On November 25, 2015, the FCC issued a Public Notice announcing that,
beginning on November 30, 2015, video programming distributors must
ensure that emergency information provided in text crawls or scrolls on
television is accessible to persons who are blind or visually impaired
by providing an aural tone at the start of such information and
conveying the information aurally at least twice though the secondary
audio stream. The Commission had adopted this requirement in April 2013
as part of the implementation of the Twenty First Century Communications
and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA).
In addition, the Public Notice notes that on May 28, 2015, the Commission released a Report and Order requiring that textual emergency information provided by multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) and accessed by "second screen devices" - e.g., tablets, smartphones, laptops or similar devices - must be aurally accessible through the secondary audio stream when the emergency information is delivered over the MVPD's network and is part of the MVPD's services. Compliance with this obligation is required no later than July 10, 2017. The Commission also required in this Order that, no later than December 20, 2016, a mechanism for activating the secondary audio stream to access audible emergency information must be simple and easy to use, such as via a button, key, icon, or other comparable method.
The Public Notice further reminds video programming distributors of their ongoing obligation to ensure that emergency information is accessible to persons who are deaf and hard of hearing.
Links to the November 25, 2015 Public Notice:
Link to Disability Rights Office's website on Access to Emergency Information on Television:
For further information contact Eliot Greenwald, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-2235 or e-mail [email protected].