DI and COAT Needs Your Support on the 21st Century Communications and Video Access Act

DI and COAT Needs Your Support on the 21st Century Communications and Video Access Act

Editor: One of the problems with the explosion of new communications technologies in the last decade is that the needs of folks with disabilities are often ignored. One example that impacts the hearing loss community is the lack of captions on Internet videos.

The folks at COAT are sponsoring a petition that encourages passage of a law to address these issues, and TDI is supporting that position. Here’s the TDI notice. Please do take a minute and sign this petition.


March 2009

COAT now has an online petition to support passage of the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act. TDI is a member of COAT, and supports this Act because it will extend disability access from legacy (old) technology to newer Internet and digital technology. Today we need your support to get this bill through Congress. For a summary of this act, go to http://www.coataccess.org/node/32 . Sign the petition now (http://www.coataccess.org/node/add/petition), and spread the word! See the names of the more than 2,800 people from all 50 states who’ve signed it so far (http://www.coataccess.org/coat_petition_signatures).


Here’s the petition:

We, the undersigned, support the legislative and regulatory proposals of the Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology (COAT) to ensure full access by people with disabilities to evolving high speed broadband, wireless, and Internet communication and electronic technologies.

Over the last 20 years, various federal laws to ensure access to telephone and television technologies have been enacted. However, these federal laws have not kept pace with new technologies. For example, television programs distributed over the Internet are not required to have closed captions or video description – even if they had captions and description when they were shown on television. Also, although televisions with screens larger than 13 inches must display closed captions, small televisions, cell phones, PDAs, and other mobile devices do not have this same requirement; nor are they required to pass through video description. In addition, although federal law requires phones over the regular public telephone network to be hearing aid compatible, it is not clear whether this obligation carries over to smart phones used for communication over the Internet. Nor are there any affordable phone devices that work for people who are deaf-blind. The list goes on and on – nearly every time new technology is introduced in the marketplace, people with disabilities get left behind! We say enough is enough!

We want access. We need change. We support COAT’s efforts to enact the Twenty-first Century Telecommunications and Video Accessibility Act and other laws and policies that will ensure our equality to telecommunications, the Internet and television programming!

Add your signature today! (http://www.coataccess.org/node/add/petition)


About TDI:

TDI is a consumer advocacy organization that provides leadership in achieving equal access to telecommunications, media, and information technologies for 31 million Americans who are deaf and hard of hearing. TDI publishes the TDI World quarterly magazine and the annual TDI National Directory & Resource Guide, also known as the Blue Book. For more information on supporting TDI’s work or to become a member, please go to www.tdi-online.org