VITAC, the largest provider of captioning products and services in the United States, has been providing accessibility services and solutions for more than 30 years.
Our captioners keep a full schedule of program assignments, providing captions for more than 550,000 hours of programming each year for a wide variety of clients, including every major broadcasting company, most cable networks, program producers, corporations, educational institutions, and government agencies.
Staffed by captioning experts 24/7, 365, we take pride in our ability to ensure that our customers are always on the air with captions, creating redundancies and duplications for each of our captioners and facilities. Our teams always are willing to go the extra mile to make sure our clients and customers receive the highest quality captions.
And this dedication and support recently was on display when a construction fire in New York City caused a break in the fiber-optic lines that route to a client broadcasting center. These lines were the same cables that VITAC uses to transmit information, including live captions, to the client.
Though the fiber-optic’s carrier worked with New York City authorities to access and repair their facilities (and eventually reroute IP traffic and restore the client’s IP services), connections were down for the better part of the afternoon and early evening, which could have substantially impacted the broadcaster’s caption capabilities if not for the quick response of our VITAC team.
As a full-service captioning company with skilled engineering, technical, production, and customer service support, VITAC plans for such contingencies and tries to anticipate problems before they actually become problems. As such, our extensive backup systems – both technical and staffing – are designed to keep clients up and running, with little or no stress.
As soon as we recognized the connections were down, our Production Operations and Tech Operations teams began testing the system and looking for solutions. After contacting the client and monitoring news updates, our teams devised a quick and efficient work-around to get those client connections restored so that our live captioning no longer was impacted.
Though the fiber-optic lines were down, an ‘old school’ captioning solution – dial up – still was available, and we worked with the client’s operations center to test all of their available modem connections so they could make the proper adjustments on their programming. This included physically dialing and testing the modem phone numbers associated with assigned channels.
Once we made it through all the connections, our client was able to determine which lines they were going to use for specific programs, and assigned each line to a specific path at the network’s operations center. This dial-up solution allowed viewers to continue watching our client’s programming, including the high-quality captions provided by VITAC, with very little disruption.
Because of the quick work of our production, tech, and engineering teams, as well as those in the client’s operations center, what could have been a lengthy disruption resulted in only about 30 total minutes of live captioning loss.
While our size is notable, our people, capacity, and technical expertise are our true differentiators. VITAC takes great pride in the captions we create and the support we provide our clients – as well as our assurance that our customers are always on the air with captions – and we are always dedicated to finding solutions for every captioning need.