On June 22, 2022, the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau (“CGB”) released a Public Notice seeking comment on its tentative findings on the accessibility and usability of telecommunications and advanced communications services (“ACS”) in connection with the 2022 Biennial Report, which must be submitted to Congress by October 8, 2022, as required by the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (“CVAA”). The FCC is required to provide an assessment of industry compliance with the disability accessibility provisions of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (the “Act”), including the extent to which accessibility barriers still exist with respect to new communications technology, the effect of accessibility-related recordkeeping and enforcement on development and deployment of accessible services and devices, and the number of, nature of, and actions taken to resolve complaints alleging violations of the disability accessibility provisions.
The CGB tentatively found that:
- There have been some improvements to enhance the accessibility of telecommunications and advanced communications services since the last report, but gaps still exist. Similarly, the FCC concluded that usability has improved for some services and equipment, but there is still room for improvement, and that in particular, video conferencing has introduced significant accessibility advantages, but has also opened new areas of inquiry, particularly as it relates to accessing telehealth services.
- There were a total of 49 requests for dispute resolution filed in the two years since the prior report, a majority of which were concluded within 90 days, and two informal complaints, which were resolved within their 180 statutory timeframe.
- The recordkeeping and enforcement requirements have had no effect on the development and deployment of new technologies.
The entirety of the Bureau’s tentative findings are attached to the Notice. The CGB seeks comment on whether these tentative findings accurately represent the current state of accessibility and usability of telecommunications and advanced communications services and equipment, and the accessibility and usability of Internet browsers on mobile phones for people who are blind or visually impaired.
Comments are due on or before August 8, 2022.
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