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Obama Administration Calls for Greater Disabled Access on Internet

in Broadband's Impact by

WASHINGTON, August 3, 2010 –The Obama administration has made the expansion of telecommunications services to disabled people a top priority. The decision to release these proposals coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which the administration sees as an urgent piece of legislation for a time when technology is growing. The proposals may draw fire from businesses on the grounds of excessive cost.

Of the four proposals involved, two directly implicate the telecommunications industry. The first, simply titled “Web Accessibility,” seeks comment on how the Justice Department “can develop a workable framework for website access that provides individuals with disabilities access to the critical information, programs, and services provided on the web, while respecting the unique characteristics of the internet and its transformative impact on everyday life,” according to the Justice Department’s press release.

The second, meanwhile, calls for greater disabled access in internet-based 9-11 call centers. According to the press release, “The NG 9-1-1 ANPRM seeks information on how the centers may be able to provide direct access to 9-1-1 for individuals with disabilities as they implement new communication technologies.”

The other two proposals deal with closed captioning in movie theatres and disabled accessible furniture.

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