Paris, 20 November 2003
At end 2002, Autorité de régulation des télécommunications (ART) launched an initiative, involving major sector players, to improve accessibility to mobile telephony and multimedia services for the handicapped. This initiative, inspired by the European year of the handicapped, has been presented to the Commission consultative des radiocommunications (CCR), composed of representatives of operators, users and qualified professionals including representatives of telecommunications equipment manufacturers.
In early April 2003, Philippe Balin, member of the CCR, was commissioned by ART to chair a working group composed of interested operators and equipment makers, and to present a report on both the current situation and progress in discussions on accessibility to mobile services.
This report, which was presented to the CCR at its meeting in October 2003, is the contribution of all parties, whether public or private, who work to increase the accessibility of technologies for the handicapped.
In particular, it highlights a number of players' existing initiatives which should be continued, such as the provision by operators of invoices in Braille. In this respect, it is very encouraging to note the strong commitment of the players (operators and equipment makers) who participated in the working group, and their desire to take concrete action within reasonable deadlines.
The group's work resulted in a number of recommendations to players, particularly in the following areas: improving accessibility to terminals, and implementing adapted services on operators' networks.
Finally, this report presents a number of proposed actions from the reporter, which were generally very well received by all members of the CCR.
ART is publishing this report today in order to make it available to all players interested in these accessibility issues.
ART plans to monitor the concrete application of the commitments taken by the players in the working group's discussions, through the two consultative commissions CCR and CCRST who are naturally concerned by this subject.