VIDEO: FCC offers consumer support in American Sign Language.
The FCC has unveiled a support service specifically designed for consumers who are deaf and hard of hearing to communicate in their primary language, American Sign Language. The “ASL Consumer Support Line,” announced by Chairman Tom Wheeler in June 2014, allows deaf and hard of hearing consumers to engage in a direct, interactive video call with a consumer specialist at the FCC who can provide assistance in ASL for filing informal complaints or obtaining consumer information.
Persons who are deaf or hard of hearing can use the ASL Consumer Support Line by calling 844-4-FCC-ASL (844-432-2275) or 202-810-0444. Hours of operation are 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (Eastern Time), Monday through Friday.
The direct ASL video concept was first conceived by FCC staff members in the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau’s Disability Rights Office who have observed that direct access to communication, rather than through intermediaries such as interpreters or video relay service (VRS), provide greater autonomy to the consumers. This direct video access will allow consumers who are deaf and hard of hearing to communicate in their native language, ASL, with ease and confidence that their messages are being delivered in an exact manner.
"Now, direct video access to the FCC has finally become a reality for deaf and hard of hearing consumers who communicate primarily in ASL," said Greg Hlibok, chief of the Disability rights Office in the FCC's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, when launching the service
"We believe the new service will be highly preferred to VRS and to filing written complaints through the FCC’s website because of the difficulty in trying to convey the complexity of complaints for disability-related issues," he wrote in a blog post at the time.
For more information about DRO, visit the FCC's Disability Rights Office.