Notice & Comment

FCC Seeks Input On Proposed Rules Implementing CVAA, by Shannon Allen

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) seeks comment on proposed rules implementing the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (“CVAA”).  In this Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making (“FNPRM”), the FCC seeks input on issues regarding the implementation of Sections 204 and 205 of the CVAA.  Sections 204 and 205, generally charge the FCC with promulgating rules mandating that “digital apparatus” and “navigation device user interfaces,” used in order to view “video programming,” be “accessible to” and “usable by” people who are “blind or visually impaired.”

First, Section 204 specifically directs the FCC to require that “appropriate built-in apparatus functions” be made accessible to blind or visually impaired people.  Second, Section 205 specifically directs the FCC to require that “on-screen text menus and guides provided by navigation devices” be made accessible upon request by blind or visually impaired individuals. Third, both Sections require covered devices provide a mechanism that is “reasonably comparable to a button, key, or icon designated for activating” closed captioning, video description, and accessibility features.

The FCC specifically seeks comment on the following:

  1. whether the FCC should adopt rules to define the term “usable” for purposes of implementing Section 204 of the CVAA; 
  2. whether the phrase “accessibility features” in Sections 303(aa)(3) and 303(bb)(2) of the CVAA includes user display settings for closed captioning and whether those sections can be interpreted to require covered entities to ensure that consumers are able to locate and control such settings; 
  3. whether there are possible sources of authority for the FCC to require Multichannel video programming distributors (“MVPDs”) to ensure that video programming guides and menus that provide channel and program information include high level channel and program descriptions and titles, as well as a symbol identifying the programs with accessibility options; 
  4. the FCC should require manufacturers of apparatus covered by Section 203 of the CVAA to provide access to the secondary audio stream used for audible emergency information by a mechanism reasonably comparable to a button, key, or icon; 
  5. whether the FCC should impose additional notification requirements on MVPDs regarding the availability of accessible equipment and, if so, what those notification requirements should be; and 
  6. whether the FCC should tentatively conclude that equipment manufacturers subject to Section 205 should be required pursuant to Section 205(b)(1) to inform consumers about the availability of audibly accessible devices and accessibility solutions.

Comments are due by February 18, 2014 and interested parties are encouraged to submit comments, identified by MB Docket Nos. 12-108, 12-107, by any of the following methods: 

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Follow the instructions for submitting comments. 
  • Federal Communications Commission’s Web site: Follow the instructions for submitting comments. 
  • Mail: Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, by commercial overnight courier, or by first-class or overnight U.S. Postal Service mail. All filings must be addressed to the Commission’s Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission. 
  • People with Disabilities: Contact the FCC to request reasonable accommodations (accessible format documents, sign language interpreters, CART, etc.) by email: or phone: (202) 418-0530 or TTY: (202) 418-0432.

This post was originally published on the legacy ABA Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Notice and Comment blog, which merged with the Yale Journal on Regulation Notice and Comment blog in 2015.

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