Devices to read electronic books have been a new way to consume information or enjoy a vast fantasy novel but to the blind and visually impaired they have been inaccessible, with few improvements.
FCC rules implementing the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA) require equipment used for advanced communications services (ACS) to be accessible to individuals with disabilities. The FCC may waive these ACS accessibility requirements for devices that are capable of accessing ACS, but are designed primarily for purposes other than using ACS.
On January 28, 2014, the FCC’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau granted a one-year waiver of its ACS accessibility rules for “basic e-readers” that are designed primarily for the purpose of reading text-based digital works, such as books, and that meet each of the following requirements:
• The device has no LCD screen, but rather utilizes a screen that is designed to optimize reading.
• The device has no camera.
• The device is not offered or shipped to consumers with built-in ACS client applications and the device manufacturer does not develop ACS applications for its respective device, but the device may be offered or shipped to consumers with a browser and social media applications.
• The device is marketed to consumers as a reading device and promotional material about the device does not tout the capability to access ACS.
This waiver expires on January 28, 2015.
For further information, contact Elaine Gardner, Disability Rights Office, Consumer, and Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418-0581, or by e-mail