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FCC Announces Due Dates for Comments about Proposed Rules Expanding the Availability of Video Described Programming

June 1, 2016
Source: Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

Comments due: June 27, 2016
Reply comments due: July 26, 2016

On April 1, 2016, the FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) proposing to expand the availability of video described programming. Video description makes video programming accessible to individuals who are blind or visually impaired by enabling audio-narration to describe key visual elements of a television program during pauses in the dialogue.

The FCC proposes the following key rule changes:
  • Increase the amount of described programming on each included network carried by a covered broadcast station or multichannel video programming distributor, from 50 hours per calendar quarter to 87.5 (a 75% increase);
  • Increase the number of networks required to provide video description from four broadcast and five non-broadcast networks to five broadcast and ten non-broadcast networks;
  • Create a “no-backsliding” rule, so a network would remain subject to the rules even if it is no longer one of the top five or top ten ranking networks; and
  • Require video programming distributors to provide proper customer support contacts in order to improve consumer access to video description.

The NPRM also seeks comment on other matters, such as a potential requirement for described video-on-demand programming, a dedicated audio stream for video description, and a change of terminology from “video described” to “audio described.”

On May 27, 2016, the FCC released a public notice announcing the comment due dates for this proceeding. Comments may be filed online in MB Docket No. 11-43 at this link: For more information, contact Lyle Elder,, of the Media Bureau, Policy Division, (202) 418-2120.

Links to Public Notice announcing the comment due dates:

Link to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), also available in Word, PDF and Text formats:

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