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ACA Pushes For More Time To Comply With CVAA Accessibility Mandates

As the FCC prepares to release its implementation order on user guide accessibility rules the Communications and Video Accessibility Act, the American Cable Association is pushing the FCC for deadline waivers for more of its members, which are small and mid-sized cable operators.

The FCC already signaled it was likely to give two extra years to comply to cable systems with 400,000 or fewer subs run by small operators, and systems serving 20,000 or fewer subs run by all but the top two MSOs. But ACA says midsized operators — with 2 million or fewer subs — are "not more able to insure compliance" than those smaller operators.

ACA said that as with the smaller operators, the midsized operators do not manufacture and/or develop software and are also dependent on whether vendors make products available in time.

"[I]t is unfair to hold these mid-sized operators to the same timetable as larger operators that have the means to manufacture hardware and develop software solutions for their systems in the normal course of business," said ACA. "The Commission should align the compliance deadline for the Section 205 accessibility mandate for mid-sized operators with the proposed compliance deadline for small operators."

The FCC had an early October deadline for the user guide accessibility implementation, but that was delayed due to the government shut-down.

Both ACA and the National Cable and Telecommunications Association are on the same page in regards to the FCC giving smaller operators some flexibility when it comes to requiring digital navigation devices to be usable by the blind or visually impaired.

Section 205 of CVAA "requires that MVPDs "(1) make available accessible on-screen text menus and guides to customers who are blind or visually impaired; and (2) provide access to closed captioning capability on certain navigation devices." But the law also recognizes that the requirement is a technological challenge and that MVPDs needed flexibility.