Because every American
should have access
to broadband Internet.

The Internet Innovation Alliance is a broad-based coalition of business and non-profit organizations that aim to ensure every American, regardless of race, income or geography, has access to the critical tool that is broadband Internet. The IIA seeks to promote public policies that support equal opportunity for universal broadband availability and adoption so that everyone, everywhere can seize the benefits of the Internet - from education to health care, employment to community building, civic engagement and beyond.

The Podium

Thursday, May 20

Equal Access to the Web

By David

The Hill reports that Sen. John Kerry is holding a hearing next week for legislation that would improve accessibility for the hearing and sight impaired people with disabilities.* The Equal Access to 21st Century Communications Act is sponsored by Sen. Kerry and Senator Mark Pryor:

The bill — pitched as a technological addendum to the Americans With Disabilities Act — is the two Democrats’ attempt to address accessibility problems that have long made it difficult for disabled persons to use new-media and technology tools.

The first draft of the legislation, which Pryor introduced earlier this year, would mandate that all smartphones — including the iPhone and BlackBerry — are compatible with most hearing aids.

The bill would also require DVRs and mp3 players to support closed captioning, as most TVs already do, and would authorize new money for a fund to expand broadband service to low-income, disabled persons.

Last month, the FCC released a report (PDF) that found only 42% of people with disabilities have high-speed Internet at home.

(* Thanks to Jim in the comments for the correction.)