new products and services so that as many people as possible are able to benefit from and use wireless products and services. 

  • The 21st Century Communications & Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA)’s “achievable” standard provides wireless companies with the flexibility to offer accessible advanced communications services, devices and applications while meeting evolving consumer demands.
  • Through collaboration with the hard of hearing community, hearing aid manufacturers and policymakers, the wireless industry continues to offer handsets that are Hearing Aid Compatible (HAC).
  • Customization is a key feature of wireless services, devices and apps that allow individuals with disabilities to create their own unique wireless experiences that meets their needs.

Increasingly, individuals with disabilities are turning to wireless as their primary method of communication, due in large part to the incredible innovations and increasing awareness of accessibility. In order to continue the rapid adoption of wireless technology in the accessibility community so users may maximize their benefits, CTIA supports several economic and educational policies.

  • Flexibility in federal policy so the wireless industry may remain innovative and disruptive of every sector, including accessibility.
  • Reforms to the Universal Service Fund program to help more individuals gain access to communication technology and the critical public services available when they need them, such as 911 and Wireless Emergency Alerts.
Last updated: November 2013

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Wireless Facts & Stats

  • AccessWireless.org received the 2011 FCC Chairman's Award for Advancement in Accessibility.
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