Thread Subject: Re: "very readily achievable" ?
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From: Jim Tobias
Date: Thu, Dec 28 2006 9:40 PM
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I'm sorry if I have been the cause of confusion on this point. But it's
clear from Paragraph 51 that the FCC intended to create a class of features
that were to be found on every product. No other reading of this paragraph
makes sense to me, anyway. Whether or not this part of the order creates a
new regulatory standard is beyond my acumen. But it is a clear distinction,
isn't it -- *every* similar product must have the feature, and manufacturers
cannot refer potential customers to the feature available on another
product in the same line. The problem is, the FCC let manufacturers
determine which features were very readibly achievable (VRA), and which were
only readily achievable (RA), and did not require them to inform customers
which class they assigned a feature to. So a nib on the '5' key could be
VRA, or just coincidentally RA for every product.
My larger point is that we are under no such restriction. We could, I
believe, identify a list of VRA features, and recommend that the list be
part of the refreshed regulations.
From: Pam Ransom [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ]
Sent: Thursday, December 28, 2006 4:41 PM
To: TEITAC Telecommunications Subcommittee
Subject: Re: [teitac-telecom] [teitac-subparta] "very readily achievable" ?
I just read the string of emails below...The legal standard that is used in
Section 255 of the Telecom Act and the thus the standard used by the FCC is
"readily achievable". This standard can only be changed by Congress.
Below you have quoted Paragraph 51 of the narrative section of the FCC
Report and Order. The FCC, uses the narrative to further explain its Rules.
The FCC, in Paragraph 51 is referring to those access solutions that are
"readily achievable" (readily achievable means easily accomplishable without
much difficulty or expense). The FCC is not referring to a new category
(very readily achievable) of access solutions.
In Narrative Paragraph 51 the FCC is saying that, accessibility features
that can be incorporated into the design of different products with very
little or no difficulty or expense (aka "readily achievable") must be
deployed universally into those different products.
----- Original Message -----
From: Jim <mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > Tobias
To: 'TEITAC Subpart A <mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
Subcommittee' ; 'TEITAC Telecommunications
<mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > Subcommittee'
Cc: 'Jasionowski, Tony' <mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
Sent: Friday, December 22, 2006 3:14 PM
Subject: Re: [teitac-telecom] [teitac-subparta] "very readily achievable" ?
Here's the citation, paragraph 51 of the Sec. 255 Report and Order:
51. We recognize that there are accessibility features that can be
incorporated into the design
of products with very little or no difficulty or expense.139 These features
must be deployed
universally. We will not identify specific features that fall into this
category, because it necessarily
varies given the individual circumstances. Manufacturers and service
providers must make their
own determinations based on the factors in the readily achievable
definition. Thus, manufacturers
and service providers cannot decline to incorporate modest features that
will enhance accessibility
simply because some other product or service with the feature may be
available. We expect that,
over time, more and more features will be incorporated into all products in
this manner, and that
features that today may not be readily achievable soon will become routine
From: Schomburg, Paul [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ]
Sent: Friday, December 22, 2006 3:23 PM
To: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
Cc: Jasionowski, Tony; Schomburg, Paul
Subject: [teitac-subparta] "very readily achievable" ?
Jim: I've never heard of "very readily achievable" in FCC rules. Can you
provide a citation?
I think the FCC's definition of "readily achievable" already captures what
is easy to do for every product but also allows for other factors to be
taken into account. This flexibility allows manufacturers to provide
products with a range of accessibility features - not one size fits all -
and thus allows them to product products with a range of features to compete
in the market.
For example, the FCC determined, based on the Access Board recommendations,
that "that a manufacturer or service provider is not required to install an
accessibility feature if it can demonstrate that the feature fundamentally
would alter the product." The FCC also found that "that the concept of
fundamental alteration is implicit in the readily achievable analysis" and
thus did not require a separate factor. See discussion in FCC 99-181
With regard to 508, the FCC R&O also notes: "The Access Board found that the
"fundamental alteration" concept derives from the "undue burden" test under
the ADA and, since "undue burden" is a higher standard than "readily
achievable," that the concept of fundamental alteration is implicit in the
readily achievable analysis." Therefore this same consideration should be
part of the 508 guidelines.
For these reasons, a list of "mandatory" features that should be in every
product seems to be outside of the intent and statutory limits of 255. For
508, agencies should have some flexibility to determine what features are
mandatory - balanced against their needs and other compliance requirements -
thus it seems unnecessary for this to be defined by the Access Board.
Best regards, Paul
Paul G. Schomburg, Sr. Manager
Panasonic Corporation of North America
Government & Public Affairs
1130 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20036
Tel: (202) 912-3800 x114; Fax: (202) 912-3810
From: Jim Tobias [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ]
Sent: Friday, December 22, 2006 12:10 PM
To: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ; 'TEITAC Subpart A Subcommittee'
Subject: RE: [teitac-subparta] Draft Questions
Here again a bit of market wisdom would be useful....
In the FCC's 255 rules, they put forward the concept of "very readily
achievable". This was to be applied to features that were so easy to do
that they should be found in every product, and that was their intent. (I
guess the 508 formulation would be "totally due burden".)
I think we could agree to such a list. It might not go very deeply into the
web/software space, but it could certainly cover almost all hardware
questions, and most telecom ones. Is it worth it? (By the way, the FCC
never went ahead and identified their list, nor did they, to my knowledge,
encourage anyone else to do so.)
Secondly, a compendium of recent E&IT purchases, or some other way of
sharing market information could reveal what is really available so widely
that no exceptions are necessary. An unwieldy version of this would sound
like "an accessibility feature found on 75% of the federal purchases in this
product category in the past 12 months is considered mandatory." A real
implementation nightmare, I know. I'm just being conceptual here.
But the underlying concern I have is trying to create reasonably
"prioritized" regulations without any good sense of current trends in E&IT
purchases; similarly, we lack good economic tools to define our costs and