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Deaf / Hard of Hearing Consumer Groups and Researchers Call on FCC to Improve the Quality of Live Captions

Feedback Needed by September 13!

WASHINGTON – On July 31, Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc. (TDI), the National Association of the Deaf (NAD), the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), the Association of Late-Deafened Adults (ALDA), the Cerebral Palsy and Deaf Organization (CPADO), Deaf Seniors of America (DSA), the Deaf/Hard of Hearing Technology Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (DHH-RERC), the Twenty-First Century Captioning Disability and Rehabilitation Research Project (Captioning DRRP), the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Universal Interface & Information Technology Access (IT-RERC), and the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, supported by the American Association of the DeafBlind (AADB) petitioned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to address long-standing quality problems with captioning for live television programming.

As the petition explains, consumers routinely report serious problems with the accuracy, timing, completeness, and placement of captions on live programming, including local news, sports, and weather. The petition asks the FCC to build on its existing standards for the quality of captions by setting metrics for acceptable quality of live captions. The petition also urges the FCC to provide guidance for new captioning systems that use automatic speech recognition, which have the potential to provide captions with improved timing and lower cost but also routinely cause significant accuracy problems.

We need your help! The FCC has asked for comments from the public about the petition, and it’s important that they hear from deaf and hard of hearing consumers. If you’ve had experiences with captions for live TV programming that you’re willing to share with the FCC, you can do so online at: https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings/express

Please enter “05-231” in the “Proceeding(s)” field to make sure that your comment is added to the record. Comments are due by September 13!

The full petition can be viewed here: https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filing/10801131063733

Consumer groups and researchers also will be submitting additional feedback to the FCC, including an analysis of hundreds of consumer responses gathered by HLAA in a recent survey.

The following quote can be attributed to Blake Reid, counsel to TDI:

“Deaf and hard of hearing Americans have waited for decades for their civil right to access live TV programming on equal terms to come to fruition. We believe it is time for the Commission to address long-standing problems with live captioning, and to urgently issue guidance on the role of increasingly prevalent automatic speech recognition systems.