FCC Looking for Suggestions on CVAA Updates

By: David Titmus
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With an eye toward enhancing technology access for people with disabilities, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is seeking comments on whether any updates are needed to the rules of the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA).

The CVAA was enacted more than a decade ago to help ensure that people with disabilities weren’t left behind as technology progressed in the digital age. It covers two broad categories of modern technologies — telecommunications access and video programming — and instituted new accessibility rules for advanced communication services, including, among others:

  • Audio description
  • Closed captioning of Internet-protocol (IP) delivered video programming
  • Accessible emergency information
  • Accessible user interfaces (making functions such as captioning and audio description settings accessible to individuals with disabilities)
  • Video programming guides and menus
  • Voice over Internet Protocol
  • Electronic messaging and video conferencing
  • Accessible Internet browsers on mobile phones

Most of these rules have been in effect now for years, and many have not been revisited since their initial adoption. Taking into account changes in technology and industry practices, as well as consumer experiences, the FCC is looking for comments on which aspects of the CVAA are working well, where there is room for improvement, and which requirements are not serving their intended purpose or have been superseded by new technologies.

Comments are due June 7, 2021, while replies to comments are due July 6, 2021.