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Broadband Deployment Law Advisor Insight and Commentary on the Deployment of Communications Infrastructure

DWT Advisory: President Signs New Accessibility Law to Extend Closed Captioning to the Internet and Reinstate FCC Video Description Regulations

Posted in Accessibility (Persons with Disabilities)

by Paul Glist and Brian Hurh

On Oct. 8, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (Act), coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Among other things, the Act (1) extends closed captioning requirements to video programming distributed on the Internet; (2) reinstates the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) video description regulations; and (3) requires customer digital equipment, including navigation devices (in particular, cable set top boxes), to accommodate accessibility features for closed captioning, video description, emergency information, user interfaces, and video guides and menus.

The Act phases in these various requirements after an Advisory Committee submits its recommendations to the FCC, and the FCC adopts regulations to implement the recommendations and the requirements of the Act. A timeline summarizing these events is available here.

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