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Recent Updates on Accessibility of Emergency Information on Television


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Last November, the Federal Communications Commission – FCC - announced that beginning on November 30, 2015, “video programming distributors (VPDs) must ensure that their televised emergency information is conveyed aurally through the use of a secondary audio stream, when such information is conveyed visually during programming other than newscasts.”

This announcement is part of several rules that the FCC has been working on to implement provisions of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (“CVAA”) related to accessible emergency information.

Other important deadlines are:

  • December 20, 2016 - Apparatus manufacturers are required by the FCC “to provide a mechanism that is simple and easy to use, such as one that is reasonably comparable to a button, key, or icon, for activating the secondary audio stream to access audible emergency information.”
  • July 10, 2017 - Multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) are required “to pass through the secondary audio stream containing audible emergency information when it is provided on linear programming accessed on second screen devices (e.g., tablets, smartphones, laptops and similar devices) over the MVPD’s network as part of their MVPD services”.

You can find more information related to these requirements at the FCC Rules and Factsheets for Access to Emergency Information on Television

Related information about what qualifies as emergency information, what it means making emergency information accessible and what information about the emergency must be provided can be found at the FCC consumers page on Accessibility of Emergency Information on Television.