Posted May 17th, 2010 by Karen Peltz Strauss
To address the barriers that people with disabilities face in accessing technology, the National Broadband Plan (“NBP”) recommends, among other things, that the Commission establish an ongoing Accessibility and Innovation Forum (“A&I Forum” or “Forum”). At the March 10 event rolling out the NBP’s accessibility recommendations, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau Chief Joel Gurin announced that the Commission would launch the A&I Forum in July. The Forum will be an ongoing collaborative problem-solving effort with diverse stakeholders to promote innovative solutions to broadband and other communications technology barriers. The Forum will allow the Commission to use new tools and tap into new sources of ideas and innovation to address accessibility problems, using ongoing online efforts, workshops, field events, and facilitated dialogues.
In July, we plan to (1) launch a clearinghouse; (2) announce guidelines for the Chairman’s Award for Accessibility and Innovation; (3) expand blog coverage of ongoing accessibility efforts in the public and private sector; and (4) announce future workshops and field events. Over the next 12-18 months, we will expand these efforts and add new initiatives. We will be seeking input on each of these aspects of the new A&I Forum in a series of blog posts over the next two weeks. This post seeks input on an online clearinghouse.
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. In addition, consumers often do not have the training and support they need to use these products. We would like to create an online space where consumers could find links to accessible products and product information that have been recommended by other consumers and/or provided by companies and vendors themselves. We would like your thoughts on the best way for us to structure this on-line space. What guidelines should we have for inclusion of accessible products and information? Should we design the space so consumers can comment on the products and support information? What categories of products and services should we include? How should we ensure that the information in our clearinghouse stays current?
We welcome any suggestions or models that you may recommend. You can respond directly to this post, file a comment in docket CG10-100, or e-mail comments and suggestions to Elizabeth.Lyle@fcc.gov AND Pam.Gregory@fcc.gov. We would appreciate feedback as soon as possible but ask that you file any comments no later than Thursday, June 10, 2010.
You can also sign up to receive periodic e-mails about the Forum’s activities and other Commission accessibility issues by sending an e-mail to AccessInfo@fcc.gov. We look forward to hearing from you!