The US Senate yesterday passed the Twenty-first Century Communications and 
Video Accessibility Act of 2010 by unanimous consent. The bill, described by 
the Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology (COAT) as "a 
monumental step forward in accessible technology", will have many implications 
for access in the US.

Among its provisions are the following requirements: 

  a.. All captioned TV programs will be captioned when delivered over the 
  b.. The top 4 network channels and top 5 cable channels will provide audio 
description (AD) on 7 hours of programming per week. 
  c.. Televised emergency information will be accessible to the blind and 
vision impaired. 
  d.. Receiving devices of any size will be capable of displaying closed 
captions, delivering AD, and accessing emergency information. 
  e.. Controls on televisions and set-top boxes will be accessible, and 
captions and AD easy to access.
The bill, which has been amended since previously being approved by the House 
of Representatives, will return to the House for final approval and COAT is 
optimistic that it will soon be passed.

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