Senator Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts announced the Communications, Video, and Technology Accessibility Act Bill (CVTA) this morning before the 33rd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Accessibility standards and requirements have not kept pace with advances in communication technology since the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) was passed over a decade ago. As such, individuals who rely on closed captioning, audio descriptions, and a wide range of other accessibility features do not have full access to a range of products and services that are integral to our daily lives.
The passage of the CVTA Bill will ensure that Deaf and disabled communities have full access to technology in their personal and professional lives by addressing the following:
Requiring closed captioning for online video programming, mirroring current televised video programming requirements;
Requiring audio description for both online and televised video programming;
Directing the FCC to create and update quality standards for video programming accessibility;
Requiring video conferencing services to have built-in accessibility features, such as automatic captioning functions, and the ability to connect sign language interpreters and assistive technologies that are designed to increase access for people with disabilities (e.g., refreshable braille displays);
Establishing standards for American Sign Language interpretation when provided during video programming;
Ensuring Deaf people who use sign language have equitable access to 9-1-1 emergency services through the use of direct video calling or telecommunications relay services;
Requiring manufacturers of devices that display video programming, such as televisions and computers, to include features that allow easy activation and customization of closed captioning and audio description preferences;
Expanding the contribution base for the Telecommunications Relay Services Interstate Fund to ensure its sustainability; and
Empowering the FCC to ensure accessibility regulations keep pace with emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality platforms.
The team at Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD) encourages you to get in touch with your congressional leaders and express your support for the CVTA Bill.
Let Your Representatives Know You Support the CVTA
You can download one of our letter templates to get started and use the links below to find your Congressional representative(s).
- Download the template that applies to you
- Find your representative
- Learn more about the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA)
- Learn more about the CVTA Bill
We are committed as an organization to clearly identifying barriers to accessibility wherever they reside and delivering solutions to ensure full inclusion for all as technology evolves and advancements are made, Chris Soukup, CEO of CSD, shared. The CVTA Bill supports this important work and advances equitable access to information, communication, and opportunities for deaf and disability communities.
With this legislation in place accessibility standards will catch up with the rapid advancements in communication technology, ensuring that closed captioning, audio descriptions, and other essential features are seamlessly integrated into television programming and online video streaming platforms. Viewers with disabilities will have the power to easily activate and customize their preferred settings, whether on televisions, smartphones, laptops, or tablets, empowering them to engage fully with the content they love.
Together, we can secure a brighter future for the Deaf and hard of hearing community, where technology is a tool for empowerment, not exclusion. Support the CVTA Bill and be a part of this inspiring journey toward equality.
About Communication Service for the Deaf
Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD) is the largest Deaf-led social impact organization in the world. For more than four decades, CSD has been a leader in creating and providing accessible and innovative solutions for the Deaf community. Today, CSD continues its work to create opportunities for personal and economic growth within the Deaf community, specifically addressing leadership and employment. For more information, please visit CSD and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
Communication Service for the Deaf
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Communication Service for the Deaf