Tuesday, March 08, 2011

[Notice] FCC Town Hall on 21st Century Communications and Video Programming Accessibility Act March 17

The Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Programming Accessibility Act
Public Notice: Word | Acrobat

Washington, D.C. – On March 17, 2011, the Federal Communications Commission will host a town hall at the 26th Annual International Technology & Persons with Disabilities Conference, hosted by the California State University at Northridge (CSUN).  The town hall is one of many steps that the Commission is taking to obtain public feedback as it implements the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Programming Accessibility Act (CVAA or the Act), signed by President Obama on October 8, 2010.

The CVAA is landmark disability legislation, designed to ensure that people with disabilities have access to emerging twenty-first century communications and video programming technologies.  The CVAA, which enacted many recommendations of the National Broadband Plan, will ensure access to advanced communications equipment and services, expand the availability of hearing aid compatible telephones used with those services, enhance the scope of and contributions to the nation's telecommunications relay services, and create an equipment distribution program for people who are deaf-blind.  In addition, the law will fill accessibility gaps in video programming through the provision of video description on television and closed captioning on television programming re-shown on the Internet, ensure the accessibility of video programming devices, and require televised emergency programming to be accessible by people who are blind or visually impaired.  As it works through its implementation of the CVAA, the Commission is collaborating closely with consumer and industry stakeholders through two mandated advisory committees.  

The Town Hall meeting at CSUN will begin with an orientation to the CVAA that will focus on what the CVAA means to consumers with disabilities.  The FCC will then conduct an open dialogue on the Act's provisions, providing an opportunity for attendees to express their opinions on ways the FCC can best implement the CVAA.  For purposes of the Commission's ex parte rules regarding permit-but-disclose proceedings (47 C.F.R. § 1.1206(b) (2)), any comments made at the Town Hall on the implementation of the CVAA that pertain to the Act's provisions on advanced communications services, video description, the deaf-blind equipment distribution program, and TRS contributions by VoIP providers, will be deemed oral ex parte presentations in the pending rulemaking proceedings to which they relate.  A written transcript of the Town Hall meeting (captured from computer-aided real-time transcription) will be placed in the dockets of the relevant proceedings to comply with the disclosure requirements of the ex parte rules.    

The Town Hall meeting is scheduled from 9:20 a.m. to 11:40 a.m. on Thursday, March 17, 2011, at the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel, One Market Place, San Diego, CA 92101 in room "H-I."  The event is free and open to the public. The conference room is limited to 299 persons.  Pre-registration is recommended, but not required.  If you chose to pre-register, please send an e-mail to 21stCenturyTownHall@fcc.gov.  The Town Hall meeting will have sign language interpreters and CART.  The meeting will also be video-taped and posted on the CSUN conference website.

For questions or inquiries about the conference, please contact Pam Gregory, 202-418-2498, Pam.Gregory@fcc.gov or Mikelle Morra, 202-418-7151, Mikelle.Morra@fcc.gov.

- FCC -
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