DHHCAN Meeting Minutes
Wednesday, May 4, 2016
Gallaudet Alumni House
(Thanks to GUAA for their generous support of the DHHCAN meeting space.)
Meeting called to order at 12:20 PM.
Voting Members – quorum not achieved
- Claude Stout, TDI
- Tom Dowling, DSA
- Zainab Alkebsi, NAD
- Art Roehrig, AADB
- Neal Tucker, RID
- Al Sonnenstrahl, ADARA
Robert McConnell (FCC)
- Jayne Tubergen Magneson
- Jan Nishimura
- Pat Richey
Approval of Minutes
- Approval for the minutes for the April 6, 2016 meeting needs to be tabled to the next meeting due to lack of quorum.
Special Session – Visit from Robert McConnell (FCC)
- Claude informed Robert that the group has questions about ACE, MITRE, VTCSecure, the URD database, et cetera, so he’s happy to share.
- Sonny is an important part of the project as a subcontractor with VTCSecure in regard to outreach to the community.
- ACE has three main aspects: ACE App, ACEConnect, and ACEDirect.
- 1) ACE App:
- A reference platform that you can access on your mobile, computer, and tablet.
- One app to connect with different providers, no matter who your default provider is.
- It has technology for multimedia communications and requires interoperability among providers.
- They hope to release it this fall.
- 2) ACEConnect:
- The FCC has many strict requirements for certifying VRS providers in regard to technology. The goal of ACE Connect is that any new provider can plug into this and only need to provide the interpreters. They would only need to focus on the interpreter side of things for the certification process.
- It would be easier and less expensive (from not needing to spend on technology) to get certified as a VRS provider.
- More VRS providers can then get up off the ground.
- The goal is to boost competition and innovation in the industry.
- 3) ACEDirect:
- This is touted as the “call center solution.”
- The FCC has seen many issues with being able to connect directly with businesses, government entities, and non-profits.
- “Press 1 for…..Press 2 for…..” – You can’t do this via point-to-point VP calls yet but with ACEDirect, that will become a viable option.
- It will allow for a “switchboard” capability via VP.
- It will be free and open-source.
- Anyone can download it and get a phone number but big businesses will need to have an engineer integrate it into their existing system.
- The FCC has been working hard on the ACE umbrella for a year and it is not just limited to VRS; they have been working with different relay services too, such as speech-to-speech (STS) and captioned telephone services (CTS.) For example, they are testing video STS.
- NTID has been a really significant part of all three.
- Sonny asked if video code will be standardized (e.g. VP, Skype, Facetime, etc) so that they can all be interoperable with each other, especially for NG 911?
- Robert responded that they will cross that bridge when they get to it. Maybe in a year or two when ACE matures.
- Claude reiterated his comments from the last meeting about the need for better direct communication with the FCC instead of finding out news from others.
- Sonny prefaced his next question that he is speaking as a consumer, not a contractor, since it is somewhat of a loaded question. He asked what is the difference between ACEConnect and the neutral platform (NCP)?
- Robert responded that there was a lot of misunderstanding about NCP due to one-sided conversations with VRS providers.
- They have a fiduciary duty to the public to make sure TRS programs operate efficiently and they were hearing from consumers about the lack of innovation. So the VRS Reform Order proposed the NCP to open up the business model. Instead of silos, there would be clear pathways with each other. They want a more open system. That’s the vision of ACEConnect – to give consumer choices.
- Claude commented that Robert’s explanation seems as if ACEConnect will foster competition but we are still concerned whether it will hold VRS providers hostage. It is concerning for the government to determine the outside market for R&D and innovation. We need to hear from the FCC on this.
- Robert responded that we need to gauge what is the right balance.
- Tom asked if ACE will have quality assurance screening to monitor the quality of the platform.
- Robert responded that MITRE plays an important role in this. They are a federally funded research center that works with many government entities. They are known as the “R&D for the federal government.” The FCC has a contract with them for exactly that kind of independent testing, making sure interoperability happens.
- Sonny added that VTCSecure is also doing their own evaluations and new projects always have bugs. It will get easier for users to use.
Chair’s Report (Claude)
- Claude thanked everyone for their feedback on the letter to AGBAD. He has not received a response from them and does not expect one.
- TDI electronically circulated the letter to their members and to the public. The reactions were very positive, especially from ASDC who wants to join DHHCAN.
- Claude clarified that the letter was not sent to the Washington Post because AGBAD’s original post was on their own website, not sent to the Washington Post.
- Claude explained that the FCC meeting scheduled for May 5th has been postponed again. He does not know when it will be rescheduled.
Vice Chair’s Report (Bernie)
- Not present.
Secretary’s Report (Zainab)
- Minutes tabled to next meeting due to lack of quorum.
- Zainab brought up the need to post the minutes on DHHCAN’s website. She noticed that DHHCAN’s website (dhhcan.org) has old content, the most recent being from 2012. The website from even before that (dhhcan.wordpress.org) is still live.
- Claude explained that Don is currently working on mocking up a new potential website but he will be leaving us at the end of July. We will need DHHCAN members’ blessing for the new website. We will need someone to monitor the website and keep it current. He asked if Zainab could do that.
- Zainab responded that she does not mind if it is a simple matter of uploading the minutes there but if maintaining the website requires technical knowledge, we may need a webmaster.
Treasurer’s Report (Tom)
- Current Balance in BB&T Checking Account (4/6/16): $24,786.79
- ADARA just paid their dues so we are now at 12 members and we are still waiting for ASDC, who might join us.
Technology/ Relay Services (Zainab)
- The DOJ just issued a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SANPRM) on Title II regulations for web accessibility (separating the overall web accessibility issue into two distinct silos– Title II and Title III regulations). The SANPRM has 123 questions, many of which are unnecessary, and results in further delay, which is really disappointing given the already interminable delay in issuing regulations on this issue. It should be already at the final rule stage now.
- NAD and TDI signed onto a letter written by Lise at HLAA in regard to a framework for the proposed Task Force that will work on Hearing Aid Compatibility (HAC) issues in coming years.
- The Consumer Groups filed comments in the FCC’s set-top box proceeding:
- The comments urge the FCC to make clear that many competitive navigation devices will already be directly subject to the accessibility rules, and any that aren’t (such as apps not currently included in the definition of covered “apparatus” under the CVAA) can and should still be subject to the same rules.
- The Consumer Groups filed comments with the EEOC in regard to Section 501 affirmative action regulations:
- The comments highlight obstacles to employment in the federal sector; the need for a centralized reasonable accommodation fund; enforceability of the affirmative action regulations; changes to proposed language for recruitment, hiring and advancement; the provision of written procedures in accessible formats; accessibility of facilities and technology; personal assistance services; and utilization analysis and goals.
- The week before the DHHCAN meeting, the FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to seek comment on proposals to replace FCC rules requiring support for TTY technology with rules requiring support for real-time text (RTT) technology, in light of the transition to IP networks. The NPRM incorporates recommendations from the Disability Advisory Committee’s Technology Transitions subcommittee, chaired by Zainab.
- The Consumer Groups filed a letter a week before the DHHCAN meeting in regard to the TRS User Registration Database (URD):
- Sorenson Communications and Purple Communications had expressed some concerns with TDI and NAD on the current plans for managing the TRS user registration database (managed by FCC contractor Rolka Loube). TDI and NAD feel it is important that consumers only register once and not for each provider.
- We concluded that it would be very helpful if we could jointly send the FCC an ex parte explaining:
1.) Consumer registration for the TRS-URD needs to be transparent,
2.) The information in ASL about registering with TRS-URD is sent from the FCC to consumers in advance, and
3.) The registration process is streamlined to ensure that the process does not impose unintended consequences that deprive consumers of access to their chosen TRS service provider.
- No report (Alfred Sonnenstrahl had stepped out of the room).
- No report (Lise Hamlin was absent).
- No report (Barbara Raimondo was absent).
- Claude put out a call for volunteers for working on the presidential recommendations, which will be split into groups by topic.
- The goal is to finish by August 1st but preferably sooner.
- We will keep in touch via email on this.
- Neal thanked TDI for posting RID’s Job Task Analysis. The goal of this online survey is to gather information from the breadth of RID’s members and stakeholders to validate the Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities required for an NIC interpreter. The deadline is on May 4, 2016.
- Everyone thanked the interpreters for Interpreter Appreciation Day.
Next Meeting Date
- Wednesday, June 1 at Gallaudet Alumni House.
The Chair adjourned the meeting at 1:55 pm.
Zainab Alkebsi, Secretary