Technology and Disability Policy Highlights - May 2019


In May, the eighth annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) was celebrated to bring about awareness and activities that support access and inclusion for people with all types of disabilities. The primary audience of GAAD is the “design, development, usability, and related communities who build, shape, fund, and influence technology and its use.” As a result, many companies launch accessibility initiatives on GAAD. This year saw access and inclusion news from Procter and Gamble’s Herbal Essences, Lloyds Banking Group, Google, Microsoft, Be My Eyes, Verizon, and Apple, among others. In keeping with the theme of influencing technology development, Verizon highlighted the Teach Access program, a coalition of technology players who seek to integrate accessible and inclusive design and development into higher education curriculums.

In the regulatory space, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considering how to expand the use of C-Band. The C-Band Alliance offered a market-based proposal that they believe will “enable an accelerated deployment of 5G in the US.” However, the FCC stated that C-Band Alliance’s proposal had raised additional questions on how to repurpose the spectrum and how to properly allocate ownership.

In Wireless RERC News, the outreach team produced two new videos that are available on our YouTube channel and featured on our website. The first video, Customizing Wireless Emergency Alert Settings on Android Devices, is an update to our popular Android-focused Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) video. The second video, American Sign Language Interpretation Overview of The Wireless RERC and Website, is meant to provide information about the Wireless RERC for website visitors whose primary language is American Sign Language (ASL). We also shared two new SUNspots. "SUNspot 01: Use of Mobile Phones by Individuals with Disabilities (2017-2018)" presents key findings regarding mobile phone use and satisfaction by consumers with disabilities. "SUNspot 02: Use of Wireless Technology Features and Wireless Device Activities by Individuals with Disabilities (2017-2018)" presents key findings regarding the use of wireless technology features, including real-time-text, intelligent assistants, and visual and audio display options.

This issue also includes news about the Wireless Resiliency Cooperative Framework, artificial intelligence, accessible gaming, Live Caption, Live Relay, Project Euphoria, accessible digital environments in higher education, and more.