Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Giant Leap & A Big Deal - FCC's Recommendations on Accessibility

On April 23, the FCC released "A Giant Leap & A Big Deal: Delivering on the Promise of Equal Access to Broadband for People with Disabilities." (PDF link.) The paper is the first-ever paper released by the FCC on accessibility and technology issues. According to this article (another PDF), "the paper considers the numerous barriers to broadband usage faced by people with disabilities, including inaccessible hardware, software, services, and web content and expensive specialized assistive technologies."

As the paper explains, it typically takes a very long time - years, decades - for technology to "catch up" to serving the entirety of the population's needs, and with every leap forward in technology, it seems that accessibility takes a step backward. If you want to use HDMI cables with your television, say goodbye to closed captioning; the same if you want to watch shows online. It's important to 'catch' broadband technology while it's still young and make it fully accessible for everyone.

One of the FCC's recommendations is "that Congress, the FCC, and DOJ should update accessibility laws, regulations, and related subsidy programs 'to cover Internet Protocol based communications and video programming technologies.'"

Check out the paper. It's 36 pages long, but not a long read, since half of each page has citations. It's filled with some eye-opening statistics and information. There's even a shout-out to open source software like Orca.

(via ResourceShelf)

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