[oregon-l] Trade Press reports re industry support for a Clearinghouse of disability accessibility info
welch1525 at comcast.net
Tue Jun 15 17:30:25 GMT 2010
Subject: [coataccess] FYI.Trade Press reports re industry support for a Clearinghouse of disability accessibility info --
Communications Daily, Monday June 14, 2010
Industry Says Information Clearinghouse for Those with Disabilities Makes Sense
AT&T, CTIA and TIA endorsed an FCC proposal to launch an online clearinghouse for information sharing about products and services that promote access to devices tailored to people with disabilities. In a post May 17 to the FCC's Blogband, the Consumer and Government Affairs Bureau asked for comments on the clearinghouse by Thursday. The post followed up on a recommendation in the National Broadband Plan. "One problem that consumers with disabilities face is that they are unable to find accessible communications technologies and assistive technologies, even if they currently exist," Karen Peltz Strauss, the deputy bureau chief said in the post.
"In addition, consumers often do not have the training and support they need to use these products. We would like your thoughts on the best way for us to structure this on-line space." AT&T said a clearinghouse makes sense. "Despite the existence of blogs, search engines, and other Internet spaces designed to gather data, it remains a challenge for persons with disabilities to efficiently and effectively find information about products and services that might improve their accessibility," the carrier said. "While some companies, such as AT&T, provide information related to accessibility, there is no central location where all of this information is available. A clearinghouse for consumers, vendors and government representatives to interact on accessibility issues as proposed by the Commission, would be a major step in the right direction to resolve this problem."
The clearinghouse should allow consumers to rate products and services with features designed to deal with disability issues, AT&T said. "If evaluations of products and services take the form of commentary, the Commission should monitor the site to insure that all comments, including those that may be deemed negative about a certain product or service, remain respectful of other users of the Accessibility Clearinghouse, and remove any comments that use profanity or other inappropriate content."
CTIA said wireless carriers have made significant progress in offering accessible devices. Forums already exist, but the clearinghouse should prove helpful, the association said. The "goal should be to identify available tools useful for consumers which will help persons with disabilities, disabled military veterans and their families, and other interested parties to find accessible products and services," CTIA said. "When searching for accessible products and services, wireless consumers are concerned with the three core questions: Who offers accessible products and services? What are the accessible features and functions available? Where can I find accessible products, services and applications? The Accessibility and Innovation Forum should primarily focus on addressing these concerns which help consumers to find information about available products and services."
TIA also supported creation of a clearinghouse. "As the Commission has aptly recognized, one problem that consumers with disabilities face is that they are unable to find accessible communications technologies and assistive technologies," TIA said. "In many cases accessible products and services that will meet the consumer's need already exist in the marketplace but the consumer simply may not be aware or available information may be fragmented. Assembling this information into one place will act as a bridge to the information gap between consumers and vendors of accessible products and services."
Story written by Howard Buskirk of Comm. Daily.
TR Daily June 14, 2010
Industry Supports FCC Proposals To Improve Address Accessibility
CTIA, the Telecommunications Industry Association, and AT&T, Inc., all have told the FCC that they support its proposals to implement Recommend 9.9 of the national broadband plan to address accessibility issues facing individuals with disabilities, including its proposal that the Commission establish an Accessibility and Innovation Forum to facilitate sharing information on disability issues.
In comments filed yesterday in GN docket 10-100, CTIA told the FCC that the Accessibility and Innovation Forum should "focus on consumer education and awareness initiatives developed through a collaborative body of consumer representatives, industry, and Commission staff to review and prioritize accessibility issues."
"In addition to identifying available tools, the Accessibility and Innovation Forum should develop a collaborative process, among consumers, industry and Commission staff, to identify, review and prioritize accessibility issues based on a consensus of the collaborative body," CTIA said. "While CTIA recognizes there are existing formal advisory committee's which may address accessibility issues in a regulatory context, the creation of an ad hoc collaborative body of subject matter experts from consumer representatives, industry and Commission staff can provide insightful comments and support for the Accessibility and Innovation Forum's collateral efforts."
The Telecommunications Industry Association supported the clearinghouse proposal, which would provide a "tool to facilitate information between consumers and suppliers of accessible technology products and services and assistive technologies." The TIA said one problem facing consumers with disabilities is that they are "unable to find accessible communications technologies and assistive technologies.
"In many cases accessible products and services that will meet the consumer's need already exist in the marketplace but the consumer simply may not be aware or available information may be fragmented," TIA said. "Assembling this information into one place will act as a bridge to the information gap between consumers and vendors of accessible products and services."
AT&T, Inc., said that it and other companies provide information related to accessibility, but agreed with the FCC's conclusion that there is no central location where all of the information is available. "A clearinghouse for consumers, vendors and government representatives to interact on accessibility issues, as proposed by the Commission, would be a major step in the right direction to resolve this problem," it said.
"Given the fast pace of application development, the Commission may want to investigate ways to enable large and small applications developers to share information regarding the accessibility of their applications as well as to seek collaboration and input from the disability community," AT&T added.
Story by Brian Hammond of TR Reports, Email brian.hammond at wolterskluwer.com
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