June 2014 Technology and Disability Policy Highlights

Date of Publication: 
2014 June

The 24th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is approaching, and preparations are underway to celebrate achievements and further educate people, businesses and organizations on how to further realize the ADA’s goals.  To that end, the Southeast ADA Center of the ADA National Network has released an ADA Anniversary Tool Kit with information on the background of the ADA, current disability statistics, and other resources helpful for ADA implementation. 

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) devoted a lot of effort in June towards advancing accessibility with regards to closed captioning, video description, communication services and even internally at the FCC.  Regarding the latter, the FCC launched a service they are calling the “ASL Consumer Support Line,” a video-based support line that enables deaf and hard of hearing consumers who communicate via American Sign Language (ASL) to file formal complaints and queries in ASL.  In preparation for their 2014 Biennial Report to Congress, the Commission sought input on the accessibility of equipment used with non-mobile and mobile services, including: analog telephone handsets, digital telephone handsets, cordless phones used with landline and interconnected VoIP services, basic mobile phones, and smart phones. 

In July, the FCC will vote to determine if online video clips will be included in closed captioning mandates.  This is on the heels of a Public Notice denying 16 petitions for exemption from closed captioning rules.  Regarding video description, the FCC’s Media Bureau released a Report to Congress which addressed the status, benefits and cost of video description.  The report also highlighted that while much work has been done to ensure compliance with the rules, consumers note the need to expand video description to more programming, including those provide online. 


The contents of this website were developed under a grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR grant number 90RE5025-01-00). NIDILRR is a Center within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents of this website do not necessarily represent the policy of NIDILRR, ACL, HHS, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.