Congress: Make Smart Phones, Video Accessible to Vision and Hearing Impaired

The 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, which would require that smart phones, TV programs and modern communications technologies be accessible to people with vision and hearing loss, has now passed both chambers of Congress and is headed to...

The 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, which would require that smart phones, TV programs and modern communications technologies be accessible to people with vision and hearing loss, has now passed both chambers of Congress and is headed to President Obama, who is expected to sign it. Specifically, it would:

• Mandate mobile phone companies to make web browsers, text messaging, and e-mail on smart phones fully accessible

• Restore and expand requirements for video description of TV programs, in addition to requiring cable companies to make their program guides and selection menus accessible to people with vision loss

• Ensure people with vision loss have access to emergency broadcast information

• Provide $10 million in funding each year for assistive technology for deaf-blind individuals

• Require that Internet-enabled mobile phones be hearing aid compatible
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