The FCC has given broadcasters and smaller cable operators more time to comply with new rules on making emergency text and graphics delivered in non-news programming audible for the blind and sight-impaired.
FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has made it clear, even passionately so, that making communications available to all Americans includes those with disabilities. He has taken many steps to do so, including recently requiring TV Everywhere content to be accessible on whatever far-flung screens it is flung to.
But the commission’s Media Bureau, in granting various waivers sought by the National Association of Broadcasters and American Cable Association, recognized the technological challenge of translating text and graphics into audible speech. It did not hurt that broadcast engineers joined in the waiver request and helped make the case.
Neither broadcasters nor cable operators have been given a pass, simply more time to get it right, which was the right result.