ACA Seeks Permanent Waiver of Accessibility Order

The American Cable Association wants the FCC to permanently waive the requirement that analog-only cable systems have to provide a secondary audio stream for emergency information, saying it remains infeasible for some of its smaller members.

The FCC is now seeking comment on whether to grant the wavier and has given the public until April 12 to comment.

The current deadline for smaller systems is June 12 after the FCC, back in 2015, granted ACA's request that it waive compliance until that date. The FCC had adopted the requirement that cable operators provide audio versions of emergency text crawls back in April 2013.

Related: FCC Proposes Extending Emergency Alerts to Second Screens

But the ACA said it remains financially infeasible for some systems to purchase the new equipment necessary to pass through the secondary audio stream and would have to shut down if faced with the requirement.

The ACA asked for the permanent waiver, or in the alternative, another five years to come into compliance.

Back in 2013, in a statement following the unanimous vote to impose the obligation and set the 2015 deadline, then commissioner Ajit Pai (now chair) said he favored waiving the requirement for smaller operators.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.