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Date: 07/14/2017
Title: FCC increases 75% the number of hours of required described programming

Audio description symbol. Black “AD” letters over a white rectangle of rounded edges. To the right of the “D”, there are 3 curved lines, one after the other.This week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) increased the number of hours of required described TV programming. The description allows people with visual limitations improved access to TV programs by providing additional information about the programs with a narration that describes details that can’t be inferred by only listening to the original program. 
 
Who is covered by this rule: the broadcast networks ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC; and the nonbroadcast networks Disney Channel, History, TBS, TNT and USA. The list of the top five nonbroadcast networks will be updated in July 2018.
 
Number of described hours: 87.5 per quarter, which is an increase of 75% compared to the 50 hours per quarter required today. 
 
Description hours broadcast schedule: 50 hours per quarter during prime time or children programming (the same as scheduled today).  The 37.5 additional hours can be offered at any time between 6 a.m. and midnight.
 
When does the rule come into effect: July 2018.
 
This is very good news for the community of people with visual limitations. However, for the Hispanic population remains the frustration that none of the channels in Spanish are yet covered by the regulation.  The U.S. Hispanic population is 56 million and 2% of them have visual limitations.  According to the National Federation of the Blind, Hispanics are about 15% of the population with visual disabilities in the U.S.  We, the Hispanic community, need to ask for the Hispanic TV channels to be covered by the regulation.  It is our duty to make our voice heard by the ones who have the power to make the decisions in this matter.

Sources:
- “FCC Increases Amount of Required Video Described Programming on Top-Rated Broadcast & Nonbroadcast Networks.” Comisión Federal de Comunicaciones, http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2017/db0712/DOC-345757A1.pdf
- “Blindness Statistics. Statistical Facts about Blindness in the United States.” Federación Nacional de Ciegos, https://nfb.org/blindness-statistics

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