Introducing the FCC’s Accessibility Regulations
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is implementing regulations that mandate that emerging technologies are accessible to users with disabilities. This affects a range of businesses, from broadcasters to TV manufacturers to smart phone producers. These businesses need to make sure that people with disabilities can use their product or service.
But what exactly are these regulations? Will they affect your business? And what do you need to do to prepare for this change? In this blog post series, we will explore the fundamentals of the FCC’s 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA), its regulations and how they affect a range of businesses.
This blog post will introduce you to the CVAA, an act you will become quite familiar with by the end of this blog series. The following blog posts will dive into more details about the 2 titles of the act before discussing what this means for businesses and how you need to prepare.
Introduction – the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act
In 2010, Congress passed the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) to ensure that new forms of communication and video are accessible to users with disabilities.
This act follows a series of laws that were passed in the 1980s and 1990s to ensure that all telephone and television services were accessible to Americans with disabilities. However, these laws had not since been updated to account for the growing number of new technological devices and changes that we have witnessed since then. The daily use of mobile phones, tablets, laptops and other emerging technologies was not accounted for in the technology accessibility laws of the 20th century. So, the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act was created containing new regulations to enable people with disabilities to utilize emerging technologies of the 21st century.
Overview of the CVAA
The CVAA is rather long and somewhat dry, so we are going to break it down and present an overview the main titles and what this means for businesses. However, if you would like to learn more about the details of the act, every blog post in this series will finish with a Learn More section where you can find additional resources to help you in your research.
Basically, the CVAA is broken down into 2 sections (titles) of regulations you need to be aware of.
Title 1: Communication Access
Title 1 aims to make products and services that use broadband fully accessible to people with disabilities. This means that any device that connects to the internet must be able to be used by people with disabilities. This includes smart phones, laptops, tablet, smart TVs, VoIP providers, gaming consoles and more. This title also mandates that these devices enable Text-to-911 functionality, so that all users with disabilities can contact and communicate with emergency services.
Title 2: Video Programming
Title 2 aims to make it easier for people with disabilities to view video programming on television and on the internet. For example, shows that are displayed on television and then uploaded to the internet will be required to have captioning when they are re-shown on the internet. The other main part of Title 2 requires the use of a secondary audio stream to be dedicated to the aural presentation of any emergency information that is presented in a purely visual format during a show.
It is important to understand what disabilities the FCC is referring to when they define that your product or service must be able to be used by people with disabilities. The CVAA is designed to enable people with the following disabilities to utilize emerging forms of technology, such a tablets, smart phone and smart TVs.
Emerging technologies must be operable:
- Without vision
- With low vision and limited or no hearing
- With little or no color perception
- Without hearing
- With limited strength
- With a prosthetic device
- With limited manual dexterity
- Without speech
- With limited cognitive skills
- Without time-dependent controls
Learn More about the CVAA
If you’d like to learn more about the CVAA, here short is a list of valuable resources:
- The Official Guide to the CVAA
- The main points of the CVAA (in downloadable word document form)
- For a more detailed, legal perspective, take a look at this PowerPoint from Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
Are you considering adding Text-to-Speech to your product or service?
Need to get up to date with the CVAA? Learn more about NeoSpeech’s Text-to-Speech products here. Feel free to reach out to our friendly sales team by filling out our Sales Inquiry form and they’ll be happy to answer all your FCC and accessibility questions or help you add text-to-speech software to your product or service to get up to standard.
Next Blog Post in the Series – Title 1: Communication Access
The CVAA is broken down into 2 titles, the first of which is about communication access. Title 1 enforces producers of emerging technologies that have internet capabilities to enable their devices and services to be accessible to people with disabilities. In the next blog post, we’ll look at Title 1, who it applies to and what rules businesses will need to adhere to in order to get up to standard.
We’ll be posting each post in this series every Monday – so stay tuned!
Everything You Need to Know about the FCC Accessibility Regulations
Introduction to the CVAA and its Regulations