Telecommunications

Deaf and hard of hearing people must have full and unrestricted access to all wire, radio, optical and other electromagnetic telecommunication systems to be able to communicate with anyone.

TDI submits a large number of filings annually to the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) in areas of structure and practices of the Telecommunication Relay Services (TRS). The FCC is responsible for enforcing federal regulations guaranteeing telecommunication access. TDI consistently monitors and recommends improvements to the telecommunication relay service.

We also rely on our members and consumers to support our efforts by sharing their experiences, as well as reporting any violations of fraud, waste, or abuse of the TRS.

For the FCC to take action on any infractions, a complaint must be made. Visit the FCC’s Consumer Complaint Center to learn more or file a complaint.

We cover many areas of improving telecommunications access, some of our current projects involve:

      • Skills-Based Routing
      • Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) in Captioned Telephone
      • Deaf Interpreters in VRS
      • Relay User Equipment (RUE) Profile and VRS Access Technology Reference Platform (VATRP)

TDI sits on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Consumer Advocacy Network (DHHCAN), the FCC’s Disability Advisory Committee, and the Deaf Hard of Hearing Alliance (DHHA), and engages in information sharing collaboration with them to continue improving the TRS.

Telecommunication Relay Providers

Captioned Telephone ServiceBraille Video ServiceVideo Relay ServiceInternet Relay Service
CapTelGlobalVRSConvo RelaySprint IP Relay
CaptionCallSorenson VRS
ClearCaptionsZVRS / Purple
Hamilton CapTel
InnoCaption
Sprint CapTel

Media

Deaf and hard of hearing people must have full and unrestricted access to all public broadcasts, announcements, and other communications in order to be fully aware and navigate through their environment.

In addition to our telecommunication filings, TDI also submits numerous filings to the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) in areas of closed captioning of broadcasted shows, including those on the internet, as well as emergency announcements made made via radio waves (cellular phones, radio), and 9-1-1 calls.  TDI also works with the Department of Justice (DOJ) to ensure equal communication access in areas outside of the FCC’s jurisdiction, e.g. in-flight entertainment, pubic and mass transit areas.

The FCC is responsible for enforcing federal relations that guarantees information access via TV, radio, internet and cellular lines. TDI strives to monitor and improve the consumers’ closed captioning experience and full access to emergency and public announcements, but we rely on our members and consumers to support our efforts by reporting any captioning complaints or lack of emergency notifications.

We cover many areas of improving media access, some of our current projects involve:

      • Improving the Wireless Resiliency Framework
      • Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) in Closed Captioning
      • Improve Closed Captioning quality using objective, technology- and methodology- neutral quality metrics
      • Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG-911) readiness, Text-to-911 deployment, and Emergency alerts 

If you experience any issues with closed captioning on TV, you are encouraged to first contact the broadcast station or cable company directly to immediately resolve your concerns. If you feel your issue was not solved or neglected, then escalate it filing a complaint with the FCC’s Consumer Complaint Center

If you are not sure who to contact, start with the broadcast station. They will be able to help you determine if the issue is with them or with the cable company. To share a complaint, concern or inquiry about captioning with a broadcast station, you can visit their respective websites. The links below will take you directly to the companies’ appropriate captioning contact person:

Information Technology

Deaf and hard of hearing people must have full and unrestricted access to all types of technology to be able to have a good quality of life.

TDI advocates for policies promoting universal design technology. TDI also consults with many industry partners to support and advance their accessibly features to ensure all deaf and hard of hearing people are able to independently use their technology. 

We cover many areas of improving technology access, some of our current projects involve:

      • Preservation of privacy and security with development of Internet of Things (IoT)
      • Advanced Communication Services (ACS) accessibly in gaming, extended reality (XR), and other platforms
      • Fully accessible Connected Cars and Autonomous Vehicles, including the vehicles awareness of People with Disabilities (PWDs) in the environment
      • Real Time Text deployment