FCC Seeks Comment on Petition for Waiver of Accessible Emergency Information

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The FCC’s Media Bureau (Bureau) seeks comment on the American Cable Association’s (ACA) Petition seeking a permanent waiver of the FCC’s rules requiring analog-only cable systems to pass through emergency information to consumers on the secondary audio stream. FCC Rule Section 79.2(b)(2)(ii) requires video programming distributors to ensure that the aural representation of emergency information provided on the secondary audio stream gets passed through to consumers and is accessible to individuals who are blind or visually impaired. The Bureau previously granted ACA a waiver of the May 2015 compliance deadline until June 12, 2018, for analog-only systems because it was financially infeasible to purchase the required equipment to pass through the secondary audio stream. ACA now seeks a permanent waiver because analog-only cable systems continue to lack economically feasible options for equipment. Alternatively, ACA requests an additional five years for analog-only cable systems to comply with the rules and suggests that otherwise they would need to shut down operations due to the financial burden of acquiring the necessary equipment. Comments are due by April 2, 2018, and reply comments are due by April 12, 2018.

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