WANTED: You to Sign the COAT Petition for Access

WANTED: You to Sign the COAT Petition for Access

June 2009

Editor: It may seem that I’m always encouraging you to sign a petition. And I guess that’s a fair observation. But I feel strongly that if we want access to rapidly expanding technology, we have to be the squeaky wheel. This petition supports access telecommunications, the Internet, and TV programs.

Here’s the story from the folks at NVRC.

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The 21st Century Communication and Video Accessibility Act did not pass Congress in 2008. There are plans to reintroduce the bill this year. Let’s show how much we care about access by signing the COAT petition to support this legislation at http://www.coataccess.org/node/add/petition. Forward this email to your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers and ask them to sign the petition too!

Text of 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 Communications and Video Accessibility Act and other laws and policies that will ensure equal access to telecommunications, the Internet, and television programming!

About COAT

NVRC is a member of COAT, a coalition of over 230 national, regional, state and community[based disability organizations which advocates for legislative and regulatory safeguards that will ensure full access by people with disabilities to high speed broadband, wireless and other Internet Protocol (IP) technologies.

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(c)2009 by Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons (NVRC), 3951 Pender Drive, Suite 130, Fairfax, VA 22030; www.nvrc.org. 703-352-9055 V, 703-352-9056 TTY, 703-352-9058 Fax You do not need permission to share this information, but please be sure to credit NVRC.