Federal Communications Commission fcc 14-12 Before the Federal Communications Commission Washington, D

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Federal Communications Commission FCC 14-12

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of

Closed Captioning of Video Programming
Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc.

Petition for Rulemaking










CG Docket No. 05-231


Report and order, declaratory ruling, and FURTHER NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULEMAKING
Adopted: February 20, 2014 Released: February 24, 2014
Comment Date for Section VI.A: (30 days after publication in the Federal Register)

Reply Comment Date for Section VI.A: (60 days after publication in the Federal Register)

Comment Date on the Remaining Sections: (90 days after publication in the Federal Register)

Reply Comment Date on the Remaining Sections: (120 days after publication in the Federal Register)

By the Commission: Chairman Wheeler and Commissioners Clyburn, Rosenworcel, Pai and O’Rielly issuing separate statements.

Table of Contents

Heading Paragraph #




A. Section 713 and the Closed Captioning Regulations 6

B. The 2004 Petition and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking 9

C. The 2007 Consumer Advisory Committee Report 11

D. The 2008 Closed Captioning Declaratory Ruling, Order, and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking 12

E. Public Notice Seeking Comments to Refresh the Record 14

IV. report and orDer 15

A. Captioning Quality 15

1. The Need for Captioning Quality Standards 15

2. Accuracy, Synchronicity, Completeness and Placement 26

3. Application of Standards to Types of Programming 34

4. Program Re-feeds of Live and Near-Live Programming 50

5. Best Practices 51

6. Cost/Benefit Analysis 67

B. Use of Electronic Newsroom Technique (ENT) for Live Programming 71

C. Video Programming Distributor Technical Rules 88

1. Equipment Monitoring 88

2. Reporting and Recordkeeping 99

D. Treatment of Multicast Streams 105

E. Other Matters 110

1. Penalties for Violation of the Closed Captioning Rules 110

2. Electronic Filing of Exemption Requests 112

3. Correction to 47 C.F.R. § 79.1(i)(3) 114

V. declaratory ruling 115

A. Mixed Language Programming 115

1. Bilingual English-Spanish Language Programming 115

2. Other Language Programming 116

B. Providing VPD Contact Information Where VPD Is Exempt from Certain Requirements 117

C. Obligation to Caption “On Demand” Video Programming 118

D. Application of Closed Captioning Requirements to LPTV Stations 120

VI. further notice of proposed rulemaking 121

A. Responsibilities for Meeting the Closed Captioning Obligations 122

B. Minimum Captioning Quality Standards 131

1. Live Programming 131

2. Near-Live Programming 133

3. Live and Near-Live Program Re-feeds. 135

C. Use of Electronic Newsroom Technique by Non-Broadcast Channels 136

D. Compliance 137

1. Technical Equipment Checks 137

2. Resolution of Consumer Complaints 138

3. Outages 141

4. Amending Section 79.1(i)(3) to Require All Contact Information Be Submitted to the VPD Registry 146

5. Treatment of Consumer Complaints by a VPD that Is Not the Responsible Party 148

E. Captioning Exemptions 153

1. Elimination of the New Network Exemption 153

2. Consumer Groups’ 2011 Petition Requesting Elimination of Certain Self-Implementing Exemptions from the Captioning Rules 159

F. Technical Standards for the Display of Closed Captions 160

G. Caption Obstructions 162

H. New Technologies 163

1. Captioning on 3D Television Programming 163

2. Captioning on Ultra High Definition Television Programming 166

VII.procedural matters 168

A. Comment Filing Procedures 168

B. Ex Parte Presentations. 170

C. Regulatory Flexibility 171

D. Paperwork Reduction Act 173

E. Congressional Review Act. 176

VIII. ordering clauses 177

APPENDIX A: List of Commenters

APPENDIX B: Final Rules

APPENDIX C: Final Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis

APPENDIX D: Initial Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis


  1. Over sixteen years ago, the Commission adopted its first set of rules governing the provision of closed captioning on television—a service that makes television programming accessible to people who are deaf and hard of hearing.1 Viewers’ captioning experience during the intervening years confirms the need for the Commission to update its captioning rules to ensure that they achieve Congress’s goal that “all Americans ultimately have access to video services and programs, particularly as video programming becomes an increasingly important part of the home, school, and workplace.”2 In keeping with Congress’s clear direction, our actions today advance the accessibility of video programming, while being mindful of potential burdens on industry. To this end, we amend our rules and take other actions in a manner that provides flexibility on ways to achieve compliance, and effectively balances the impact that our actions will have on industry with the benefits that fully accessible programming can achieve for people who are deaf and hard of hearing.

  2. With this Order, the Commission adopts captioning quality standards and technical compliance rules to ensure that video programming is fully accessible to individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing through the provision of closed captioning.3 In the Declaratory Ruling, the Commission clarifies certain closed captioning requirements for “on demand” programming, bilingual and non-English/non-Spanish language programming, the closed captioning obligations of low power television stations, and requirements concerning video programming distributor (VPD) contact information. In the Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM), the Commission seeks comment on additional measures to ensure the accessibility of television programming for individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing and improve the Commission’s procedural rules governing closed captioning.
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