To allow Americans with disabilities to experience the benefits of broadband, hardware, software, services and digital content must be accessible and assistive technologies must be affordable.
Accessibility for the Disabled
The costs to American consumers for the collection of disability-related programs is growing at a fairly aggressive and unsustainable rate. Accordingly, the Disability Advisory Committee can play an important role, and I believe has an obligation, to help the Commission contain costs. I strongly believe that we need to move away from specialized services with proprietary equipment and towards increased use and adoption of modern communications technology to serve the most vulnerable populations. This means more use of email, text, video chat, real time text, and the like.
At this meeting, the Federal Communications Commission's Disability Advisory Committee (DAC) is expected to discuss the roles and responsibilities of the Committee and its members; issues that the Committee will address; meeting schedules; and any other topics relevant to the DAC’s work.
The Federal Communications Commission has renewed the charter for the Disability Advisory Committee. The charter became effective December 21, 2018 and provides the Committee with authorization to operate for two years from the effective date. Issues to be considered by the Committee may include, but are not limited to,
Businesses with websites that can’t be navigated by the blind are getting pummeled with lawsuits. The new frontier in federal disability litigation has accelerated dramatically in recent years, with some companies now getting hit by lawsuits for the second or third time even after they’ve reached settlements to upgrade their sites. The complaints typically detail roadblocks that visually impaired individuals face when using “screen reader” tools that read the contents of a website aloud. The lawsuits often seek improvements to websites to ensure the technology functions.
The Federal Communications Commission took steps to improve Internet-based relay services for people who are deaf or hard of hearing and communicate by speaking.
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai appointed members for the third two-year term of the FCC’s Disability Advisory Committee. Will Schell, Attorney Advisor, Disability Rights Office (DRO), Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau (CGB), will continue to serve as the Designated Federal Officer (DFO) of the DAC, and Debra Patkin, Attorney Advisor, DRO, CGB, will serve as the deputy DFO of the DAC.
Co-Chairs: Brian Scarpelli, Senior Policy Counsel ACT – the App Association Isidore Niyongabo, Director of Advocacy and Public Engagement National Black Deaf Advocates
The Federal Communications Commission's Media Bureau seeks comment on recent developments in the video description marketplace to inform a report to Congress required by the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA) on the availability, use, benefits, and costs of video description, which must be completed no later than October 8, 2019. As mandated by Congress, the FCC seeks public comment on specific issues related to video description in television programming:
People with disabilities affecting mobility, vision, hearing, and cognitive function often move to cities to take advantage of their comprehensive transit systems and social services. But US law doesn’t specify how municipalities should design and implement digital services for disabled people. As a result, cities sometimes adopt new technologies that can end up causing, rather than resolving, problems of accessibility.
The House passed by bipartisan voice vote the 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act, or 21st Century IDEA, which would require agencies to improve online customer experience by making new websites more user-friendly. The bill ultimately aims to make citizens less reliant on paper processes when interacting with federal agencies. The bill would set minimum accessibility, searchability and security standards for all new government websites, and require agencies to adopt web analytics tools to constantly improve sites’ functionality.
The Federal Communications Commission will accept nominations for the eighth Chairman’s Awards for Advancement in Accessibility (Chairman’s AAA). The nomination period opens on Dec 1, 2018 and continues through Feb 28, 2019 for products, services, technologies or practices introduced to the public between Jan 1, 2018 and Dec 31, 2018. Nominations may be submitted for the development of new mainstream or assistive technologies introduced into the marketplace, the development of standards, or the implementation of best practices that further accessibility.