On June 8, 2023, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Report and Order, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, aiming to further ensure accessibility for all individuals in video conferencing services. The action establishes that under Section 716 of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA), video conferencing platforms commonly used for work, school, healthcare, and other purposes, fall under the definition of "interoperable video conferencing service."
Under Section 716 of the CVAA, Advanced Communications Services (ACS) and equipment manufacturers are required to make their services and equipment accessible to individuals with disabilities, unless achieving accessibility is not feasible. ACS includes interoperable video conferencing services such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, and BlueJeans. The FCC previously left the interpretation of "interoperable" open, but in this latest report, it adopted the statutory definition without modification, encompassing services that provide real-time video communication to enable users to share information.
In the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the FCC seeks public comments on performance objectives for interoperable video conferencing services, including requirements for accurate and synchronous captions, text-to-speech functionality, and effective video connections for sign language interpreters.
The FCC's actions on this item are an important step toward ensuring that people with disabilities have equal access to video conferencing services. The Report & Order will help to make video conferencing more accessible and promote greater inclusion and participation of people with disabilities.