Agenda for March Open Meeting Released, Includes Rules on Video Description and Advanced Communications Services, Retransmission Consent, and Lifeline/Link Up Reform

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On February 10, 2011, the FCC released a tentative agenda for its March 3rd open meeting that includes seven matters for discussion, including rules for video description and advanced communications services, as required under the recent federal disability legislation known as the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA).

The Commission intends to adopt an NPRM proposing rules to implement the CVAA requirement that providers of "advanced communications services" and manufacturers of equipment used for such services make their products accessible to people with disabilities. While the CVAA (and presumably the rules) broadly defines "advanced communications services" to include interconnected VoIP (as defined by FCC rules), non-interconnected VoIP, electronic messaging service (i.e., text messaging), and interoperable video conferencing service, the CVAA exempts current services and equipment that, as of the day prior to CVAA date of enactment - Oct. 8, 2010 - were subject to Section 255 of the Communications Act, which similarly deals with the accessibility of "telecommunications" services and equipment, including interconnected VoIP.

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