NCTA: Apps Not Part of Video Accessibility Act

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WASHINGTON — Cable operators are trying to persuade the Federal Communications Commission not to apply accessibility requirements to TV Everywhere apps as it runs up against its deadline for implementing the Communications Video Accessibility Act.

Two weeks ago, National Cable & Telecommunications Association officials met with FCC staffers to argue that the act’s requirements under Section 205, which requires that navigation devices and digital interfaces be accessible to the blind or visually impaired, are for devices and should not be extrapolated beyond that.

The NCTA has made the point before, but with the congressional deadline for deciding on how to implement the provision, it pressed the point.

“We explained that cable-operator supplied on-screen text menus and guides provided by “navigation devices” are subject to Section 205 of the CVAA,” the NCTA said. “We also explained that cable operator-developed software or ‘apps’ are not equipment, apparatus or ‘navigation devices’ subject to the rules,” according to an ex parte filing with the FCC.

At press time, it was unclear how the government shutdown would affect the timing of the FCC’s decision, but the statutory deadline is Oct. 9, according to an agency spokesperson — not that the commission hasn’t missed one or two such deadlines, as anyone still waiting for its quadrennial review of media ownership rules, due in 2010, can attest.