Georgia Tech’s Center for Advanced Communications Policy (CACP) submitted reply comments to the Federal Communication Commission (FCC or Commission) in response to the Public Notice Media Bureau Seeks to Refresh the Record on Accessibility Rules for Closed Captioning Display Settings Under the Television Decoder Circuitry Act [MB Docket No. 12-108]. In this request for comments, the FCC sought stakeholder input regarding the usability of captioning and whether they had the legal authority to require manufacturers to include physical captioning buttons on the digital apparatus that they produce. People who are deaf and hard of hearing have reported a diminished quality of experience when consuming broadcast and digital media because they cannot readily configure captions settings. In accordance with ADA protections, action should be taken to remedy the differential quality of experience based on disability status. As such, CACP supported the Accessibility Advocacy and Research Organizations comments that argued that the Commission has the authority under law to require captioning features. We extended this argument and suggested that closed captioning activation and customization be accessed via a dedicated button on the device.
Inaccessible media concerns have persisted despite technical developments in the provision of closed captioning controls. Perhaps the tenacity of the issue is related to the lack of ubiquity across programming providers, or there might not be a critical mass of customers with hearing disabilities that subscribe to the television services exampled in NCTA-The Internet & Television Association’s comments, or perhaps it is a lack of outreach explaining the availability of these services. In all likelihood, it is some combination of all three, speaking to the limited usability of the available closed captioning controls in that product information may not be reaching the intended audience. Thus, we asserted the importance of ensuring information transparency for people with disabilities who seek to better understand and utilize device accessibility features. To read the full comments submitted by CACP, please click here or see the attachment below.
Bright, D. & LaForce, S. (2022, March 4). Reply Comments Submitted in Response to the Public Notice Media Bureau Seeks to Refresh the Record on Accessibility Rules for Closed Captioning Display Settings Under the Television Decoder Circuitry Act [MB Docket No. 12-108]. Federal Communications Commission: Washington, D.C.