The FCC Expands Emergency Information Accessibility Requirements to Second Screens
The FCC has make two actions relating to the accessibility of emergency information on television for individuals who are blind or visually impaired.
In the first action, taken on May 21, 2015, the FCC expanded its rules to make sure individuals who are blind or visually impaired get critical details about emergencies shown on television. In the second action, taken on May 26, 2015, the FCC addressed two petitions regarding the deadline for compliance with the FCC’s rules requiring televised emergency information to be accessible to individuals who are blind or visually impaired.
These actions relate to rules adopted by the FCC in 2013, which require emergency information that appears visually during a non-news program (such as in a text crawl displayed during a regularly scheduled program) to be provided aurally on the secondary audio stream. These requirements stem from the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, which was signed into law by President Obama in 2010.
FCC Expands Emergency Information Accessibility Requirements
On May 21, 2015, the FCC expanded its rules to make sure individuals who are blind or visually impaired get critical details about emergencies shown on television.
The new rules adopted by the FCC require that emergency information be made accessible on a secondary audio stream on “second screens,” such as tablets, smartphones, laptops, and similar devices when subscription television providers, such as cable and satellite operators, permit consumers to access scheduled programming over their networks using an app on these devices. In addition, the new rules require that the equipment used to receive and play back television programming, such as set-top boxes, have a simple and easy-to-use mechanism to switch from the main program audio to the secondary audio stream to hear audible emergency information.
The FCC also seeks comments on additional issues related to the accessibility of emergency information for individuals who are blind or visually impaired.
The followings are links to the Second Report and Order and Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, and the Press Release.
Second Report and Order and Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking