TDI Applauds FCC Report and Order on Internet Captioning

TDI Applauds FCC Report and Order on Internet Captioning

Happy New Year!

TDI is pleased to begin the year 2012 with a welcome announcement from the

The FCC issued a Report and Order requiring that video programs previously
shown on television with captions must be displayed with captions when shown
on the Internet. More details are in the announcement below.

On behalf of more than 48 million people in America who are deaf and hard of
hearing, TDI advocates for equal access to telecommunications, media and
information technologies. Thank you everyone who played a part in the
passage and the implementation of the 21st Century Communications and Video
Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA).

TDI Applauds New Internet Captioning Rules

FCC Releases Long Awaited Requirements for Online Programming and Devices

SILVER SPRING, Md. On Friday, January 13, 2012, TDI eagerly welcomed the
long-anticipated news from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) about
new rules requiring captions on online television programs using Internet
protocol (IP), which will be mostly phased in over the next two years. The
Commission’s Report & Order also mandates captioning capabilities for many
devices that display video programming, regardless of size. These new
regulations are part of the 21st Century Communications and Video
Accessibility Act (CVAA) signed by President Obama in October 2010.

“These new rules represent the greatest advancements in captioning since the
rules for captioning on television were developed, said Claude Stout,
Executive Director for Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing,
Inc. Stout added, “TDI and other consumer groups spent many hours making
the case before Congress, the Federal Communications Commission, and the
industry about the value of captioning, and why its benefits should be
carried online.”

This is one of the most important parts of the CVAA that TDI and other
consumer advocacy groups have worked on for many years. One requirement of
the CVAA was that the FCC form the Video Programming Access Advisory
Committee (VPAAC). Claude Stout, TDI Executive Director, and other consumer
organization representatives collaborated with industry professionals to
develop recommendations to the FCC that were mostly incorporated into the
new rulings. TDI and other consumer groups pushed for a broad scope for
Internet captioning to capture as much content as possible.

Last fall, TDI and National Association of the Deaf (NAD) filed comments and
reply comments with sign-ons by Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA),
Association of Late Deafened Adults (ALDA), Cerebral Palsy and Deaf
Organization (CPADO), and Deaf and Hard of Hearing Consumer Advocacy Network
(DHHCAN). Then with support and legal guidance from Blake Reid, TDI’s
pro-bono attorney at the Institute for Public Representation at Georgetown
Law School, the group met with the Media Bureau at the FCC and staff from
the offices of individual Commissioners and industry players such as the
Motion Pictures Association of America (MPAA) to press their concerns on the
scope of the proposed regulations.

The FCC adopted the roll-out based on recommendations from VPAAC. The
timeline for online captioned programming is as follows: within six months
from date of publication in the Federal Register for all prerecorded
programming that is not edited for Internet distribution (many prime time
shows and other content recorded in advance of showing); twelve months for
live and near-live programming that was recorded within 24 hours of
broadcast on television (late-night shows, newscasts, sports events,
specials); and eighteen months for prerecorded programming that is edited
for Internet distribution. After 24 months, “archival” content that is
already online without captions will have to be captioned within 45 days of
it being aired on television. After 36 months, archival content must be
captioned within 30 days, and after 48 months, within 15 days. TDI will
continue to be actively involved in implementing these goals and monitoring

While the consumer groups were pleased with the overall scope of the bill,
there was one weak spot. Video clips excerpted from full-length programs
such as many news, sports and entertainment segments are not covered by the
Commission’s rules, although programming displayed in its entirety but split
into segments is covered. Despite a strongly worded letter from the authors
of the Congressional bill, Representative Markey (D-MA) and Senator Pryor
(D-AR), and consumer support clarifying the CVAA’s requirement of captioning
for individual segments, the FCC chose not to cover this type of video, but
will monitor developments to ensure that consumers who rely on captioning
continue to have full access to news programming. TDI and other consumer
groups are carefully reviewing this portion of the FCC’s order and in the
meantime call on the industry to voluntarily caption additional content that
is not covered by the CVAA.

Finally, all physical devices manufactured on or after January 1, 2014 that
receive and play back video programming must support captions, including
televisions, personal computers and set-top boxes must support captions.
Since the 13-inch size threshold is eliminated, smaller devices such as
smart phones, tablets and smaller devices will be required to display
captions. This will solve concerns from captioning users regarding problems
with Blu-Ray players, and other devices that do not support captions on
broadcast as well as online video programming.

The full FCC report and order can be found at:

Thank you for your support as we shape an accessible world together in 2012!

Claude L. Stout
TDI Executive Director

About Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc.:
Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc. (TDI) is a
consumer advocacy organization that provides leadership in achieving equal
access to telecommunications, media, and information technologies for 36
million Americans who are deaf and hard of hearing. TDI publishes the TDI
World quarterly magazine and the annual TDI National Directory & Resource
Guide, also known as the Blue Book. TDI administers the E911 Stakeholder
Council, an ad-hoc group dedicated to increasing access to 9-1-1 and other
emergency services, as well as the Community Emergency Preparedness
Information Network, a program funded by the Federal Emergency Management
Agency (FEMA). In odd numbered years, TDI hosts a biennial conference where
consumers, industry leaders and government officials gather to discuss
accessibility trends in technology. For more information about TDI and to
support its work, go to

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