Deep Dive Into Regulations for Digital Accessibility



The Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA)

Check Your Site for Accessibility Issues

The Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) is a law containing groundbreaking protections to enable people with disabilities to access broadband, digital and mobile innovations.

In 2010, President Obama enacted the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA). This legislation updated the existing laws to ensure that all new telecommunications technologies are accessible to people with disabilities.

The CVAA consists of two main sections, each referred to as a title:

  1. Title I – Communications Access
  2. Title II – Video Programming

The CVAA covers a wide range of regulations designed to improve accessibility across communications and media, with specific requirements aimed at web and mobile accessibility:

CVAA requirements for Communications Access

Title I of the accessibility act focuses on ensuring that communications services and products that utilize broadband are fully accessible to people with disabilities. For instance, smartphones must be made usable by individuals who are blind, visually impaired, or who use hearing aids. 

CVAA requirements for Video Programming

Title II takes significant steps toward improving accessibility for individuals with disabilities in video programming on both television and the Internet. A key example is that programs initially broadcast with captioning on TV are also required to have captions when streamed online. Both titles include measures to guarantee access to crucial services, such as next-generation 911 services and emergency broadcasts on television for people with disabilities.

Why is the CVAA important? 

Around 36 million Americans experience hearing loss, and another 25 million face significant vision impairments. A 2009 FCC study highlighted a notable gap: while 65 percent of the general American population had broadband at home, this number dropped to just 42 percent among those with disabilities. This discrepancy often stems from physical barriers that make internet use challenging for people with disabilities. Recognizing this, the National Broadband Plan of March 2010 urged Congress and the FCC to update accessibility laws to reflect the rapid advancements in broadband technologies. The CVAA was developed in response to this need, ensuring that as technology progresses, the accessibility of broadband, digital and mobile communications are not overlooked.


Reach out to UserWay to explore how we can support your adherence to CVAA compliance requirements.