Congress Passes Digital Disability Access Bill

The House Tuesday night passed S. 3828, the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010.

Among other
things, the bill requires the captioning of any online video that is
closed captioned on TV, and asks the FCC to study captioning of
Web-original video. It also requires smart phones and
other mobile devices to be accessible to the disabled, if that is
achievable, and restores the FCC's video description rules thrown out by
the courts in 2002.

The bill passed the Senate last week.

"We applaud
the Congress for approving and sending to President Obama the
Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of
2010," said National Cable & telecommunications Association
President Kyle McSlarrow. " Lead sponsors Rep. Ed Markey and Sen. Mark
Pryor deserve enormous credit for spearheading this important
legislation that will significantly improve accessibility of
communications services and equipment for Americans with disabilities.
The Act is the result of thoughtful bipartisan process and we would
also like to thank Sens. Rockefeller, Hutchison, Kerry and Ensign and
Reps. Waxman, Barton, Boucher and Stearns for their significant efforts.
Our industry will work closely with the Federal
Communications Commission to implement rules that will aid millions of
Americans with disabilities in enjoying cable programming and services."

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.