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FCC moves to caption the Web

The Federal Communications Commission is taking another step to make the Internet more accessible, voting next month on rules for closed captioning online video clips.

The vote, planned for the FCC’s July meeting, is the result of a years-long push — and Chairman Tom Wheeler's personal interest — to increase accessibility online.

But the companies that would have to do the legwork to get the closed captions on online videos are warning the FCC to avoid unreasonable technological demands and timelines.

Accessibility concerns, especially for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community, have been a prominent issue for Wheeler since being sworn in as chairman late last year.

Earlier this year, the FCC moved forward with requirements that will allow users to send text messages to emergency services. Those requirements are aimed at helping, among others, the deaf and hard-of-hearing who are unable to make voice 911 calls.

At the vote’s conclusion, Wheeler pledged — signing along in American sign language — that text-to-911 would be just one of his efforts as chairman to help the deaf and hearing impaired community.

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