October 11, 2010

President Signs into Law New Disability Access Requirements for VoIP Service, Video Programming, and Other Communications Services and Applications

President Barack Obama signed into law the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (the Act) October 8, 2010. The Act received overwhelming support in both houses of Congress, passing the Senate by unanimous consent and the House on a voice vote. The Act is intended to ensure that individuals with disabilities have access to Internet Protocol-based communication and video programming technologies that are increasingly becoming mainstream. The Act heralds significant new regulatory obligations for both United States service providers and equipment manufacturers that provide equipment within the United States, and the Federal Communications Commission is directed to issue a number of new regulations that implement these obligations. The Act essentially has two components: (1) provisions designed to improve access to IP-based communications services for individuals with disabilities; and (2) provisions designed to improve access to video programming across delivery platforms.

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