Senate Commerce To Mark Up Accessibility Bill

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The Senate Commerce Committee Thursday will mark up S. 3304, the Equal Access To 21st Century Communications Act.

That is the Senate version of the bill that would update the Telecommunications Act's provisions on accessibility
of telecommunications services to the disabled in light of the rise of broadband.

The House Communications Subcommittee has already marked up its version of the bill (Hr. 3101), and House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) has said he would like to see a bill passed before the end of the month to coincide with the 20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The House bill may also be marked up in full committee this week, according to a source.

The bills would restore the FCC's video description mandate, which was thrown out by the courts; would apply captitioning requirements to online video, and come up with standards for equipment accessibility. The bill attempts to ensure that communications devices have function keys for the access features and that, for example, emergency warnings are still viewable even on small screens.

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