FCC Field hearing on disabilities access at Gallaudet

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will hold a field hearing at Gallaudet on disabilities access issues as part of its effort to gather information from experts and consumers for the development of a National Broadband Plan. FCC Commissioner Michael Copps will host the November 6 hearing, and both the Gallaudet community and the public are encouraged to attend and participate.

In addition, the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) has announced that Academy Award-winning actress, author, and Gallaudet trustee Marlee Matlin will take part on the hearing. Matlin will serve as a spokesperson for the NAD, bringing a message about the necessity of accessible broadband services and Internet media.

“Internet captioning is very important to me as a deaf person because captions provide access to content that affects my life and my livelihood,” said Matlin in an NAD press release. “Legislators need to know that captions are necessary to follow the latest news, information, and entertainment available on the Internet. I join millions of other deaf and hard of hearing Americans advocating for Internet access.”

While in Washington, Matlin plans to visit members of Congress to express support for accessibility of contemporary communications.

What is the hearing on disability access issues?

The hearing on disability access issues is one of several field hearings and staff workshops that the FCC is conducting to promote dialogue between the FCC and the public on the development of a National Broadband Plan. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 directed the FCC to submit a National Broadband Plan to Congress by February 17, 2010 that addresses broadband deployment, adoption, affordability, and the use of broadband to advance solutions to various national priorities.

The hearing will take place in the Swindells Auditorium at the Gallaudet University Kellogg Conference Hotel.

The schedule is as follows:

9 a.m. -1 p.m.: Technology Demonstrations

9:30 a.m.: Panel One-“Broadband Access for People with Disabilities: Experiences, Opportunities, and Barriers”

11 a.m.: Panel Two-“Broadband Access for People with Disabilities: Solutions and Recommendations”

A full list of commission workshops is available at In addition, the public can join the discussion about broadband access for people with disabilities at the Disabilities Access section of the FCC’s blog.

Note: Deaf-blind attendees and others may request accommodations, and are requested to do so as soon as possible by emailing or calling the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0432 (TTY) or 202-418-0530 (Voice).

The public may view the hearing and submit questions online at

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