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September 2014 Technology and Disability Policy Highlights

In September there was legislative activity in the area of disability access, but the legislation was not specific to advanced technology access so the details are not reported in this newsletter.  Nevertheless, such legislative advances address important issues and should not go unmentioned.  The three Bills introduced by Senator Tom Harkins as part of his “Access for All” agenda for individuals with disabilities include: the Exercise and Fitness for All Act [S. 2888], the Universal Home Design Act [S. 2889], and the Accessible Transportation for All Act [S. 2887].

In regulatory news, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a  Public Notice [10-213] seeking comment on their tentative findings for the 2014 Biennial Report to Congress on the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 CVAA).  The Wireless RERC responded with comments that addressed various aspects of inclusive and accessible technologies, including:

  • Research supporting tentative findings that show an increase in readily available and accessible technologies;
  • Information concerning the staffing and training of people who are knowledgeable about assistive technologies and the people who use them;
  • Discrepancies among retail staff and retailer knowledge about assistive technologies and;
  • The lack of accessible alerting systems.

The FCC also implemented final rules concerning Text-to-911 service.  The rules established a compliance date of December 31, 2014 by which Commercial Mobile Radio Service (CMRS) providers and other text service providers are expected to be able to support text to-911 service.

 

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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.