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Communications Act: Section 255

  • By: Dev K. Bose
  • In: The SAGE Deaf Studies Encyclopedia
  • Edited by: Genie Gertz & Patrick Boudreault
  • Subject:Physical Disabilities, Otorhinolaryngology (Ears, Nose, & Throat)

Signed by President Bill Clinton on February 8, 1996, the Telecommunications Act of 1996, Section 255 (hereon referred to as Section 255) is an amendment to the Communications Act of 1934. Section 255 overhauled regulations within the telecommunications industry by requiring telecommunications products and services to be accessible for people with disabilities. Section 255 issued standards and guidelines enforced by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and created a federal agency known as the U.S. Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, or U.S. Access Board. Together, the FCC and the U.S. Access Board ensure accessible design in environment, transportation, communication, medical diagnostic equipment, and information technology. Section 255 sets the stage for creating accessible design standards for technology used by deaf communities.

The language of Section 255 ...

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