FCC Filing: Consumer and Governmental Affairs, Media, and Wireless Telecommunications Bureaus Seek Update on Commission’s Fulfillment of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act

ADVANCED COMMUNICATION SERVICES

GN 21-40 — Consumer and Governmental Affairs, Media, and Wireless Telecommunications Bureaus Seek Update on Commission’s Fulfillment of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act

COMMENTS

TDI, along with the tagged consumer groups filed comments to the Federal Communications Commission, about its Fulfillment of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act. 

[see below, under Tags: for a full list of signatories]

We submitted comments after the Commission posted a public notice on the revisiting of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act. Many DHH organizations played a significant role in having the FCC’s implementation of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA), including taking part in the foundational Video Programming Accessibility Advisory Committee (VPAAC) and subsequent iterations of the Commission’s Disability Advisory Committee (DAC), as well as the drafting and implementation of the numerous accessibility-focused measures taken by the Commission dating back to the late 1970s.

We applauded the Commission’s acknowledgment in the public notice that many of its implementing regulations “have been in effect now for many years, and many of them have not been revisited recently.” We identified several priorities that the Commission should revisit in the areas of communications, video programming, and access for all deaf and hard of hearing communities including people with disabilities or people who live in distant rural or tribal lands. 

  1. The Commission should overhaul its advanced communications service and relay rules for modern IP-based multimodal communications platforms
    1. Inaccessible issues with modern IP-based platforms such as Zoom, Google Meet, Discord, Slack, Apple FaceTime, Google Duo, Facebook Messenger, and much more
    2. The Commission must address the issues with video functionality and performance in IP-based multimodal communications platforms
    3. The Commission should revisit Section 225’s functional equivalence mandate to facilitate the development of interoperable next-generation relay services
    4. The Commission should improve access to multimodal and 9-1-1 services by accelerating the availability of real-time text (RTT) services and updating its emergency access rules
    5. The Commission should ensure that broadband services can accommodate bandwidth-intensive multimodal services without unjust or discriminatory fees or data caps
  2. The Commission should overhaul its closed captioning rules for a modern online video distributors (OVD) centric ecosystem
    1. The commission should revisit the rules on the television ecosystem 
    2. OVD market includes a wide array of generalized streaming services including Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, studio-specific services such as Disney Plus, HBO Max, Showtime, Paramount Plus, Peacock, Epix Now, Starz, Discovery+, and Apple TV+
    3. The Commission should adjust its television closed captioning rules to include OVDs
    4. The Commission should revisit and revise or eliminate the categorical exemptions from the television rules
    5. The Commission should adopt captioning quality metrics for live programming and clarify how the existing quality standards apply to ASR, not only ASR but also to interfaces for captioning systems
    6. The Commission should take a similar approach to expand and overhauling its audio description rules.
  3. The Commission should continue to press ahead on communications access for people with hearing loss
    1. The Commission should ensure that connectivity to wireless phones for people using hearing devices remains reliable, affordable, and accessible
    2. The Commission should implement the DAC’s recommendation on standards for amplification measurement procedures and performance criteria for high-gain amplified telephone handset acoustics in telephone devices
    3. The Commission should launch an inquiry into wideband and ultrawideband audio
    4. The Commission should launch dedicated inquiries into the accessibility of communications, video programming, and hearing devices for people who have multiple disabilities, for older Americans, and those who live on rural and tribal lands and U.S. territories
  4. . The Commission should take a holistic approach to this proceeding and emphasize supervised multistakeholderism, centering the civil rights of people with disabilities, vigorous enforcement, and reporting to Congress
    1. The Commission should continue to center the civil rights of people with disabilities
    2. The Commission should conduct a comprehensive review of its authority and rules under all relevant provisions of the Communications Act of 1934 and report shortcomings to Congress

We will still continue to support the Commission to ensure equitable access to the full range of digital communications and video technologies that dominate twenty-first-century American life is reached.

URL below is linked to the actual filing document on FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System 

https://ecfsapi.fcc.gov/file/106082300102808/2021.06.07%20Accessibility%20Advocacy%20and%20Research%20Organizations%20Omnibus%20Accessibility%20Comments%20final.pdf

Special Thanks to:  SAMUELSON-GLUSHKO TECHNOLOGY LAW & POLICY CLINIC and COMMUNICATION & TECHNOLOGY LAW CLINIC GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY LAW CENTER