U.S. Senate Passes S.3304 by Unanimous Consent!

August 5, 2010, Washington, D.C.:-- COAT celebrates the passage of the "Twenty-first Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010" (S. 3304) by the U.S. Senate today by unanimous consent. Due to the extraordinary efforts of advocates across the country and in Washington, D.C., COAT has secured a monumental step forward in accessible technology.

Earlier this week, Senator Pryor (D-AR) introduced an amendment to improve S. 3304. Amended, S. 3304 was passed by the U.S. Senate unanimously. Like H.R. 3101, which was passed on July 26, 2010, S. 3304 will:

  • Require captioned television programs to be captioned when delivered over the Internet.
  • Authorize the FCC to require 7 hours per week of TV video description on the top 4 network channels and top 5 cable channels nationwide.
  • Allocate up to $10 million per year for communications equipment used by individuals who are deaf-blind.
  • Require televised emergency information to be accessible to individuals who are blind or have low vision.
  • Require accessibility of advanced communications equipment and services, such as text messaging and e-mail.
  • Require access to Internet services that are built-in to mobile telephone devices, like smart phones, if achievable.
  • Require devices of any size to be capable of displaying closed captioning, delivering available video description, and making emergency information accessible.
  • Require accessible user controls for televisions and set-top boxes, and easy access to closed captioning and video description.
  • And more.

For more information, see the section-by-section summary of what S. 3304 (as amended) will do for us.

S. 3304 will now go to the House of Representatives. COAT supports and expects the House to pass S. 3304 soon.

Job well done, everyone! Like the ADA 20 years ago, we are making history now!

Note: A copy of amended S.3304 is available on the COAT website (PDF format, 71 pages).

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