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

Accessibility Advisory Committee Releases Report on Internet Closed Captioning, Proposes Tiered Schedule for Rule Compliance

Posted in Accessibility (Persons with Disabilities)

The Video Programming Accessibility Advisory Committee has released its report to the FCC on closed captioning of IP-video programming (available here), as required by the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act passed last October.  As we explained earlier here, the Accessibility Act requires that, once a television program is published or exhibited on television with closed captions, any subsequent distribution of that programming on the Internet must include closed captions.

The Accessibility Act requires that the FCC revise its closed captioning rules within 6 months of the Committee’s report, thus, new FCC closed captioning rules must be in place no later than January 13, 2012.  (The report is dated July 13, 2011, though it appears to have been released July 11.)  The report proposes the following compliance schedule based on the date the FCC’s revised rules are published in the Federal Register:

  • Within 6 months: programming that has been prerecorded and unedited for Internet distribution;
  • Within 12 months: live and near-live programming
  • Within 18 months: programming that has been prerecorded and substantially edited for Internet distribution.

In addition, the report sets forth the Committee’s recommendations for performance objectives, technical requirements, and technical capabilities and procedures related to closed captioning on the Internet.   The report also contains a discussion on new technological developments such as emerging protocols and other innovations that may affect the delivery of Internet closed captioning in the future.