The Regulatory Mix, TMI’s daily blog of regulatory activities, is a snapshot of PUC, FCC, legislative, and occasionally court, issues that our regulatory monitoring team uncovers each day. Depending on their significance, some items may be the subject of a TMI Regulatory Bulletin.
The FCC adopted rules to provide consumers who are blind or visually impaired with easier access to digital video programming on a wide range of electronic devices. The rules will also enable consumers who are deaf or hard of hearing to activate closed captioning on their devices with greater ease. Covered devices include navigation devices used to access cable or satellite services, such as set-top boxes and TiVos, as well as other devices used to receive or play back digital video, ranging from televisions and computers to tablets and smartphones.
All covered devices are required to provide on-screen text menus and guides that are audibly accessible as well as a mechanism that is comparable to a button, key or icon for activating certain accessibility features, such as closed captioning. Devices other than navigation devices are also required to make their other built-in functions accessible. The rules also include outreach requirements to inform the public about the availability of accessibility options and a procedure for complaints. This action represents the final major step in the FCC’s implementation of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA). Read the Order here
The FCC announced it had authorized over $32 million in funding to provide new broadband access to over 42,000 unserved homes and businesses in Puerto Rico, Hawaii and Alaska. The funding, from the FCC’s Connect America Fund, will connect over 100,000 people who lack service. The funding is broken down as follows:
- Puerto Rico (territory-wide): $31.6 million to reach 40,736 homes and businesses
- Hawaii (Hawaii County): $1 million to reach 1,317 homes and businesses
- Alaska (Yukon-Koyukuk Borough): $174,000 to reach 316 homes and businesses
A map showing these areas is available at here. Currently about 15 million U.S. residents, mostly rural, lack access to fixed broadband.