The Access Board has issued a correction to its updated accessibility requirements for information and communication technology (ICT). The correction restores provisions on TTY access that were inadvertently omitted. The action applies to the final rule the Board published to refresh its Rehabilitation Act (Section 508) standards for ICT in the federal sector and its Communications Act (Section 255) guidelines for telecommunications equipment.
The original Section 508 standards and Section 255 guidelines required that devices with two-way voice communication support use of TTY devices, which provide text communication across phone connections for people with hearing or speech impairments. In its ICT refresh, the Board had proposed replacing this provision with a requirement for real-time text (RTT) functionality, a new technology with significant advantages over TTYs.
In finalizing its rule, however, the Board chose to reserve the RTT requirement because the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had initiated its own rulemaking to address RTT functionality in IP-based telecommunication environments. Therefore, the Board intended to add the original TTY provision back into the rule, but the necessary language was unintentionally left out.