AAPD is closely monitoring implementation of the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act and its expanded safeguards in the areas of Internet, telephone and television technologies.
Internet and Broadband
Internet and Broadband services are increasingly important means of communication and participation in all aspects of life. The 21st Century Communication Act provides new safeguards for internet-based communications and technologies to be accessible by people with disabilities.
High speed Internet empowers people with disabilities to become more independent. An Internet connection with enough speed to allow two-way voice, data and video transfer removes barriers that keep people with disabilities from participating in everyday activities such as employment, education, civic responsibilities and social connection. [current link to factsheet – need to format]
Surveys in the U.S. consistently report that people with disabilities have only half the rate of Internet access of people without a disability. Despite increased access in recent years, people with disabilities still face a significant digital divide in having the tools to make use of the incredible resources of the Internet
AAPD partners with Pittsburgh University’s Rehabilitation Engineering and Research Center on Telerehabilitation (RERC-TR) to help consumers with disabilities and their advocates and representatives become more aware of the possibilities as information technology transforms traditional rehabilitation programs and services. The Center is developing methods to deliver services, including rehabilitative services, using broadband and Internet technologies. For more information, see the RERC-TR website.
Using a telephone is key for communication, independence and safety. Making phone calls is matter-of course for most people. However, those with disabilities encounter numerous barriers if phone systems are not set up to accommodate to their needs. Solutions include telecommunications relay services; manufacturing phone devices and providing services that are accessible and usable, including hearing aid compatibility; and ensuring industry standards for accessibility.
The 21st Century Communications Act expands accessibility to relay services, text messaging technologies, telephones and other telecommunications devices.
Television is an important source of information, entertainment and news for millions of Americans. However, individuals with hearing and vision disabilities may not have access to video programming unless televisions are designed to meet their needs. Additionally, people with all types of disabilities may have difficulties using the remotes and controls that manage television and video programming.
Solutions addressed by new law include closed captioning; video description; and accessible interfaces and controls where on-screen text menus or other visual indicators are used.
- Disability Equality Index(SM) Advisory Committee Announced
AAPD Press Team | 06/05/2013