Thursday, May 1, 2008

Deaf Testify Before Congress

Several high profile members of the Deaf Community will appear before congress today. Russell Harvard is a deaf actor who played a major role in last year’s academy award winning film There Will Be Blood. Atlanta Falcons defensive end Jamaal Anderson will be another witness. They will speak at a hearing on proposed legislation called Enhancing Access to Broadband Technology and Services for Persons with Disabilities. The goal is to protect the rights of people with disabilities as the country moves from dependency on legacy telephone and television products to digital and Internet-based communications and video programming. The effort is backed by COAT (Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology). If passed, the law would require:

▪ Closed captioning on certain types of Internet-based video programming
▪ Small video decvices to display closed captioning
▪ Hearing aid compatibility on "Smart" or Internet-enabled phones
▪ Allows USF discounts for high speed Internet service
▪ Provide USF funds for equipment that would help deaf-blind