Comments Due:  September 6, 2023

Reply Comments Due:  October 6, 2023

On June 12, 2023, the FCC released a Report and Order (R&O), Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), and Order on access to video conferencing by people with disabilities.  On August 7, 2023, the FCC released a Public Notice announcing the comment due dates and compliance dates for this proceeding. 

In the R&O, the FCC found that the existing accessibility requirements for advanced communications services (ACS) apply to commonly used video conferencing services.  The FCC announced in the Public Notice that the compliance date for providers of those video conferencing services is September 3, 2024.  In the Order, the FCC waived for one year, subject to conditions, a Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) rule that restricts Video Relay Service users’ ability to turn off their video cameras when not actively participating in a video conference.  This TRS waiver will end August 1, 2024.

The FCC now seeks comment on proposals in its NPRM, including:

  • Specific performance objectives for improving the accessibility of video conferencing services, such as for speech-to-text (captioning) capabilities; text-to-speech capabilities; and enabling the use of sign language interpreting.
  • Whether additional performance objectives are needed (for example, to support individuals with other types of disabilities or to enable users to control the activation and appearance of accessibility features);
  • Rules for integration of Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) with video conferencing without a dial-up telephone connection; and
  • When multiple communications assistants may be assigned to relay service calls that involve users of different forms of TRS.

Interested parties may file comments by accessing the Electronic Comment Filing System at https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings.  All filings must reference CG Docket Nos. 23-161, 10-213, 03-123.  People with disabilities who need assistance to file comments online may request assistance by email to FCC504@fcc.gov

Link to the Compliance and Comment Due Dates Public Notice: 

Word:  https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-23-665A1.docx

PDF:  https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-23-665A1.pdf

Text:  https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-23-665A1.txt

Link to the IVCS R&O, NPRM and Order: 

URL:https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-requires-video-conferencing-accessibility-proposes-asl-support-0

More information about interoperable video conferencing services and other advanced communications services is available at: www.fcc.gov/acs. For further information regarding ACS, contact Ike Ofobike, Disability Rights Office, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, 202-418-1028, or Ike.Ofobike@fcc.gov. For further information regarding telecommunications relay services, contact Bill Wallace, Disability Rights Office, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, 202-418-2716, or William.Wallace@fcc.gov. Individuals who use videophones and are fluent in American Sign Language (ASL) may call the FCC’s ASL Consumer Support Line at (844) 432‐2275.

Updated:
Monday, August 28, 2023