CVAA – Mobile Internet Browsers
It should be noted that no specific technical standards defining accessibility of a browser – and by extension what is needed to conform to Section 718 – are defined in the current proposed rules. The rules do, however, note specific sections of the requirements noted as part of 47 CFR 14 which relate to the usage of technology by individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Essentially this means that a similar process as to what is used to determine conformance for ACS services can be used to determine conformance with this section. As with the ACS requirements, SSB recommends organizations consult with AMP or a similar accessibility requirements management platform as part of developing technical standards to govern the accessibility of browsers.
The requirements of this section state that manufacturers of mobile phones must ensure that if it is achievable, browsers included in the phone be accessible to users who are blind or visually impaired. The statute and proposed regulations restrict the scope to browsers included with a phone at the time of manufacture. If a browser is added to the phone later or installed by the user as a third party application, there is no requirement that the manufacturer make it accessible.
A plain language reading of the statute and proposed regulations would indicate that it does not include other devices that like tablets or laptops. As part of the report and order on the ACS, the FCC lists devices that are not phones – and by extension not covered – and includes computers, laptops and tablets in the list (FCC 11-151¶27). However, when such a device contains a data modem, it is unclear if the device is now covered under the term “telephones used with public mobile services.” This term is statutorily defined (47 USC § 610 (b) (4) (B)) to mean “telephones and other customer premises equipment used in whole or in part with air-to-ground radiotelephone services, cellular radio telecommunications services, offshore radio, rural radio service, public land mobile telephone service, or other common carrier radio communication services covered by Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations, or any functionally equivalent unlicensed wireless services;” Under 47 CFR 14, customer premises equipment means “equipment employed on the premises of a person (other than a carrier) to originate, route, or terminate telecommunications.” While unlikely given the plain language of the law, this may be construed in practice to include other devices that include cellular modems.