Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Field of Dreams Moves Forward

With an impressive vote of 348 to 23 last Monday, the House of Representatives passed the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (H.R. 3101), authored by Representative Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.).

This bill outlined in my post A Field of Dreams will potentially set the stage for universal access, and that means providing alternatives to visual access, namely audible access. So in this dream cable companies would make their program guides and selection menus accessible to people with impaired vision, and provide descriptive narration for programming. It would mandate mobile phone companies to make web browsers, text messaging, and e-mail on smart phones fully accessible, among other things.

Now it moves to the Senate, in a related bill, S.3304, the Equal Access to 21st Century Communications Act, introduced by Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR) and reported out by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

Yes, it is ambitious and these are just a few first steps. God only knows what the legislation will look like when all is said and done, or how long it will take. But, I am a believer that it will come out right because the fact is these changes make telecommunications better for everyone!