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Rosenworcel Statement On Expanding Access to 21st Century Technologies

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Released: July 2, 2012

Federal Communications Commission

News Media Information 202 / 418-0500

445 12th Street, S.W.


Washington, D. C. 20554

TTY: 1-888-835-5322

This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action.
See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).

July 2, 2012
Priscilla Argeris, (202) 418-2400



Washington, D.C.—On July 1, 2012, the video description rules adopted by the Federal
Communications Commission pursuant to the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video
Accessibility Act went into effect. In addition, the agency’s Consumer and Governmental
Affairs Bureau announced a new $10 million program to assist deaf-blind individuals with
access to communications equipment, also under the same law.
In response, FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel stated:
"With the start of this month, we reach a new milestone in accessibility with video
description. It has been a long time in the making. After all, it was 22 years ago that the
Americans with Disabilities Act first became law. It was more than a decade ago that the FCC
first plowed new ground and required video description to accompany popular television
programming. Though the courts brought this early progress to a halt, Congress stepped in to
right this wrong with additional authority and a groundbreaking new law—The Twenty-First
Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act.
“Though there has been delay, the benefit is no less sweet. Now, more than 21 million
visually-impaired Americans will be able to access television programming with video
description. This widens the range of news and entertainment options available to the visually-
impaired and helps facilitate full participation in Twenty-First century life.
"We would not have reached this point without the cooperative work of so many
providers and distributors of video programming and the tireless advocacy of so many
champions in the disabilities community. Today’s establishment of the National Deaf-Blind
Equipment Distribution Program is more proof positive that the good work continues. I look
forward to continuing to work with all stakeholders to see that the implementation of the
Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act continues to expand access
to communications technologies and opportunities across the country.”

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