Accessible ICT

News items from the latest Wireless RERC newsletter:


Disability Advisor Outlines White House Policy

01.24.2011 - A recent keynote address given by White House Disability Advisor Kareem Dale outlined the Administration's views and actions on disability policy.  The speech was given at the Annual Meeting of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities on January 19, 2011.  Several positive steps toward the creation of inclusive and effective disability policy were mentioned, such as the recent passage of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act and the subsequent FCC committee appointments mandated by the Act.  Dale acknowledged that work remains in the disability policy field, including a concerned effort by the federal government to hire more people with disabilities, partly to set a positive example for other sectors of employment. He concluded that the current Administration is prepared to tackle the challenges faced to promote disability rights.    

[Source:  American Association of People with Disabilities]

 

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Emergency Communications Advisory Committees Announced

12.07.10 - FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced the creation of two advisory committees on emergency communications and disability access.  The first committee is the Emergency Access Advisory Committee (EAAC), which will be charged with assisting in the advancement of accessibility for NG 9-1-1 technologies.  The purpose of this committee is to provide recommendations from its members to strengthen and improve access to emergency services.  The second committee, the Video Programming and Emergency Access Advisory Committee (VPEAAC), is charged with ensuring that video-related technologies are accessible.  Some areas of interest for this committee include video captioning, accessible emergency information on a variety of platforms, and closed captioning.  Both committees' meetings are open to the public.  The FCC recently announced that the EAAC will hold a meeting on February 11, 2011 at 10:30 AM - 5:00 PM (EST) in Washington, DC.  The first VPEAAC meeting has not been announced yet.

[Source: FCC]

 

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FCC Enforcement Advisory

01.12.2011 - The FCC has taken action against wireless service providers that are not meeting the Commission's requirements for hearing aid compatibility.  The providers are required to file on their compliance status with the FCC's hearing aid compatibility requirements no later than January 18, 2011.  A failure to do so could result in fines.  The FCC's willingness to pursue fines against wireless service providers determined to be in noncompliance suggests a greater emphasis on disability access enforcement by the Commission.  In previous cases, wireless service providers have pled a lack of awareness of the pertinent laws; however, the FCC does not acknowledge this as a valid excuse.  Fines for violations of laws pertaining to "digital wireless handset deployment" can be up to $15,000 per violation, and violating "web site posting requirements" can be up to $6,000 per violation. 

[Source: FCC]

 

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