Eclipse Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, David H Deans, JP Morgenthal

News Feed Item

Holiday Season Brings Promise of More Access to Disability Community

Holiday Season Brings Promise of More Access to Disability Community

WASHINGTON, Dec. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology (COAT) hails the recently issued draft legislative measure, the "Twenty-first Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act" as a dramatic and comprehensive step forward for consumers with disabilities. Released December 21, the draft would amend the Communications Act -- the statute that impacts the telephone and video programming industries -- to add new consumer protections that will ensure people with disabilities do not get left out or left behind as telephones and television programming increasingly rely on digital and Internet Protocol (IP) technologies. The proposals will allow greater numbers of people with disabilities to become independent and productive members of society and enjoy the new electronic gadgets and devices that everyone else takes for granted.

"It's about time that people with disabilities received assurances that they will be fully included as our nation's communication technologies evolve," said Karen Peltz Strauss of Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD). "Emerging digital and Internet-based technologies can provide people with disabilities with all kinds of wonderful opportunities for better employment and education, as well as improved citizenry, but only if these are designed to be accessible and affordable."

Although laws in the 1980s and 1990s guaranteed telephone and television access, such as relay services, hearing aid compatible telephones, and captioning on TV, "we need to be sure these laws apply to services provided over the Internet, or to the newer, smaller devices available today that display television programs," says Rosaline Crawford of the National Association of the Deaf (NAD). "While closed captions are required on all new television shows, very few that are also webcast are also shown with captioning. This leaves behind millions of people who rely on captioning." The draft law proposes to include this programming under the captioning mandates and would cover new types of electronic equipment now displaying video programming.

"In addition, right now we can't even find the way to turn on captions on the new, snazzy digital television sets that everyone wants to buy," adds Crawford. "A new requirement for television manufacturers to put a captioning button on the remote control and captioning settings at the top level of on-screen menus will enable America's growing population with hearing loss to enjoy television along with their families and friends."

Another provision would let Deaf people - who generally use the Internet to communicate in video - receive the Lifeline and Linkup discount for their broadband service. "Video relay service users who are low income should have the same phone company subsidies as other low income people," says Jenifer Simpson of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD). "These individuals aren't using traditional wireline phone services anymore; instead, they are using the only phone service - video relay - that works for them in their native language. Why should they be penalized for being sign language users?"

A related provision would authorize Universal Service funds for the distribution of specialized communications equipment needed by the 100,000 people in America who are Deaf blind. Simpson adds, "With this new program, America's Deaf-blind population will have the same universal phone service everyone else takes for granted!"

Another requirement contained in the draft would restore a requirement for television programs to include video description and ensure that TV devices transmit and deliver video description. Video description, used by people who are blind, is the provision of verbal descriptions of on-screen visual elements that are provided during natural pauses in dialogue. "With video description, people with vision disabilities can hear on-screen emergency warnings and also more fully participate in society through access to television programs like everyone else," says Paul Schroeder of the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB).

AFB and other COAT organizations are also pleased to see proposals that will require on-screen text menus and TV controls to be accessible through audio outputs. Schroeder adds, "There's so much television programming we are missing because the controls are inaccessible or too difficult to use."

The Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology, or COAT, is a new coalition of organizations, launched in March 2007, to advocate for legislative and regulatory safeguards that will ensure full access by people with disabilities to evolving high speed broadband, wireless and other Internet protocol (IP) technologies. At present, COAT consists of over 160 national, regional, and community-based affiliates dedicated to making sure that as the nation migrates from legacy public switched-based telecommunications to more versatile and innovative IP-based and other communication technologies, people with disabilities will benefit like everyone else. More information about the disability coalition is available at its website: http://www.coataccess.org/.

Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology

CONTACT: Karen Peltz Strauss of Communication Service for the Deaf,
+1-202-363-1263; Rosaline Crawford of National Association of the Deaf,
+1-301-587-1789; Jenifer Simpson of American Association of People with
Disabilities, +1-202-457-0046; Adrianna Montague-Gray American Foundation for
the Blind, +1-212-502-7675

Web Site: http://www.coataccess.org/

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
IoT is rapidly becoming mainstream as more and more investments are made into the platforms and technology. As this movement continues to expand and gain momentum it creates a massive wall of noise that can be difficult to sift through. Unfortunately, this inevitably makes IoT less approachable for people to get started with and can hamper efforts to integrate this key technology into your own portfolio. There are so many connected products already in place today with many hundreds more on the h...
The standardization of container runtimes and images has sparked the creation of an almost overwhelming number of new open source projects that build on and otherwise work with these specifications. Of course, there's Kubernetes, which orchestrates and manages collections of containers. It was one of the first and best-known examples of projects that make containers truly useful for production use. However, more recently, the container ecosystem has truly exploded. A service mesh like Istio addr...
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
Charles Araujo is an industry analyst, internationally recognized authority on the Digital Enterprise and author of The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change. As Principal Analyst with Intellyx, he writes, speaks and advises organizations on how to navigate through this time of disruption. He is also the founder of The Institute for Digital Transformation and a sought after keynote speaker. He has been a regular contributor to both InformationWeek and CIO Insight...
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
To Really Work for Enterprises, MultiCloud Adoption Requires Far Better and Inclusive Cloud Monitoring and Cost Management … But How? Overwhelmingly, even as enterprises have adopted cloud computing and are expanding to multi-cloud computing, IT leaders remain concerned about how to monitor, manage and control costs across hybrid and multi-cloud deployments. It’s clear that traditional IT monitoring and management approaches, designed after all for on-premises data centers, are falling short in ...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...