Report and order, declaratory ruling, and FURTHER NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULEMAKING Adopted: February 20, 2014 Released: February 24, 2014 Comment Date for Section VI.A: (30 days after publication in the Federal Register)
Reply Comment Date for Section VI.A: (60 days after publication in the Federal Register) Comment Date on the Remaining Sections: (90 days after publication in the Federal Register)
Reply Comment Date on the Remaining Sections: (120 days after publication in the Federal Register)
By the Commission: Chairman Wheeler and Commissioners Clyburn, Rosenworcel, Pai and O’Rielly issuing separate statements.
Over sixteen years ago, the Commission adopted its first set of rules governing the provision of closed captioning on television—a service that makes television programming accessible to people who are deaf and hard of hearing.1 Viewers’ captioning experience during the intervening years confirms the need for the Commission to update its captioning rules to ensure that they achieve Congress’s goal that “all Americans ultimately have access to video services and programs, particularly as video programming becomes an increasingly important part of the home, school, and workplace.”2 In keeping with Congress’s clear direction, our actions today advance the accessibility of video programming, while being mindful of potential burdens on industry. To this end, we amend our rules and take other actions in a manner that provides flexibility on ways to achieve compliance, and effectively balances the impact that our actions will have on industry with the benefits that fully accessible programming can achieve for people who are deaf and hard of hearing.
With this Order, the Commission adopts captioning quality standards and technical compliance rules to ensure that video programming is fully accessible to individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing through the provision of closed captioning.3 In the Declaratory Ruling, the Commission clarifies certain closed captioning requirements for “on demand” programming, bilingual and non-English/non-Spanish language programming, the closed captioning obligations of low power television stations, and requirements concerning video programming distributor (VPD) contact information. In the Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM), the Commission seeks comment on additional measures to ensure the accessibility of television programming for individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing and improve the Commission’s procedural rules governing closed captioning.