PART I What is EECC, timeline, definitions & key players 1. What is the European Electronic Communications Code? 2. Timeline for the transposition 3. Definitions 4. Key players 1. Member States of the EU 4. Key players 1.1. Identify relevant ministries of your government that is responsible for transporting the EECC 4. Key players 1.2. Get involved at national level to brief officials to get the best out of the Code for deaf persons in your country 4. Key players 2. National regulatory and other competent authorities 4. Key players 3. The European Commission 4. Key players 4. Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) 4. Key players 5. Organisations of persons with disabilities (DPOs) including National Associations of the Deaf 4. Key players 6. Electronic Communications Service Providers PART II Transposition of the most important Articles of EECC: 1. Obligations to ensure available and affordable universal services: Article 84, Article 85 & Article 86 2. Ensuring informed choice by end-users: Article 102 & Article 103 3. Ensuring flexibility of choice between providers for end-users Articles 105, 106 and 107 4. Emergency communications and the single European emergency number 112: Article 109 EECC 5. Public warning system: Article 110 6. Equivalent access and choice for end-users with disabilities: Article 111 7. The European Accessibility Act PART III Enforcement, monitoring and reporting, European Commission’s review

PART I What is EECC, timeline, definitions & key players

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1. What is the European Electronic Communications Code?

The recast European Electronic Communications Code (the or ‘the Code’) is a European directive, which was adopted and entered into force in December 2018. After being adopted on the EU level, the EECC must be transposed to national laws in EU Member States. Transposition is the process of adopting new national legislation or adapting existing ones to comply with an EU Directive, in this case – the recast European Electronic Communications Code.

The EECC sets an EU-level legal framework to coordinate national legislation on electronic communications networks and services, this includes:

  • telephony services
  • the single European emergency number ‘112’
  • basic internet access that must now be considered as a universal service by EU countries.

EECC aims to ensure the provision of electronic communication services to end-users that are:

  • of a good quality
  • affordable
  • publicly available 

Most importantly, the EECC also aims at ensuring that end-users with disabilities enjoy access and choice to these services on an equal basis with others.

The Code generally sets out the absolute minimum requirements that have to be met, which does not mean that EU countries cannot do more. So, if there are better provisions already in place in a country, the government of that country does not have to weaken those provisions. On the contrary, they can take the opportunity of the transposition process and further strengthen national rules.

Find the EECC here: Directive (EU) 2018/1972 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 establishing the European Electronic Communications Code (Recast)Text with EEA relevance. Full text of the Directive is available in all languages.

For more information please address EDF toolkit on EECC, pages 17-18.

http://edf-feph.org/electronic-communications-code-toolkit 

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2. Timeline for the transposition

21 December 2020.

By this date:  

  • Member States must adopt and publish laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with the Code. They will have to communicate the text of those provisions to the European Commission.
  • Member States must apply the measures required under the Code from this day onwards.
  • The European Commission must deliver a report on the effectiveness of the implementation of the single European emergency number ‘112’. This reporting must be done every two years thereafter.

21 December 2025 is the deadline for the first report by the European Commission on the functioning of the Code, and the scope of universal service. This reporting must be done every five years thereafter.

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3. Definitions

The full list of definitions used in the Code can be found in Article 2 (Chapter I) of the Code. The list explains the terms in your language such as:

  • Electronic communications networks (Art. 2 (1))
  • Electronic communications service (internet access services, interpersonal communications services and transmission services for machine-to-machine communications and broadcasting) (Art. 2 (4))
  • Terminal equipment
  • Interpersonal communications service (number-based and number-independent) (Art. 2 (5)(6)(7))
  • Total conversation service (Art. 2 (35))
  • Operator (Art. 2 (29))
  • Emergency communication (Art. 2 (38))
  • Public safety answering point or PSAP (Art. 2 (36)(37))
  • End-user (Art. 2 (14))
  • Consumer (Art. 2 (15))

The Code does not explain these terms, but they are used and/or are necessary for background knowledge:

  • Electronic programme guides (EPGs)
  • Real-time text (RTT):
  • Relay services
  • Universal service
  • Organisations of persons with disabilities (DPOs)
  • Member States
  • Transposition
  • Interoperability
  • Standards

You can find these terms explained below:

Electronic programme guides (EPGs): are menu-based systems that provide users of television, radio and other media applications with continuously updated menus that display scheduling information for current and upcoming broadcast programming (most commonly, TV listings).

Real-time text (RTT): is text transmitted instantly as it is typed or created. Recipients can immediately read the message while it is being written, without waiting.  This can be done between two or more end-users.[1]

Relay services: refer to services which enable two-way communication between remote end-users who prefer or require different modes of communication (for example text, sign language, speech) by providing conversion between those modes of communication, normally by a human operator that works as intermediary between users. For instance, a deaf person calling their doctor can make use of a video relay service to communicate with a sign language interpreter that will call the doctor on their behalf. Or a hard of hearing person struggling to understand the voice of their friend by phone can make use of a text-relay service in which an interpreter transcribes what the friend says, whereas the hard of hearing person communicates by speech.[2]

Universal service: is an economic, legal and business term used mostly in regulated industries, referring to the practice of providing a baseline level of services to every resident of a country.  The aim is to ensure that all users have access to quality services at an affordable price. In the Code, a fundamental requirement of universal service is that countries ensure all consumers have access at a nationally specified quality and affordable price to

  • adequate broadband internet access;
  • voice communications services

at a fixed location and may also ensure affordability of these services to citizens on the move.

  • Making emergency calls such as to the ‘112’ European emergency number in any EU country free of charge from any telephone, including public payphones;

The Code also requires Member States to ensure that end-users with disabilities have equivalent access to universal services. 

Organisations of persons with disabilities (DPOs): are organisations which are run by and represent the interest of persons with disabilities.

Member States: are the countries which are members of the European Union.

Transposition: is the process of adopting new national legislation or adapting existing ones to comply with an EU Directive.

Interoperability: is the ability of a system to work with or use the parts or equipment of another system. In other words, interoperability means that different products and services “speak” the same “language”, so they “communicate” effectively and seamlessly.

Standards: are voluntary technical documents with the main objective to ensure a common approach and interoperability when developing products and services: electricity plugs, elevators, mobile phone chargers, subtitling, audio description, etc. Standards are crucial to guarantee adequate levels of quality, safety, environmental friendliness, and accessibility for persons with disabilities. In the EU, we have two ‘categories’ of standards:

  • European standards (ENs) which are adopted by the European standardisation organisations and are agreements mainly between stakeholders.
  • Harmonised standard (HENs) are European standards adopted based on a request made by the European Commission for the application of European Union harmonisation legislation (such as the Code, and the Accessibility Act). Organisations can use harmonised standards to show that they are obeying EU legislation.
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4. Key players 1. Member States of the EU

1. Member States of the EU

Member States are responsible for transposing the Code into national laws. This means that the governments must draft and adopt national laws to ensure new rules are in place before the deadline. Once this is done, countries need to communicate the text of those measures to the European Commission.

Steps to undertake:

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4. Key players 1.1. Identify relevant ministries of your government that is responsible for transporting the EECC

  • If you don’t know which ministry is responsible for this work, ask your minister in charge of disability affairs or your minister in charge of digital or telecommunication affairs.
  • Several ministries involved. If you don’t have existing contacts, visit the website of BEREC, where you will see the contact information of the national regulatory authorities. They can also advise you which ministries are responsible for the transposition of the Code.
  • Once you have identified the right official or minister: write to them and request an appointment to set out your position and offer your advice.
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4. Key players 1.2. Get involved at national level to brief officials to get the best out of the Code for deaf persons in your country

  • Contact the responsible ministry as soon as possible to ensure your interests are taken on board.
  • Contact Members of your national parliament who have an interest in disability and digital and electronic communications accessibility. They may be able to help you by putting pressure on your government to ensure an effective implementation of the Code.
  • When negotiating with representatives of your government, always refer to their existing obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, as well as existing EU legislation.
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4. Key players 2. National regulatory and other competent authorities

Article 5 of the EECC obliges Member States to ensure that each of the tasks laid down in the Code is undertaken by a competent authority. In the Article 5 you can also find the tasks that the national regulatory and other competent authorities are responsible for.

It is important to note that the Code states the minimum that these bodies should do, and does not stop countries to designate them more powers and tasks. 

Countries might designate certain tasks to other competent bodies. They must publish the tasks they assign to national regulatory and other competent bodies. This publication should be ‘in an easily accessible form’.

For more in depth information on the advocacy with regards to the national regulatory and other competent authorities please address EDF toolkit on EECC transposition, pages 11 – 13. 

http://edf-feph.org/electronic-communications-code-toolkit 

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4. Key players 3. The European Commission

The European Commission has the power to pursue infringement proceedings against a particular EU country in case of incorrect transposition or application of the Code. The Commission may learn about such infringements through the complaints by citizens, parliamentary questions or monitoring carried out by independent consultants. 

In case you notice infringement, please notify the European Commission, EUD and/or EDF, and your Member of the European Parliament. 

The European Commission will also publish publish a list of non-compulsory standards or technical specifications to support the harmonised provision of electronic communications networks, services and associated facilities and services, and their interoperability. The Commission may also adopt implementing acts to ensure the harmonised application of this Code and, when necessary, will adopt delegated acts. 

For more in depth information on the role of the EU Commission please address EDF toolkit on EECC transposition, pages 14 – 15.

http://edf-feph.org/electronic-communications-code-toolkit 

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4. Key players 4. Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC)

The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) to advises national regulatory authorities, the European Commission, the European Parliament, and the Council on technical matters regarding electronic communications.

https://berec.europa.eu 

Step to undertake:

  • Reach out to BEREC member national regulatory authorities and discuss your needs as users of electronic communications services.

These authorities will be key in ensuring that the Code is properly implemented in your country. They can also help you raise national concerns at EU-level.

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4. Key players 5. Organisations of persons with disabilities (DPOs) including National Associations of the Deaf

The EECC obliges Member States to ensure that end-users with disabilities are sufficiently consulted on issues related to the protection of their rights, including equivalent access and choice for end-users with disabilities, concerning publicly available electronic communications services. Therefore, national regulatory authorities and other competent authorities must establish consultation mechanisms that are accessible for end-users with disabilities.

It is essential to ensure that National Associations of the Deaf are meaningfully consulted while transposing the Code, as the obligations in the Code have a great potential to improve accessibility of electronic communications for deaf persons.

Also, countries have a great deal of freedom in how they implement some aspects of the Code, so highlighting deaf perspective to them is key.

See EDF’s advice on how to engage below:

  • Proactively exercise your right to be consulted as soon as possible to ensure your interests are taken on board.
  • Engage with other groups (e.g. representing persons with a range of disabilities, older people or other consumer groups) to find out if you can work together on the Code. If you can have a dialogue with your national authorities as part of a large coalition, this is likely to be very effective. If you decide to work as part of a coalition, agree a common strategy before any meeting with representatives of your government. 
  • Get in touch with national members of the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC), as they are very active and knowledgeable about consumers’ rights in relation to telecommunications.

 

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4. Key players 6. Electronic Communications Service Providers

Electronic Communications Service Providers are key stakeholders that are regulated by the Code. These can be divided into three main types:

• internet service providers

• interpersonal communication service providers (e.g. traditional voice calls between two individuals but also all types of emails, messaging services, or group chats)

• providers of services consisting wholly or mainly in the conveyance of signals such as transmission services used for the provision of machine-to-machine services and for broadcasting.

See below on how to engage with electronic communications service providers.

Advice for NADs:

  • Ensure that national rules clearly oblige service providers to have an accessible contact point, including for complaints, allowing more than one accessible channel of communication for persons with disabilities.
  • Inform yourself about the biggest providers of electronic communications service providers in your country.
  • Check if they have specialists working on accessibility and offer your support as users in assessing your needs.
  • Try also to meet with management of those providers, who have decision-making power and discuss your needs as consumers.
  • In discussions emphasise the legal requirements that electronic communications service providers must follow but also raise awareness about the benefits of making all communication accessible, for example reaching wider consumer
  • base and increasing competitiveness in the market.
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PART II Transposition of the most important Articles of EECC:

  • Obligations to ensure affordable universal services (Articles 84-92, Title III) and
  • End-User Rights (Articles 98 – 116)
  • Obligations on the accessibility of the emergency communications and the single European emergency number 112 (Article 109). 

You can find these Article in your language here:

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv%3AOJ.L_.2018.321.01.0036.01.ENG

Read the relevant Articles in your language together with the information below.

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1. Obligations to ensure available and affordable universal services: Article 84, Article 85 & Article 86

The EECC obliges Member States to ensure that an access to universal services (at the quality specified in their territories, at a fixed location) is affordable and available. When transposing these Articles into national legal systems, EDF advices NADs to:

  • Discuss with your lawmakers how they plan to define affordability. When doing so, they should ensure that consumers with disabilities do not face additional costs if requiring accessibility services to have equal access to communications services.
  • Advocate that affordability requirements are extended to non-fixed location services,  for example, mobile services that are not linked to a place of residence or work.
  • Ensure that when defining adequate broadband internet access, countries include provision of relay and total conversation services through the internet among the list of required services in addition to those mentioned in Annex V of the Code.
  • Convince your country to ensure affordability of broadband internet and voice communication services to not-for-profit organisations such as DPOs, as these organisations often have limited financial resources and high costs of services would impede their work.
  • Make sure your country sets special prices and ensures availability of the most accessible terminal equipment for persons with disabilities based on their needs. For example, such equipment can be a smartphone that supports the right video resolution to access total conversation services, or video relay for deaf people.
  • Make sure your country ensures the availability and affordability of assistive technologies necessary to access communications services.
  • Explain to your government what the special services are required for equal access to electronic communications services by persons with disabilities and sets special prices for them, notably text and video relay services. 
  • Flag to your government and national regulatory authorities that they need to ensure compliance of telecom operators and equipment manufacturers with the accessibility requirements of the European Accessibility Act once the Act is applied,  so any person can make a call using total conversation, anytime and anywhere in the EU, as any other voice call. This is especially important during emergency situations.
  • Emphasize that key relay services (text relay services, and video relay services) are available 24/7. Only this will ensure equal access and is crucial in emergency situations.
  • Emphasize that provision of a relay service should not increase the price of a call. Remind your government that the Code notes that the cost to consumers with disabilities of relay services should be equivalent to the average cost of voice communications services.
  • Emphasize that provision of total conversation services should never increase the price of a call, and that special tariffs should be applied to end-users with disabilities.
  • Assess within your territory if there are persons with disabilities who have difficulties in accessing electronic communication services and equipment due to lack of sufficient broadband internet, assistive technologies, relay services, etc. Highlight this to your government and request to ensure the availability of these universal services to them.
  • Stress that persons with disabilities in rural areas are especially at greater risk of not being able to access communications services with adequate quality, so focused measures should be taken to ensure equivalent access for them.

For an in-depth explanation of Articles 84, 85 & 86 please address EDF toolkit on EECC, pages 18 – 22.

EDF also addresses affordability and availability of other services than adequate broadband internet access and voice communications services at a fixed location that were in force on 20 December 2018 and missing children and child helpline hotlines in their toolkit. If you wish to engage in advocacy regarding these matters, please address pages 22 – 23.

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2. Ensuring informed choice by end-users: Article 102 & Article 103

Articles 102 and 103 set obligations on Member States to ensure that end-users can make an informed decision before signing a contract with a provider of an electronic communications service. When transposing these Articles into national legal systems, EDF advices NADs to:

  • Emphasise to your national lawmakers they must ensure that all information, contract summary and tracking facilities provided by the electronic communications service providers are accessible by default, and following the accessibility requirements of the European Accessibility Act once the Act is applied. The comparison tools should also be accessible. They can ensure this by following the below recommendations:
  • The information about the service, the contract summary, consumption tracking facility, service comparison tools and platforms are accessible by default in accordance with the European Standard on Accessibility requirements for ICT products and services (EN 301 549 v3), and relevant standards to meet the requirements of the European Accessibility Act when those are published.
  • Besides accessible electronic publication all of the above information is provided in accessible formats via multiple channels (e.g. in person with sign interpretation, in braille, etc.) by default and not only when requested.
  • Encourage to designate an accessible contact point that would provide consumption-related information to end-users with disabilities.
  • For ease of understanding, any specialised language, technical jargon and acronyms should be clearly defined and explained in an understandable manner, without exceeding a level of complexity superior to level B1 (intermediate) of the Council of Europe’s Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

What additional information do you find important for you as consumers with disabilities to be able to make an informed choice between services? Flag it to your national regularity and other competent authorities. This information could be on the accessibility of services, including their customer support services, points of contact and complaints procedures. Accessibility in all forms of communication must be ensured, for example in person information provided through the national sign language. 

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3. Ensuring flexibility of choice between providers for end-users Articles 105, 106 and 107

Articles 105 to 107 set requirements for Member States to ensure consumers have more freedom and flexibility for opting out of a service, switching to another service, and ‘taking’ their number with them. This is also true when subscribing to bundled offers.  When transposing these Articles into national legal systems, EDF advices NADs to:

Stress to your national lawmakers to set requirements to ensure that the procedures and information are simple and accessible to persons with disabilities.

They can do this by:

  • Ensuring that end-users with disabilities are provided all information in accessible formats via more than one channel (electronic but also in person).
  • requiring easy to understand language without exceeding a level of complexity superior to level B1 (intermediate) of the Council of Europe’s Common European Framework of Reference for Languages is used, that the information is accessible. This includes also providing information in easy-to-read.
  • Ensuring that multiple modes of cancellation, switching of services are used, for example by phone, email, in person with sign language interpretation.
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4. Emergency communications and the single European emergency number 112: Article 109 EECC

Countries must ensure that all end-users who can make calls to a national or international number, including when using public pay telephones, have access to emergency services through emergency communications free of charge by the single European emergency number ‘112’ and any national emergency number determined by the country. Countries must also ensure that providers of publicly available number-based interpersonal communications services which allow calls to a national or international number, provide access to emergency services through emergency communications to the most appropriate public-safety answering point (PSAP). Countries must ensure that all emergency communications to ‘112’ are answered and handled at least with the same level of speed and efficiency as any national emergency number. 

Advice for NADs: 

  • Make clear to your government that to ensure accessibility to emergency communications, answering of emergency communications to the single European emergency number ‘112’ by PSAPs, must comply with the specific accessibility requirements set out in Section V of Annex I of  the European Accessibility Act once the Act is applied.
  • Ensure that when countries decide how they want to organise emergency systems, needs of persons of disabilities and accessibility for the deaf are fully considered, and accessibility of emergency communication is prioritised. 

By 21 December 2020 and every two years after that, the European commission will report on how effectively the ‘112’ number works.

Advice for NADs:

  • To ensure that this report takes into full consideration the issues that persons with disabilities, including deaf persons, face when accessing the single European emergency number, establish a database of cases of occurred issues, always report those cases to the responsible national regulatory authority, inform the European Commission, and EUD and/or the EDF Secretariat. 

Countries must ensure that end-users with disabilities have access to emergency communications equivalent to other end-users in accordance with the European Accessibility Act. The European Commission and the national regulatory or other competent authorities must ensure that when end-users with disabilities travel between different EU countries, equivalent access is ensured, if possible, without pre-registration.

Harmonisation across the EU will be largely based on standards and specifications defined at European-level (according to article 39) but countries can adopt additional requirements to ensure accessibility of emergency services.  

Advice for NADs:

  • Advocate that your country does not require pre-registration to ensure equivalent access to any end-user with disability irrespective of them visiting from another country or not. Safety of every person should not depend on administrative procedures.
  • Stress to your government and your national authorities the importance of having a harmonised approach to emergency communications so persons with disabilities, in particular deaf, hard of hearing, speech-impaired and deaf-blind end-users, can contact the ‘112’ emergency number on an equal basis with others in their countries or when travelling across the EU. This can only be achieved if Member States and electronic communications operators comply with the same accessibility and interoperability requirements when it comes to emergency communication, namely real-time text and total conversation services. For technical reference you can mention the EN 301 549 v.3.1.1 until the standards of the European Accessibility Act are published.
  • Highlight the importance of being able to contact the ‘112’ number by a relay service on your behalf.

Countries must ensure that the caller location information is available to the most appropriate public safety answering point (PSAP) without delay after the emergency communication is set up. The establishment and transmission of this information will be free of charge for the end-user and the PSAP during all emergency communications to ‘112’.

Countries can decide to extend the noted obligations for emergency communications to national emergency numbers.

Advice for NADs:

  • Advocate that your country uptakes use of Advanced Mobile Location (AML), which allows fast and accurate caller location information in times of emergency, if it hasn’t done yet.  
  • Advocate also that your country uptakes the use of AML for text-to-112. This system allows that when an SMS is sent to the emergency number ‘112’, the mobile of the sender locates itself and after around 20 seconds automatically sends a second message to the PSAP with its accurate location data.
  • Advocate that your country extends the obligations for emergency communications for ‘112' to national emergency numbers.
  • Advocate that your country introduces Next Generation ‘112’, which will enable PSAPs to handle and respond to calls from IP-based  multimedia, allowing video, audio and real-time-text communication. With the introduction of 5G networks in the EU, Next Generation ‘112’ will ensure high quality accessible emergency communication using real-time-text and total conversation services over IP.

Countries must adequately inform end-users about the existence and use of the single European emergency number ‘112’, including its accessibility features by initiatives that, among other end-users, specifically target persons travelling between countries and end-users with disabilities. This information must be in accessible formats, addressing different types of disabilities. The European Commission will support and complement these national initiatives. 

Advice for NADs:

  • This is a very important and useful requirement. To ensure that it is effectively realised, discuss with your government how they plan to ensure that information reaches all persons with disabilities. Offer support and expertise in developing these campaigns if you have the capacity for such engagement. 

By 21 December 2022, the European Commission must adopt delegate acts on the measures necessary to ensure the compatibility, interoperability, quality, reliability and continuity of emergency communications in the EU related to caller location information solutions, access for end-users with disabilities and reaching the most appropriate PSAPs. This will be done after consulting BEREC.

Advice for NADs:

To ensure that your needs as end-users with disabilities are considered when drafting the delegate acts, raise any issues and feedback to your national regulatory authorities. These authorities are members of BEREC, so they can help to bring your voice to the European-level. When relevant, EDF will also consult our members to submit comprehensive feedback to the European Commission’s proposal of the acts. 

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5. Public warning system: Article 110

By 21 June 2022, EU countries must ensure that public warnings related to imminent or developing major emergencies and disasters are transmitted by providers of mobile number-based interpersonal communications services to concerned end-users.  In addition countries may decide to transmit public warnings through other publicly available electronic communications services, or through a mobile app that relies on an internet access service.

When transposing these Articles into national legal systems, EDF advices NADs to make sure that public warning systems and the provided emergency information are accessible to persons with disabilities by more than one sensory channel (e.g. text and audio). The information must be easy to understand, which means it should not exceed a level of complexity superior to level B1 (intermediate) of the Council of Europe’s Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

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6. Equivalent access and choice for end-users with disabilities: Article 111

This provision of the Code that requires EU countries to ensure that the competent authorities specify requirements to be met by providers of publicly available electronic communications services to guarantee that end-users with disabilities:

  • have access to electronic communications services, including to the related contract information specified in Article 102;
  • benefit from the choice of undertakings and services available to the majority of end-users.

Advice for NADs:

Emphasize that functional equivalency must be ensured for persons with disabilities. This mean that they should be able to use communications services with the same level of offered functions and convenience as the wider group of consumers.

The means to ensure access and choice are by:

  • Obliging all electronic communication services providers to comply with the requirements laid down in the European Accessibility Act once the Act is applied, namely, to ensure real-time text and total conversation.
  • Ensuring interoperability of both real-time text and total conversation services, so that any person with disability in the EU can call anyone else by using these accessible means of communication, as majority of users do by voice communication or SMS.
  • Ensuring the availability and affordability of relay services, at least text and video, 24/7.

Ensuring that end-users with disabilities have access to affordable technical equipment as well as special equipment (assistive technologies) to access the services.

Countries must encourage compliance with the relevant standards or specifications laid down in accordance to Article 39 of the Code.

Advice for NADs:

  • Already make use of the EN 301 549 v3.1 (particularly chapter 6 on ICT with two-way communication, and chapters 9, 10 and 11 on digital accessibility, and 13 on ICT providing relay or emergency service access) while waiting for the harmonised standards and/or technical specifications derived from the European Accessibility Act.
  • Advocate ensuring interoperability! – so anybody can call anybody regardless of country of residence or country of the recipient of the call (for example, possibility of a call from an EU Member State to the US where they already have these access services enabled).
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7. The European Accessibility Act

The European Accessibility Act is an important legislation that will ensure accessibility to certain electronic communications services, including emergency communications by harmonising accessibility requirements for electronic communications services, related products, and answering of emergency communications to the single European emergency number ‘112’ by the most appropriate PSAPs. 

The Accessibility Act and the Code should be considered in combination, as the Act complements the Code when it comes to accessibility requirements. For example, the Act covers accessibility of electronic communications services (e.g. telephony services), and consumer terminal equipment which can be used to access those services (e.g. smartphone or tablet with calling capability). It also requires Member States to ensure that the answering of emergency communications to the single European emergency number ‘112’ by the most appropriate PSAP complies with specific accessibility requirements. Accessibility requirements for services and the single European emergency number ‘112’ are detailed in Annex I of the Act.

You can find the accessibility requirements in your language in Annex I Section III, Section IV and V.

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/eli/dir/2019/882/oj

Annex I Section III - General accessibility requirements related to all services

Annex I Section IV - Additional accessibility requirements related to specific services (including electronic communications services, including emergency communications)

Annex I Section V - Specific accessibility requirements related to the answering of emergency communications to the single European emergency number ‘112’ by the most appropriate PSAP

Advice for NADs:

  • Highlight to your governments that meeting the accessibility requirement of the European Accessibility Act is crucial to ensure accessibility of electronic communications services, including of emergency communications services.
  • Specifically, it is important that the general requirements for products, accessibility requirements related to all services, requirements related to specific services,  and accessibility requirements related to the answering of emergency communications to the single European emergency number ‘112’ by the most appropriate PSAP  are met.
  • Call on your authorities to designate an appropriate PSAP to handle and respond emergency calls to ‘112’ using total conversation and real-time-text, and ensuring they have the appropriate means, including equipment to realise efficient accessible emergency communications. 

 

 

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PART III Enforcement, monitoring and reporting, European Commission’s review

The European Disability Forum explains in depth how to enforce the Code. EDF also provides with a comprehensive review of monitoring and reporting as well as explains the European Commission’s review in detail. Please address pages 37 – 42.

Final pages of the toolkit also provide with a valuable list of reference documents and contacts, see pages 43 – 47.

 

 

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