June 26, 2023
Source: Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
Comments due: July 21, 2023
Reply comments due: August 21, 2023
On June 23, 2023, the FCC released a Public Notice announcing due dates for filing comments on the Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) proposing improvements to the accessibility and effectiveness of Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) adopted on April 20, 2023.
While WEAs have been used over 78,000 times and are credited with saving lives during hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, and bringing missing children home safely, there remain gaps that limit WEAs’ effectiveness. The FNPRM includes proposed improvements to address these gaps.
Specifically for individuals with disabilities, the FNPRM seeks comment on:
- Whether and how WEAs might be improved to provide support for American Sign Language;
- Whether WEAs could support a new text-to-speech functionality to accommodate individuals with vision disabilities;
- Whether to require WEAs to support certain multimedia alerts, such as symbol sets, which may improve message comprehension for people with disabilities;
- Whether to allow alert originators to send WEAs without the attention signal and vibration cadence, for example, in active shooter situations; and
- Whether to amend the definition of “mobile device” to include devices such as data-plan-enabled tablets that may accommodate individuals with mobility or dexterity disabilities.
General information about WEA accessibility is available at: https://www.fcc.gov/wea-accessibility. For specific information about the FNPRM, please contact WEA@fcc.gov, or David Kirschner, Cybersecurity and Communications Reliability Division, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, (202) 418-0695, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Individuals who use videophones and are fluent in American Sign Language may call the FCC’s ASL Consumer Support Line at 844-432-2275 (videophone).