Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler announced on December 15, 2016 that he will leave the FCC on January 20, 2017. The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) expresses its gratitude to Chairman Wheeler for his steadfast support to ensuring accessibility in telecommunications, television, and the Internet.
Under Chairman Wheeler’s term over the last three years, more progress was made on various accessibility initiatives than at any other time in the history of the FCC. Immediately from the start, he set to work on goals that were important to the NAD and other disability groups including: a mandate for captioning of online video clips, which had previously been exempted from captioning requirements; an established standard for ensuring quality in captioning on television, which the deaf and hard of hearing consumer groups had advocated for ten years; and a requirement within the Net Neutrality regulations that broadband internet access service providers must ensure compliance with accessibility provisions of the Communications Act.
In several of his public meetings including his last Open Meeting on December 15th, Chairman Wheeler has used sign language to get his message across that accessibility is important to him and the FCC.
“Chairman Tom Wheeler has, in his few years at the FCC, boldly and efficiently removed barriers that have long frustrated deaf and hard of hearing people with respect to making telephone calls, watching videos, and using the Internet,” said Howard A. Rosenblum, NAD CEO. “The NAD thanks him for his dedicated efforts to make the world more accessible for everyone, and wishes him well on his future endeavors.”
National Association of the Deaf
The NAD is the nation’s premier civil rights organization of, by and for deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the United States of America. The NAD represents 48 million Americans who are deaf or hard of hearing.