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e-CFR data is current as of September 16, 2020

Title 47Chapter ISubchapter BPart 68 → Subpart A


Title 47: Telecommunication
PART 68—CONNECTION OF TERMINAL EQUIPMENT TO THE TELEPHONE NETWORK


Subpart A—General


Contents
§68.1   Purpose.
§68.2   Scope.
§68.3   Definitions.
§68.4   Hearing aid-compatible telephones.
§68.5   Waivers.
§68.6   Telephones with volume control.
§68.7   Technical criteria for terminal equipment.

Authority: Secs. 4, 5, 303, 710, 48 Stat., as amended, 1066, 1068, 1082 (47 U.S.C. 154, 155, 303, 610).

Source: 45 FR 20841, Mar. 31, 1980, unless otherwise noted.

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§68.1   Purpose.

The purpose of the rules and regulations in this part is to provide for uniform standards for the protection of the telephone network from harms caused by the connection of terminal equipment and associated wiring thereto, and for the compatibility of hearing aids and telephones so as to ensure that, to the fullest extent made possible by technology and medical science, people with hearing loss have equal access to the national telecommunications network, including advanced communications services.

[83 FR 8632, Feb. 28, 2018]

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§68.2   Scope.

(a) Except as provided in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section, and excluding subpart F, which applies only to ACS telephonic CPE, the rules and regulations of this part apply to direct connection of all terminal equipment to the public switched telephone network for use in conjunction with all services other than party line services. Sections 68.4, 68.5, 68.6, 68.112, 68.160, 68.162, 68.316, and 68.317, and other sections to the extent they are made applicable by subpart F of this part, also apply to ACS and ACS telephonic CPE that is manufactured in the United States or imported for use in the United States on or after February 28, 2020.

(b) National defense and security. Where the Secretary of Defense or authorized agent or the head of any other governmental department, agency, or administration (approved in writing by the Commission to act pursuant to this rule) or authorized representative, certifies in writing to the appropriate common carrier that compliance with the provisions of part 68 could result in the disclosure of communications equipment or security devices, locations, uses, personnel, or activity which would adversely affect the national defense and security, such equipment or security devices may be connected to the telephone company provided communications network without compliance with this part, provided that each written certification states that:

(1) The connection is required in the interest of national defense and security;

(2) The equipment or device to be connected either complies with the technical criteria pertaining thereto or will not cause harm to the nationwide telephone network or to employees of any provider of wireline telecommunications; and

(3) The installation is performed by well-trained, qualified employees under the responsible supervision and control of a person who is a licensed professional engineer in the jurisdiction in which the installation is performed.

(c) Governmental departments, agencies, or administrations that wish to qualify for interconnection of equipment or security devices pursuant to this section shall file a request with the Secretary of this Commission stating the reasons why the exemption is requested. A list of these departments, agencies, or administrations that have filed requests shall be published in the Federal Register. The Commission may take action with respect to those requests 30 days after publication. The Commission action shall be published in the Federal Register. However, the Commission may grant, on less than the normal notice period or without notice, special temporary authority, not to exceed 90 days, for governmental departments, agencies, or administrations that wish to qualify for interconnection of equipment or security devices pursuant to this section. Requests for such authority shall state the particular fact and circumstances why authority should be granted on less than the normal notice period or without notice. In such cases, the Commission shall endeavor to publish its disposition as promptly as possible in the Federal Register.

[66 FR 7580, Jan. 24, 2001, as amended at 83 FR 8632, Feb. 28, 2018]

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§68.3   Definitions.

As used in this part:

ACS telephonic CPE. Customer premises equipment used with advanced communications services that is designed to provide 2-way voice communication via a built-in speaker intended to be held to the ear in a manner functionally equivalent to a telephone, except for mobile handsets.

Advanced communications services. Interconnected VoIP service, non-interconnected VoIP service, electronic messaging service, and interoperable video conferencing service.

Demarcation point (also point of interconnection). As used in this part, the point of demarcation and/or interconnection between the communications facilities of a provider of wireline telecommunications, and terminal equipment, protective apparatus or wiring at a subscriber's premises.

Essential telephones. Only coin-operated telephones, telephones provided for emergency use, and other telephones frequently needed for use by persons using such hearing aids.

Harm. Electrical hazards to the personnel of providers of wireline telecommunications, damage to the equipment of providers of wireline telecommunications, malfunction of the billing equipment of providers of wireline telecommunications, and degradation of service to persons other than the user of the subject terminal equipment, his calling or called party.

Hearing aid compatible. Except as used at §§68.4(a)(3) and 68.414, and subpart F of this part the terms hearing aid compatible or hearing aid compatibility are used as defined in §68.316, unless it is specifically stated that hearing aid compatibility volume control, as defined in §68.317, is intended or is included in the definition.

Inside wiring or premises wiring. Customer-owned or controlled wire on the subscriber's side of the demarcation point.

Premises. As used herein, generally a dwelling unit, other building or a legal unit of real property such as a lot on which a dwelling unit is located, as determined by the provider of telecommunications service's reasonable and nondiscriminatory standard operating practices.

Private radio services. Private land mobile radio services and other communications services characterized by the Commission in its rules as private radio services.

Public mobile services. Air-to-ground radiotelephone services, cellular radio telecommunications services, offshore radio, rural radio service, public land mobile telephone service, and other common carrier radio communications services covered by part 22 of Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

Responsible party. The party or parties responsible for the compliance of terminal equipment or protective circuitry intended for connection directly to the public switched telephone network, or of ACS telephonic CPE, with the applicable rules and regulations in this part and with any applicable technical criteria published by the Administrative Council for Terminal Attachments. If a Telecommunications Certification Body certifies the terminal equipment or ACS telephonic CPE, the responsible party is the holder of the certificate for that equipment. If the terminal equipment or ACS telephonic CPE is the subject of a Supplier's Declaration of Conformity, the responsible party shall be: The manufacturer of the equipment, or the manufacturer of protective circuitry that is marketed for use with terminal equipment that is not to be connected directly to the network, or if the equipment is imported, the importer, or if the equipment is assembled from individual component parts, the assembler. If the equipment is modified by any party not working under the authority of the responsible party, the party performing the modifications, if located within the U.S., or the importer, if the equipment is imported subsequent to the modifications, becomes the new responsible party. Retailers or original equipment manufacturers may enter into an agreement with the assembler or importer to assume the responsibilities to ensure compliance of the terminal equipment or ACS telephonic CPE and to become the responsible party.

Secure telephones. Telephones that are approved by the United States Government for the transmission of classified or sensitive voice communications.

Terminal equipment. As used in this part, communications equipment located on customer premises at the end of a communications link, used to permit the stations involved to accomplish the provision of telecommunications or information services.

[66 FR 7581, Jan. 24, 2001, as amended at 83 FR 8632, Feb. 28, 2018]

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§68.4   Hearing aid-compatible telephones.

(a)(1) Except for telephones used with public mobile services, telephones used with private radio services, and cordless and secure telephones, every telephone manufactured in the United States (other than for export) or imported for use in the United States after August 16, 1989, must be hearing aid compatible, as defined in §68.316. Every cordless telephone manufactured in the United States (other than for export) or imported into the United States after August 16, 1991, must be hearing aid compatible, as defined in §68.316.

(2) Unless otherwise stated and except for telephones used with public mobile services, telephones used with private radio services and secure telephones, every telephone listed in §68.112 must be hearing aid compatible, as defined in §68.316.

(3) A telephone is hearing aid-compatible if it provides internal means for effective use with hearing aids that are designed to be compatible with telephones which meet established technical standards for hearing aid compatibility.

(4) The Commission shall revoke or otherwise limit the exemptions of paragraph (a)((1) of this section for telephones used with public mobile services or telephones used with private radio services if it determines that (i) such revocation or limitation is in the public interest; (ii) continuation of the exemption without such revocation or limitation would have an adverse effect on hearing-impaired individuals; (iii) compliance with the requirements of §68.4(a)(1) is technologically feasible for the telephones to which the exemption applies; and (iv) compliance with the requirements of §68.4(a)(1) would not increase costs to such an extent that the telephones to which the exemption applies could not be successfully marketed.

[54 FR 21430, May 18, 1989, as amended at 55 FR 28763, July 13, 1990; 57 FR 27183, June 18, 1992; 61 FR 42186, Aug. 14, 1996]

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§68.5   Waivers.

The Commission may, upon the application of any interested person, initiate a proceeding to waive the requirements of §68.4(a)(1) with respect to new telephones, or telephones associated with a new technology or service. The Commission shall not grant such a waiver unless it determines, on the basis of evidence in the record of such proceeding, that such telephones, or such technology or service, are in the public interest, and that (a) compliance with the requirements of §68.4(a)(1) is technologically infeasible, or (b) compliance with such requirements would increase the costs of the telephones, or of the technology or service, to such an extent that such telephones, technology, or service could not be successfully marketed. In any proceeding under this section to grant a waiver from the requirements of §68.4(a)(1), the Commission shall consider the effect on hearing-impaired individuals of granting the waiver. The Commission shall periodically review and determine the continuing need for any waiver granted pursuant to this section.

[54 FR 21430, May 18, 1989]

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§68.6   Telephones with volume control.

As of January 1, 2000, all telephones, including cordless telephones, as defined in §15.3(j) of this chapter, manufactured in the United States (other than for export) or imported for use in the United States, must have volume control in accordance with §68.317. Secure telephones, as defined by §68.3 are exempt from this section, as are telephones used with public mobile services or private radio services.

[62 FR 43484, Aug. 14, 1997]

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§68.7   Technical criteria for terminal equipment.

(a) Terminal equipment shall not cause harm, as defined in §68.3, to the public switched telephone network.

(b) Technical criteria published by the Administrative Council for Terminal Attachments are the presumptively valid technical criteria for the protection of the public switched telephone network from harms caused by the connection of terminal equipment, subject to the appeal procedures in §68.614 of this part.

[66 FR 7581, Jan. 24, 2001]

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