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March 2013 Technology and Disability Policy Highlights

In March the Emergency Access Advisory Committee (EAAC ) released a report entitled EAAC Working Group 3 Recommendations on Current 9-1-1 and Next-Generation 9-1-1: Media Communication Line Services Used to Ensure Effective Communication with Callers with Disabilities. The document discusses EAAC recommendations to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), U.S Department of Transportation (DOT) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on implementing the necessary tools and procedures that can ensure accessibility of emergency services and communications to individuals with disabilities. The next EAAC meeting will be held at the FCC headquarters on June 21, 2013 from 10:30 AM to 3:30 PM (EST).

Related to 9-1-1 services, the FCC proposed a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) (FCC 13-33) that would improve the reliability of 9-1-1 services and require service providers to notify 9-1-1 call centers of communication outages. The FCC also seeks comments on how service providers can effectively audit 9-1-1 circuits for physical diversity, maintain the backup power of generators, and maintain reliable network monitoring systems, specifically during communication outages.

The accessibility of college websites was addressed when the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights entered into an agreement [OCR Compliance Review No. 11-11-6002] with the South Carolina Technical College System (SCTCS) that requires the websites of the SCTCS and its 16-member colleges to be accessible to all individuals, in particular those with visual disabilities. Similarly, two bills were introduced to Congress that would expand the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to provide closed captioning on movies shown in movie theaters and on all passenger flights.

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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.