FCC’s Working Paper On Equal Internet Access For Disabled Persons Available For Download

Last month, the Federal Communications Commission‘s Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis released a significant ‘working paper’ entitled, “A Giant Leap & A Big Deal:  Delivering On The Promise Of Equal Access To Broadband For People With Disabilities.”  This is an important document which should be read by anyone concerned about the rights of the disabled as well as equal Internet access for all.  I have placed a copy of the working paper in the Box which can be downloaded.  Look for “BroadbandDisabilitiesFCCDoc.”

The working paper contains some important statistics on the sheer number of Americans living with some form of disability.  Consider:

  • 54 million Americans have a disability;
  • Of those 54 million, 35 million are severely disabled;
  • 7.8 million people over the age of 15 have difficulty reading ordinary newsprint;
  • Another 7.8 million people have difficulty hearing an ordinary conversation;
  • 2.5 million encounter difficulty in having their speech understood by others;
  • 27.4 have lower body limitations;
  • 19 million have upper body limitations; and
  • 16.1 million have cognitive, mental and emotional functioning disabilities

In addition, the working paper also contains some sobering statistics that drive home the importance of equal broadband access for everyone.  For example:

  • It took over 100 years for telephone systems to become “accessible” to people with hearing or speech limitations;
  • It took 50 years for television to become “accessible” to people with hearing limitations;
  • It has taken 10 years for people who use hearing aids to have reasonable access to wireless telephones; and
  • People with vision disabilities still do not have access to all emergency information on video programming or audio access to text
    messages on the vast majority of cell phones

Undoubtedly, the contents and proposals contained in this working paper will be discussed widely across the Internet in the months to come.  If you are concerned about a free and equally accessible Internet, as am I, I strongly encourage you to download your copy of this working paper from the Box and learn about the FCC’s historic work in this area.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]