Georgia Tech's Center for Advanced Communications Policy (CACP) prepared and submitted reply comments to the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) 's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, In the Matter of Resilient Networks [21-346]' Amendments to Part 4 of the Commission's Rules Concerning Disruptions to Communications [15-80]; and New Part 4 of the Commission's Rules Concerning Disruptions to Communications [04-35]. In the initial request for comments, the Consumer Groups suggested that the FCC ensure emergency alerts are disseminated to all phones regardless of if the phone plan is active. We offered additional support for this recommendation as mobile devices are a critical method by which people with disabilities receive emergency notifications. Furthermore, we concurred that the Commission should expand the mechanisms by which they disseminate emergency alerts. Presently, FM radio via mobile phone is underutilized and could be more thoroughly employed. We also assert that the Consumer Readiness Checklist should be accessible and inclusive to all. Our comments offer data to support the Consumer Groups recommendation that captions are necessary for all video messages, including broadcast, social media, and websites. The sobering reality is that people with disabilities experience a higher chance of mortality during emergencies. Thus, it is critical to appropriately prepare communities and educate them on being well-informed of emergency information – starting with accessibility. The full document can be accessed below.
January 13th, 2022