FCC Enables ASL Video for Business


Tom Wheeler“It’s time for you to be able to have your video products work together, so you can call whomever you wish, whenever you wish, from anywhere.”

That was FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler at a conference in Baltimore on Thursday.

The FCC will offer an open source video accessibility platform to enable those who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind or who have a speech disability to communicate with federal agencies and businesses in American Sign Language.

The platform will provide open source applications for mobile and desktop operating systems which — along with direct video calling — will allow for text and high-quality voice communications. In addition, the FCC will provide applications that relay service users can download on their smartphones or desktops in order to communicate directly with agency representatives.

The FCC has also promoted the use of direct video communication across federal, state and local government agencies and to businesses. As a result, the Small Business Administration has begun providing this access; The Census Bureau, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the City of New York say they will too.