Yesterday the FCC released a tentative agenda for its March 3rd open meeting that includes seven matters for discussion, including rules for video description and advanced communications services, as required under the recent federal disability legislation known as the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA). (See earlier DWT Advisory on the CVAA here.)
The Commission intends to adopt an NPRM proposing rules to implement the CVAA requirement that providers of "advanced communications services" and manufacturers of equipment used for such services make their products accessible to people with disabilities. While the CVAA (and presumably the rules) broadly defines "advanced communications services" to include interconnected VoIP (as defined by FCC rules), non-interconnected VoIP, electronic messaging service (i.e., text messaging), and interoperable video conferencing service, the CVAA exempts current services and equipment that, as of the day prior to CVAA date of enactment - Oct. 8, 2010 - were subject to Section 255 of the Communications Act, which similarly deals with the accessibility of "telecommunications" services and equipment, including interconnected VoIP.
The agenda also indicates that the Commission intends to adopt an NPRM to reinstate the video description rules previously adopted by the Commission in 2000. As we discussed earlier here, the video description rules were adopted by the FCC but then struck down by the D.C. Circuit. The CVAA requires these rules to be reinstated by October 2011, although actual compliance will be subject to a phase-in schedule.
For more information about these and other requirements under the CVAA, including a timeline of relevant dates and deadlines, please read our DWT Advisory here.
Other matters that will be discussed at the meeting include rules to streamline and clarify retransmission consent negotiations, a lifeline/link up reform and modernization NPRM, and several matters regarding Native Nations issues (eg, spectrum and radio use on Tribal Lands).