Reintroduced to Congress late last month, the Communications and Video Technology Act (CVTA) is designed to update and strengthen existing accessibility regulations outlined in the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA).
Specifically, the proposed legislation would amend the CVAA to stay up to date with the new technologies — from video conferencing platforms to artificial intelligence — that have become prevalent since the CVAA became law in 2010.
The CVTA represents an important step in making technology and communications more accessible. However, it’s not the law yet. The proposed act still needs the support of legislators to pass.
How to Support the CVTA
One of the best ways you can support the CVTA is to ask your senators and representatives to show their support by signing on as a co-sponsor of the bill. Thankfully, COAT – the Coalition of Organizations for Accessibility Technology – has made that process very easy.
First, locate your representatives and senators by following this link. You can type in your address and find your representatives by location or scroll through a list of elected officials to find one in your area. Once you’ve found their contact information, you can use the template created by COAT to quickly draft a letter asking them to support the CVTA.
A coalition of more than 250 national, state, and community-based disability-related organizations, COAT advocates for legislative and regulatory safeguards that will ensure full access by people with disabilities to evolving technologies. Its steering committee members include the National Association of the Deaf, Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc., Communication Services for the Deaf, the American Council of the Blind, and the Hearing Loss Association of America.
About the CVTA
As technology changes, the ways people access new technologies also must change. The Communications and Video Technology Act would enhance communications, video, and technology accessibility for individuals with disabilities by, among other things:
- Requiring full access to audio description on television shows and expanding both audio description and captioning requirements to most online video streaming platforms.
- Requiring closed captioning and audio description data remain with video programming in common formats so that when other entities make the program available, they continue to display captions and audio description.
- Requiring the easy activation and customization of controls used for captions and audio description on video devices, including television sets, set-top boxes, laptops, and tablets.
- Requiring video conferencing services to have built-in accessibility features, such as automatic captioning functions, and the ability to connect sign language interpreters and assistive technologies, such as refreshable braille displays.
- Improving emergency access to 911 services for sign language users and ensure that sign language interpreters on television and online video programming are visible on the viewer’s screen.
- Empowering the FCC to ensure accessibility regulations keep pace with emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality platforms.
As a company that values accessibility and inclusivity, VITAC is proud to support the CVTA. We’ve worked with advocacy groups, legislative bodies, and caption viewers for more than three decades. We strongly believe in making accessible content standard, and we stand by our commitment to provide captions and accessible solutions for all.