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CVAA Video Programming Requirements – Video Description

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Video description (also called audio description) is audio-narrated descriptions of the key visual elements of video programming which are then inserted within the natural pauses in the program’s dialogue to help blind and visually impaired viewers to better understand the story. Key visual elements are those which viewers with low vision are likely to miss such as actions, costumes, facial expressions, gestures, sight gags, scene changes and onscreen text. A script containing the descriptions is written by a trained describer, read by a professional narrator and then mixed with the main program audio. The process for creating verbal descriptions is… Read More

FCC Requirements for Telecommunications Manufacturers and Providers: Text-to-911

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The legacy 911 emergency system in the United States was developed to facilitate audio communication with emergency personnel. In practice this meant that only voice communications were supported, and that users with hearing and/or speech disabilities were required to use TTY equipment or a TRS to enable communication with 911 calltakers. These methods pose a number of limitations, the primary ones being speed of communication and the fact that TTY is a legacy technology that is not as commonly in use by individuals with hearing and speech disabilities, especially over mobile networks. Many individuals with hearing and speech disabilities today… Read More

FCC Requirements for Telecommunications Manufacturers and Providers: Telecommunications Relay Services

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Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) allow individuals with hearing and/or speech disabilities to place and receive calls over the Public Switch Telephone Network (PSTN). The national TRS infrastructure is mandated by Title IV of the ADA which grants the FCC authority over TRS and directs the Commission to promulgate rules to set forth requirements and enforcement procedures for telephone carriers and TRS providers. The FCC rules are codified in 47 CFR 64.601 through 64.636. TRS is available in all 50 states and all U.S. territories for local and/or long distance calls including Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. A caller… Read More

FCC Requirements for Telecommunications Manufacturers and Providers: Section 255

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The Communications Act of 1934 governs electronic communications In the United States and established the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as the regulating body over such communications. It was later reauthorized via the Telecommunications Act of 1996 which provided the first major overhaul of telecommunications policy in the U.S. in nearly 62 years. Among other achievements, it sought to promote the availability of telecommunications services and equipment to underserved populations, including people with disabilities. Two provisions were added to the Act which solely focus on access by people with disabilities. Section 255 mandates that all manufacturers of telecommunications equipment and providers… Read More

CVAA Video Programming Requirements – Captioning

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In last week’s post on CVAA programming requirements I provided a very high level overview of the requirements. In this post I’ll dig more deeply into the specific requirements for captioning and what is covered. Overview The CVAA directed the FCC to update and extend its rules for captioning of video programming originally authorized by Section 713 of the Telecommunications Act. The pre-existing FCC rules required 100 percent of nonexempt new English and Spanish video programming to be closed captioned, and 75 percent of pre-rule English and Spanish video programming. They also required video programming distributors to pass through all… Read More

CVAA Video Programming Requirements – Overview

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The Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) was passed to ensure new modes of electronic communication and delivery of video programming are accessible to individuals with disabilities. It builds upon previous laws requiring accessibility of electronic communication and video programming, including the Communications Act and the Closed Caption Decoder Circuitry Act. It expands upon existing requirements for accessibility of video programming requirements including closed captioning of televised video programming, video description, accessibility of programming providing emergency information and closed captioning requirements for video programming delivered via IP. It also builds upon accessibility requirements for apparatus used in the… Read More

SSB’s Sam Joehl Appointed to FCC’s Disability Advisory Committee

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Public Notice this week announcing the membership of its new Disability Advisory Committee (DAC) .  We’re excited to announce that SSB’s own Sam Joehl was appointed to the committee, which will provide advice and recommendations on a wide array of disability matters  and facilitate the participation of people with disabilities in proceedings before the FCC.  The DAC is being organized under, and operated in accordance with, the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act. The FCC received over 120 applications, from which they selected a well-balanced membership with a diverse and balanced mix of viewpoints… Read More

Captioning Formats for Videos

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Timed Text Markup Language vs Web Video Text Track What are Timed Text Markup Language (TTML) and Web Video Text Track (WebVTT)? How do we benefit from these captioning formats? Will these ever merge together, or will they evolve separately over time? Why does it matter which captioning format we use when creating closed captioning for videos? A variety of captioning file formats exist, all of which differ slightly in syntax. These different formats are used for captioning, subtitling, karaoke, etc. in videos for both TV and on the web. Of the many captioning file formats that are available, TTML… Read More

New Webinar Series – Navigating FCC Regulations

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In the month of July SSB CEO Tim Springer and Attorney Maria Browne will be presenting a new 4-part webinar series on current FCC regulations for Accessible Communications. If you’re wondering if the regulations apply to your organization, or just want to learn more about it, I encourage you to check out these free webinars.   Navigating FCC Accessible Communications Regulations Legal Overview and Coverage Wednesday, July 9th – 2:00pm-3:00pm EDT/11:00am-12:00pm PDT A current overview of the FCC rules, including those pertaining to the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA), Section 255 of the Telecommunications Act and the rules covered… Read More

CVAA Sections 204 and 205 – Complying with Section 205

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Last week’s post in our blog series on Sections 204 and 205 of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) gave an overview of Section 205. This week we’ll take a more detailed look at who must comply, what is and is not covered, what must be made accessible and how to achieve accessibility as outlined in report and order FCC 13-138. Who must comply? Multi-channel video programming distributors (MVPDs) – Must offer accessible devices through the same means they offer other customers requesting devices Hardware and software manufacturers of MVPD supported devices – Must make the devices available through the same channels that… Read More

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