US Senate passes comprehensive accessibility bill

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Friday, 6 August 2010 16:07pm

The US Senate yesterday passed the Twenty-first Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 by unanimous consent. The bill, described by the Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology (COAT) as “a monumental step forward in accessible technology”, will have many implications for access in the US.

Among its provisions are the following requirements:

  • All captioned TV programs will be captioned when delivered over the Internet.
  • The top 4 network channels and top 5 cable channels will provide audio description (AD) on 7 hours of programming per week.
  • Televised emergency information will be accessible to the blind and vision impaired.
  • Receiving devices of any size will be capable of displaying closed captions, delivering AD, and accessing emergency information.
  • Controls on televisions and set-top boxes will be accessible, and captions and AD easy to access.

The bill, which has been amended since previously being approved by the House of Representatives, will return to the House for final approval and COAT is optimistic that it will soon be passed.

For more information, see the COAT website.

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