Tuesday, March 9, 2010

FCC: Broadband Plan to Include Equal Access for People with Disabilities

The FCC's upcoming National Broadband Plan, which will be released next week, includes many recommendations on how to expand the reach and depth of broadband's benefits to people with disabilities.

With broadband technologies, "we have the opportunity to consider accessibility issues relatively early in the deployment process and enable people with disabilities to share fully in the benefits of broadband," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a speech at a conference co-sponsored by Silicon Flatirons and the American Association of People with Disabilities and the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.

Working recommendations in the Plan include:

  • A government-wide Accessibility Initiative and establishment of a Broadband
    Accessibility Working Group

  • An ongoing Accessibility and Innovation Forum at the FCC for stakeholders to share best
    practices and collaborate on accessibility solutions

  • Action by the FCC, DOJ, and Congress to update accessibility laws and policies and
    make sure they are enforced.

  • Authorization by Congress for limited use of Universal Service Fund for assistive
    technology users and developers

  • Use of TRS funds for broadband services and assistive technology subsidies and for
    funding additional IP-based services.

See also