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Implementing the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010

November 19, 2012—The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in November to implement specific provisions of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA). The FCC seeks comments regarding making emergency information, video description, and the equipment used to deliver the information more accessible to individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Related to Section 202 of the CVAA, the NPRM proposes the required use of a secondary audio stream to provide visual emergency information aurally and therefore increase the accessibility of televised emergency information. The FCC is also looking for comments on the benefits and costs of providing emergency information on a secondary audio stream. Under the assumption that the FCC was to require increased accessibility of visual emergency information via a secondary audio stream, the FCC seeks comments on the extent to which the FCC should allow the use of text-to-speech (TTS) technologies. With regards to Section 203 of the CVAA, the FCC seeks comments on how to confirm that television equipment is capable of delivering video description and making emergency information accessible to individuals who are blind or visually impaired. The FCC maintains that the proposed rule revisions in this NPRM support the purpose of the CVAA to “update the communications laws to help ensure that individuals with disabilities are able to fully utilize communications services and equipment and better access video programming.” Comments are due on or before December 18, 2012, and reply comments are due by December 28, 2012.

UPDATE:  On December 7, 2012, the FCC issued an Order extending the reply comments deadline to January 7, 2013.

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The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Technologies is sponsored by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under grant number 90RE5007-01-00. The opinions contained in this website are those of the Wireless RERC and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or NIDILRR.