In an expected ruling, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has extended, yet again, a waiver for a class of e-readers that are not accessible to individuals who are visually impaired. ARL and the American Library Association (ALA) filed comments with the FCC in the fall of 2014 opposing the request by the Coalition of E-Book Manufacturers to waive compliance with disability law in manufacturing e-readers such as the Kindle. The law requires that equipment used for advanced communication services (ACS) be accessible to, and usable by, individuals with disabilities.
In the FCC’s order of January 28, 2015, (PDF) the Commission states that it “grants an extension of the waiver from the Commission’s advanced communications services (ACS) accessibility rules to a distinct, narrow class of e-readers. We conclude that this narrow class of e-readers, while capable of accessing ACS, continues to be designed primarily for reading text-based digital works, not for ACS. We therefore extend the waiver, previously granted on January 28, 2014, for one year, until January 28, 2016.”
For further discussion of this issue, see the October 28, 2014, ARL Policy Notes blog post, “ARL and ALA File Comments Opposing E-Reader Waiver Extension and Disability Tax.”