ACA Seeks Waiver of Accessible User Interface Requirements


The American Cable Association (ACA) has petitioned the FCC’s Media Bureau for waiver of Section 79.108 of the Commission’s rules for limited classes of multichannel video programming distributor (MVPD) systems.  Section 79.108 requires that on-screen text menus and guides provided by navigation devices for the display or selection of multichannel video programming be audibly accessible in real time upon request by blind or visually impaired individuals.  When it adopted accessible user interface rules in October 2013, the Commission set a deferred compliance deadline of December 20, 2018 for designated mid-sized and smaller MVPDs.  In its petition, ACA claims that certain classes of systems will be unable to meet this deadline due to the unavailability of compliant market solutions that are compatible with these systems.  ACA therefore requests waiver of Section 79.108 for certain mid-sized or smaller systems that utilize quadrature amplified modulation (QAM), as they apply to the system’s two-way service offerings (e.g., video on demand).   Additionally, ACA requests waiver of Section 79.108 for certain small cable systems that offer any video programming channels in only analog format or do not offer broadband Internet access service to their residential video subscribers.  ACA proposes that cable systems that qualify for either a partial or full waiver be required to provide annual notice to current customers for as long as the system relies on the waiver and to provide notice to both current and potential customers who inquire about accessibility options.  Comments on ACA’s petition are due by July 10, 2018, and replies are due by July 20, 2018.

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