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Telecommunications Act of 1996

  • By: Bill Kte’pi
  • In: The SAGE Deaf Studies Encyclopedia
  • Edited by: Genie Gertz & Patrick Boudreault
  • Subject:Physical Disabilities, Otorhinolaryngology (Ears, Nose, & Throat)

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 represents one of the most significant and broadest-reaching pieces of communications legislation since the Communications Act of 1934, which established the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and gave it jurisdiction over interstate telephone services. Though the elements of the law that were most discussed at the time were those related to media cross-ownership and the V-chip technology that blocked sexually explicit content, the act also added new requirements to make telecommunications technology accessible to Americans with disabilities.

Like the rest of the act, the portions relevant to Americans with disabilities reflected legislative awareness of how important telecommunications technology had become to American life. The rise of the Internet and cable television was the main motivating force behind the new legislation, which sought ...

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