The Federal Communications Commission's Broadband Omnibus Initiative team on Wednesday (March 10) outlined its recommendations to ensure the accessibility of high-speed Internet to people with disabilities. Those recommendations will be included in the FCC's National Broadband Plan due to Congress on March 17. The following is a statement by Kathryn Brown, Verizon senior vice president of public policy development and corporate responsibility:
"Chairman Genachowski and the broadband team are to be applauded for the recommendations they introduced today to not only ensure high-speed Internet within the next few years for people with disabilities, but to provide them with the necessary tools to take advantage of broadband's transformative powers. As a first step, the holistic approach contained in the National Broadband Plan will lead to better interagency coordination of disability programs in the executive branch that, along with the compilation of better data in this area, will benefit the public and private sectors alike.
"Additionally, the FCC's intent of initiating an Access and Innovation Forum to find common ground, work to identify best practices, and develop recommendations for the commission to implement to achieve accessibility across all communications platforms is an approach that has proven successful in the past and one that we endorse.
"Finally, we are encouraged that the FCC has modeled much of what it intends to do on issues such as real-time text, expanding access to assistive technology and captioning requirements after H.R. 3101, the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2009. Verizon worked closely on this legislation with the Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technologies (COAT) and House staff.
"Again, we commend the commission for its action in this area, and we look forward to working with the commission, our friends in the disability community and other industry players as the FCC begins to implement these important recommendations."