[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 11 (Wednesday, January 18, 2017)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 5790-5841]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-00395]



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Vol. 82

Wednesday,

No. 11

January 18, 2017

Part IV





 Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board





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 36 CFR Parts 1193 and 1194





 Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Standards and 
Guidelines; Final Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 82 , No. 11 / Wednesday, January 18, 2017 / 
Rules and Regulations

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ARCHITECTURAL AND TRANSPORTATION BARRIERS COMPLIANCE BOARD

36 CFR Parts 1193 and 1194

RIN 3014-AA37


Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Standards and 
Guidelines

AGENCY: Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: We, the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance 
Board (Access Board or Board), are revising and updating, in a single 
rulemaking, our standards for electronic and information technology 
developed, procured, maintained, or used by Federal agencies covered by 
section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as well as our 
guidelines for telecommunications equipment and customer premises 
equipment covered by Section 255 of the Communications Act of 1934. The 
revisions and updates to the section 508-based standards and section 
255-based guidelines are intended to ensure that information and 
communication technology covered by the respective statutes is 
accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.

DATES: This final rule is effective March 20, 2017. However, compliance 
with the section 508-based standards is not required until January 18, 
2018. Compliance with the section 255-based guidelines is not required 
until the guidelines are adopted by the Federal Communications 
Commission. The incorporation by reference of certain publications 
listed in the final rule is approved by the Director of the Federal 
Register as of March 20, 2017.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Timothy Creagan, Access Board, 1331 F 
Street NW., Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20004-1111. Telephone: (202) 
272-0016 (voice) or (202) 272-0074 (TTY). Or Bruce Bailey, Access 
Board, 1331 F Street NW., Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20004-1111. 
Telephone: (202) 272-0024 (voice) or (202) 272-0070 (TTY) Email 
addresses: board.gov">[email protected]board.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Executive Summary

A. Purpose and Legal Authority

    In this final rule, the Access Board is updating its existing 
Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Standards under 
section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, (``508 Standards''), as 
well as our Telecommunications Act Accessibility Guidelines under 
Section 255 of the Communications Act of 1934 (``255 Guidelines''). 
Given the passage of nearly two decades since their issuance, the 
existing 508 Standards and 255 Guidelines are in need of a ``refresh'' 
in several important respects. This final rule is intended to, among 
other things, address advances in information and communication 
technology that have occurred since the guidelines and standards were 
issued in 1998 and 2000 respectively, harmonize with accessibility 
standards developed by standards organizations worldwide in recent 
years, and ensure consistency with the Board's regulations that have 
been promulgated since the late 1990s. The Revised 508 Standards and 
255 Guidelines support the access needs of individuals with 
disabilities, while also taking into account the costs of providing 
accessible information and communication technology to Federal 
agencies, as well as manufacturers of telecommunications equipment and 
customer premises equipment.
    The final rule also reflects a significantly revamped 
organizational structure relative to the existing standards and 
guidelines. In sum, the final rule eliminates 36 CFR part 1193 (which 
formerly housed the existing 255 Guidelines) and substantially revises 
36 CFR 1194 by replacing the existing 508 Standards with two regulatory 
provisions--Sec. Sec.  1194.1 and 1194.2--that direct readers to the 
four appendices accompanying part 1194, which, in turn, set forth the 
scoping and technical requirements for the Revised 508 Standards and 
255 Guidelines. Appendix A provides general application and scoping for 
Section 508, while Appendix B does likewise for Section 255. Appendix C 
contains seven separate chapters setting forth the functional 
performance criteria and technical accessibility standards that apply 
to both 508-covered and 255-covered ICT. These chapters are, generally 
speaking, broken down by functional area (e.g., functional performance 
criteria, hardware, software, support documentation and services). 
Lastly, Appendix D republishes the existing 508 Standards, which, as 
discussed below, may be needed to evaluate Section 508-covered existing 
(legacy) ICT under the safe harbor provision.
    In this preamble, the Board refers to provisions in the Revised 508 
Standards and 255 Guidelines by their new section numbers under this 
final rule: E101-E103 (508 Chapter 1: Application and Administration); 
E201-E208 (508 Chapter 2: Scoping Requirements); C101-C103 (255 Chapter 
1: Application and Administration); C201-C206 (255 Chapter 2: Scoping 
Requirements); 301-302 (Chapter 3: Functional Performance Criteria); 
401-415 (Chapter 4: Hardware); 501-504 (Chapter 5: Software); 601-603 
(Support Documentation and Services); and 701-702 (Chapter 7: 
Referenced Standards).
    Additionally, the term ``information and communication technology'' 
(ICT) is used widely throughout this preamble. Unless otherwise noted, 
it is intended to broadly encompass electronic and information 
technology covered by Section 508, as well as telecommunications 
products, interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) products, 
and Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) covered by Section 255. Examples 
of ICT include computers, information kiosks and transaction machines, 
telecommunications equipment, multifunction office machines, software, 
Web sites, and electronic documents.
1. Legal Authority for the Revised 508 Standards
    Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (hereafter, ``Section 
508''), as amended, mandates that Federal agencies ``develop, procure, 
maintain, or use'' ICT in a manner that ensures Federal employees with 
disabilities have comparable access to, and use of, such information 
and data relative to other Federal employees, unless doing so would 
impose an undue burden. 29 U.S.C. 794d. Section 508 also requires 
Federal agencies to ensure that members of the public with disabilities 
have comparable access to publicly-available information and services 
unless doing so would impose an undue burden on the agency. Id. In 
accordance with section 508(a)(2)(A), the Access Board must publish 
standards that define electronic and information technology along with 
the technical and functional performance criteria necessary for 
accessibility, and periodically review and amend the standards as 
appropriate. When the Board revises its existing 508 Standards (whether 
to keep up with technological changes or otherwise), Section 508 
mandates that, within six months, both the Federal Acquisition 
Regulatory Council (FAR Council) and Federal agencies incorporate these 
revised standards into their respective acquisition regulations and 
procurement policies and directives. Thus, with respect to procurement-
related matters, the Access Board's 508 Standards are not self-
enforcing; rather, these standards take legal effect when adopted by 
the FAR Council.

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2. Legal Authority for 255 Guidelines
    Section 255 of the Communications Act (hereafter, ``Section 255''), 
requires telecommunications equipment and services to be accessible to, 
and usable by, individuals with disabilities, where readily achievable. 
47 U.S.C. 255. ``Readily achievable'' is defined in the statute as 
``easily accomplishable and able to be carried out without much 
difficulty or expense.'' Id. In determining whether an access feature 
is readily achievable, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 
which has exclusive implementation and enforcement authority under 
Section 255, has directed telecommunications equipment manufacturers 
and service providers to weigh the nature and cost of that feature 
against the individual company's overall financial resources, taking 
into account such factors as the type, size, and nature of its business 
operation. Section 255 tasks the Access Board, in conjunction with the 
FCC, with the development of guidelines for the accessibility of 
telecommunications equipment and customer premises equipment, as well 
as their periodic review and update. The FCC, however, has exclusive 
authority under Section 255 to issue implementing regulations and carry 
out enforcement activities. Moreover, when issuing implementing 
regulations, the FCC is not bound to adopt the Access Board's 
guidelines as its own or to use them as minimum requirements.

B. Summary of Key Provisions

    The Revised 508 Standards and 255 Guidelines replace the current 
product-based regulatory approach with an approach based on ICT 
functions. The revised technical requirements, which are organized 
along the lines of ICT functionality, provide requirements to ensure 
that covered hardware, software, electronic content, and support 
documentation and services are accessible to people with disabilities. 
In addition, the revised requirements include functional performance 
criteria, which are outcome-based provisions that apply in two limited 
instances: When the technical requirements do not address one or more 
features of ICT or when evaluation of an alternative design or 
technology is needed under equivalent facilitation.
    Some of the key provisions and updates reflected in the Revised 508 
Standards and 255 Guidelines (relative to the existing standards and 
guidelines) include:
1. New Regulatory Approach and Format
    Technological advances over the past two decades have resulted in 
the widespread use of multifunction devices that called into question 
the ongoing utility of the product-by-product approach used in the 
Board's existing 508 Standards and 255 Guidelines. Consequently, one of 
the primary purposes of the final rule is to replace the current 
product-based approach with requirements based on functionality, and, 
thereby, ensure that accessibility for people with disabilities keeps 
pace with advances in ICT. To ensure that compliance under both laws, 
to the maximum extent possible, can be measured against a common set of 
technical requirements, the implementing regulations have been 
consolidated into a single part: 36 CFR part 1194. The two sections in 
this part (Sec. Sec.  1194.1 and 1194.2), in turn, direct readers to 
the four separate appendices (Appendices A-D) that set forth the 
scoping and technical requirements under Sections 508 and 255, 
respectively. As discussed below, this is a new organizational format 
for the 508 Standards and 255 Guidelines that mirrors the formatting of 
other standards and guidelines issued by the Access Board over the past 
decade.
    The new organizational format in the Revised 508 Standards and 255 
Guidelines--which sets forth scoping and technical requirements in four 
appendices--is modeled after the regulatory approach first used Access 
Board's 2004 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Architectural 
Barriers Act (ABA) Accessibility Guidelines. Appendix A applies only to 
Section 508-covered ICT and consists of 508 Chapter 1, which sets forth 
general application and administration provisions, while 508 Chapter 2 
contains scoping requirements (which, in turn, prescribe which ICT--
and, in some cases, how many--must comply with the technical 
specifications). Appendix B, which applies to 255-covered ICT only, is 
organized similarly with 255 Chapter 1 setting forth general 
application and administration provisions and 255 Chapter 2 containing 
scoping requirements. Appendix C sets forth technical specifications 
that apply equally to ICT covered under Sections 508 or 255. Appendix C 
includes five chapters, each of which (with the exception of the final 
chapter) address a separate ICT functional area. These chapters are: 
Chapter 3: Functional Performance Criteria; Chapter 4: Hardware; 
Chapter 5: Software; Chapter 6: Support Documentation and Services; and 
Chapter 7: Referenced Standards. Lastly, in Appendix D, the existing 
508 Standards are republished in full (albeit with a revised section 
numbering system) for reference when evaluating Section 508-covered 
existing (legacy) ICT under the ``safe harbor'' provision. See 
discussion infra Section IV.B (Summary of Comments and Responses on 
Other Aspects of the Proposed Rule--508 Chapter 2: Scoping 
Requirements--E202 General Exceptions).
2. Broad Application of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0
    The Revised 508 Standards and 255 Guidelines incorporate by 
reference the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, a 
globally-recognized and technologically-neutral set of accessibility 
guidelines for Web content. For Section 508-covered ICT, all covered 
Web and non-Web content and software--including, for example, Web 
sites, intranets, word processing documents, portable document format 
documents, and project management software--is required, with a few 
specific exceptions, to conform to WCAG 2.0's Level A and Level AA 
Success Criteria and Conformance Requirements. By applying a single set 
of requirements to Web sites, electronic documents, and software, the 
revised requirements adapt the existing 508 Standards to reflect the 
newer multifunction technologies (e.g., smartphones that have 
telecommunications functions, video cameras, and computer-like data 
processing capabilities) and address the accessibility challenges that 
these technologies pose for individuals with disabilities. For Section 
255-covered ICT, electronic content and software that is integral to 
the use of telecommunications and customer premise equipment is 
required to conform to WCAG 2.0's Level A and Level AA Success Criteria 
and Conformance Requirements. There are several exceptions related to 
non-Web documents and software.
3. Harmonization With International Standards
    From the outset, one of the Access Board's primary goals in this 
rulemaking has been to increase harmonization with international 
standards relating to ICT accessibility that have been developed 
worldwide over the past decade. Some of these standards (such as WCAG 
2.0) are incorporated by reference in the Revised 508 Standards and 255 
Guidelines. For other standards (such as EN 301 549, which is the 
European accessibility

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standard for public ICT procurement), harmonization comes in the form 
of ensuring that the relevant accessibility specifications in such 
standard and the final rule can both be met simultaneously without 
conflict. Harmonization with international standards and guidelines 
creates a larger marketplace for accessibility solutions, thereby 
attracting more offerings and increasing the likelihood of commercial 
availability of accessible ICT options.
4. Delineation of Covered Electronic ``Content''
    The Revised 508 Standards specify that all types of public-facing 
content, as well as nine categories of non-public-facing content that 
communicate agency official business, have to be accessible, with 
``content'' encompassing all forms of electronic information and data. 
The existing standards require Federal agencies to make electronic 
information and data accessible, but do not delineate clearly the scope 
of covered information and data. As a result, document accessibility 
has been inconsistent across Federal agencies. By focusing on public-
facing content and certain types of agency official communications that 
are not public facing, the revised requirements bring needed clarity to 
the scope of electronic content covered by the 508 Standards and, 
thereby, help Federal agencies make electronic content accessible more 
consistently.
5. Expanded Interoperability Requirements
    The existing standards require ICT to be compatible with assistive 
technology--that is, hardware or software that increases or maintains 
functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities (e.g., screen 
magnifiers or refreshable braille displays). However, in the past the 
existing requirement resulted in ambiguity of application. For example, 
some agencies interpreted the provisions of existing 36 CFR 1194.21 
(which addresses software applications and operating systems) as 
applicable to assistive technology itself. The ensuing confusion led, 
in some cases, to unnecessary delay in procurements intended to provide 
reasonable accommodations to employees under Section 501, creating a 
hardship for both agencies and their employees with disabilities. The 
final rule provides more specificity about how operating systems, 
software development toolkits, and software applications should 
interact with assistive technology. The final rule also specifically 
exempts assistive technology from the interoperability provisions. The 
Board expects the final rule to improve software interoperability with 
assistive technology, allowing users better access to the 
functionalities that ICT products provide.
6. Extended Compliance Date and Incorporation of Safe Harbor Provision 
for Section 508-Covered Legacy ICT
    Federal agencies will have one year from publication of this final 
rule to comply with the Revised 508 Standards. This extended period for 
compliance is responsive to some agencies' concerns about the time it 
will take them to make ICT compliant with the Revised 508 Standards. In 
addition, the Revised 508 Standards include a ``safe harbor'' provision 
for existing (i.e., legacy) ICT. Under this safe harbor, unaltered, 
existing ICT (including content) that complies with the existing 508 
Standards need not be modified or upgraded to conform to the Revised 
508 Standards. This safe harbor applies on an element-by-element basis 
in that each component or portion of existing ICT is assessed 
separately. Corresponding definitions have also been added for 
``existing ICT'' and ``alteration.'' By incorporating a safe harbor for 
legacy ICT into the Revised 508 Standards provision, the Board is being 
responsive to agencies' concerns about the potential resources required 
to remediate existing ICT, including agency Web sites or other public-
facing legacy documents. Notably, the extended compliance date and safe 
harbor provision apply only to Section 508-covered ICT; these 
provisions do not apply to telecommunications equipment and customer 
premises equipment covered by Section 255. Since compliance with the 
Revised 255 Guidelines is not required unless and until they are 
adopted by the FCC, matters addressed in these two provisions fall 
within the commission's province.

C. Summary of Final Regulatory Impact Analysis

    Consistent with the obligation under Executive Orders 12866 and 
13563 that Federal agencies promulgate regulations only upon a reasoned 
determination that benefits justify costs, the final rule has been 
evaluated from a benefit-cost perspective in a final regulatory impact 
analysis (Final RIA) prepared by the Board's consulting economic firm. 
The focus of the Final RIA is to define and, where possible, quantify 
and monetize the potential incremental benefits and costs of the 
Revised 508 Standards and 255 Guidelines. We summarize its methodology 
and results below. A complete copy of this regulatory assessment is 
available on the Access Board's Web site (https://www.access-board.gov/
), and also on the Federal Government's online rulemaking portal 
(https://www.regulations.gov/).
    To estimate likely incremental compliance costs attributable to the 
final rule, the Final RIA estimates, quantifies, and monetizes costs in 
the following broad areas: (1) Costs to Federal agencies and 
contractors related to policy development, employee training, 
development of accessible ICT, evaluation of ICT, and creation of 
accessible electronic documents; (2) costs to Federal agencies of 
ensuring that speech-output enabled hardware with closed functionality 
has braille instructions (e.g., small braille label or sign) indicating 
how to initiate the speech mode of operation; and (3) costs to 
manufacturers of telecommunications equipment and customer premises 
equipment of ensuring that their respective Web sites and electronic 
support documentation conform to accessibility standards, including 
WCAG 2.0.
    On the benefits side, the Final RIA estimates likely incremental 
benefits by monetizing the value of three categories of benefits 
expected to accrue from the Revised 508 Standards: (a) Increased 
productivity of Federal employees with certain disabilities who are 
expected to benefit from improved ICT accessibility; (b) time saved by 
members of the public with certain disabilities when using more 
accessible Federal Web sites; and (c) reduced phone calls to Federal 
agencies as members of the public with certain disabilities shift their 
inquiries and transactions online due to improved accessibility of 
Federal Web sites. The Final RIA, for analytical purposes, defines the 
beneficiary population as persons with vision, hearing, speech, 
learning, and intellectual disabilities, as well as those with 
manipulation, reach, or strength limitations. The Final RIA does not 
formally quantify or monetize benefits accruing from the Revised 255 
Guidelines due to insufficient data and methodological constraints.
    Table 1 below summarizes the results from the Final RIA with 
respect to the likely monetized benefits and costs, on an annualized 
basis, from the Revised 508 Standards and 255 Guidelines. All monetized 
benefits and costs are incremental to the applicable baseline, and were 
estimated for a 10-year time horizon (starting in 2018 since the final 
rule requires Federal agencies to comply one year after its 
publication) and converted to annualized values using discount rates of 
7 and 3 percent. Three scenarios of incremental benefits and costs are 
presented using alternative

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parameters that are assumptions-based. These scenarios include: A low 
net benefit scenario (using parameters which results in lower benefits 
and higher costs), an expected scenario (consisting of expected values 
for assumed parameters), and a high net benefit scenario (using 
parameters which results in higher benefits and lower costs).

            Table 1--Annualized Value of Monetized Benefits and Costs Under the Final Rule, 2018-2027
                                                [In 2017 dollars]
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                                                                                    7% Discount     3% Discount
           Type of benefits or costs                        Scenario                 rate (in        rate (in
                                                                                     millions)       millions)
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Monetized incremental benefits to Federal       Low Net Benefit Scenario........           $32.0           $34.0
 agencies and members of the public with        Expected Scenario...............            72.4            77.0
 certain disabilities (under Revised 508
 Standards).
                                                High Net Benefit Scenario.......           187.4           199.0
Monetized incremental costs to Federal          Low Net Benefit Scenario........           276.2           287.4
 agencies (under Revised 508 Standards).
                                                Expected Scenario...............           172.8           181.1
                                                High Net Benefit Scenario.......           111.5           117.2
Monetized incremental costs to                  Low Net Benefit Scenario........             9.5             9.6
 telecommunications equipment and CPE           Expected Scenario...............             9.5             9.6
 manufacturers (under Revised 255 Guidelines).
                                                High Net Benefit Scenario.......             9.5             9.6
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    While the Final RIA monetizes likely incremental benefits and costs 
attributable to the final rule, this represents only part of the 
regulatory picture. Today, though ICT is now woven into the very fabric 
of everyday life, millions of Americans with disabilities often find 
themselves unable to use--or use effectively--computers, mobile 
devices, Federal agency Web sites, or electronic content. The Board's 
existing standards and guidelines are greatly in need of a ``refresh'' 
to keep up with technological changes over the past fifteen years. The 
Board expects this final rule to be a major step toward ensuring that 
ICT is more accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities--
both in the Federal workplace and society generally. Indeed, much--if 
not most--of the significant benefits expected to accrue from the final 
rule are difficult, if not impossible, to quantify, including: Greater 
social equality, human dignity, and fairness. Each of these values is 
explicitly recognized by Executive Order 13563 as important qualitative 
considerations in regulatory analyses.
    Moreover, American companies that manufacture telecommunications 
equipment and ICT-related products will likely derive significant 
benefits from the Access Board's concerted efforts to harmonize the 
accessibility requirements in the Revised 508 Standards and 255 
Guidelines with voluntary consensus standards. Given the relative lack 
of existing national and globally-recognized standards for 
accessibility of mobile technologies, telecommunications equipment 
manufacturers will, we believe, greatly benefit from harmonization of 
the Revised 255 Guidelines with consensus standards. Similar benefits 
will likely accrue more generally to manufacturers of all ICT-related 
products as a result of harmonization.
    It is also equally important to note that some potentially 
substantial incremental costs arising from the final rule are not 
evaluated in the Final RIA, either because such costs could not be 
quantified or monetized (due to lack of data or for other 
methodological reasons) or are inherently qualitative. For example, due 
to lack of information, the Final RIA does not assess the cost impact 
of new or revised requirements in the Revised 255 Guidelines on 
computer and telecommunications equipment manufacturers. A more in-
depth discussion of the Final RIA can be found in Section V.A 
(Regulatory Process Matters--Final Regulatory Impact Analysis).

II. Rulemaking History

A. Existing 508 Standards and 255 Guidelines (1998-2000)

    The Access Board issued the existing 255 Guidelines for 
telecommunications equipment and customer premises equipment in 1998. 
Telecommunications Act Accessibility Guidelines, 63 FR 5608 (Feb. 3, 
1998) (codified at 36 CFR part 1193). Two years later, in 2000, the 
Board published the existing 508 Standards. Electronic and Information 
Technology Accessibility Standards, 65 FR 80499 (Dec. 21, 2000) 
(codified at 36 CFR part 1194). In this preamble, all citations to 36 
CFR part 1193 refer to the existing 255 Guidelines in force since 1998, 
while all citations to 36 CFR part 1194 refer to the existing 508 
Standards in force since 2000.
    The existing 508 Standards require Federal agencies to ensure that 
persons with disabilities--namely, Federal employees with disabilities 
and members of the public with disabilities--have comparable access to, 
and use of, electronic and information technology (regardless of the 
type of medium) absent a showing of undue burden. 36 CFR part 1194. 
Among other things, these standards: Define key terms (such as 
``electronic and information technology'' and ``undue burden''); 
establish technical requirements and functional performance criteria 
for covered electronic and information technologies; require agencies 
to document undue burden determinations when procuring covered 
products; and mandate accessibility of support documentation and 
services. Generally speaking, the existing 508 Standards take a 
product-based regulatory approach in that technical requirements for 
electronic and information technology are grouped by product type: 
Software applications and operating systems; Web-based intranet and 
Internet information and applications; telecommunications products; 
self-contained, closed products; and desktop and portable computers.
    The existing 255 Guidelines require manufacturers of 
telecommunications equipment and customer premises equipment to ensure 
that new and substantially upgraded existing equipment is accessible 
to, and usable by, individuals with disabilities when readily 
achievable. 36 CFR part 1193. The existing guidelines, as with the 508 
Standards, define key terms (such as ``telecommunications equipment'' 
and ``readily achievable'') and establish technical requirements for 
covered equipment, software, and support documentation. These 
guidelines also require manufacturers of covered equipment to consider 
inclusion of individuals with disabilities in their respective 
processes for product design, testing, trials, or market research.

B. TEITAC Advisory Committee (2006-2008)

    In the years following our initial promulgation of the existing 508

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Standards and 255 Guidelines, technology has continued to evolve at a 
rapid pace. Pursuant to our statutory mandate, the Access Board deemed 
it necessary and appropriate to review and update the existing 508 
Standards and 255 Guidelines in order to make them consistent with one 
another and reflective of technological changes. In 2006, the Board 
formed the Telecommunications and Electronic and Information Technology 
Advisory Committee (hereafter, ``TEITAC Advisory Committee'') to assist 
in the process of revising and updating the existing 508 Standards and 
255 Guidelines. See Notice of Establishment, 71 FR 38324 (July 6, 
2006). The TEITAC Advisory Committee's 41 members comprised a broad 
cross-section of stakeholders representing industry, disability groups, 
and Government agencies. This Advisory Committee also included 
international representatives from the European Commission, Canada, 
Australia, and Japan. The TEITAC Advisory Committee recognized the 
importance of standardization across markets worldwide and coordinated 
its work with standard-setting bodies in the U.S. and abroad, such as 
the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C[supreg]), and with the European 
Commission. The TEITAC Advisory Committee addressed a range of issues, 
including new or convergent technologies, market forces, and 
international harmonization.
    In April 2008, the TEITAC Advisory Committee issued its final 
report to the Access Board (hereafter, ``TEITAC Report''). See Advisory 
Committee Report, U.S. Access Board (Apr. 2008), http://www.access-board.gov/teitac-report (last accessed Aug. 23, 2016). This TEITAC 
Report provided a set of recommended updates to the existing 508 
Standards and 255 Guidelines, which, the committee noted, were intended 
to balance two competing considerations: The need for clear and 
specific standards that facilitate compliance, and the recognition that 
static standards ``consisting of design specification[s] and fixed 
checklists'' would tend to ``stifle innovation'' and ``delay the 
availability of technology advancements to people with disabilities.'' 
Id. at Section 1. To address these considerations, the TEITAC Advisory 
Committee recommended that the Access Board jettison its existing 
product-based regulatory approach in favor of technical requirements to 
achieve accessibility based on ICT functions or features. Id. The 
Committee also noted the importance of harmonizing with international 
standards to both spur development of accessible ICT products and 
reduce manufacturers' costs in the global market. Id. at Sections 4 & 
4.3. To that end, the Committee worked to harmonize its recommendations 
with the then-draft WCAG 2.0. Id. at Sections 4.3 & 8.2. All told, the 
TEITAC Report provided a comprehensive recommended set of technical 
requirements applicable to a broad range of ICT functions and features, 
including: Closed functionality; hardware with and without speech 
output; user interfaces; electronic content; processing and display of 
captions and audio description; RTT; authoring tools; and, product 
support documentation and services.

C. First Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (2010)

1. General
    Following publication of the TEITAC Report, the Access Board worked 
to develop a proposed rule that would ``refresh'' the existing its 
existing 508 Standards and 255 Guidelines. In March 2010, we issued an 
Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (2010 ANPRM) inviting public 
comment on an initial set of draft revisions to the standards and 
guidelines. See Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 75 FR 13457 
(proposed Mar. 22, 2010); see also Draft Information and Communication 
Technology (ICT) Standards and Guidelines, U.S. Access Board, https://www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/communications-and-it/about-the-ict-refresh/background/draft-rule-2010 (last accessed Aug. 
23, 2016).
    In sum, the 2010 ANPRM proposed a set of accessibility requirements 
that largely tracked the TEITAC Report's recommendations. While the 
majority of the proposed requirements in the draft rule were not 
substantively changed from the existing 508 Standards and 255 
Guidelines, there were some notable proposed substantive revisions. Two 
of the most significant were the proposals to require that Federal 
agencies make electronic content of specified official communications 
accessible, and to harmonize with WCAG 2.0 by restating the Level AA 
Success Criteria and Conformance Requirements in regulatory (mandatory) 
terms in the draft rule. Additionally, the 2010 ANPRM--in keeping with 
the TEITAC Report--also sought to substantially update the structure 
and organization of the existing regulations. In the draft rule, the 
proposed standards and guidelines shared a common set of functional 
performance criteria (Chapter 2) and technical design criteria 
(Chapters 3-10), but had separate introductory chapters (Chapters 1 and 
2), which outlined the respective scoping, application, and definitions 
for the revised 508 Standards and 255 Guidelines.
2. Public Hearings and Comments
    The Access Board held two public hearings on the 2010 ANPRM--March 
2010 (San Diego, CA) and July 2010 (Washington, DC). We also received 
384 written comments during the comment period. Comments came from 
industry, Federal and state governments, foreign and domestic companies 
specializing in information technology, disability advocacy groups, 
manufacturers of hardware and software, trade associations, 
institutions of higher education, research and trade organizations, 
accessibility consultants, assistive technology industry and related 
organizations, and individuals.
    In general, commenters agreed with our approach to addressing the 
accessibility of ICT through functionality rather than discrete product 
types. Commenters also expressed strong support for our efforts to 
update the existing 508 Standards and 255 Guidelines, as well as our 
decision to follow the TEITAC Advisory Committee's recommendation to 
require harmonization with WCAG 2.0. However, many commenters expressed 
concern that the 2010 ANPRM was not user-friendly, e.g., that it was 
too long (at close to 100 pages), organized in a confusing manner, and 
suffered from some internal inconsistencies. For example, commenters 
noted confusion by virtue of the fact that some chapters focused on 
functional features of accessibility while others addressed specific 
types of technology, or that the meaning of ``ICT'' seemed to vary 
depending on the context of the specific chapter. Other commenters 
opined that deviations from WCAG 2.0 phrasing in the draft rule created 
ambiguities, particularly for those well familiar with WCAG 2.0.

D. Second Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (2011 ANPRM)

1. General
    By the following year, in 2011, the Access Board was poised to 
invite public comment on a revised version of the draft rule. The Board 
acknowledged that, based on comments to the 2010 ANPRM, the draft rule 
needed to be reorganized and made more concise. More importantly, we 
needed to obtain further comment on major issues and harmonize with the 
European Commission's ICT standardization

[[Page 5795]]

efforts that were already underway at that time. Consequently, the 
Board issued a second Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (2011 
ANPRM). See Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 76 FR 76640 
(proposed Dec. 8, 2011); Draft Updated Standards and Guidelines (2011), 
U.S. Access Board, https://www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/communications-and-it/about-the-ict-refresh/draft-rule-2011.
    In the 2011 ANPRM, the Access Board substantially revamped the 
structure and organization of the draft rule. To address comments 
criticizing the length and organization of the 2010 ANPRM as unwieldy, 
the revised draft rule consolidated and streamlined provisions into six 
chapters (from ten), consolidated advisories, and reduced the page 
count from close to 100 to less than 50. We also made revisions to 
improve the clarity of various proposed provisions and ensure a 
consistent organizational structure throughout this draft rule. See, 
e.g., U.S. Access Board, Information and Communication Technology 
Standards and Guidelines; Proposed Rule (NPRM), 80 FR 10880, 10884-93 
(Feb. 27, 2015) (providing detailed comparison of 2010 and 2011 
ANPRMs). Additionally, to address commenters' collective concern that 
rephrasing of WCAG 2.0 requirements introduced ambiguities, the revised 
draft rule proposed to apply WCAG 2.0's requirements through 
incorporation by reference rather than restating its requirements in 
the technical provisions for Web and non-Web content, documents, and 
user applications.
    In issuing the 2011 ANPRM, the Access Board also took notice of the 
standardization work going on in Europe at the time, stating:

[T]he Board is interested in harmonizing with standards efforts 
around the world in a timely way. Accordingly, the Board is now 
releasing this second Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (2011 
ANPRM) to seek further comment on specific questions and to 
harmonize with contemporaneous standardization efforts underway by 
the European Commission.

2011 ANPRM, 76 FR at 76642.
2. Public Hearings and Comments
    Hearings were held in January 2012 in Washington, DC and in March 
2012 in San Diego, CA. Additionally, 91 written comments were received 
in response to the 2011 ANPRM. Comments came from industry, Federal and 
state governments, foreign and domestic companies specializing in 
information technology, disability advocacy groups, manufacturers of 
hardware and software, trade associations and trade organizations, 
institutions of higher education and research, accessibility 
consultants, assistive technology industry and related organizations, 
and individual stakeholders who did not identify with any of these 
groups.
    In general, commenters continued to agree with our approach to 
address ICT accessibility by focusing on features, rather than discrete 
product types. Commenters supported the conciseness of the proposed 
provisions in the 2011 ANPRM, and asked for further streamlining where 
possible. Commenters also generally voiced strong support for the 
Board's decision to incorporate by reference WCAG 2.0 and apply it to 
all types of covered ICT; several commenters did, however, question the 
propriety of applying WCAG 2.0 to non-Web ICT.

E. Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (2015 NPRM)

1. General
    In 2015, the Access Board formally commenced the rulemaking process 
by issuing a notice of proposed rulemaking to update the existing 508 
Standards and 255 Guidelines. See Notice of Proposed Rulemaking; 
Information and Communication Technology Standards and Guidelines, 80 
FR 10879 (proposed Feb. 27, 2015) (hereinafter, NPRM). This proposed 
rule--while making editorial changes and other updates in response to 
comments on the 2011 ANPRM--retained the same overall structure and 
approach to referencing WCAG 2.0.
2. Hearings and Comments
    Hearings were held on March 5, 2015 in San Diego, CA, on March 11, 
2015 in Washington, DC, and April 29, 2015 in Salt Lake City, UT. 
Additionally, 137 written comments were received in response to the 
NPRM. Comments came from industry, Federal and state governments, 
disability advocacy groups, manufacturers of hardware and software, 
trade associations and trade organizations, institutions of higher 
education and research, and individuals who did not identify with any 
of these groups.
    Overall, we received about 160 comments in response to the NPRM, 
including written comments and oral testimony from witnesses at the 
three public hearings. These commenters represented, when excluding 
multiple submissions, about 140 different entities or individuals. By 
general category, these NPRM commenters can be broken down as follows: 
Individuals (59); disability advocacy organizations (59); ICT companies 
(10); accessible ICT services providers (11); trade associations 
representing ITC and telecommunications companies (11); individuals or 
groups identifying themselves as ICT subject matter experts (13); 
academicians (6); state or local governmental agencies (7); standards 
development organizations (3); international disability advocacy 
organizations (9); and, anonymous (4).
    In general, commenters spoke positively about the proposed rule, 
and noted that it was much improved from earlier iterations in the 2010 
and 2011 ANPRMs. By a wide margin, the single most commented-upon 
aspect of the proposed rule (and the issue on which commenters 
expressed the greatest unanimity) was timing. Characterizing refresh of 
the 508 Standards and 255 Guidelines as ``long overdue,'' these 
commenters urged the Access Board to issue its final rule as 
expeditiously as possible. On substantive matters, a large number of 
commenters addressed some aspect of the requirements for electronic 
content, with the bulk of these comments relating to Section 508-
covered content. Another technical area receiving sizeable comment was 
our proposal that, under both Sections 508 and 255, WCAG 2.0 and PDF/
UA-1 serve as the referenced technical standards for accessibility of 
electronic content, hardware, software, and support documentation and 
services. Additionally, real-time text (RTT) was a subject of great 
interest to NPRM commenters, with most commenters representing 
disability advocacy organizations and academicians supporting the 
Board's RTT proposal, while ITC manufacturers and trade groups 
expressed opposition. Further, the issue of harmonization with EN 301 
549 received considerable comment. In general, ITC industry-related 
commenters urged the Board to harmonize more closely with this European 
specification. Disability advocacy organizations and consumer-related 
commenters, on the other hand, viewed the proposed rule and EN 301 549 
as well harmonized already and expressed concern that further 
harmonization would be improvident because, in their view, EN 301 549 
set forth weaker accessibility requirements in some areas.
    Lastly, the Board received multiple comments from individuals or 
entities addressing various types of electromagnetic sensitivities. 
These commenters requested that the final rule require accommodations 
for people with electromagnetic intolerances, so that they might use 
Federal buildings and Federally-funded facilities. The Board 
acknowledges the challenges faced by

[[Page 5796]]

individuals with electromagnetic sensitivities, and notes that 
electromagnetic sensitivities may be considered a disability under the 
ADA if the sensitivity so severely impairs the neurological, 
respiratory, or other functions of an individual that it substantially 
limits one or more of the individual's major life activities. However, 
most of the accommodations suggested by these commenters are beyond the 
scope of this rulemaking or our statutory jurisdiction. Moreover, none 
of our prior rulemaking notices (i.e., 2010 ANPRM, 2011 ANPRM, and 
NPRM) proposed technical specifications relating to electromagnetic 
sensitivities. Thus, were the Board to address electromagnetic 
sensitivity issues posed by ITC, this complex area would require 
thorough research and notice-and-comment rulemaking before being 
addressed through rulemaking.

F. Harmonization With European Activities

1. History
    While the Access Board was in the process of updating its existing 
508 Standards and 255 Guidelines, a similar process began in Europe to 
create the first European set of ICT accessibility standards. As a 
result of the 2005 EU-US Economic Initiative, the Access Board and the 
European Commission began to work closely on the issue of Information 
and Communication Technology standards. See, e.g., European Comm., 
Implementation of the Economic Initiative of the June 2005 EU-US 
Summit: Joint EU-US Work Programme (Nov. 2005), available at http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2006/june/tradoc_127643.pdf.
    In 2005, the European Commission issued Mandate 376, which sought 
the assistance of several private European standards organizations in 
the development of European accessibility guidelines for public ICT 
procurements. See European Comm., M 376--Standardisation Mandate to 
CEN, CENELEC, and ETSI in Support of European Accessibility 
Requirements for Public Procurement of Products and Services in the ICT 
Domain (Dec. 7, 2005), available at http://www.etsi.org/WebSite/document/aboutETSI/EC_Mandates/m376en.pdf. Specifically, Mandate 376 
requested that the three European standards setting bodies--European 
Committee for Standardization (CEN), European Committee for 
Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC) and the European 
Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI)--perform two main tasks: 
Development of a set of functional European accessibility requirements 
for public procurement of ICT products and services; and creation of an 
electronic toolkit for use by public procurers.
    In early 2014, the three European standardization organizations 
completed their development process by formally adopting and publishing 
the first European set of specifications on e-accessibility for public 
ICT procurements, EN 301 549. See ETSI/CEN/CENELEC, EN 301 549 V1.1.1 
(2014-02), Accessibility Requirements Suitable for Public Procurement 
of ICT Products and Services in Europe (Feb. 2014), available at http://www.etsi.org/deliver/etsi_en/301500_301599/301549/01.01.01_60/en_301549v010101p.pdf.\1\ The functional accessibility requirements 
specified in EN 301 549 are ``closely harmonized'' with the then-
current draft revisions Section 508 Standards (i.e., the 2011 ANPRM). 
Accessible ICT Procurement Toolkit--Frequently Asked Questions, Mandate 
376, http://mandate376.standards.eu/frequently-asked-questions#difference (last accessed Aug. 23, 2016). Unlike the 508 
Standards, however, EN 301 549--by its own terms--establishes only non-
binding, voluntary accessibility requirements for public ICT 
procurements. Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ Subsequently, in 2015, the three European standards bodies 
issued an updated version of EN 301 549, which contained minor 
editorial changes only relative to the 2014 version. See ETSI/CEN/
CENELEC, EN 301 549 V1.1.2 (2015-04), Accessibility Requirements 
Suitable for Public Procurement of ICT Products and Services in 
Europe (Apr. 2015), available at http://www.etsi.org/deliver/etsi_en/301500_301599/301549/01.01.02_60/en_301549v010102p.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In October 2016, the European Parliament and Council of the 
European Union issued Directive 2016/2102, which generally requires EU 
member states to ``ensure that public sector bodies take the necessary 
measures to make their Web sites and mobile applications more 
accessible [to persons with disabilities] by making them perceivable, 
operable, understandable and robust.'' Directive 2016/2102 on the 
Accessibility of the Web sites and Mobile Applications of Public Sector 
Bodies, Article 4 (Oct. 26, 2016), available at http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CELEX:32016L2102&from=EN. 
Directive 2016/2102 further provides that, as a general matter, EN 301 
549 V1.1.2 (2015-04) serves as the relevant accessibility standard 
absent future adoption of technical standards or publication of 
references to harmonized standards by the European Commission. Id. at 
Article 6. EN 301 549 is thus now available to government officials in 
EU member states who may use it as technical specifications or award 
criteria in public procurements of ICT products and services.
2. Comparison of Final Rule With EN 301 549
    In the final rule, the Board has made multiple changes that are 
similar to EN 301 549. Both the final rule and EN 301 549 address the 
functions of technology, rather than categories of technologies. 
Similarly, both offer technical requirements and functional performance 
criteria for accessible ICT. For example, our use of the phrase 
``information and communication technology'' (ICT) in the final rule, 
as a replacement of the existing term ``electronic and information 
technology,'' originates in the common usage of ICT throughout Europe 
and the rest of the world. Moreover, both documents are organized in 
similar ways, in that they both have initial scoping and definitions 
chapters, followed by separate chapters containing technical 
requirements and functional performance criteria.
    Organizationally, the documents differ in several respects. These 
general differences are outlined in Table 2 below:

  Table 2--Formatting Differences Between the Final Rule and EN 301 549
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                   EN 301 549 V1.1.2
           Differences                 (2015-04)          Final Rule
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Number of chapters..............  13................  6
Note: EN 301 549 breaks out       Chapter 2--         Chapter 1--
 several sections as separate      References.         Application and
 chapters which are combined in   Chapter 3--          Administration.
 the Board's final rule.           Definitions and    Chapter 2--Scoping
                                   Abbreviations.      Requirements.
                                  Chapter 1- Scope..

[[Page 5797]]

 
                                  Chapter 9--Web      We use
                                   (lists each WCAG    incorporation by
                                   2.0 Level AA        reference to
                                   success criteria).  include the WCAG
                                                       2.0 Level AA
                                                       success criteria.
                                  Chapter 10--non-    For non-Web
                                   Web Documents       documents, we are
                                   (lists each         explicit with the
                                   success criteria    word substitution
                                   in WCAG 2.0 Level   necessary, and
                                   AA using non-Web    provide an
                                   phrasing as         exception for the
                                   needed. ``Empty     four problematic
                                   clause'' is used    success criteria.
                                   for the four
                                   problematic
                                   success criteria,
                                   to align sub-
                                   provision
                                   numbering with
                                   other chapters.).
                                  Chapter 4--         Chapter 3--
                                   Functional          Functional
                                   Performance.        Performance
                                                       Criteria.
                                  Chapter 5--Generic  Chapter 4--
                                   requirements        Hardware
                                   (e.g., closed
                                   functionality,
                                   biometrics,
                                   operable parts).
                                  Chapter 6--ICT      ..................
                                   with two-way
                                   voice
                                   communications.
                                  Chapter 7--ICT      ..................
                                   with video
                                   capabilities.
                                  Chapter 8--         ..................
                                   Hardware.
                                  Chapter 11--        Chapter 5--
                                   Software.           Software
                                  Chapter 12--        Chapter 6--Support
                                   Documentation and   Documentation and
                                   support services.   Services
Unique chapters.................  Chapter 13--ICT     No comparable
                                   providing relay     chapter.
                                   or emergency
                                   services.
                                  Annex A             No comparable
                                   (informative)--WC   chapter. We are
                                   AG 2.0.             using
                                                       incorporation by
                                                       reference, and
                                                       not reprinting
                                                       the entire
                                                       standard.
                                  Annex B             No comparable
                                   (informative)--Re   chapter. Similar
                                   lationships         comparisons are
                                   between             found in the
                                   requirements and    TEITAC Report.
                                   functional
                                   performance
                                   statements.
                                  Annex C             Not within the
                                   (normative)--Dete   scope of Section
                                   rmination of        508 or Section
                                   compliance.         255, Section 508
                                                       compliance is
                                                       determined by
                                                       each Federal
                                                       agency.
                                  Section 8.3.2       Not within the
                                   Clear floor or      scope of Section
                                   ground space.       508 or Section
                                  Section 8.3.2.1      255.
                                   Change in level.   Most similar to
                                  Section 8.3.2.2      ``303 Changes in
                                   Clear floor or      Level'' and ``305
                                   ground space.       Clear Floor or
                                                       Ground Space''
                                                       from the 2010 ADA
                                                       Standards for
                                                       Accessible
                                                       Design.
Differing treatment of similar    Section 6.2 Real-   412.5 Real-Time
 concepts.                         time text (RTT)     Text
                                   functionality.      Functionality is
                                                       reserved.
                                  6.5 Video           412.7 Video
                                   communication.      Communication.
                                                      Their 6.5 is a
                                                       prescriptive
                                                       standard while
                                                       our 412.7 is a
                                                       performance
                                                       standard.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

III. Major Issues

A. 508 Standards: Covered Electronic Content

    The NPRM delineated specific types of electronic content that 
Federal agencies would need to make accessible consistent with the 
technical requirements of the proposed rule. As explained in the NPRM, 
the Board proposed these provisions to further clarify the requirement 
in the existing 508 Standards that Federal agencies make electronic 
information and data accessible to employees and members of the public. 
NPRM, 80 FR 10880, 10893 (Feb. 27, 2015). The Board noted confusion 
over what type of content was covered under the broad language of the 
existing 508 Standards, and the difficulty that Federal agencies 
displayed in effectively meeting their obligations to provide 
accessible electronic content. Id.
    The NPRM specifically proposed that two discrete groups of content 
be covered by the refresh of the 508 Standards. First, in proposed 
E205.2, the Board proposed that all public-facing content comply with 
applicable technical requirements for accessibility. Public-facing 
content refers to electronic information and data that a Federal agency 
makes available directly to the general public. NPRM, 80 FR at 10893. 
The requirement to make accessible public-facing content is discussed 
below in Section IV.B. (Summary of Comments and Responses on Other 
Aspects of the Proposed Rule--508 Chapter 2: Scoping Requirements--
E205.4) of this preamble. Second, in proposed E205.3, the Board 
proposed that non-public-facing electronic content covered by the 508 
Standards be limited to the following eight categories of official 
agency communications: (1) Emergency notifications; (2) initial or 
final decisions adjudicating an administrative claim or proceeding; (3) 
internal or external program or policy announcements; (4) notices of 
benefits, program eligibility, employment opportunity, or personnel 
action; (5) formal acknowledgements of receipt; (6) survey 
questionnaires; (7) templates and forms; and (8) educational and 
training materials.
    We sought comment in the NPRM on whether the proposed eight 
categories of non-public-facing content were sufficiently clear, and 
whether they provided sufficient accessibility without unnecessarily 
burdening agencies. Id. at 10894. The Board further requested comment 
on whether a ninth category for ``widely disseminated'' electronic 
content should be included in the final rule. Id.
    Nine commenters responded to the proposed provision regarding non-
public-facing electronic content (proposed E205.3). Commenters included 
two Federal agencies, one

[[Page 5798]]

state/local agency, one disability advocacy organization, one 
accessible ICT services provider, two ICT subject matter experts, and 
two individuals.
    In general, commenters agreed with the proposed approach requiring 
that only certain categories of non-public-facing content be made 
accessible, and most commenters found the categories to be sufficiently 
clear. One commenter, a state/local agency, objected to the Access 
Board's statement in the preamble of the NPRM that only ``final 
electronic documents that are ready for distribution'' would be subject 
to accessibility requirements under proposed E205.3, and indicated that 
documents in all stages of preparation should be covered. NPRM, 80 FR 
at 10894. Another commenter, an ICT subject matter expert, requested 
clarification of the internal and external program and policy 
announcements category and suggested including an additional category 
for announcements sent to all employees. An accessible ICT services 
provider was the only commenter to object to the eight categories, 
finding them too confusing and too difficult to implement. That 
commenter preferred that the requirement for accessibility of non-
public-facing content be tied to the extent of the content's 
distribution, and suggested that any document distributed to 50 or more 
individuals be made accessible.
    Three other commenters responded to the NPRM's question five as to 
whether a ``widely disseminated'' category should be added. Id. at 
10895. One Federal agency opposed inclusion of this category, asserting 
that it would cause confusion. One ICT subject matter expert and one 
Federal agency generally liked the idea of such a category, but 
acknowledged that definitional challenges would make it difficult to 
implement.
    The Federal agency supporting inclusion of the ``widely 
disseminated'' category indicated that the eight proposed categories 
would not sufficiently encompass the internal Web pages available to 
employees, and suggested that the problem could be solved with the 
addition of a ninth category for internal Web pages. This commenter 
asserted that without such a category for internal Web pages, agencies 
would need to develop systems to categorize internal Web page content, 
ensure that employees with disabilities could navigate to the covered 
content, and find a way to create an integrated accessible experience 
across internal Web sites where some content is accessible and some is 
not.
    Upon careful consideration of the comments, we have decided to 
retain the proposed eight categories in the final rule and have added a 
ninth category for intranet content, as described below. Most 
commenters concurred with the proposed approach providing categories 
for non-public-facing content, and indicated that the categories were 
clearly described. The Board, therefore, finds no reason to alter the 
eight proposed categories, and has retained them, as proposed, in the 
final rule. However, the Board did not intend for the use of these 
categories to exclude some intranet content; all intranet content is 
currently covered under the existing 508 Standards. 36 CFR 1194.22 
(providing technical requirements for ``[W]eb-based intranet . . . 
information and applications''). Therefore, in the final rule, the 
Board has added a ninth category to final E205.3, requiring that 
``intranet content designed as a Web page'' also conform to 
accessibility requirements to ensure that the final rule does not 
inadvertently result in a reduction in accessible intranet content. The 
Board agrees with commenters that a ``widely disseminated'' standard 
would be difficult to define and implement in a consistent manner 
across agencies, and would likely cause confusion. The Board thus 
declines to add such a category to the final rule.

B. Application of WCAG 2.0 to Non-Web ICT

    The NPRM proposed to apply WCAG 2.0 equally to both Web and non-Web 
documents and software. NPRM, 80 FR at 10880. A discussion of the 
scoping of these requirements under the Revised 508 Standards and 255 
Guidelines can be found below in Section IV.B (Summary of Comments and 
Responses on Other Aspects of the Proposed Rule -508 Chapter 2: Scoping 
Requirements) and Section IV.D (Summary of Comments and Responses on 
Other Aspects of the Proposed Rule--255 Chapter 2: Scoping 
Requirements). In the NPRM preamble, we explained that applying WCAG 
2.0 ``outside the Web browser environment not only ensures greater 
accessibility for persons with disabilities, but also minimizes the 
incremental burden on regulated entities by simplifying compliance 
through incorporation of a technologically neutral consensus 
standard.'' Id. at 10895.
    Since the establishment of the TEITAC Advisory Committee, the 
general consensus has been that the success criteria in WCAG 2.0 
provided sufficient requirements to address the accessibility of non-
Web documents and non-Web software applications. Id. In the TEITAC 
Report and the 2010 ANPRM, the Board restated and recast each WCAG 2.0 
success criterion using phrasing appropriate for non-Web documents and 
software. 2010 ANPRM, 75 FR at 13457.
    In response to concerns raised by commenters, in the 2011 ANPRM the 
Board proposed to incorporate by reference WCAG 2.0 and proposed a 
direct reference to WCAG 2.0 for non-Web content and software, instead 
of rewriting each criterion. 2011 ANPRM, 76 FR at 76640. This approach 
stimulated the formation of an industry ad hoc working group aimed at 
determining the practicality of using WCAG 2.0 for this purpose. This 
working group analyzed each WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion to determine its 
suitability for application to non-Web documents and software. 
W3C[supreg] Web Accessibility Initiative, W3C[supreg] Working Group 
Note--Guidance on Applying WCAG 2.0 to Non-Web Information and 
Communications Technologies (Sept. 5, 2013), https://www.w3.org/TR/wcag2ict/.
    The working group determined that of the 38 Level A and Level AA 
Success Criteria in WCAG 2.0, 26 do not include Web-related terminology 
that would cause the reader to question whether they are applicable to 
non-Web documents and non-Web software. Id. Therefore, these Success 
Criteria can be applied directly as written to non-Web documents and 
software. Of the remaining 12 Success Criteria, the working group found 
that 8 could be applied as written if certain Web-specific terms or 
phrases, e.g., ``Web page'' are replaced with non-Web-specific terms or 
phrases, e.g., ``non-Web documents'' and ``non-Web software.'' Id. The 
remaining four Success Criteria posed problems in being applied to non-
Web content because they refer to ``sets of Web pages.'' Id. Applying 
these four criterion to non-Web documents and software would require 
interpretation that could inadvertently change the meaning of the 
requirements. Id. In their report, the working group concluded that 
circumstances in which those four Success Criteria could be applied 
outside the context of Web content would be ``extremely rare.'' Id.
    Relying on the working group's findings, in the NPRM the Board 
proposed to directly apply WCAG 2.0 to all non-Web documents and 
software. NPRM, 80 FR at 10895. Sixteen commenters responded to the 
proposal of applying WCAG 2.0 to non-Web content. Six commenters (five 
ICT companies and trade associations, and an ICT subject matter expert) 
strongly

[[Page 5799]]

advocated for returning to the previous approach of reprinting three 
variants of WCAG 2.0 in the 508 Standards and rewriting the 
requirements with non-Web specific terminology. These commenters 
asserted that agencies would not be able to consistently apply the WCAG 
2.0 success criteria to non-Web documents without separate chapters. 
They were also concerned that by incorporating WCAG 2.0 by reference, 
conformity assessment would become a single check-off item in that 
agencies would not ensure compliance with each success criteria unless 
they were specifically laid out in the regulatory text. Ten commenters 
(four disability advocacy organizations, three academics, two 
individuals, and one ICT company) generally supported applying WCAG 2.0 
to non-Web content. One of these commenters explained that referencing 
WCAG 2.0 as a whole is not problematic because as a single standard, 
one must comply with all of the provisions to comply with the standard. 
This commenter explained that there is much overlap between Web and 
non-Web content, for example an eBook is a document that also has Web 
components, software, and media. This incorporation of WCAG 2.0 for 
non-Web content as well as Web content allows the user to evaluate all 
content with one standard.
    Based on the comments received and the findings of the working 
group, we have decided that agencies are better served by 508 Standards 
that incorporate WCAG 2.0 by reference than they would be if the final 
rule were to contain three different versions of WCAG 2.0 for Web 
content, non-Web documents, and non-Web software. The value of a single 
standard cannot be underestimated. We attempted to restate the WCAG 2.0 
criteria in the 2010 ANPRM, and the approach was widely criticized by 
commenters. Therefore, in the final rule we retain the approach 
proposed in the NPRM of incorporating by reference WCAG 2.0 for non-Web 
documents and non-Web software.
    To address concerns expressed by some commenters and the working 
group regarding the application of a few WCAG 2.0 Success Criteria to 
non-Web documents and non-Web software, in the final rule we have 
excepted non-Web documents and non-Web software from compliance with 
these criteria. Specifically, non-Web documents and non-Web software 
need not comply with WCAG 2.0 Success Criteria 2.4.1 Bypass Blocks, 
2.4.5 Multiple Ways, 3.2.3 Consistent Navigation, and 3.2.4 Consistent 
Identification. Additionally, we added new provisions to instruct the 
reader when applying WCAG 2.0 to non-Web documents and non-Web software 
to replace the term ``Web page'' with the term ``document'' or 
``software.'' We added this exception and new provisions where 
applicable throughout the final rule text. (E205.4, E205.2.1, E207.2, 
E207.2.1, C203.1, C203.2.1, C205.2, 501.1, 504.2, 504.3, 504.4, and 
602.3).

C. Incorporation by Reference of PDF/UA-1

    The NPRM proposed to incorporate by reference (IBR) PDF/UA-1 and 
allow compliance with this standard as an alternative to compliance 
with WCAG 2.0. This proposal was in response to commenters to the 2010 
and 2011 ANPRMs that asserted that PDF/UA-1 was an international 
accessibility standard intended for developers using PDF writing and 
processing software. These commenters asserted that the use of PDF/UA-1 
would provide definitive terms and requirements for accessibility in 
PDF documents and applications that generate PDFs. The Board was 
persuaded by these comments and proposed to incorporate PDF/UA-1 by 
reference in the NPRM (proposed E102.6 and C102.6). The Board included 
it as an alternative to compliance with WCAG 2.0 for electronic content 
and support documentation for both the 508 Standards and the 255 
Guidelines (proposed E205.4, C203.1, and 602.3). By including 
alternative compliance with PDF/UA-1, the Board intended to give 
agencies flexibility in meeting accessibility requirements for PDFs. 
This approach assumed that PDF/UA-1 was fully sufficient to meet the 
accessibility requirements of PDF users with disabilities.
    Ten commenters addressed the proposal to allow conformance with 
PDF/UA-1 as an alternative to WCAG 2.0. Three commenters, two ICT 
companies and one accessible ICT services provider, explained that the 
PDF/UA-1 standard has limitations and does not include requirements for 
contrast, embedded videos, captioning, or other related requirements 
for the accessibility of multimedia. These commenters recommended 
requiring conformance with provisions of WCAG 2.0 in addition to 
compliance with PDF/UA-1, to ensure that PDF documents are fully 
accessible. Four commenters (one Federal agency and three ICT companies 
and trade associations) also noted the shortcomings of PDF/UA-1 as an 
alternative to WCAG 2.0 conformance and recommended removing the 
proposed alternative from the final rule. These commenters recommended 
that the Board instead indicate in an advisory that use of PDF/UA-1 is 
a method of achieving conformance to WCAG 2.0. The Federal agency 
commenter explained that the PDF/UA-1 standard is copyrighted, 
expensive, and the format is not easy for subject matter experts to 
work with. Additionally, this commenter explained that the WCAG 2.0 
guidelines are sufficient to communicate accessibility conformance. The 
remaining commenters (two individuals and a disability advocacy 
organization) recommended clarification of the application of the 
proposed standard to non-Web documents and asserted a preference for 
requiring HTML documents instead of accessible PDFs, noting that 
accessible PDFs are not as useful as HTML documents.
    The Board is persuaded by the majority of commenters that PDF/UA-1 
should not serve as a referenced accessibility standard for electronic 
content and support documentation in the final rule. The intent of the 
proposed IBR of PDF/UA-1 in the NPRM was to make conformance assessment 
of PDF documents easier, assuming that, in the future, PDF/UA-1 would 
become widely adopted. WCAG 2.0 strongly informed the development of 
PDF/UA-1. With the exception of the contrast requirement, PDF/UA-1 
includes most accessibility requirements relevant to the PDF format, 
including textual equivalence for static graphical elements. However, 
PDF/UA-1 does not address scripting or the use of PDF files as a 
container for video. Therefore, the end user would still have to 
reference WCAG 2.0 for some requirements to ensure that a PDF file is 
fully accessible. Because WCAG 2.0 can be used as a sole standard for 
PDF compliance, and PDF/UA-1 cannot, the Board finds WCAG 2.0 to be 
appropriate as the sole standard for PDF files. Therefore, in the final 
rule, we have removed the reference to PDF/UA-1 from E205.4, C203.1, 
and 602.3. It is important to note, however, that even without this 
reference, PDF/UA-1 can still be useful to agencies conducting 
assessments of PDF files to ensure WCAG 2.0 conformance.
    Although we have decided not to include PDF/UA-1 in the final rule 
as an alternate conformance standard for PDF, we have determined that 
PDF/UA-1 remains an appropriate standard for authoring tools. 
Therefore, in the final rule, we added a new provision expressly 
specifying that authoring tools capable of exporting PDF files must 
conform to PDF 1.7 (the current standard for PDF, also referred to as 
ISO 32000-1) and be capable of exporting PDF files that conform to PDF/
UA-1 (final 504.2.2). This provision is

[[Page 5800]]

discussed in more detail in Section IV. (Summary of Comments and 
Responses on Other Aspects of the Proposed Rule).

D. Real-Time Text

    The NPRM proposed to require that ICT providing real-time voice 
communication support real-time text (RTT) functionality and ensure the 
compatibility of multiline displays and features capable of text 
generation. (proposed 410.6). More importantly, the NPRM sought to 
ensure the interoperability of RTT across platforms. To accomplish this 
goal, the NPRM proposed to incorporate by reference specific standards 
for RTT interoperability in certain environments typically used in the 
United States (proposed E102.5, E102.8.1, C102.5, and C102.8.1). The 
NPRM proposed that when ICT interoperates with Voice over Internet 
Protocol (VoIP) products or systems using Session Initiation Protocol 
(SIP), the transmission of RTT must conform to the Internet Engineering 
Task Force's RFC 4103 standard for RTP Payload for Text Conversation. 
Where ICT interoperates with the Public Switched Telephone Network 
(PSTN), RTT would be required to conform to the Telecommunications 
Industry Association's TIA 825-A standard for TTY signals at the PSTN 
interface (also known as Baudot).
    In developing the proposed rule, the Board took note of the 
approach to RTT in the EN 301 549 Standard. Section 6.2 of EN 301 549, 
entitled ``Real-time text (RTT) functionality,'' addresses ICT with 
two-way voice communication. Section 6.2.3, entitled 
``Interoperability,'' lists five different standards for RTT operating 
in three different environments: The publicly switched telephone 
network; VoIP using SIP; and other ICT using RTT conforming to the IP 
Multimedia Sub-System (IMS) set of protocols specified in section 
6.2.3(c). A sixth standard was proposed in section 6.2.3(d) for ICT 
operating in an unspecified environment, specifically that ICT is 
permitted to interoperate with ``a relevant and applicable common 
specification for RTT exchange that is published and available.''
    In the preamble to the NPRM, we asked nine questions about text-
based communications and the different standards the Board was 
considering incorporating. NPRM, 80 FR at 10880, questions 1-2, 8-13 
and 36. Seven of the questions addressed RTT functionality and 
standards, and two of the questions sought information on costs. 
Seventeen commenters responded to the topic of RTT. While most of these 
commenters acknowledged the importance of RTT as a replacement for 
outdated Text Telephone (TTY) technology, there was minor disagreement 
from industry trade associations about whether RTT technology was 
sufficiently mature for deployment to replace TTYs. Most commenters 
from industry, academia, and disability rights organizations agreed 
that RTT could be deployed, but disagreed about which standard to use 
for RTT operating in different systems. ICT manufacturers and ICT 
industry associations urged the Board not to adopt any specific 
standard for RTT, requesting that the final rule leave open the ability 
to use some future technology that may provide better functionality 
than existing environments. In response to the Board's questions in the 
NPRM, several commenters supported broad deployment of RTT at all 
times, both in the Federal sector and in the private marketplace; 
however, one ICT industry commenter questioned the need or demand for 
the technology. In response to our questions on cost, commenters from 
the ICT industry stated that RTT would not be cost-effective and would 
limit manufacturers flexibility. On the other hand, commenters from 
academia, research entities, and disability rights organizations 
described the benefits resulting from the implementation of RTT and the 
inherent cost savings in decreased use of relay services mandated under 
the ADA.
    In April 2016, during the pendency of the Access Board's ICT 
rulemaking, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) published a 
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FCC NPRM) seeking comment on proposals 
to replace the FCC rules requiring support for TTY technology with 
rules requiring support for RTT technology. See Transition from TTY to 
Real-Time Text Technology; Proposed Rule, 81 FR 33170 (proposed May 25, 
2016); see also FCC, Transition from TTY to Real-Time Text Technology; 
Petition for Rulemaking to Update the Commission's Rules for Access to 
Support the Transition from TTY to Real-Time Text Technology, and 
Petition for Waiver of Rules Requiring Support of TTY Technology, 
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, CG Docket No. 16-145, GN Docket No. 15-
178, FCC 16-53 (released Apr. 29, 2016), available at https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-16-53A1.pdf. As discussed 
above in Section I.A. (Executive Summary--Purpose and Legal Authority), 
the FCC is responsible for enforcing Section 255 and issuing 
implementing regulations; it is not bound to adopt the Access Board's 
guidelines as its own or to use them as minimum requirements. As the 
FCC had issued a notice of its intent to regulate in this area, the 
Board determined that it would reserve the issue of RTT in the final 
rule to be addressed in a future rulemaking.
    In December 2016, shortly before publication of this final rule, 
the FCC issued a report and order establishing rules to facilitate 
telecommunication service providers' transition from TTY to RTT. See 
FCC, Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, CG 
Docket No. 16-145; GN Docket No. 15-178, FCC 16-169 (released Dec. 16, 
2016) (hereafter, ``FCC RTT Order''), available at https://www.fcc.gov/document/adoption-real-time-text-rtt-rules. The FCC RTT Order 
establishes, among other things, requirements that: Facilitate 
telecommunications service providers' transition from TTY technology to 
RTT technology that permits simultaneous voice and text on the same 
call using the same device; achieve interoperability adhering to RFC 
4103 as a safe harbor standard; provide backwards compatibility with 
TTYs for a specified period; and support RTT transmissions to 911 call 
centers and telecommunications relay centers. Id. The FCC RTT Order 
also incorporates a notice seeking input on the integration of these 
services into telecommunications relay services, and on the possible 
addition of RTT features for people with cognitive disabilities and 
people who are deaf-blind. Id. The Access Board continues to monitor 
these proceedings and will update the 508 Standards and 255 Guidelines 
as appropriate.

E. Functional Performance Criteria

1. Limited Vision and Limited Hearing
    The NPRM proposed to revise the existing functional performance 
criteria (FPC) for users with limited vision. The NPRM proposed that 
where technology provides a visual mode of operation, it must provide 
one mode of operation that magnifies, one mode that reduces the field 
of vision, and one mode that allows user control of contrast. As 
explained in the NPRM, the proposed FPC for limited vision was a 
significant departure from the FPC for limited vision in the existing 
508 Standards and 255 Guidelines, which focused on accommodating a 
specific visual acuity.\2\ NPRM, 80 FR 10880, 10898 (Feb. 27, 2015).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ The existing 508 Standards require that technology provide 
at least one mode of operation and information retrieval not 
requiring visual acuity greater than 20/70 in both audio and 
enlarged print output, working together or independently. 36 CFR 
1194.31(b). The limited vision FPC in the existing 255 Guidelines is 
similar; it requires that the technology provide a mode that permits 
operation by users with visual acuity that ranges between 20/70 and 
20/200, without relying on audio output. 36 CFR 1193.41(b).

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 5801]]

    In proposed 302.2, the Board replaced the visual acuity thresholds 
with requirements for magnification, reduction of field of vision, and 
user control of contrast to provide criteria that would address a range 
of limited vision disabilities. NPRM, 80 FR at 10898 (noting that 
commenters to the 2010 and 2011 ANPRMs recommended that the FPC include 
features that would address accessibility for users with limited 
vision). The Board took a similar approach to the FPC for limited 
hearing (proposed 302.5), proposing that where technology provides an 
auditory mode of operation, it must provide at least one mode that 
improves clarity, one mode that reduces background noise, and one mode 
that allows user control of volume. Id. at 10944.
    We sought comment in the NPRM with respect to the proposed FPC for 
limited vision. Id. at 10913. In question 17 the Board asked whether 
the requirements for magnification, reduction of field of vision, and 
user control of contrast should be more specific. Id. The Board further 
requested that commenters provide a scientific basis for any 
recommended thresholds. Id. The Board received 11 comments on the 
proposed FPC for limited vision (proposed 302.2), including comments 
from three ICT companies, three ICT trade associations, an accessible 
ICT services provider, a state/local government, an ICT subject matter 
expert, an individual, and a coalition of disability rights 
organizations.
    The individual commenter and the ICT subject matter expert 
generally concurred with proposed 302.2, but did suggest possible 
improvements. The individual commenter suggested adding a ``control of 
color'' criteria so that users could choose a black background with 
white text. The ICT subject matter expert asserted that the Board 
should include specific thresholds for the criteria, but did not 
provide suggestions for specific thresholds supported by research or 
data. The state/local government indicated that the proposed FPC did 
not adequately address the needs of people with limited vision, but did 
not offer specific suggestions for improving the provision.
    The coalition of disability rights organizations appreciated the 
Board's effort with respect to the limited vision FPC, but felt that 
the proposed provision missed the mark. The group pointed out that the 
proposed provision assumed a lack of accessibility, and without a 
baseline, could result in unnecessary magnification of content that is 
already sufficiently large, or reduction of a field of vision that is 
already sufficiently small for limited vision users. The group 
suggested that the Board alter the provision to require one mode 
readable by a user with 20/40 vision acuity, one mode that is usable 
with a 10-degree field of vision, and one mode that provides high 
contrast.
    The ICT companies and trade associations asserted that the proposed 
FPC for limited vision was too prescriptive, and was inconsistent with 
the level of specificity contained in the proposed FPCs for other 
disabilities. These commenters further noted that the FPC for limited 
vision imposed criteria not required by the technical requirements. In 
addition, the ICT companies expressed concern that mandating specific 
criteria in the FPC would stifle innovation. One ICT company described 
how certain products could provide accessibility for people with 
limited vision without meeting the proposed criteria. Some industry 
commenters noted that the proposed limited vision FPC was not 
technology-neutral and pointed to EN 301 549 as a more useful model. 
These industry commenters noted that EN 301 549 allows manufacturers 
the flexibility to include the limited vision accessibility features 
that are most applicable to a particular type of technology. EN 301 549 
clause 4.2.2. ICT industry commenters further noted the benefits to 
manufacturers of harmonizing with international standards.
    Upon consideration of the comments regarding proposed 302.2, the 
Board agrees that the proposed language of the limited vision FPC is 
too prescriptive and risks ineffective implementation in the absence of 
specific baselines for the proposed criteria. The Board is persuaded 
that the technology-neutral approach advanced throughout this refresh 
of the 508 Standards and 255 Guidelines is equally appropriate with 
respect to the FPC. The Board thus finds that harmonization with the 
language of EN 301 549 is a reasonable approach to the limited vision 
FPC, and adopts this suggestion for the language of 302.2 in the final 
rule. Therefore, we have revised final 302.2 to require ICT that 
provides a visual mode of operation also provide ``at least one visual 
mode of operation that enables users to make better use of their 
limited vision.''
    The proposed rule included a proposed FPC for limited hearing that 
closely mirrored the structure of the proposed limited vision FPC. In 
proposed 302.5, the Board proposed a limited hearing FPC that would 
have required ICT that provides an auditory mode of operation to also 
provide at least one mode of operation that improves clarity, one mode 
that reduces background noise, and one mode that allows user control of 
volume. ICT industry commenters, and a coalition of disability rights 
organizations, responded with the same issues that they presented with 
respect to the proposed limited vision FPC. Specifically, they posited 
that the proposed limited hearing FPC would not necessarily provide a 
better functional experience for users with limited hearing. An 
accessible ICT services provider, as well as an ICT trade association 
and two ICT companies, noted that the requirements for reduction of 
background noise and improvement of clarity would be difficult to 
define, measure, and achieve. As with the proposed FPC for limited 
vision, ICT industry commenters indicated that harmonization with the 
language of EN 301 549 would be technology-neutral and would give 
manufacturers the flexibility to develop accessibility features 
appropriate for their specific technology. EN 301 549 clause 4.2.5.
    Upon consideration of the comments, and in the interest of creating 
a consistent regulatory structure with respect to all of the FPC in the 
final rule, the Board agrees that harmonization with the international 
standard is appropriate for the limited hearing FPC. Therefore, in the 
final rule, we have revised 302.5 to require that where ICT has an 
audible mode of operation, it must include ``at least one mode of 
operation that enables users to make use of limited hearing.''
2. Limited Cognitive Abilities
    The existing 255 Guidelines contain a FPC that expressly addresses 
operability of ICT by persons with cognitive, language, and learning 
disabilities. 36 CFR 1993.41(i) (requiring that ICT operate in ``at 
least one mode that minimizes the cognitive, memory, language, and 
learning skills required of the user.''). The existing 508 Standards do 
not include a comparable provision. 36 CFR 1194.31 (listing six FPC, 
none of which address limited cognition). During its review, the TEITAC 
Advisory Committee recommended eliminating this requirement citing a 
lack of common standards or testable metrics. NPRM, 80 FR at 10910. The 
TEITAC Advisory Committee suggested that the Board eliminate the 
limited cognition

[[Page 5802]]

FPC until more research could be done. Id. The Board thus did not 
include the provision in the 2010 and 2011 ANPRMs. Id. After 
considering comments received in response to the ANPRMs, the Board 
concurred that more research was needed before it could propose a 
meaningful FPC for limited cognitive ability. Id. Therefore, in the 
NPRM, we did not propose to include an FPC for limited cognition in the 
Revised 508 Standards or Revised 255 Guidelines. Id.
    A total of 11 commenters addressed the NPRM's failure to include 
provisions specifically addressing ICT operability by persons with 
cognitive, language, or learning disabilities. These commenters 
included four individuals who identified themselves as either having a 
learning or cognitive disability, or having a family member with a 
learning or cognitive disability, one accessibility ICT services 
provider, one ICT subject matter expert, four disability advocacy 
organizations, and a coalition of disability rights organizations.
    The overarching sentiment that the commenters expressed was that 
the proposed rule marginalized cognitive, language, and learning 
disabilities. Disability advocacy organizations, as well as individual 
commenters, provided general background information on the incidence of 
cognitive, language, and learning disabilities in the United States. 
They noted the significant portion of the United States population that 
is affected by a cognitive disability, and further noted that the 
incidence of cognitive disability in the United States is growing as 
the population ages. Individual commenters described challenges using 
ICT that they or their family members face as a result of their 
cognitive disabilities.
    Five commenters (including disability advocacy organizations, an 
ICT subject matter expert, an accessible ICT services provider, and a 
coalition of disability rights organizations) criticized the Board for 
not including an FPC expressly directed to the needs of individuals 
with cognitive or learning disabilities. These commenters urged 
inclusion of a new provision in the final rule similar to Sec.  
1193.41(i) of the existing 255 Guidelines. Some of these commenters 
noted that while the Access Board's proposed revision of the 508 
Standards and 255 Guidelines was silent on cognitive accessibility, the 
European ICT accessibility standard, EN 301 549, addresses cognitive 
accessibility and provides adjustable timing, error indication and 
suggestion, and logical focus order as examples of relevant design 
features for people with cognitive disabilities. EN 301 549 clause 
4.2.10.
    One individual commenter suggested that the Board rewrite proposed 
Chapter 3 to model all FPC on the underlying accessibility principles 
of WCAG 2.0. W3C[supreg], An Introduction to Understanding WCAG 2.0, 
(Mar. 17, 2016), https://www.w3.org/TR/UNDERSTANDING-WCAG20/intro.html. 
The commenter suggested that by eliminating references to specific 
disabilities, the FPC should equally address all disabilities, 
including cognitive disabilities.
    After careful consideration of the comments, we are persuaded that 
the final rule should include an FPC for limited cognitive abilities. 
In light of the significant portion of the United States population 
that has cognitive, language, or learning disabilities, the Board finds 
that it would be inappropriate to exclude the needs of this population 
from the Revised 508 Standards and 255 Guidelines. U.S. Census, Sex By 
Age By Cognitive Difficulty, 2010-2014 American Community Survey 5-Year 
Estimates, http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_14_5YR_B18104&prodType=table (last visited on 
Aug. 8, 2016) (estimating that in 2014 almost 5 percent of the civilian 
non-institutionalized U.S. population 5 years old and older had a 
cognitive disability). The existing 255 Guidelines contain an FPC for 
limited cognition. While evaluation of accessibility under this 
existing provision has posed some challenges, the Board nonetheless 
concludes that, given the significant population of Americans with 
limited cognitive, language, or learning abilities, it is important and 
appropriate to include an FPC addressing their accessibility needs in 
Chapter 3--which applies under both the Revised 508 Standards and 255 
Guidelines. Moreover, in an effort to maintain a consistent regulatory 
structure for the FPC in the final rule, the language for this FPC in 
the final rule seeks to harmonize with the FPC for limited cognition in 
EN 301 549. Therefore, in the final rule, we have added a new section 
302.9, which requires that ICT provide ``features making its use by 
individuals with limited cognitive, language, and learning abilities 
simpler and easier.''

IV. Summary of Comments and Responses on Other Aspects of the Proposed 
Rule

    Overall, we received 162 comments in response to the NPRM, 
including written comments submitted to the online docket (https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=ATBCB-2015-0002) and oral statements at 
three public hearings. In addition to comments received on the major 
issues discussed in the preceding section, commenters also expressed 
views on a variety of other matters related to the proposed rule. The 
Access Board's response to significant comments on these other matters 
are discussed below on a chapter-by-chapter basis following the 
organization of the final rule. Also addressed below are requirements 
in the final rule that have been substantively revised from the 
proposed rule. Provisions in the final rule that neither received 
significant comment nor materially changed from the proposed rule are 
not discussed in this preamble.

A. 508 Chapter 1: Application and Administration

    Chapter 1 of the Revised 508 Standards contains a general section 
that defines equivalent facilitation, addresses application of 
referenced standards, and provides definitions of terms used in the 
Standards. In the final rule, the provisions expressly incorporating 
the ten referenced standards into the Revised 508 Standards have been 
relocated from proposed E102 to a new Chapter 7, which provides a 
centralized IBR section pursuant to regulations issued by the Office of 
the Federal Register (OFR) that govern incorporations by reference in 
the Federal Register. This reorganization of IBR provisions is 
discussed at greater length in Section IV.I (Summary of Comments and 
Responses on Other Aspects of the Proposed Rule--Chapter 7: Referenced 
Standards). We have also made minor changes to 508 Chapter 1 in 
response to comments to improve clarity, accuracy, and ease of use. 
These changes are described below.
E101.3 Conventional Industry Tolerances
    The NPRM proposed this section in the interests of being explicit 
about dimensions. We did not receive any comments on this provision but 
have decided, for the purpose of clarity and consistency with the 
Board's other rulemakings, to add ``with specific minimum or maximum 
end points'' to E101.3 in the final rule.
E102 Referenced Standards
    This section has been significantly reorganized and revised in the 
final rule. The general statements in the first two sentences regarding 
the application of referenced standards remain essentially unchanged 
from the proposed rule. However, the subsequent

[[Page 5803]]

provisions in the proposed rule that expressly IBR the ten referenced 
standards into the Revised 508 Standards (i.e., proposed E102.2-
E102.10) have been moved in the final rule to a centralized IBR 
section--new Chapter 7. This reorganization of IBR provisions was made 
to comply with OFR regulations that govern incorporations by reference. 
See 1 CFR part 51. Comments related to proposed incorporations by 
reference into the Revised 508 Standards are discussed below in Section 
IV.I (Summary of Comments and Responses on Other Aspects of the 
Proposed Rule--Chapter 7: Referenced Standards).
E103.4 Defined Terms
    We identified seven comments regarding proposed E103.4. These 
commenters asked the Board to clarify the definitions of (or provide 
examples for) the following terms: ``authoring tool,'' ``application,'' 
``document,'' ``operable part,'' ``platform software,'' ``public 
facing,'' and ``software.'' Two commenters, an ICT company and an 
industry trade association requested the Access Board to fully align 
the definition of ``authoring tool'' to the definition in EN 301 549.
    After review of the comments, we have determined that we would be 
providing clearer information by including more terms, and we therefore 
added definitions for ``document,'' ``non-Web document,'' ``non-Web 
software,'' and ``Web page'' to the list of defined terms in E103.4 in 
the final rule. The definitions provided for these terms closely track 
the definitions used in WCAG 2.0 and EN 301 549. For similar reasons of 
completeness, we also added the terms ``software tools'' and ``variable 
message signs.'' Additionally, based on commenter concerns, we amended 
the definitions of ``software'' and ``operable part'' in the final 
rule. The definition of ``software'' clarifies the term by giving the 
examples of applications, non-Web software, and platform software. The 
definition of ``operable part'' now makes clear that the term applies 
to physical parts (hardware). Finally, the Board added definitions for 
``alteration'' and ``existing ICT,'' which are new terms used in the 
safe harbor provision applicable to existing 508-covered ICT (E202.2). 
Additional discussion of these new terms appears below in section IV.C 
(508 Chapter 2: Scoping Requirements in the discussion of the safe 
harbor provision at E202.2).
    In response to the requests to align the definition for ``authoring 
tool'' to EN 301 549, the Board regards the two definitions as being 
equivalent, but has decided to retain the definition from the proposed 
rule due to editorial consideration. The main difference between the 
approach taken in the proposed rule and that of EN 301 549 is that the 
EN 301 549 definition for ``authoring tools'' includes three notes 
containing advisory guidance. Our practice is to provide advisory 
guidance in supplemental materials.

B. 508 Chapter 2: Scoping Requirements

    508 Chapter 2 addresses application and scoping of the Revised 508 
Standards, including exceptions. We have made multiple significant 
changes to this chapter. We added a ninth category to E205.3, official 
agency communications that are non-public-facing electronic covered 
content, and clarified the application of WCAG 2.0 to non-Web documents 
and software. We made corresponding changes to E205.4 and E207.2, 
including adding E205.4.1 and E207.3, which specify the word 
substitution necessary to apply WCAG 2.0 to non-Web content. These 
changes are discussed above in Section III.B. (Major Issues--
Application of WCAG 2.0 to Non-Web ICT). In addition, we made editorial 
changes for consistency and clarity. These editorial changes and the 
responses to other comments received are discussed below.
E202 General Exceptions
    In response to some agencies' concerns regarding the time and 
resources that might be needed to remediate existing (legacy) ICT, the 
Board has incorporated a ``safe harbor'' provision into the Revised 508 
Standards (E202.2). Under this provision, legacy ICT that complies with 
the existing 508 Standards and has not been altered after the 
compliance date (i.e., one year after publication of the final rule) 
need not be modified or upgraded to conform to the Revised 508 
Standards. However, when existing ICT is altered after the compliance, 
such alterations must comply with the Revised 508 Standards. 
Application of the safe harbor provision will allow Federal agencies to 
focus their ICT accessibility efforts primarily on new ICT.
    This safe harbor provision applies on an ``element-by-element'' 
basis in that each component or portion of existing ICT is assessed 
separately. In specifying ``components or portions'' of existing ICT, 
the safe harbor provision independently exempts those aspects of ICT 
that comply with the existing 508 Standards from mandatory upgrade or 
modification after the final rule takes effect. This means, for 
example, that if two paragraphs of text are changed on an agency Web 
page, only the altered paragraphs are required to comply with the 
Revised 508 Standards; the rest of the Web page can remain ``as is'' so 
long as otherwise compliant with the existing 508 Standards.
    Additionally, to further clarify the specific circumstances under 
which existing ICT must be made to comply with the Revised 508 
Standards, the Board has added definitions for ``alteration'' and 
``existing ICT'' in E103.4. ``Existing ICT'' is defined as ICT that has 
been procured, maintained or used on or before the compliance date 
(which is one year after publication of the final rule). The Access 
Board has intentionally omitted the term ``developed'' from this 
definition because existing ICT that has been developed--but not yet 
used or procured--still presents an opportunity to incorporate 
requisite accessibility.
    ``Alteration,'' in turn, is defined as a change to existing ICT 
that affects interoperability, the user interface, or access to 
information or data. In defining ``alteration,'' the Board seeks to 
distinguish between changes to existing (compliant) ICT that trigger 
compliance obligations under the Revised 508 Standards, and those that 
do not. For example, since correction of a typographical error on a Web 
page does not affect interoperability, user interface, or access to 
information and data, this type of change would not trigger compliance 
obligations under the Revised 508 Standards. However, changing the 
footer portion of an agency Web site through a content management 
system (CMS) would affect access to information and data (i.e., the 
information in the footer). In that case, changes to the footer would 
need to conform to the Revised 508 Standards; however, other page 
content that was not affected by the footer revision would not need to 
be upgraded or modified. In another example, a typical software 
security patch does not affect interoperability, user interface, or 
access to information and data; therefore, deployment of such software 
security patches would not be considered ``alterations'' under the safe 
harbor provision.
    The safe harbor provision is applicable only to existing ICT 
covered by Section 508, and does not extend to Section 255-covered 
telecommunications equipment or CPE. Because the FCC has exclusive 
authority to implement and enforce Section 255, compliance with the 
Revised 255 Guidelines is not required until they are adopted by the 
FCC through a separate rulemaking. As such, application of the revised 
guidelines to existing ICT

[[Page 5804]]

covered by Section 255 also lies within the province of the Commission.
    Agencies and the public may need to refer to the existing 508 
Standards to determine whether existing ICT complies with its 
accessibility requirements once the final rule takes effect. To that 
end, the existing 508 Standards have been republished as an appendix 
(Appendix D) to part 1194 for reference when evaluating legacy ICT 
under the safe harbor provision. In Appendix D, while the text and 
structure of each provision remains the same as in the existing 508 
Standards, the numbering convention for each provision has been 
modified to comply with publication requirements for matter located in 
regulatory appendices.
    The NPRM proposed five other general exceptions that apply to ICT 
that: Is an integral part of a national security system (proposed 
E202.2); is acquired by a contractor incidental to a contract (proposed 
E202.3); is located in maintenance spaces (proposed E202.4); would 
require a fundamental alteration to be accessible (E204.5); or, is not 
commercially available (proposed E202.6). These five exceptions closely 
parallel equivalent requirements in existing 508 Standards (36 CFR 
1194.3(a), 1194.3(b), 1194.3(f), 1194.3(e), and 1194.2(b), 
respectively).
    We received six comments expressing concern or requesting changes 
to proposed E202. Two commenters (a disability advocacy organization 
and an ICT subject matter expert) requested deletion of proposed 
E202.2, which exempts national security systems as defined by 40 U.S.C 
1103(a). These commenters asserted that ICT that is part of a National 
Security System should be required to conform to the maximum extent 
possible, instead of being exempted entirely from compliance. Two 
commenters (a disability advocacy organization and an ICT subject 
matter expert) also requested that the exception for ICT acquired 
incidental to a contract in proposed E202.3 be removed, asserting it 
would discourage contractors from hiring employees with disabilities. 
Additionally, an individual commented that proposed E202.3 needed a 
major change because it has not been successful in the past in getting 
software manufacturers to make accessible software. This individual 
requested that the final rule require refunds if a future version of 
software failed to meet accessibility requirements. The Board also 
received three comments (one ICT company and two industry trade 
associations) seeking expansion of proposed E202.4, which exempts 
certain functions of ICT located in maintenance or monitoring spaces, 
to include a ``back office exemption'' for maintenance functions and 
maintenance spaces.
    After carefully considering the comments received, we have decided 
not to make any changes to these five general exceptions in proposed 
E202, except to shift the numbering of the provisions to accommodate 
the incorporation of a safe harbor provision at E202.2 that applies to 
legacy 508-covered ICT. The exception proposed for National Security 
Systems (final E202.3) is taken directly from the statute authorizing 
the 508 Standards (Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as 
amended, 29 U.S.C. 794d). Additionally, the statutory definition of 
``information technology,'' which excludes equipment that is acquired 
by a Federal contractor incidental to a contract, prohibits the Access 
Board from requiring such ICT to comply with the Revised 508 Standards 
and 255 Guidelines. 40 U.S.C. 11101(6), stating that ``[t]he term 
`information technology' . . . does not include any equipment acquired 
by a Federal contractor incidental to a Federal contract.''
    E202.4 in the proposed rule (final E202.5) was a change to existing 
508 Standards Sec.  1194.3(f) in that the exception was narrowed to 
apply only to those status indicators and operable parts that are 
available from maintenance spaces. Since it is the usual case that 
rack-mounted equipment is operated remotely, this change makes it clear 
that the Revised 508 Standards do not preclude this usual business 
practice.
    In response to the commenters' requests seeking expansion of 
proposed E202.4 for a complete ``back office exemption,'' the Board, 
after careful consideration, declines to make a change. People with 
disabilities frequently perform ``back office'' IT work and the 
majority of these job functions can be addressed with assistive 
technology. The Board is sensitive to concerns raised by some 
commenters, that ICT will often not be accessible when there is a 
physical problem or failure with the equipment. We note that we did not 
provide a complete exception for maintenance functions in the proposed 
rule, as it only intended the requirements concerning the accessibility 
of operable parts to apply to the normal operation of ICT by end-users. 
In order to ensure clarity in the final rule, in addition to the edit 
to the definition for ``operable part'' mentioned above, we have 
revised 407.1 in the final rule to make the application of these 
Standards to normal operation explicit. This is discussed in further 
detail below in Section IV.F. (Summary of Comments and Responses on 
Other Aspects of the Propose Rule--Chapter 4: Hardware--407). In 
addition, we note that the exception for maintenance spaces which are 
frequented only by service personnel for maintenance, repair, or 
occasional monitoring is consistent with the ADA and ABA Accessibility 
Guidelines. 36 CFR part 1191 (stating that ``Spaces frequented only by 
service personnel for maintenance, repair, or occasional monitoring of 
equipment shall not be required to comply with these requirements or to 
be on an accessible route''). Therefore, in the final rule, we have not 
made any changes to proposed E202.4, with the exception of its 
renumbering (final E202.5).
E203 Access to Functionality
    The NPRM proposed to require that all ICT be accessible to and 
usable by individuals with disabilities, either directly or by use of 
assistive technology. This section was based on the existing 508 
Standards (36 CFR 1194.1 and 1194.2(a)). We received ten comments 
regarding this proposed requirement; three individuals, a disability 
advocacy organization, three trade associations, and three ICT 
companies.
    An ICT company and an ICT trade association expressed concern with 
the proposed requirements and requested clarification on the minimum 
required abilities assumed for operational functions of certain 
products. The specific example provided was that it would be very 
difficult for a person who is blind to have a job operating a large 
volume xerographic services machine, because that person would not be 
able to visually monitor the complex equipment. An ICT subject matter 
expert in the field of geographic information systems raised concerns 
and recommended that the Board expand the exceptions in proposed E203 
to include rich content like maps that represent information and data 
visually because they do not know of any other means to convey the 
information and data. Another commenter raised concerns about the 
inability to make inherently visual representations, such as motion 
pictures, fully accessible to a person who is blind even when assistive 
technologies are used. Finally, a disability advocacy organization 
recommended that this provision be amended to require that people with 
disabilities be provided training to evaluate, install, and configure 
assistive technology.
    The Board has reviewed the comments received and find that the 
commenters' concerns requesting

[[Page 5805]]

clarification of the minimum required abilities for operation functions 
are misplaced. The 508 Standards apply to all ICT; deliberately, they 
do not make assumptions regarding physical, cognitive, or sensory 
abilities associated with performing job tasks. Presumably, a job 
operating a large volume copier would include the requirement to 
confirm by visual inspection that output hard copy was correct. The 
fact that there may be specific performance requirements for certain 
jobs is not a sufficient justification to exempt the core functions of 
the ICT from the Revised 508 Standards. In response to the commenter's 
request for an exception for ICT that cannot be adequately represented 
through assistive technology, the Board notes that the intent of the 
508 Standards is to provide comparable access. In the Board's 
experience, the scope and nature of accessibility improves over time as 
technology advances. The Board has concluded that these issues are well 
addressed by the technical and functional performance requirements, and 
has declined to narrow the scoping or expand the available exceptions 
as suggested. Finally, in response to the request that the final rule 
require training, we find that such a requirement is outside the scope 
of these Standards and have declined to make this suggested change.
    We have considered the commenters' suggestions regarding section 
E203, but as described above, found no reason to make substantive 
changes. We have made a few editorial changes to E203 in the final rule 
for clarity. The most significant of these editorial changes is in the 
title of E203.2, which is now ``User Needs'' instead of ``Agency 
Business Needs.''
E204 Functional Performance Criteria
    The NPRM proposed that where the requirements in Chapters 4 and 5 
do not address one or more features of ICT, the features not addressed 
shall conform to the functional performance criteria (FPC) in Chapter 
3. Many comments were received regarding the individual FPC referenced 
in proposed E204. As the technical criteria are provided in Chapter 4, 
these comments are addressed below in Section IV.F. (Summary of 
Comments and Responses on Other Aspects of the Proposed Rule--Chapter 
4: Hardware). Some of the concerns with the FPC for limited vision, 
limited hearing, and limited cognition are addressed in the Major 
Issues section of this preamble, at Section III.E. (Major Issues--
Functional Performance Criteria).
    We identified 22 comments concerned with proposed E204. Several of 
these comments indicated that the applicability of proposed E204.1 
should be further clarified. An ICT company asserted that as written, 
proposed E204.1 could be interpreted as requiring the applicability of 
the FPC to be considered on a feature-by-feature basis. Specifically, 
this commenter explained that for software products that typically 
include a long list of ``features,'' such a feature-by-feature 
evaluation would be quite onerous. Additionally, one commenter provided 
suggested text for inclusion in advisories in the final rule.
    We concur with the commenter that proposed E204.1 could be 
misinterpreted. We intended for the functionality of the ICT to be 
considered holistically, and not on a feature-by-feature basis. The 
final rule revises this requirement and substitutes ``functions'' for 
``features,'' to avoid this confusion. The Board regards this change as 
editorial, as it seeks to clarify the intent of the proposed provision, 
and makes the text of the provision consistent with the chapter title 
and phrasing used elsewhere in the Revised 508 Standards. In response 
to the commenter's request for advisories, as described above, 
advisories are no longer published in the final rule; however, the 
Board intends to provide further guidance on the applicability of final 
E204.1 in its technical assistance.
E205.2 Public Facing
    Three commenters raised concerns with proposed E205.2, specifically 
in regards to the application of this provision to social media 
platforms. One individual questioned whether social media constituted 
public-facing content under proposed E205.2. Another individual 
questioned whether third-party content added by members of the public 
to agency controlled social media sites would constitute public-facing 
content under proposed E205.2. The third commenter, a disability 
advocacy organization, recommended that agencies be precluded from 
using any social media platforms that are not compliant with the final 
rule.
    In the NPRM preamble, we described public-facing content and 
included social media pages as an example of such content. 80 FR 10880, 
10893 (Feb 27, 2015). The Board refers commenters on this topic to the 
discussion in the NPRM, as its position on this matter has not changed. 
Additionally, we note that under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act 
(as amended), agencies have responsibility for all content that they 
develop, procure, maintain, or use. 29 U.S.C. 794d. Agencies are 
therefore responsible for third-party content added to and maintained 
on their sites, and will need to develop policies and practices to 
ensure the accessibility of that third-party content. This is 
consistent with other policies and practices agencies employ regarding 
personally identifiable information, security, obscenities, or other 
concerns presented by third-party content. If an agency invokes an 
exception and uses inaccessible ICT to provide information and data to 
the public, the statute requires that the agency provide the same 
information and data to individuals with disabilities by an alternative 
means. Id. (stating that ``the Federal department or agency shall 
provide individuals with disabilities covered by paragraph (1) with the 
information and data involved by an alternative means of access that 
allows the individual to use the information and data''). Under current 
law, an agency is not prevented from using an inaccessible social media 
platform under a provided exception, as long as the agency provides 
individuals with disabilities an alternative means of accessing the 
same information and data. Accordingly, the Board has not made a change 
to this requirement.
E205.3 Agency Official Communication
    In addition to the changes made to E205.3, discussed above in 
Section III.A. (Major Issues--508 Standards: Covered Electronic 
Content), a commenter expressed confusion and questioned what the 
difference was between a questionnaire and a survey. The Board notes it 
was not our intention for this item to refer to two different types of 
communication. Therefore, in the final rule we have amended this item 
from ``questionnaire or survey'' to ``survey questionnaire.''
E205.4 Accessibility Standards
    The NPRM generally proposed to replace the existing technical 
standards for Web, software, applications, and electronic content with 
incorporation by reference of the Level A and Level AA Success Criteria 
and Conformance requirements of WCAG 2.0, which appear at proposed 
E205.4. There is no direct analogy in the WCAG 2.0 Success Criteria for 
section 1194.22(d) of the existing 508 Standards, which states: 
``documents shall be organized so they are readable without requiring 
an associated style sheet.'' 36 CFR 1194.22(d).
    Three individual commenters expressed concern that eliminating the 
requirements of section 1194.22(d) of the existing 508 Standards would

[[Page 5806]]

significantly reduce the level of user control over customized styling 
(including features such as magnification, color, and contrast), which 
is critical to some users with low vision. Section 1194.22(d) of the 
existing 508 Standards requires documents to be organized so that they 
are readable without an associated style sheet. This enables persons 
with low vision to remove style sheets from Web pages so that they can 
change aspects of text style, such as spacing, font, color, borders, 
and width of reading areas. A disability advocacy organization 
indicated that replacing the current requirement with referenced 
provisions of WCAG 2.0 Levels A and AA would result in scenarios 
problematic for some users with low vision, such as limiting the 
maximum required magnification to 200 percent while permitting 
horizontal scrolling (WCAG Success Criteria 1.4.4). In addition, WCAG 
2.0 Levels A and AA will provide for a sole fixed contrast setting 
instead of permitting user control over the degree of contrast (WCAG 
Success Criteria 1.4.3), which presents a challenge for some 
individuals.
    We have considered commenter concerns regarding the loss of user 
control over customized styling, and acknowledge that some individuals 
who elect to use ICT without assistive technology may be affected by 
the loss of the requirements in section 1194.22(d) of the existing 508 
Standards. However, the Board finds that the existing section 
1194.22(d) requirement is detrimental to the use of assistive 
technology, which has well-supported the use of stylesheets for several 
years. All users, including users of screen reading software and other 
assistive technology, rely on the presence of Cascading Style Sheets 
(CSS) in order to format text for a variety of devices and Web 
browsers. In complex Web applications, CSS is also used dynamically to 
hide content that is not relevant to the user's current transaction and 
to selectively show content based on the user's choices. The need for 
content authors to maintain support for section 1194.22(d) had the 
effect of slowing the adoption of robust accessible Web content. 
Further, mainstream adoption of contemporary technologies (for example, 
ARIA or Accessible Rich Internet Applications) depends on CSS being 
supported. Implementation of these newer, more advanced approaches is 
not compatible with 1194.22(d). For these reasons, the Board declines 
to reintroduce the requirements of section 1194.22(d) in the Revised 
508 Standards. The Board is also not persuaded that amending the 
language of select WCAG 2.0 Success Criteria, such as 1.4.4 (Resize 
Text) is a prudent approach. Requiring, for example, 400 percent 
magnification might allow a select number of users with low vision to 
use ICT without assistive technology; however, the overall consistency 
of the requirements, an important goal of harmonization with 
international standards, would be lost.
    Another individual commenter suggested that the technical 
requirements relating to text featured in software under proposed 
502.3.6 be made applicable to text in all content generally, under 
E205.4. The Board is not persuaded to adopt the recommendation to apply 
proposed 502.3.6 to all content, including Web content. Adding such a 
requirement to the WCAG 2.0 criteria would create harmonization issues 
internationally as well as among Federal agencies. The technical 
requirement for ``boundary of text rendered on the screen'' is a detail 
that is readily available in client-side software, but is not always 
available in a Web browsing environment.
    The Board carefully considered the public comments and it finds 
that incorporation of the WCAG 2.0 standard, without modification, 
adequately addresses the needs of the majority of users with low 
vision. The Board also notes that W3C[supreg] has formed a task force 
charged with investigating the issue of accessibility requirements 
related to low vision and with creating recommendations. Low Vision 
Accessibility Task Force, http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/low-vision-a11y-tf/, 
(last visited Aug. 23, 2016). The Board is following that work and may 
incorporate their recommendations in future rulemaking.
Conforming Alternate Version
    The NPRM proposed that a Web page could conform to WCAG 2.0 either 
by satisfying all success criteria under one of the levels of 
conformance or by providing a ``conforming alternate version.'' Because 
WCAG 2.0 always permits the use of conforming alternate versions, the 
Access Board sought input on whether there were any concerns that the 
unrestricted use of conforming alternate versions of Web pages may lead 
to the unnecessary development of separate Web sites or unequal 
services for individuals with disabilities, and whether the Board 
should restrict the use of conforming alternate versions beyond the 
explicit requirements of WCAG 2.0. NPRM, 80 FR at 10897.
    Eleven commenters responded to the proposed provision allowing 
conforming alternate versions. Seven of the commenters (four ICT 
companies and trade associations, two disability advocacy 
organizations, and one individual) supported the approach to conforming 
alternate versions proposed in the NPRM. Four commenters (two 
individuals, one state government agency, and an ICT trade association) 
opposed the approach from the NPRM.
    Under WCAG 2.0, in order for a non-conforming Web page to be 
included within the scope of conformance by using a conforming 
alternate version, the alternate version must: Conform at the 
designated level (i.e., WCAG 2.0 Level AA success criteria); provide 
the same information and functionality in the same language; and be as 
up-to-date as the non-conforming content or page. In addition to these 
requirements, at least one of the following must be true: (1) The 
conforming version can be reached from the non-conforming page via an 
accessibility-supported mechanism; (2) the non-conforming version can 
only be reached from the conforming version; or (3) the non-conforming 
version can only be reached from a conforming page that also provides a 
mechanism to reach the conforming version. W3C[supreg], Understanding 
WCAG 2.0: Understanding Conforming Alternate Versions, Dec. 2012, 
http://www.w3.org/TR/UNDERSTANDING-WCAG20/conformance.html#uc-conforming-alt-versions-head.
    The W3C[supreg] explains that providing a conforming alternate 
version is intended to be a ``fallback option for conformance to WCAG 
and the preferred method of conformance is to make all content directly 
accessible.'' Id. While some commenters expressed specific concern that 
the use of conforming alternate versions could still create separate, 
unequal Web sites for people with disabilities, the Access Board has 
concluded that when the requirements for a conforming alternate version 
are viewed in conjunction with the W3C[supreg]'s guidance, it is clear 
that they are meant to be used only in the limited circumstances where 
the primary Web page or content cannot be made accessible for all 
users, typically due to a technical or legal limitation.
    In the Revised 508 Standards, the Board has decided to retain the 
incorporation by reference to WCAG 2.0's conforming alternate version, 
as proposed in the NPRM. WCAG 2.0's conforming alternate versions 
provision provides a much clearer standard than the vague language of 
the existing 508 Standards. Section 1194.22(k) of the existing 508 
Standards states that ``[a] text-only page, with equivalent information 
or functionality, shall be

[[Page 5807]]

provided to make a Web site comply with the provisions of this part, 
when compliance cannot be accomplished in any other way. The content of 
the text-only page shall be updated whenever the primary page 
changes.'' While on its face, the existing 508 Standards may seem to 
more strictly limit the use of alternate pages, in practice it is 
difficult to determine when compliance cannot be accomplished in any 
other way, and thus, it is easy for agencies to justify the use of 
text-only pages. Such alternate text-only sites often are poorly 
maintained, lack the same information and functionality available on 
the non-conforming Web page, and have out-of-date content. As explained 
above, the WCAG 2.0 requirement for a conforming alternate version 
significantly exceeds the expectations for text-only pages, and would 
not permit these deficiencies. Therefore, the Board has concluded that 
agencies using the Revised 508 Standards for conforming alternate 
versions under WCAG 2.0 will not create Web sites that suffer from 
these same problems, because the requirements for conforming alternate 
versions under WCAG 2.0 are so rigorous.
    Despite WCAG 2.0's requirement that conforming alternate versions 
follow far more robust standards than the text-only pages permissible 
under the existing 508 Standards, some commenters have expressed 
concern that agencies may choose to use conforming alternate versions 
even in circumstances in which compliance could be achieved on the 
primary Web page. The Access Board expects that the stringent 
requirements for the use of conforming alternate versions under the 
Revised 508 Standards will prevent this abuse. The Board expects that 
an agency that decides to use a conforming alternate version of a Web 
page as opposed to making the main page accessible will typically do so 
when, as the W3C[supreg] explains, certain limited circumstances 
warrant or mandate their use. For example, W3C[supreg] has noted that a 
conforming alternate version may be necessary: (1) When a new emerging 
technology is used on a Web page, but the new technology cannot be 
designed in a way that allows assistive technologies to access all the 
information needed to present the content to the user (e.g., virtual 
reality or computer-simulated reality); (2) when it is not possible to 
modify some content on a Web page because the Web site owner is legally 
prohibited from modifying the Web content; or (3) to provide the best 
experience for users with certain types of disabilities by tailoring a 
Web page specifically to accommodate those disabilities. Id.
    The Access Board does not anticipate that an agency would choose to 
maintain a separate conforming alternate version of a Web page for 
people with disabilities without a compelling reason, as maintaining 
separate sites in most, if not all circumstances, would be expensive 
and overly time-consuming. The Board notes that meeting the stringent 
criteria for a conforming alternate version under WCAG 2.0 is, in most 
cases, impractical if the primary page can be made accessible. The 
Access Board further notes that agencies will have a disincentive to 
allow conforming alternate versions of Web pages to become out-of-date, 
as this blatant failure to meet the requirements of WCAG 2.0 for 
conforming alternate versions could be evidence of noncompliance under 
the Revised 508 Standards. If the Board finds that use of conforming 
alternate versions, in practice, does not provide people with 
disabilities a Web experience equivalent to that of people without 
disabilities, the Board will consider whether rulemaking is appropriate 
to restrict the use of conforming alternate versions.
E206 Hardware
    We received one comment on this provision from a disability 
advocacy organization which asserted that proposed E206 did not 
sufficiently include mobile phones and tablets. The Board disagrees 
with the commenter and finds that these products are hardware, and are 
therefore subject to the hardware requirements in Chapter 4 of the 
final rule.
E207 Software
    We received one comment on this provision from a disability 
advocacy organization that indicated that proposed E207 did not 
sufficiently encompass mobile applications. The Board disagrees with 
the commenter and finds that such mobile ``apps'' are software 
applications and are therefore subject to the software requirements in 
Chapter 5 of the final rule.
    The W3C[supreg] has formed a task force charged with investigating 
and making recommendations on the issue of accessibility requirements 
specific to mobile content. Mobile Accessibility Task Force, http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/mobile-a11y-tf/ (last visited Aug. 23, 2016). The 
Board is following that work and may incorporate its recommendations in 
future rulemaking.
    Additionally, the final rule contains an exception to E207.1 and 
E207.2 that excludes assistive technology software that supports the 
accessibility services of the platform. This exclusion appeared in the 
proposed rule as an exception to proposed 501.1. One commenter noted 
that the exception might be overlooked until after assistive technology 
was evaluated for conformance to WCAG 2.0. In response to the 
commenter's concern, in the final rule, the Board has moved this 
exception from chapter 5 to E207.1 and E207.2. The Board regards the 
relocation of this exception as an editorial clarification since we 
never intended for assistive technology to be reviewed against the WCAG 
2.0 Success Criteria. Moving the exception from Chapter 5 to Chapter 2 
makes this clear, but requires that the exception be repeated in 
multiple places.

C. 255 Chapter 1: Application and Administration

    Chapter 1 of the Revised 255 Guidelines includes a general section, 
defines equivalent facilitation, addresses application of referenced 
standards, and provides definitions of terms used in the guidelines. 
Most of the comments received on 508 Chapter 1, discussed above in 
Section IV.A. (Summary of Comments and Responses on Other Aspects of 
the Proposed Rule--508 Chapter 1: Application and Administration), are 
also applicable to 255 Chapter 1. These are noted below with the 
applicable section numbers. Additionally, we have made minor changes 
specific to the 255 Chapter 1 in response to comments to improve 
clarity, accuracy, and ease of use. These changes are described below.

C101.1 Purpose

    An ICT trade association raised a concern that inclusion of the 
phrase ``and related software,'' could be interpreted to go beyond the 
scope of Section 255 to cover software other than that essential to 
telecommunications functions. The Board agrees with the commenter that 
the inclusion of this phrase is problematic. The Communications Act 
defines telecommunications equipment to include ``software integral to 
such equipment including upgrades.'' 47 U.S.C. 153(45). The FCC, in its 
1999 Report and Order implementing its regulations under Section 255, 
went on to find that customer premises equipment likewise includes 
software integral to the operations and functions of the equipment. FCC 
99-181, adopted July 14, 1999; Released Sept. 29, 1999, pp. 41-42. The 
Board has concluded that the inclusion of the term ``and related 
software'' in proposed C101.1 is unnecessary and confusing, and has 
deleted it from the provision in the final

[[Page 5808]]

rule. The Board has also made changes to several definitions in the 
final rule, discussed below, to conform to the terminology of Section 
255 and the FCC implementing regulations.
C101.3 Conventional Industry Tolerances
    For the same reasons discussed above in Section IV.A. (Summary of 
Comments and Responses on Other Aspects of the Proposed Rule--508 
Chapter 1: Application and Administration--E101.3), we have added 
``with specific minimum or maximum end points'' to C101.3 in the final 
rule.
C102 Reference Standards
    This section has been significantly reorganized and revised in the 
final rule. The general statements in the first two sentences regarding 
the application of referenced standards remain essentially unchanged 
from the proposed rule. However, the subsequent provisions in the 
proposed rule that expressly IBR the ten referenced standards into the 
Revised 255 Guidelines (i.e., proposed C102.2-C102.10) have been moved 
in the final rule to a centralized IBR section--new Chapter 7 
(Referenced Standards). This reorganization of IBR provisions was made 
to comply with OFR regulations that govern incorporations by reference. 
See 1 CFR part 51. Comments related to proposed incorporations by 
reference into the Revised 255 Guidelines are discussed below in 
Section IV.I (Summary of Comments and Responses on Other Aspects of the 
Proposed Rule--Chapter 7: Referenced Standards).
C103.4 Defined Terms
    In addition to the corresponding changes made to C103.4 that were 
described above in the Section IV.A. (Summary of Comments and Responses 
on Other Aspects of the Proposed Rule--508 Chapter 1: Application and 
Administration--E103.4), we have made a few additional changes based on 
public comments that are only applicable to the Revised 255 Guidelines.
    We added a definition for ``manufacturer'' to final C103.4, and 
amended the definitions for ``customer premises equipment'' and 
``telecommunications equipment'' to conform to the language of Section 
255 and the FCC implementing regulations.
    Finally, we received comments asking why the definitions for 
``closed functionality'' and ``ICT'' in proposed C103.4 included 
examples that were not telecommunications equipment. The Board concurs 
with commenters' concerns that the examples included with those 
definitions in proposed C103.4 were confusing because they were not 
telephony products, and thus not within the scope of the 255 
Guidelines. Therefore, in the Revised 255 Guidelines the Access Board 
has amended the definitions for ``closed functionality'' and ``ICT'' by 
removing the examples.

D. 255 Chapter 2: Scoping Requirements

    Chapter 2 of the Revised 255 Guidelines addresses application and 
scoping. Most of the comments received on 508 Chapter 2, discussed 
above in Section IV.B. (Summary of Comments and Responses on Other 
Aspects of the Proposed Rule--508 Chapter 2: Scoping), are also 
applicable to 255 Chapter 2. The applicable 255 Chapter paragraph 
numbers are referenced below. Additionally, we have made minor changes 
specific to the Revised 255 Chapter 2 in response to comments to 
improve clarity, accuracy, and ease of use. These changes are described 
below.
C201.5 Design, Development, and Fabrication
    An ICT subject matter expert was concerned that proposed C201.5 did 
not include the language from existing Sec.  1193.23(b) that directs 
telecommunications manufacturers to consider using people with 
disabilities in the design and development process. As the Board 
explained in the preamble of the NPRM, we did not retain this provision 
in the Revised 255 Guidelines because ``consider'' is not mandatory 
language and therefore is more appropriate for inclusion in advisory 
material providing guidance on best practices. 80 FR 10912 (Feb. 27, 
2015). The Access Board is not persuaded by this commenter that the 
final rule should include this requirement and, as discussed above, 
advisory material is not included in the final rule. Therefore, this 
requirement has not been changed in the final rule.
C205 Software
    In the final rule we have relocated an exception that excludes 
assistive technology software from proposed 501.1 to final C205. This 
relocation was necessary to avoid confusion and is described in detail 
above in Section IV.B. (Summary of Comments and Responses on Other 
Aspects of the Proposed Rule--508 Chapter 2: Scoping--E207).

E. Chapter 3: Functional Performance Criteria

    Chapter 3 of the final rule contains functional performance 
criteria, which are outcome-based provisions that apply when applicable 
technical requirements (i.e., Chapters 4 and 5) do not address one or 
more features of ICT. All sections of this chapter are referenced by 
scoping provisions in Revised 508 Chapter 2 and in Revised 255 Chapter 
2. The functional performance criteria are also used to determine 
equivalent facilitation under both the Revised 508 Standards and the 
Revised 255 Guidelines (final E101.2 and C101.2).
    We have made minor changes to Chapter 3 in response to comments to 
improve clarity, accuracy, and ease of use. These changes are described 
below. In addition, two of the provisions in the final rule, 302.2 and 
302.5, have been significantly amended in response to comments and a 
new provision, and 302.9 has been added to the final rule. These 
provisions are discussed above in Section III.E. (Major Issues--
Functional Performance Criteria).
New Functional Performance Criteria Recommended
    We received two comments (a coalition of disability rights 
organizations and an academic research institution) suggesting that the 
Board add three new functional performance criteria (FPC) to the final 
rule addressing depth perception, the use of ICT without gestures, and 
the use of ICT without human skin contact. The purpose of these 
recommendations was to anticipate possible developments in technology 
that would require the use of functions not currently addressed in the 
Revised 508 Standards and 255 Guidelines. Each of these suggestions are 
discussed below.
    The requested addition for a FPC addressing depth perception would 
require that one visual mode of operation be provided that does not 
require binocular perception of depth. This commenter did not indicate 
what functions of ICT would require binocular perception of depth, or 
where this criterion might apply, other than to suggest that at some 
point in the future binocular perception of depth might be required to 
access functions of some ICT.
    Similarly, the addition of a ``use of ICT without gestures'' FPC 
was suggested by a commenter without a rationale for where the 
criterion might be used. The functional limitations suggested by the 
criterion are already addressed in the FPC for limited vision. For 
example, a gesture-based system

[[Page 5809]]

would not be usable by persons with no vision, since they would be 
unable to perceive where their gestures were to be located or performed 
without vision. Therefore, providing a mode of operation that does not 
require user vision would address those functional needs. The commenter 
did not apply this suggested FPC to any existing technology or 
technology known to be in development.
    Finally, a commenter suggested a new FPC for the use of ICT without 
human skin contact. It is the Board's understanding that this 
suggestion is not technically feasible with modern touch screens which 
rely on capacitive touch. Capacitive touchscreen displays rely on the 
electrical properties of the human body to detect when and where on a 
display the user touches. Because of this, capacitive displays can be 
controlled with very light touches of a finger and generally cannot be 
used with a mechanical stylus or a gloved hand. See ``What is 
`capacitive touchscreen'?'', http://www.mobileburn.com/definition.jsp?term=capacitive+touchscreen (last visited Aug. 3, 2016). 
While resistive, or pressure sensitive touch screens, are available for 
such functions as signing an ATM screen, they can only recognize one 
activation point at a time. This technical limitation precludes the use 
of resistive touch screens for common gestures used with personal 
devices (for example, pinch-to-zoom on a smart phone). See ``Okay, but 
how do touch screens actually work?'' at Science Line, the Shortest 
Distance Between You and Science, http://scienceline.org/2012/01/okay-but-how-do-touch-screens-actually-work/, (last visited Aug. 3, 2016). 
Most touch screen technology today uses capacitive touch.
    After consideration, the Board declines to adopt any of the 
suggested FPC. No specific examples of real-world applications were 
provided for any of the suggested FPC. The suggested FPC would not have 
any close correlation to technical criteria in the final rule, and the 
access barriers theoretically covered by the suggested FPC are 
substantially addressed by the other FPC in the final rule. 
Additionally, the suggested FPC lack the necessary research and public 
input to determine the need and benefit of such additional criteria. 
Therefore, at this time, the Board declines to adopt the commenters' 
suggested functional performance criteria.
Section 301 General and 302 Functional Performance Criteria
    We received a number of comments from a variety of stakeholders who 
sought clarification from the Board on the relationship between the FPC 
and the technical requirements. This issue has been extensively 
discussed and commented on during the history of this rulemaking. In 
the 2010 ANPRM, the Board recommended that for ICT meeting the 
technical requirements, the FPC did not need to be considered at all. 
After numerous commenters opposed this approach as being too limiting, 
and likely to lead to the procurement of ICT that is not actually 
usable by individuals with disabilities, the Board proposed in the 2011 
ANPRM that ICT must conform to the FPC, even when the technical 
criteria are met. In response to the 2011 ANPRM, commenters noted that 
required conformance to the FPC would be unduly burdensome and costly, 
and would greatly increase the time for accessible ICT procurement, 
without notably improving the likelihood that accessible ICT would be 
procured. Accordingly, in the NPRM, we proposed that the FPC need only 
be met when the features of the ICT are not addressed by the provisions 
in Chapters 4 or 5.
    Fifteen general comments were received on Chapter 3. These comments 
encompassed a wide variety of responses to the proposed FPC. Four 
commenters from disability advocacy organizations praised the approach 
taken by the Board in the proposed rule of requiring compliance with 
the FPC when the technical requirements in Chapters 4 and 5 are not 
applicable. Two commenters, one from an ICT trade association, and one 
from coalition of disability rights organizations, suggested that we 
adopt an approach similar to that taken in EN 301 549, where the FPC 
are expressed using very broad and conditional language. Three 
commenters, one from an accessible ICT services provider, one from a 
state/local agency, and one ICT company, urged the Board to reinstate 
the proposed approach from the 2011 ANPRM and require the use of the 
FPC and the technical requirements for all ICT. One commenter who self-
identified as an individual with a disability recommended that we 
revise the language of the FPC to focus only on functional limitations, 
and not use disability-specific terminology. All other commenters 
approved of the approach proposed in the NPRM of identifying specific 
functional limitations using disability-specific language and noted 
that this approach was understandable, usable, and important in 
providing context for accessible solutions. Along with this support, 
one commenter from an ICT trade association suggested that the Access 
Board change the approach of describing the FPC to necessary to ensure 
accessibility, rather than providing more technical requirements. In 
the final rule, we have retained the approach proposed in the NPRM and 
provide disability-specific context for the functional performance 
criteria.
    Finally, five commenters, two from disability rights organizations, 
two ICT companies, and an ICT trade association, requested further 
clarification on our proposed approach. The most specific comment came 
from an ICT trade association which expressed confusion about how to 
interpret and apply the FPC in Chapter 3 for individuals with low and 
limited vision in conjunction with the scoping requirement for access 
to ``all ICT functionality'' as required by proposed E203 and C201.3. 
This commenter requested clarification on how persons with limited or 
low vison were supposed to access functions on ICT such as copiers, for 
example, when checking copy output quality, or attempting to change 
paper trays. The comment also raised the concern that some functions, 
by their nature, such as visual inspection for copy quality, assume a 
certain level of ability. In response, in the final rule, we have 
revised the text of the provision for operable parts (final 407.1) to 
clarify that maintenance functions are separate and distinct from 
normal operations and are not covered by the provisions in Chapters 3 
and 4. Only the functions of ICT used in normal operation must be made 
accessible. The discussion of 407.1 is found below in Section IV.F. 
(Summary of Other Comments and Responses on Other Aspects of the 
Proposed Rule--Chapter 4: Hardware). We also retained the proposed 
provision on status indicators (final 409.1), which requires that 
information on the status of ICT hardware, such as the need for 
maintenance, be provided visually, and by touch or sound. The 
discussion on 409.1 is found below in Section IV.F. (Summary of 
Comments and Responses on Other Aspects of the Proposed Rule--Chapter 
4: Hardware--409).
    After review of all of these comments, we have decided to retain 
the proposed approach in the final rule of requiring the FPC where the 
requirements in Chapters 4 and 5 do not address one or more functions 
of ICT. The Board has also retained the requirement that the FPC are 
used when evaluating an alternative design or technology under 
equivalent facilitation (final E101.2 and C101.2). The approach taken 
in the final rule reflects the longstanding, established practice in 
the Federal Government of the application of the FPC when technical 
requirements do

[[Page 5810]]

not sufficiently address the features of the particular ICT at issue. 
It also allows for balance between providing for accessible ICT while 
encouraging flexibility and innovation in the development of accessible 
ICT. We did make changes to some of the individual FPC. The major 
changes are discussed above in Section III.E. (Major Issues--Functional 
Performance Criteria); other changes are discussed below.
302.1 Without Vision
    We received three comments on this section. One of the commenters 
was from a disability rights organization, one was from a coalition of 
disability rights organizations, and one was an individual who self-
identified as having a disability. One commenter commended us on the 
functionality and usability of the FPC addressing the functional needs 
of users with no vision, and had no recommendations for change. The 
remaining two commenters, a self-identified individual with a 
disability and a disability rights organization, expressed concern that 
the requirement was too limited and could lead some agencies to provide 
only an audio solution, which would not provide access for individuals 
who are deaf-blind. These commenters recommended that the Board add 
language requiring the support of auxiliary aids, such as refreshable 
braille devices, in order to ensure that all potential users without 
vision could have access. In the final rule, we have declined to modify 
the criterion because mandating a specific solution such as a 
refreshable braille keyboard would restrict the development of other 
potential solutions and would be costly. The Board concluded that 
retaining the NPRM's open ended approach is the best way to maximize 
potential solutions for this population of users. In addition, the 
Revised 508 Standards work in tandem with customized solutions 
developed as appropriate to accommodate the needs of individuals under 
Sections 501 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. The Revised 508 
Standards ensure that all functionality of ICT is accessible to and 
usable by individuals with disabilities either directly or by 
supporting the use of assistive technology (final E203).
302.3 Without Perception of Color
    We received four comments on this provision. All four commenters 
generally approved of the proposed provision. Three of these 
commenters, one from an ICT trade association and two ICT companies, 
requested guidance on allowable alternatives to color. In response, the 
Board notes that the supporting materials for the WCAG 2.0 Success 
Criteria contain technical assistance on the use of color. The 
remaining commenter, a coalition of disability rights organizations, 
recommended that we add the word ``visual'' to clarify the mode of 
operation. We agree with this comment and have added the word 
``visual'' to describe the mode of operation in the final rule.
302.6 Without Speech
    In response to a comment made by a coalition of disability rights 
organizations, the Board added the phrase where ``speech is used for 
input, control or operation'' to clarify in the final rule when this 
FPC is applied.
302.7 With Limited Manipulation
    Three commenters (an accessible ICT services provider, a coalition 
of disability rights organizations, and an ICT company) requested 
changes to proposed 302.7. The accessible ICT services provider 
asserted that the provision was insufficient to address the needs of 
users with limited manipulation in a touch screen environment because 
it did not address motions that required more than one finger, such as 
a pinch zoom gesture, or a twisting motion that required only a single 
control, but might not work for individuals with some types of limited 
manipulation abilities. A provision in Chapter 4 addresses this concern 
by requiring at least one mode of operation operable with one hand that 
does not require tight grasping, pinching or twisting of the wrist 
(final 407.6). In addition, there is an exception for input controls 
for devices for personal use that have input controls that are audibly 
discernible without activation and operable by touch (final Exception 
407.3). The ICT company recommended that we reference the FPC from EN 
301 549 clause 4.2.7 ``Usage with limited manipulation or strength.'' 
We decline to adopt the recommendation to use the language in EN 301 
549 because it combined the functions of limited manipulations with 
limited strength, which the Board has determined are distinct functions 
that should be treated separately. Finally, the coalition of disability 
rights groups recommended that we clarify the text of the provision to 
make it easier to understand. In response to this comment, we have 
added the phrase ``simultaneous manual operations'' to clarify the 
limitation on this FPC.

F. Chapter 4: Hardware

    Chapter 4 contains requirements for hardware that transmits 
information or has a user interface. Examples of such hardware include 
computers, information kiosks, and multi-function copy machines. 
Chapter 4 in the final rule has been substantially reorganized from the 
proposed rule in response to comments to improve clarity, accuracy and 
ease of use. The changes are described below.
401 General
    An ICT trade association asserted that the Twenty-First Century 
Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) was the latest word 
from Congress, that the Board should avoid mandating technical 
requirements, and that the Board was exceeding its jurisdiction. As 
discussed above in Section I.A. (Executive Summary--Purpose and Legal 
Authority), both the 508 Standards and the 255 Guidelines are within 
the Board's purview, and the Board has not introduced any conflict with 
the CVAA.
402 Closed Functionality
    ICT with closed functionality has limited functionality by design 
or choice, which limits or prevents a user from adding assistive 
technology. The NPRM proposed that ICT with closed functionality with a 
display screen must be capable of providing speech output (proposed 
402).
    We received numerous comments on this section. One commenter, a 
coalition of disability rights organizations, expressed confusion over 
the concept of closed functionality in software. Closed functionality 
as it relates to software is discussed at length in Section IV.G 
(Summary of Comments and Responses on Other Aspects of the Propose 
Rule--Chapter 5: Software) of this preamble, below, and is not 
addressed here. The provisions in Chapter 4 only pertain to closed 
functionality with regard to hardware. The same commenter also 
recommended that the provisions related to closed functionality be 
separated into a standalone chapter. The Board has not accepted this 
recommendation. We proposed that approach in the 2010 ANPRM and it was 
overwhelmingly rejected by commenters who disagreed with the approach 
and found it awkward to use. Therefore, in the final rule we have 
retained the approach from the NPRM.
    This commenter, and many others representing disability rights 
organizations and ICT companies, also expressed concern with the 
structure and organization of the various provisions related to ICT 
with closed functionality. One commenter, a disability rights 
organization, suggested that provisions on transactional outputs

[[Page 5811]]

(proposed 409) were in the wrong place and recommended that we combine 
the section for transactional outputs into the section on closed 
functionality as a subset of speech-output enabled ICT (final 402.2). 
Several commenters from industry (a trade association for information 
technology companies and a large manufacturer of business software and 
hardware) suggested edits to speech-output enabled ICT consistent with 
Section 707.5.2 of the 2010 ADA Standards.
    The Board agrees that the clarity and coherence of these provisions 
could be improved by reorganization and has significantly revised the 
final rule to relocate requirements related to hardware with closed 
functionality to 402. We moved two exceptions that address audible 
output on devices with closed functionality from the proposed section 
on transactional outputs into the section on speech output in the final 
rule (proposed 409.1 Exceptions 1, 3; final 402.2 Exceptions 5, 6) and 
we have deleted an exception for duplicative information as unnecessary 
(proposed 409.1 Exception 2). Additionally, the Board has revised the 
provision for transactional outputs to clarify that the speech output 
shall be required to provide all information necessary to verify a 
transaction (proposed 409.1; final 402.2.2).
    We also received numerous comments on technical requirements 
related to closed functionality. We received comments from copier 
manufacturers who suggested that a speech output requirement was not 
needed for any ICT with closed functionality that provides copying 
functions, because the needs of users with visual impairments were 
already addressed by provisions in the NPRM requiring magnification 
(proposed 302.2) and supporting the use of assistive technology 
(proposed E203). The Board disagrees with this suggestion as we have 
determined that it is too restrictive and has the potential of leading 
to a lack of access for users with visual limitations. Therefore, we 
have not made this recommended change in the final rule (final 302.2). 
If ICT is capable of attaching assistive technology, then by definition 
it is not considered to have closed functionality, and the provisions 
on speech-output for closed functionality do not apply (proposed E103; 
final E103; proposed C103; final C103). In addition, we have concluded 
that magnification alone may be insufficient to address the functional 
needs of users with disabilities, and the functional performance 
requirement for limited vision has been revised accordingly (proposed 
302.2; final 302.2; and Section III.E.1. (Major Issues--Functional 
Performance Criteria--Limited Vision and Limited Hearing).
    Numerous commenters (disability advocacy organizations, individual 
commenters, and industry) recommended that the Board add a requirement 
to explicitly address the needs of individuals who are both deaf and 
blind. At the present time, the only technology that addresses these 
concerns is in the form of dynamic braille displays, which are 
prohibitively expensive, costing as much as $3,000 to $5,000 to produce 
a single line of refreshable braille, and up to $55,000 to produce a 
full page of refreshable braille, and require significant modifications 
in order to be incorporated into existing ICT. The Board has concluded 
that the many examples of ICT with speech output currently available 
with minimal hardware requirements are sufficient and appropriate to 
meet the needs of this population, and accordingly no language has been 
added on this issue.
    We received numerous comments on user control from industry, 
requesting that we clarify when a particular language, such as English 
was required (proposed 402.2.1). We have determined it is unnecessary 
to address the use of languages other than English because business 
requirements would dictate what languages would be used for interface 
and speech output. If the interface of the ICT was in a language other 
than English, then the speech output would also be in that language. 
Similarly, if the interface does not support multiple languages, then 
the speech output would not have to support multiple languages.
    Several commenters (a coalition of disability rights organizations 
and an academic research institution), supported the requirement for 
stopping and resuming audio (proposed 402.2.1), stressing that such a 
feature is essential when audio information is lengthy. An ICT company 
recommended that the Board reference the provision of EN 301 549 clause 
5.1.34. The Board disagrees with this recommendation because the EN 
provision duplicates the proposed requirement, and also includes 
additional notes that are confusing and could be interpreted as 
inconsistent with the basic requirement. The provision in the final 
rule is renumbered due to restructuring, but is otherwise unchanged 
from the proposed rule (proposed 402.2.1; final 402.2.4).
    We received a significant number of comments on the proposed 
provision requiring braille instructions on hardware. Five commenters 
from industry, (three ICT trade associations and two ICT companies), 
all stated that it would be difficult for global manufacturers to use 
braille, and suggested that the Board follow the example in EN 301 549 
and require tactile indicators instead. On the other side of the issue, 
three commenters (a coalition of disability rights organizations, a 
state/local government, and an academic research institution) all 
supported the proposed provision, and requested that we retain it 
(proposed 402.2.2; final 402.2.5).
    Based on the prior experience with requiring braille instructions 
under the ADA and ABA Accessibility Guidelines mentioned above, and the 
favorable response for tactile instructions, the Board has decided to 
retain the provision. The braille instructions need not be lengthy, so 
this is an appropriate requirement for copiers and similar types of 
ICT, in helping provide equal access to users with low vision. We have 
declined to follow the approach of providing tactile indicators as 
indicated in EN 301 549, clause 8.5 ``Tactile indication of speech 
mode'' in v.1.1.2 (2015-04) since the EN provision as written allowed 
for the use of braille, but also permits other unspecified tactile 
indicators. Instead, we have retained the approach from the NPRM, which 
specifies a known and predictable method of communicating tactile 
instructions (final 402.2.5).
    Industry commenters also objected to the proposed requirement for 
English braille, arguing that global markets may spur the manufacture 
of devices for markets where English is not used as the primary 
language. In response to this concern, we have revised the final rule 
to specify the use of contracted braille instead of Grade 2 (English) 
braille. The Board has also modified the reference to provision 703.3.1 
of the ADA and ABA Accessibility Guidelines (proposed 402.2.2; final 
402.2.5). Finally, several commenters from industry (ICT trade 
associations and ICT companies), and a coalition of disability rights 
organizations asserted that personal use devices do not need braille 
instruction for initiating the speech mode, and noted that the physical 
space available on a personal use device would be insufficient to 
accommodate braille instructions. In response to these comments, we 
have added an exception from the braille requirement for personal use 
devices (final 402.2.5 Exception).
    The NPRM included a provision requiring volume control for ICT that 
provides private listening (proposed 402.3.1). Commenters from both 
industry and disability advocacy organizations recommended that this

[[Page 5812]]

provision should be consistent with the provision addressing magnetic 
coupling (proposed 410.3). The Board agrees that the regulatory 
language could be strengthened to clarify the relationship between 
private listening and magnetic coupling. Accordingly, we have revised 
the provision on magnetic coupling to clarify that the requirement to 
provide effective magnetic coupling applies where ICT delivers output 
by means of an ``audio transducer held up to the ear'' (proposed 410.3; 
final 412.3).
    Numerous industry commenters expressed concerns with the proposed 
requirement that, where ICT provides non-private listening, incremental 
volume control shall be provided with output amplification up to a 
level of at least 65 dB, and where ambient noise level of the 
environment is above 45 dB, a volume gain of at least 20 dB above the 
ambient level shall be user selectable (proposed 402.3.2). These 
commenters all criticized the proposed provision on technical grounds 
as being imprecise and incapable of determination. We were persuaded by 
these criticisms and have removed the requirement in the final rule.
    These commenters also raised concerns with a requirement for non-
private listening that requires automatic volume reset to a default 
level after every use, on the grounds that the proposed rule was 
unclear what constituted a ``use'' of the equipment (proposed 402.3.2). 
We have declined to make a change in response to this concern. 
Manufacturers have the ability to determine what constitutes a ``use'' 
in the context of their device. For example, a device like a walkie-
talkie might reset only when turned off and on, whereas a copier 
machine might reset automatically after several minutes of inactivity 
(final 402.3.2).
    The NPRM proposed in 402.4 to address the size, font, and contrast 
requirements for characters displayed on a screen. We received comments 
from a range of stakeholders (ICT trade associations and companies, two 
state/local, a coalition of disability rights organizations and an 
academic research institution). Commenters from industry objected to 
the size and contrast requirements as being vague and needing 
additional explanation. On the other hand, commenters from the state 
agencies, disability advocacy organizations, and academia supported the 
provision as being useful in providing criteria for a more accessible 
font style and size. The disability advocacy organizations wanted an 
additional requirement to specify a font size in at least one mode 
where ICT did not have a screen enlargement feature. We have declined 
to change the provision (final 402.4). The language of the provision is 
derived from 707.7.2 in the ADA and ABA Accessibility Guidelines. This 
language has proven over time to strike a fair balance as a minimum 
standard that is technically feasible for a broad range of devices. 
While the Board agrees that a more specific contrast requirement would 
be beneficial, there is not yet an industry consensus standard for 
measuring contrast as delivered. We considered the metric for contrast 
as specified by WCAG 2.0 Level AA Success Criterion 1.4.3 but 
determined that it is inapplicable here, since it only applies to 
source content and is not appropriate for displays, as addressed in 
this provision.
    In the NPRM preamble we provided variable message signs (VMS) as an 
example of ICT with closed functionality that would be covered by 
Section 402 but noted that we were not aware of any VMS technology that 
provides audible output. We also noted that there is one voluntary 
consensus standard that addresses the needs of persons with low vision. 
In Question 18, the Board sought comment on whether it should reference 
the requirements for VMS in ICC A117.1-2009 Accessible and Usable 
Buildings and Facilities, if there were technologies that would allow 
blind users to receive audible messages generated by VMS, and if VMS 
cannot be speech output enabled, should it at least require VMS to be 
accessible to people with low vision. NPRM, 80 FR 10880, 10915 (Feb 27, 
2015). Several commenters, with a wide variety of backgrounds, agreed 
that the ICC A117.1-2009 requirements are appropriate to address the 
needs of many users with low vision, and that we should use those 
requirements even if VMS cannot be speech output enabled. The few 
commenters responding to our questions about technologies that might 
generate an audible version of VMS affirmed that the commercially 
available products are not sufficiently mature to justify mandating 
their use. Consequently, in the final rule we now reference the ICC 
A117.1-2009 standard and have added an exception to 402.2 Speech Output 
Enabled for VMS (final 402.2 Exception 1). The Board has also added a 
new requirement for characters on variable message signs (final 402.5) 
that references the requirements for VMS in ICC A117.1-2009.
    Two commenters (a coalition of disability rights organizations and 
an academic research institution) requested that the Board add a 
requirement for audio cutoff. The intention of the recommendation was 
to ensure privacy for users of headsets. When users plugged their audio 
connectors into a standard connection port of ICT that delivers output 
through an external speaker that broadcasts information in public, the 
sound from the speakers would be cut off. The Board has declined to add 
a requirement for audio cutoff as it has determined that it is overly 
prescriptive, and the objective is already addressed in the final rule 
by 405, which addresses privacy of input and output for all 
individuals.
    We received a detailed comment from an ICT company who suggested 
the addition of more requirements for products with closed 
functionality. The commenter recommended that the Board add five 
provisions from EN 301 549 onto the existing requirement for closed 
functionality (proposed 402). Two of the EN provisions, addressing 
privacy and spoken language, are dependent on unspecified external 
conditions such as privacy policies and undefined terms such as 
``indeterminate language'' and are unenforceable. EN 301 549 clause 
5.1.3.9 and clause 5.1.3.14. Accordingly, the Board has declined to add 
them to the final rule. The commenter also proposed that the Board 
adopt a formula for minimum text size as used in EN 301 549, clause 
5.1.4. The Board has determined that this is unnecessary and would be 
redundant of the final rule's provision addressing minimum text size 
(final 402.4), which we have decided is straightforward and capable of 
being tested. The remaining two suggested provisions also had existing 
parallel provisions in the final rule: a provision on audible signals 
(EN 301 549, clause 5.1.5) has a parallel provision in 411 of the final 
rule; and a provision on tactilely discernible controls and keys (EN 
301 549, clause 5.1.6, clause 5.1.6.1, and clause 5.1.6.2) is addressed 
in the final rule provision for tactilely discernible controls and keys 
(final 407.3). Accordingly, we did not add any of these recommended EN 
provisions to the final rule.
406 Standard Connections
    The NPRM proposed that where data connections used for input and 
output are provided, at least one of each type of connection shall 
conform to industry standard non-proprietary formats (proposed 406). 
Several industry commenters recommended that we use the exact wording 
from EN 301 549, which specifies the direct or indirect use of 
commercially available adapters (EN 301 549, clause 8.1.2). The 
proposed requirement closely corresponds to Sec.  1194.26(d) of the 
existing 508 Standards and Sec.  1193.51(a) of the existing 255 
Guidelines; the

[[Page 5813]]

intent of this requirement is to support compatibility with assistive 
technology hardware. Because hardware used with assistive technology 
may require a different adapter from a commercially available one, the 
Board has concluded that it is important to retain the flexibility to 
allow for both non-proprietary and proprietary connections. For all 
these reasons, we have retained the phrasing used in the proposed rule 
(proposed 406; final 406).
407 Operable Parts
    The NPRM contained a lengthy section addressing accessibility 
features of operable parts. We received several comments from industry 
(ICT trade association and an ICT company) requesting that we delete 
the provision requiring that keys and controls contrast visually from 
background surfaces, (proposed 407.2) as being imprecise and incapable 
of being measured. We have declined to delete this requirement because 
contrast on controls and keys is an important feature in providing 
access to the labels on the keys for persons with low vision. The 
language of the provision is derived from 707.7.2 in the ADA and ABA 
Accessibility Guidelines. The language has proven to strike a fair 
balance as a minimum standard and being technically feasible for a 
broad range of devices. While the Board would prefer to have a more 
specific contrast requirement, there is not yet an industry consensus 
standard for measuring contrast as delivered. The metric for contrast 
as specified by WCAG 2.0 Level AA Success Criterion 1.4.3 is 
inapplicable here, since it only applies to source content and is not 
appropriate for displays, as addressed in this provision. Accordingly, 
we have retained the provision without change from the proposed rule 
(proposed 407.2; final 407.2).
    The NPRM proposed that at least one tactilely discernible control 
be provided for each function. Devices for personal use with input 
controls that were audibly discernible without activation and operable 
by touch were exempted from this requirement. Several commenters (a 
disability advocacy organization, two ICT trade organizations, and 
three ICT companies) recommended providing an exception for tactile 
discernibility for products that are discernable audibly or products 
that used other non-tactile methods to be discernable without vision. 
We have determined that these suggestions would make the exception 
overly broad. For example, tactile discernibility is essential for 
devices located in public spaces, such as an information transaction 
machine, where ambient sound may interfere with an individual's ability 
to perceive instructions given solely in the form of audible output. 
Likewise, an exception that permitted a device to rely solely on 
gesture controls might not be accessible to individuals who are blind 
or who are unable to gesture. We have retained the exception proposed 
in the NPRM, which is limited to personal use devices that are 
discernable audibly without activation (proposed 407.3; final 407.3).
    The NPRM proposed that input controls be tactilely discernible and 
operable by touch and, where provided, that key surfaces outside active 
areas of the display screen shall be raised above the surrounding 
surface. A number of commenters (an ICT company, two ICT trade 
associations, and a disability advocacy organization), opposed the 
requirement. The commenter from the disability advocacy organization 
stated that raised keys would be difficult to use for some individuals 
with disabilities and potentially decrease accessibility. Industry 
commenters argued that requiring raised keys would add to the cost of 
designing and fabricating ICT. In response to these concerns, we have 
deleted the requirement that key surfaces be raised above their 
surroundings in the final rule. The provision in the final rule now 
simply requires input controls to be operable by touch and tactilely 
discernible without activation (proposed 407.3.1; final 407.3.1).
    The proposed rule required alphabetic keys, where provided, to be 
arranged in a QWERTY layout, with the ``f'' and ``j'' keys tactilely 
distinct from the other keys. The provision further required that, 
where an alphabetic overlay was provided on numeric keys, the overlay 
must conform to the ITU-T Rec. E. 161. We received a number of comments 
from industry (three ICT companies and two ICT trade associations) 
raising concerns that some culture-dependent keyboards contained slight 
deviations from the strict ``QWERTY'' arrangement. The intent of this 
provision is to ensure that individuals who are blind have a point of 
orientation when encountering an unfamiliar device that uses alphabetic 
key entry. We have determined that QWERTY key arrangement, commonly 
used by touch typists, is the best for this purpose. However, in 
response to comments, we changed the reference for the required 
keyboard layout from ``QWERTY'' to ``QWERTY-based'' keyboards, which 
provides enough flexibility to be applied for settings where English is 
not the preferred language (proposed 407.3.2; final 407.3.2).
    The proposed rule also included a provision on numeric keys, in 
addition to the provision on alphabetic keys discussed above. One 
commenter objected to the language of the provisions in the proposed 
rule and discussed the difficulty of requiring the ``f'' and ``j'' keys 
to be tactually discernable when a numeric keyboard is used for 
alphabetic key entry. We reviewed the language of the two provisions 
and saw that while the proposed provision had one sentence addressing 
use of alphabetic keys and a second sentence addressing the use of an 
alphabetic overlay on a numeric keyboard for alphabetic key entry, it 
was confusing. To clarify this distinction, in the final rule we have 
moved the requirement for alphabetic overlay for numeric keys from the 
provision on alphabetic keys to the associated provision on numeric 
keys (proposed 407.3.2 and 407.3.3; final 407.3.2 and 407.3.3).
    The proposed rule had a provision requiring a fixed or adjustable 
key repeat rate, when a keyboard had the key repeat feature. We 
received several comments from industry (an ICT trade association and 
an ICT company), suggesting that the provision was unnecessary since a 
comparable key repeat requirement was also proposed for software 
(proposed 502.4; final 502.4). The key repeat provision for hardware is 
found in the existing 508 Standards Sec.  1194.23(k)(3) and we have 
determined that it continues to be useful for individuals with manual 
dexterity issues. We disagreed with the assertion by the commenters 
that a hardware provision for key repeat was unnecessary and could be 
adequately addressed solely by a provision addressing software. 
Accordingly, we made no change in the final rule (proposed 407.4; final 
407.4).
    The proposed rule included a provision related to timed responses, 
which proposed that a user be alerted visually, as well as by touch or 
sound, when a timed response was required. In addition, the user was to 
be provided the opportunity to request an extension of time to complete 
their response. We received several comments from industry (an ICT 
trade association and an ICT company), suggesting that the provision be 
deleted because a similar requirement was proposed for software (WCAG 
2.0 Success Criterial 2.2.1 Timing Adjustable). The requirement for 
hardware to give the user the ability to extend the time for a response 
is found in the existing 508 Standards Sec.  1194.22(p) and we have 
determined that this is an important feature for a number of users, 
including individuals

[[Page 5814]]

with manual dexterity issues, among others. We disagreed with the 
assertion by the commenters that a hardware provision for key repeat 
was unnecessary and could be adequately addressed solely by a provision 
addressing software. Accordingly, we made no change in the final rule 
(proposed 407.5; final 407).
    The proposed rule had several requirements related to reach height 
which address how a user in a wheelchair can reach the operable parts 
of controls and keys of stationary ICT from a forward or side position. 
The NPRM was an expansion of requirements in the existing 508 Standards 
Sec.  1194.25(j), which address only side approaches to stationary ICT, 
to include both forward and side approaches. These revisions add 
flexibility for users and for manufacturers and designers of ICT 
(proposed 407.12; final 407.8).
    A commenter addressing this reach height asked whether a paper tray 
on a copier could be used as a reference point for the location of any 
controls. A paper tray is not used as a reference point in determining 
either the leading edge or reference plane of stationary ICT. Access to 
a paper tray is considered a maintenance function, so it is not 
addressed by the reach requirements. We have revised the language in 
the final rule to clarify that the operable parts requirements apply to 
``operable parts used in the normal operation of ICT'' (proposed 407; 
final 407). Normal operation, such as using keys to input data or 
create content or operate ICT such as a multifunction copier, is 
different from maintenance functions, such as changing toner on a 
printer. Placing paper on the surface of a copier for making copies is 
considered normal operation. However, replacing paper in a paper tray 
is considered a maintenance function, not a normal daily operation, so 
access to a copier paper tray is not covered under this provision.
    The NPRM proposed requirements for display screens on stationary 
ICT (proposed 408). In the preamble to the NPRM, we sought comment on 
whether to add a requirement that the viewing angle of display screens 
be adjustable. 80 FR 10880, 10919 (Feb. 27, 2015), question 23. In 
response to this question, eight commenters (two ICT trade association, 
three ICT companies, an accessible ICT services provider, a state/local 
agency, and an ICT subject matter expert) all recommended against 
adding a provision for a tilted display screen, citing concerns that 
the provision would be too prescriptive and would introduce maintenance 
and cost issues to the upkeep of the ICT. In response to these 
comments, we have decided against adding such a provision to the final 
rule.
409 Status Indicators
    The NPRM proposed that all status indicators should be visually 
discernible and discernible by either touch or sound. The provision 
contained examples of the types of controls or keys that should be 
discernible. A commenter (ICT company) found this approach confusing 
and asked whether discernibility was a feature that needed to be 
available all the time, or whether it only needed to be discernible 
when a change of status occurred. In response, the Board removed the 
reference to examples of types of controls and keys. We did not specify 
a limitation on when discernibility was required, but have determined 
that a single notification of a change of state is sufficient (proposed 
407.6; final 409).
411 Audible Signals
    The NPRM proposed that audio signaling shall not be used as the 
only means of conveying information, indicating and action, or 
prompting a response (proposed 407.8). We received comments from a 
coalition of disability rights organizations which strongly supported 
this provision. We also received a comment from an ICT company who 
expressed confusion as to the meaning of the term, ``audio signaling.'' 
In response to these comments, we have replaced the term ``Audio 
Signaling'' with ``Audible Signals or Cues,'' in the final rule. This 
section was elevated and renumbered from a sub-provision in the 
proposed rule
412 ICT With Two-Way Communication
    In the proposed rule, this section contained provisions for Real-
Time Text Functionality (proposed 410.6). Those provisions are now 
reserved, pending the outcome of rulemaking by the Federal 
Communications Commission (FCC) as discussed in Section III.D (Major 
Issues--Real-Time Text). The majority of the remaining provisions in 
this section address features of two-way communication such as volume 
gain, minimized interference, and magnetic coupling. There were 
numerous comments on this section, resulting in the edits discussed 
below.
    In the proposed rule, the Board referenced FCC regulations at 47 
CFR 68.317 in anticipation of a pending rulemaking by the FCC on volume 
control covering all types of communication technology that provides 
two-way voice communication, to facilitate hearing aid compatibility 
(proposed 410.2). Currently 47 CFR 68.317 only addresses volume gain 
for analog and digital wireline telephones. As noted by several 
commenters from ICT trade associations, it does not address volume gain 
for wireless devices (e.g., mobile phones). We have amended the 
provisions on volume gain to distinguish between volume gain 
requirements for wireline telephones and non-wireline devices. The 
Board will consider further updates to these requirements at such time 
as the FCC completes its rulemaking on this issue.
    The proposed rule contained two separate provisions addressing 
magnetic coupling and minimizing interference (proposed 410.3 and 
410.4). We received two comments, one from an ICT trade association and 
one from a coalition of disability rights organizations, urging that 
the two provisions be combined since they address related features of 
ICT with two-way voice common to wireless or wireline devices. The ICT 
trade association stated that the phrase ``to the lowest extent 
possible'' was too subjective and should be removed, leaving the 
citation to the referenced standard in the provisions. In the final 
rule, the requirements for magnetic coupling and minimizing 
interference have been combined into a single provision that clarifies 
that, where ICT delivers output by a handset or other audio transducer 
that is typically held to the ear, it shall reduce interference with 
hearing technologies and provide a means for effective magnetic 
wireless coupling (final 412.3).
    One commenter from an ICT trade association recommended that the 
Board reference the European standard ETSI ES 200 381-2 in addition to 
ANSI C63.19-2011 to address minimized interference on wireless 
handsets. We have reviewed ETSI ES 200 381-2 and determined that it 
covers only a subset of the frequency ranges covered by ANSI C63.19-
2011, because it has a smaller operating range for devices (698 MHz to 
3 GHz) compared to ANSI C63.19-2011 (698 MHz to 6 GHz). If the ETSI 
standard were applied by this rule, manufacturers of devices currently 
producing products with the broader ANSI frequency ranges could 
potentially reduce the ranges offered by the products, thereby reducing 
accessibility (proposed 410.4.1; final 412.3.1).
    The NPRM included a proposed requirement for digital encoding of 
speech (proposed 410.5). In response to

[[Page 5815]]

comments from industry (ICT trade associations and an ICT company), we 
have updated the referenced standards cited for digital encoding of 
speech to the current versions, ITU-T Recommendation G.722.2 and IETF 
RFC 6716 (also known as the Opus Codec). In addition, we have deleted 
the exception because the updated standards address the technical basis 
for the exception, and therefore it is not needed (final 412.4).
414 Audio Description Processing Technologies
    In response to a comment from an ICT trade association, we have 
revised this provision in the final rule to clarify that the standard 
referenced in this section, ATSC A/53 Digital Television Standard, Part 
5 (2010) only applies to ICT in the form of digital television tuners. 
We added a separate provision to require that ICT other than digital 
television tuners provide audio description processing (proposed 412; 
final 414).
415 User Controls for Captions and Audio Description
    The NPRM proposed that ICT provide user controls for the selection 
of captions in at least one location that is comparable in prominence 
to the location of user controls for volume. It further proposed that 
ICT provide user controls for selection of audio description in at 
least one location that is comparable in prominence to the location of 
controls for program selection. An exception was provided for devices 
for personal use, which were not required to comply with the proposed 
provision (proposed 413).
    Commenters from a coalition of disability rights organizations 
strongly supported this requirement but expressed concern over the 
exception, fearing that the language ``personal use'' could be 
interpreted so broadly as to exempt many devices from coverage. 
Commenters from industry objected to the language ``comparable in 
prominence'' because they found it imprecise and incapable of being 
tested. They asked that we either define the term or remove it. 
Commenters from industry also objected to the requirement to provide a 
physical button arguing that it would significantly impact the design 
of hardware devices such as remote controls.
    After review of the comments, we have revised the exception to make 
it available when captions and audio descriptions can be enabled 
through system-wide platform settings. We further revised the 
requirement for caption selection to state that where operable parts 
are provided for volume control, ICT shall also provide operable parts 
for caption selection. The requirement for selection of audio 
description was likewise revised to state that where ICT provides 
operable parts for program selection, it shall also provide operable 
parts for the selection of audio description. We have concluded that 
these changes will provide users of captions and audio description with 
comparable access to those controls, without being overly prescriptive 
of technological solutions (final 415).

G. Chapter 5: Software

    Chapter 5 contains the technical requirements for programs, 
procedures, rules, and computerized code that directs the use and 
operation of ICT, and instruct ICT to perform a given task or function. 
Software includes applications (including mobile apps) and operating 
systems, as well as processes that transform or operate on information 
and data. The NPRM proposed that software with a user interface, 
including client-side and Web applications conform to WCAG 2.0 Level 
AA. We have retained this requirement in the final rule. Traditional 
client-side software must also conform to final 502 and 503. Software, 
including Web applications, that are authoring tools must conform to 
the requirements of final 504.
    Many commenters expressed concern with the complexity of the 
proposed rule. They urged us to adopt WCAG 2.0, and only WCAG 2.0, as 
the complete and sufficient set of accessibility requirements for 
software. Chapter 2 of the final rule incorporates WCAG 2.0 Level AA 
into the software requirements, and while some of what Chapter 5 
requires is parallel or redundant to WCAG 2.0 Success Criteria, Chapter 
5 includes requirements that go beyond WCAG 2.0, provide additional 
detail, or parallels those of the existing 508 Standards. The authors 
of WCAG 2.0 were informed by the existing 508 Standards, but since WCAG 
2.0 only addresses Web content, it has natural technical limitations 
with its scope. Most subject experts agree that there would be a 
significant accessibility gap if software were only bound to Success 
Criteria from WCAG 2.0, and the requirements of this chapter address 
that gap. Accordingly, no change was made in this approach from the 
proposed rule to the final rule.
    A state/local agency asked why the Board was not making additional 
references to technology standards, and asked specifically about WAI-
ARIA, ATAG 2.0, and UAAG 2.0, and EPUB3. The Board agrees that these 
are all useful resources, but as discussed below, we have concluded 
that these additional standards are too detailed and prescriptive as 
compared to what is being addressed with our Revised 508 Standards and 
255 Guidelines.
    WAI-ARIA 1.0 (Accessible Rich Internet Applications 1.0, Mar. 20, 
2014, http://w3.org/TR/2014/REC-wai-aria-20140320) is a completed 
W3C[supreg] Recommendation but WAI-ARIA 1.1 is still under development 
and we cannot cite it until it is formally completed. (Accessible Rich 
Internet Applications 1.1 Working Draft, July 21, 2016, http://w3.org/TR/wai-aria-1.1). It contains specifications for Web technologies like 
HTML5, SVG, and Ajax (short for asynchronous JavaScript and XML). WAI-
ARIA can be used to create Web applications that conform to WCAG, but 
is not required for WCAG conformance. WAI-ARIA is a valuable 
specification, but the technology it addresses is too narrow for our 
Standards and Guidelines to require its use at this time.
    Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG) 2.0 is a completed 
W3C[supreg] Recommendation. (ATAG 2.0, Sept. 24, 2015, http://w3.org/TR/ATAG20). The Board relied on ATAG 2.0 in developing the requirements 
for authoring tools included in Revised 508 Standards and 255 
Guidelines (proposed 504; final 504). Since ATAG 2.0 applies to 
software, many of its requirements are redundant to our requirements in 
502 and 503. ATAG 2.0 is very narrowly focused on Web content and is 
very prescriptive. For these reasons, and because of the limited use of 
ATAG 2.0 in the Federal sphere, the Board has declined to reference it. 
We have worked to ensure that there are not any conflicts between our 
requirements and ATAG 2.0. Authoring tools that provide Level AA 
conformance to ATAG 2.0 will conform to these Standards and Guidelines.
    User Agent Accessibility Guidelines (UAAG) 2.0 was published as a 
``working group note'' and there are no plans to move it forward as a 
W3C[supreg] Recommendation. (UAAG 2.0, Dec. 15, 2015, http://w3.org/TR/UAAG20). This last step would be necessary for it to be characterized 
as an industry consensus standard so it is not appropriate to reference 
at this time. As an accessibility metric for certain types of software 
(i.e., Web browsers, media players, document readers and other 
applications that render Web content), UAAG 2.0 does not have any 
conflicts with the requirements of these Revised 508 Standards and 255 
Guidelines.
    EPUB[supreg] is the distribution and interchange format standard 
for digital

[[Page 5816]]

publications and documents based on open Web standards, and EPUB 3.0.1 
is the current and stable version of the EPUB standard. See EPUB 3.0.1, 
International Digital Publishing Form, http://idpf.org/epub/301 (last 
visited Aug. 23, 2016). EPUB3 is an excellent file format for 
electronic documents and accessibility features were integrated 
throughout in the development of the specification. There are several 
popular (and accessible) platforms for reading EPUB3 content, but the 
software currently available for interactively editing EPUB3 content is 
limited. The EPUB3 format is fundamentally accessible; however, it is 
possible to create content that technically is in the EPUB3 file 
format, but not sufficiently accessible. One example would be an EPUB3 
file with poor quality alternative text associated with images. WCAG 
2.0 Level AA provides an appropriate rubric for assessing the 
accessibility of EPUB3 documents and this rule would not gain 
substantively from a reference to EPUB3.
501 General
    As with the other chapters, Chapter 5 begins with a reference back 
to the scoping provisions. We heard from several commenters that people 
unfamiliar with standards might miss the incorporation by reference of 
WCAG 2.0 and that they, and others, prefer the formatting approach used 
by EN 301 549 where the WCAG 2.0 Success Criteria are restated as 
needed for each section. These commenters were concerned that the 
provisions of Chapter 5 were all that a software developer might pay 
attention to. The Board is preparing advisory material to this effect 
to help users of this rule avoid that oversight.
    An ICT company and an ICT trade association urged the Board to 
modify the exception for Web applications from technical requirements 
in Chapter 5, which is conditional on those Web applications being 
fully conformant with WCAG 2.0 Level AA. These commenters urged the 
Board to exempt all Web applications from proposed sections 502 and 
503, regardless of conformance with WCAG 2.0. They reasoned that for 
non-conformant Web applications, complying with these sections would 
not necessarily address the non-compliant aspect of the application and 
would introduce additional testing and compliance issues. Their 
position is that a conformity assessment against WCAG 2.0, perhaps 
using a format similar to the current Voluntary Product Accessibility 
Template[supreg] developed by the Information Technology Industry 
Council, is complete and sufficient for a Web application, so also 
assessing against final sections 502 and 503 would be superfluous or 
even onerous. One commenter gave the example of Web software missing a 
single text equivalent and thus being subject to the requirements of 
Chapter 5.
    The Board supports having a single conformance model for accessible 
Web applications and agrees that WCAG 2.0 Level AA is generally 
sufficient for assessing the accessibility of Web applications. The 
value of a single unified standard for the accessibility of Web content 
outweighs the value of additional requirements particular only to 
certain kinds of Web applications.
    However, we have declined to extend an absolute exception from the 
requirements of Chapter 5 for Web applications without regard to their 
conformance to WCAG 2.0. The Board recognizes that in some cases, 
reviewing those non-conforming Web applications against 502 and 503 
would not identify additional accessibility concerns. In other cases, a 
Web application's failing against a particular WCAG 2.0 requirement, 
for example Success Criteria 4.1.1 Parsing, will have accessibility 
issues mitigated by addressing requirements from 502 and 503. 
Therefore, the Board has retained the exception as only being 
applicable to Web applications that meet WCAG 2.0 Level AA.
    In addition, we have narrowed the exception to Web applications 
that are not isolated from the operating system or the platform they 
run on. During its examination of this exception, the Board became 
concerned that certain Web applications that had access to platform 
accessibility services (and which conformed to WCAG 2.0) were not 
always compatible with certain assistive technology (such as screen 
reading software). We concluded that the Exception to 501.1 should be 
somewhat narrowed from that of the proposed rule, to exclude only Web 
applications that do not have access to platform accessibility 
services. This qualification is important because major developers are 
working hard to make the distinction between desktop and Web 
applications less apparent to the end-user. As this class of Web 
applications mature, it is reasonable to anticipate that they might 
gain the ability to use the accessibility features of the underlining 
platform they run on. Accordingly, the 501.1 Exception has been changed 
in the final rule to only be for those Web applications that conform to 
WCAG 2.0 Level AA and do not have access to platform accessibility 
services (directly or through included components).
    An ICT company and an ICT trade association disagreed with 
inclusion of Exception 2 in proposed 501.1, which proposed to exempt 
assistive technology from the technical requirements in Chapter 5 when 
assistive technology supports platform accessibility services. These 
commenters asserted that assistive technology software should be held 
to the same requirements as mainstream software, and further 
recommended that the Board adopt an approach similar to EN 301 549, 
which does not distinguish between assistive technology and other 
software, and imposes additional requirements on assistive technology.
    The purpose of Section 508 is to provide people with disabilities 
comparable access to ICT. Having additional requirements for assistive 
technology, or even just holding assistive technology to the same 
technical requirements as mainstream software, can be counter-
productive to that purpose. For example, requiring an on-screen 
keyboard that is used by a sighted switch user to also be compatible 
with screen reading software could impose technical challenges that 
would decrease its utility or pose a barrier to product development. 
The Board does not want the 508 Standards to create an impediment to 
Federal agencies procuring assistive technology they need for their 
employees with disabilities. However, we are aware that in order for 
mainstream software to work with all assistive technology, the 
assistive technology must use the accessibility services of the 
platform. We have retained this requirement as the basis on which 
assistive technology can obtain the exception from the requirements of 
Chapter 5. The exception for assistive technology was moved from 
Chapter 5 to Chapter 2 (final E207.1; E207.2; C205.1; and C205.2) to 
better ensure that assistive technology developers would not be asked 
for unnecessary conformity assessment reviews.
502 Interoperability With Assistive Technology
    The NPRM proposed that users have control over documented 
accessibility features (proposed 502.2.1) and that software not disrupt 
documented accessibility features (proposed 5.2.2.2). An ICT company 
and an ICT trade association recommended adding an exception to this 
latter requirement for ``when requested to do so by the user during the 
operation of the software.''
    We have not changed the requirement from the proposed rule. The 
suggested

[[Page 5817]]

edit is not necessary since if the user is changing the setting, then 
the accessibility feature could not be reasonably characterized as 
having been disrupted. User selection and control of accessibility 
features is not the same as disrupting the accessibility features. If 
an agency were to disable platform settings that provide accessibility 
(thereby violating 502.2.2) then the agency would have the 
responsibility under 508 for demonstrating equivalent facilitation. 
This is similar to causing software to be closed to the addition of 
assistive technology, changing the nature of the platform to be 
functionally indistinguishable from closed hardware, and the 
requirements of 402 would be applicable.
    The NPRM proposed that platform developers provide accessibility 
services (proposed 5.2.3) and the sub-provisions listed the 
requirements for software running on those platforms. The Board has 
changed the phrasing of 502.3 in the final rule to be more consistent 
with other parts of the rule but the requirements are fundamentally the 
same as with the proposed rule. As discussed above in Section IV.A. 
(Summary of Comments and Responses on Other Aspects of the Proposed 
Rule--508 Chapter 1: Application and Administration--E103.4), in the 
final rule we have added a definition for ``software tools'' which is 
software used for developing software. We also made editorial changes 
based on input from commenters.
    The sub-provisions of 502.3 come from the existing 508 Standards 
and other accessibility standards and specify details that the Board 
concluded are important for software accessibility. The authors of WCAG 
2.0 included requirements from Sec.  1194.21 of the existing 508 
Standards where they could (for example, an explicit requirement for 
keyboard accessibility is in WCAG 2.0 but was not in WCAG 1.0), but 
some requirements are not applicable to all technologies and therefore 
are not explicit in WCAG 2.0. For example, the requirement for row and 
column headers of data tables to be programmatically determinable 
(final 502.3.3) is explicit in the existing 508 Standards, and is in 
WCAG 1.0, but not explicit in WCAG 2.0 because WCAG 2.0 is written to 
be technology neutral. The Board's approach in the final rule is 
consistent with EN 301 549 and other standards for software 
accessibility.
    The numbering of sub-provisions in 502.3 of the final rule has been 
changed significantly from the proposed rule. Commenters requested that 
programmatically determinable object information, values, text, and 
other details be separated from the requirement to set or change that 
object information, values, text, and other details. The proposed rule 
had nine sub-provisions under proposed 502.3 whereas the final rule now 
has fourteen, but the requirements are substantially unchanged. Another 
commenter suggestion was to clarify that by ``table'' we meant ``data 
table,'' so the Board has made that explicit in the final rule.
    There was a recommendation from a disability advocacy organization 
that the event notification provision ``should be made to assure that a 
screen reader can retain control of the reading cursor'' but did not 
offer a specific text change. As part of renumbering and separating the 
requirements, we have added a separate requirement for modification of 
focus cursor (final 502.3.13) which addresses this commenter's concern. 
An ICT company and an ICT trade association recommended adding a 
requirement to this section, ``Execution of Available Actions.'' The 
proposed rule contained an equivalent requirement (the second of two 
sentences in proposed 502.3.7) and in the final rule it is a separately 
numbered provision (final 502.3.11) requiring that: ``Applications 
shall allow assistive technology to programmatically execute available 
actions on objects.'' This provision is intended to address scenarios 
such as when a person is using screen reading software and encounters a 
button control with four options. The person should not only hear the 
description of the control, but also be able to select any one of those 
four options through the usual keystrokes used with the screen reading 
software.
    Section 502.4 in the final rule is unchanged from the proposed 
rule. It lists seven requirements from ANSI/HFES 200.2, Human Factors 
Engineering of Software User Interfaces. In the NPRM preamble the Board 
asked if the cost was excessive or if there was another authoritative 
standard we could use. An ICT company and an ICT trade association 
confirmed the resource as being unique. These two commenters and a 
Federal agency characterized the standard as relatively expensive and 
asked if the Board could instead excerpt the seven cited requirements 
in full. As noted in the preamble to the proposed rule, the seven cited 
requirements mostly predate the existing 508 Standards and are common 
features of operating systems. For people familiar with accessibility 
features, the requirements are readily apparent just from the titles 
cited in the final rule. Therefore, the final rule retains a reference 
to the ANSI/HFES 200.2 standard.
    One ICT company recommended adding some additional requirements for 
assistive technology interoperability that parallel clauses 11.3.2.2 
and 11.3.2.3 in EN 301 549. The Board declines to follow this 
recommendation as we have determined that 502.3 in the final rule 
already contains equivalent technical requirements for assistive 
technology interoperability, and is simpler and more practical to apply 
relative to the EN approach, without compromising accessibility.
503 Applications
    The proposed rule included a general requirement that applications 
must permit users to set their preferences from platform settings for 
color, contrast, font type, and focus cursor (proposed 503.2). For 
example, a user with low vision might want the default windowing scheme 
to use yellow on black text with an 18 point sans-serif font. An 
exception to this provision exempts applications that are designed to 
be isolated from their underlying platform software (such as Web 
applications) from this requirement. We received several comments (from 
individuals, a disability advocacy organization, and an accessibility 
ICT services provider) concerning the scope of the exception. These 
commenters acknowledged that certain technologies (such as 
Adobe[supreg] Flash[supreg]) were properly exempted, but thought that 
the exception was otherwise overbroad by sweeping in other types of Web 
applications (which were unspecified). More generally, some of these 
commenters also suggested that the Board broaden 503.2 so that the 
requirement for pass-through of user preferences apply to Web content, 
as well as applications.
    With respect to commenters' suggestion of overbreadth, the Board 
declines to revise the exception to apply only to certain types of Web 
applications. We are aware of no discernible basis for differentiating 
between Web applications that do and do not warrant the exception, nor 
did commenters offer any such criteria. It is not technically feasible 
to require Web applications to use platform preferences because 
generally the developer of a Web application has no way of knowing what 
font characteristics a reader will be using for text in windows of 
their operating system. Applications, including Web applications, which 
qualify for the exception to use platform settings are still subject to 
the other requirements of Chapter 5, including the requirements 
referenced by WCAG 2.0 Level AA.

[[Page 5818]]

    Likewise, the Board finds commenters' suggestion that the scope of 
proposed 502.3 be broadened to include Web content to be misplaced. 
Section 502.3 in the final rule, as with all of Chapter 5, addresses 
technical requirements for accessibility of software, not Web content. 
In any event, requiring Web content to meet requirements for pass-
through of user preferences would face the same technical challenges as 
Web applications.
504 Authoring Tools
    This section contains additional requirements for software used to 
create and edit content and documents. The major substantive change 
from the proposed rule is the addition of a new requirement (final 
504.2.2) that authoring tools capable of creating full-featured PDFs 
(that is, a PDF that conforms to PDF 1.7, also known as ISO 32000-1) 
must also support creating PDFs conforming to PDF/UA-1. PDF/UA-1 is an 
extension to PDF 1.7, meaning that PDF/UA-1 is only applicable to PDFs 
that already conform to PDF 1.7.
    Based on comments from a standards developing organization, an ICT 
trade association, and an ICT company, we have made some editorial 
changes to proposed sections 504.2, 504.3, and 504.4 for the final 
rule. For example, ``all features and formats'' in the proposed rule 
have been changed to ``all supported features and, as applicable, to 
file formats'' in the final rule, to clarify that the limitations of 
the file formats be taken into consideration.
    A disability advocacy organization commented that the accessibility 
features should be turned on by default, but the Board has decided that 
would be overly prescriptive. In addition, such a requirement could 
interfere with automated testing of content for accessibility features. 
For example, it is significantly easier to identify missing alternative 
text (as an error) than it is to test for overuse of placeholder or 
default alternative text. In response to requests from commenters, the 
Board also plans to incorporate examples from EN 301 549 into 
forthcoming technical assistance materials.
    The NPRM proposed that authoring tools prompt authors to create 
content that conforms to WCAG 2.0 Level AA, and went on to specify that 
the tools should provide the option for prompts during initial content 
creation or when the content is saved (proposed 5.4.3). Based on a 
commenter observation that accessibility features might best be 
addressed in the middle of a document workflow process, the last 
sentence from proposed 504.3 has been deleted in the final rule. The 
Board agrees that prompts and conformance checks can be performed at 
any point, not just upon content creation or when saving a file.

H. Chapter 6: Support Documentation and Services

601 General
    Chapter 6 contains accessibility requirements for ICT support 
documentation and services. This section requires support services such 
as help desks, call centers, training services, and automated self-
service technical support systems that provide documentation addressing 
accessibility and compatibility features available in accessible 
formats. We received multiple comments on the application of the PDF/
UA-1 standard to electronic support documentation under proposed 602.3. 
Those comments are discussed in Section III.C. (Major Issues--
Incorporation by Reference of PDF/UA-1). Additionally, we received a 
few comments on some of the other proposed provisions of Chapter 6, 
which are discussed below.
602 Support Documentation
    The NPRM proposed a provision addressing alternate formats for non-
electronic support documentation for people who are blind or have low 
vision (proposed 602.4). The Board received two comments on this 
provision, one from a state/local agency, and another from a disability 
advocacy organization. Both commenters asked that we broaden the 
application of proposed 602.4 to clarify that alternate formats must be 
provided to any requester with a disability, not just individuals who 
are blind or have low vision. The Board concurs with this and has 
amended 602.4 to require alternate formats usable by ``individuals with 
disabilities.'' The intent of this provision is to address the needs of 
individuals whose disability makes it difficult to use hardcopy 
materials. Examples of such disabilities include blindness, low vision, 
fine motor impairments, and limited cognitive, language and learning 
abilities.
    We received an additional comment from a disability advocacy 
organization requesting that a notification of the availability of 
alternate formats be prominently displayed, and that the alternate 
format provided be that of the requestor's choosing. The final rule 
requires that support documentation be provided on request in alternate 
formats usable by individuals with disabilities. We do not agree that 
mandating a particular placement for notification of this is necessary. 
In addition, the Board does not find that it is reasonable to require 
manufacturers and government agencies to create alternate documentation 
in every format requested. We anticipate that most manufacturers and 
agencies will provide accessible softcopy to those that need it, but 
manufactures are also permitted the flexibility to instead provide non-
electronic support documentation in formats such as large print and 
braille if they choose to do so. We have concluded that the language of 
the final rule adequately ensures that alternate formats of electronic 
support documentation will be made available to individuals who need 
them, without overburdening manufacturers and government agencies.
603 Support Services
    Three commenters discussed the proposed provision regarding support 
services to include information on accessibility and compatibility 
features of ICT (proposed 603.2). One commenter was a self-identified 
individual with a learning disability, one was an accessible ICT 
services provider, and one was a disability advocacy organization. All 
three commenters suggested that the Board add language to the provision 
mandating continuing education for personnel who staff help desks. The 
Board understands the concern, but declines to add the suggested 
language as it is overly prescriptive. We intend to provide technical 
assistance after the final rule has been promulgated that will address 
training programs as an example of a best practice in complying with 
this provision. Therefore, this provision is unchanged in the final 
rule.

I. Chapter 7: Referenced Standards

    This new chapter, which provides a centralized IBR section for 
standards referenced in the Revised 508 Standards or Revised 255 
Guidelines, was added to the final rule to comply with OFR regulations 
that govern incorporations by reference into the Federal Register. See 
1 CFR part 51. This reorganization does not alter or change in any way 
the underlying application of the ten referenced standards in the 
revised standards and guidelines. Each of these standards is still 
referenced and apply to the prescribed extent specified in the 
respective IBR provisions. Chapter 7, in effect, simply streamlines the 
final rule by combining the respective IBR provisions of the Revised 
508 Standards and 255 Guidelines into one consolidated IBR section.
    With respect to the NPRM's proposed IBR under Section 508, a number 
of

[[Page 5819]]

commenters provided input on the proposed referenced standards. Several 
commenters raised concerns about the specific technical application of 
certain standards proposed for incorporation. These comments are 
addressed above in the applicable parts of Section III (Major Issues) 
and Section IV (Summary of Comments and Responses on Other Aspects of 
the Proposed Rule).
    In addition, several commenters suggested that the Access Board 
reference other, additional standards in the updated 508 Standards. 
While several of the suggested standards serve as useful resources, the 
Board has determined that their incorporation into the standards is not 
necessary. With the exception of EN 301 549 (which is addressed below), 
the Board's bases for declining the suggested reference of additional 
standards are discussed above in Section IV.G (Summary of Comments and 
Responses on Other Aspects of the Proposed Rule--Chapter 5: Software).
    Of the 32 commenters mentioned above, 22 addressed the potential 
incorporation by reference of EN 301 549. Five commenters (three ICT 
companies and two ICT trade associations) suggested that the Access 
Board reference EN 301 549 as the sole technical standard for 
accessibility, or, at the very least, deem conformance with EN 301 549 
as compliance with the Revised 508 Standards. These commenters made 
their recommendations in the interest of harmonization and, as one 
commenter put it, ``promoting broader commercialization of accessible 
ICT systems.'' In contrast, one commenter (an international disability 
advocacy organization) applauded the proposed rule as an improvement on 
several aspects of EN 301 549. This commenter also noted that, after 
publication of this final rule, EN 301 549 might well be revised to 
meet the higher (and, for some areas, more specific) accessibility 
requirements in the Revised 508 Standards.
    For several important reasons, we decline to follow some 
commenters' suggestion that the Access Board incorporate by reference 
EN 301 549 into the final rule (or otherwise deem conformance with this 
European specification to be compliance with Section 508). In sum, EN 
301 549 was not developed using a voluntary consensus process, which 
makes this specification unripe for incorporation by reference into 
Federal regulations. Moreover, even assuming that EN 301 549 was an 
appropriate standard for incorporation by reference, reference in the 
Revised 508 Standards would be both unnecessary (e.g., due to the high 
degree of harmonization between the Standards and the European 
specification) and contrary to law (e.g., certain EN 301 549 provisions 
failing to provide sufficient accessibility under Section 508). Each of 
these considerations are discussed below.
    First, EN 301 549 cannot be incorporated by referenced in the final 
rule because this European specification was not adopted through the 
requisite voluntary consensus standard development process. Under 
section 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act 
of 1995 (codified at 15 U.S.C. 272 note) (NTTAA), Federal agencies are 
directed to use technical standards developed by voluntary consensus 
standards bodies (as opposed to government-unique standards) when 
carrying out their regulatory functions unless doing so would be 
inconsistent with applicable law or otherwise impractical. OMB Circular 
A-119, which provides Federal agencies with interpretive guidance on 
the NTTAA, specifies that standards must be developed under processes 
that feature five enumerated characteristics to be deemed ``voluntary 
consensus standards'' (i.e., openness, balance, due process, appeals 
process, and consensus). See OMB, Circular A-119, Federal Participation 
in the Development and Use of Voluntary Consensus Standards and in 
Conformity Assessment Activities Sec. Sec.  2(d)-(e) (revised Jan. 27, 
2016).
    EN 301 549, however, was not developed under such a process. 
Mandate 376, which was issued by the European Commission and tasked the 
European standardization bodies (i.e., CEN, CENELEC, and ETSI) with 
development of a harmonized set of functional accessibility 
requirements for publicly-procured ICT, did not require use of a 
voluntary consensus process; instead, this mandate merely provided that 
CEN/CENELEC/ETSI ``shall work in close cooperation with relevant 
stakeholders'' when developing the European procurement specification 
that became EN 301 549. See European Commission, Mandate 376 Sec.  4 
(Dec. 7, 2005), available at http://www.etsi.org/WebSite/document/aboutETSI/EC_Mandates/m376en.pdf. Additionally, while there was public 
input during the development of EN 301 549 by various stakeholders 
(including ICT industry representatives and some consumer groups), it 
does not appear that the process was sufficiently open or balanced to 
satisfy the requirements of Circular A-119. See, e.g., ACT NOW! EDF 
Position on the European Standard on Accessibility Requirements for 
Public Procurement of ICT, EASPD, http://www.easpd.eu/en/content/act-now-edf-position-european-standard-accessibility-requirements-suitable-public (last accessed Aug. 23, 2016) (noting concern that interests of 
persons with disabilities were not sufficiently represented during the 
development of EN 301 549 due to non-voting status of disability rights 
organizations); VVA Europe Ltd., European Association for the 
Coordination of Consumers Representation in Standardisation (ANEC), 
Preliminary Study on Benefits of Consumer Participation in 
Standardisation to All Stakeholders 45-52 (Nov. 13, 2014), available at 
http://www.anec.eu/attachments/ANEC-R&T-2014-SC-006.pdf (noting similar 
concerns with respect to consumer groups). Thus, while EN 301 549 
represents an important step towards a more accessible ICT environment 
and serves as a meaningful set of technical specifications for public 
procurements of ICT in the European Union, it is not a voluntary 
consensus standard within the meaning of Circular A-119.
    Moreover, even assuming that EN 301 549 was appropriate for 
incorporation by reference into the Revised 508 Standards, there is 
already broad harmonization between EN 301 549 and the final rule. As 
noted in prior preamble sections summarizing key aspects of the final 
rule and describing its rulemaking history, the timelines for 
development of the Revised 508 Standards and EN 301 549 largely 
overlapped; consequently, there was considerable coordination amongst 
the Federal entities (Section 508) and private organizations (CEN/
CENELEC/ETSI) working on their respective technical accessibility 
standards for public ICT procurements. See Sections I.B.3 (Executive 
Summary--Summary of Key Provisions--Harmonization with International 
Standards) & II.F (Rulemaking History--Harmonization with European 
Activities).
    Harmonization with international standards has been a guiding 
principle for this rulemaking from its earliest stages. For example, 
TEITAC Advisory Committee included several international 
representatives (including, notably, the European Commission), 
recognized the importance of standardization across markets worldwide, 
and coordinated its work with standard-setting bodies in the U.S. and 
abroad. See II.B (Rulemaking History--TEITAC Advisory Committee 2006-
2008) (summarizing TEITAC Advisory Committee deliberations and report). 
Moreover, in the 2011 ANPRM, the Access Board express noted the 
standardization work going on in

[[Page 5820]]

Europe at the time. See 76 FR at 76642, 76644-45. Indeed, one of the 
Access Board's primary reasons for issuing a second ANPRM in 2011 was 
to afford the Joint Working Group on eAccessibility \3\ and the 
European Commission an opportunity to see the Board's progress and to 
promote harmonization. Id. at 76642. Consequently, EN 301 549--which 
was initially finalized in 2014--was largely harmonized with the 
Board's 2011 ANPRM. Compare, e.g., ETSI, EN 301 549 V1.1.1 (2014-02) 
with U.S. Access Board, 2011 ANPRM, Draft Updated ICT Standards and 
Guidelines, available at https://www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/communications-and-it/about-the-ict-refresh/draft-rule-2011; 
see also ETSI, EN 301 549 V1.1.2 (2015-04).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ The Joint Working Group on eAccessibility consists of the 
three European Standardization Organizations, CEN, CENELEC and ETSI.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Harmonization, however, does not necessarily mean that the 
technical requirements for accessibility are exactly the same as 
between the final rule and EN 301 549. Rather, harmonization exists 
when the two sets of technical specifications are complimentary, in the 
sense that compliance with each can be achieved simultaneously without 
conflict. The Access Board evaluated EN 301 549 on a provision-by-
provision and has determined that there are no conflicts between the 
technical requirements in the final rule and those specified in EN 301 
549. However, we also concluded that, in some situations, EN 301 549 
does not provide sufficient accessibility.\4\ This conclusion was also 
shared by several NPRM comments, principally European disability rights 
organizations. These commenters urged the Board to ``stick to its 
proposal,'' especially in relation to requirements for functional 
performance criteria, real-time text interoperability, and wideband 
audio. These commenters not only applauded the proposed rule's high 
level of harmonization achieved with EN 301 549, but also expressed 
hope that the European specification would be revised at a future date 
to conform to the clearer requirements in, and higher levels of 
accessibility achieved by, the proposed rule.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \4\ For example, the final rule and EN 301 549 vary 
significantly in their respective levels of specificity of technical 
requirements for ICT with closed functionality. In EN 301 549, the 
requirements for software with closed functionality are a subset of 
the requirements for software that does not have closed 
functionality (compare, e.g., EN 301 549 Clause 11.2.2 with EN 301 
549 11.2.1) and, as such, they fail to offer technical criteria that 
adequately and unambiguously address closed functionality. The only 
affirmative requirement for such ICT in EN 301 549 is that it be 
operable without the use of assistive technology (Clause 5.1.2.2), 
which is essentially the definition of closed functionality. EN 301 
549 does not require ICT with closed functionality to be speech 
output enabled (cf. Clause 5.1.3.1), which is critical for persons 
with limited vision. The final rule, on the other hand, 
affirmatively requires ICT with closed to have this critical 
functionality. See 402.2 (Speech-Output Enabled).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Lastly, in any event, reference to EN 301 549 would be premature at 
this time because the specification is still likely to undergo revision 
after publication of the final rule. In December 2015, the CEN/CENELEC/
ETSI Joint Working Group on eAccessibility met and concluded that 
``[a]t this moment there is consensus within [the Joint Working Group] 
on the need to revise EN 301 549 as soon as possible, with the aim to 
improve the document and to harmonize it with the next version of 
Section 508 as soon as [it] is public.'' European Joint Working Group 
on eAccessibility, Draft Minutes 9th eAcc Meeting 7 (Dec. 10, 2015), 
http://www.itu.int/en/ITU-T/jca/ahf/Documents/Doc%20219.pdf.
    For the foregoing reasons, the Access Board declines to reference 
EN 301 549 in the Revised 508 Standards or otherwise state that 
conformance with EN 301 549 equates to compliance with the final rule. 
The Revised 508 Standards' requirements closely track the EN 301 549 
phrasing where appropriate. In places where the Revised 508 Standards 
diverge from EN 301 549, the Board has done so deliberately because it 
finds that other technical requirements provide better accessibility. 
The Board anticipates providing technical assistance materials on its 
Web site to assist product manufacturers with mapping EN 301 549 
requirements to the Revised 508 Standards and vice versa.
    Additionally, several NPRM commenters pointed out to the Access 
Board that some of the specific editions of the standards proposed for 
IBR in the NPRM had been supplanted by newer editions or versions. For 
example, commenters noted that there were newer versions of ITU-T 
Recommendation G.722 and TIA 1083, which were respectively referenced 
in proposed E102.7.1 and E102.8.2. One commenter also recommended the 
Opus Codec (IETF RFC 6716) as a modern industry consensus standard for 
digital audio compression that has merits similar to ITU-T 
Recommendation G722.2. We concur with commenters and, in the final 
rule, the Board has updated the references in 702.7.2 to ITU-T 
Recommendation G.722.2, as well as the reference in 702.9.1 to TIA-
1083-B. We also have added the Opus Codec as one of the referenced 
standards for digitally encoding speech in 412.4 of the final rule. 
(Incorporation of this standard appears at 702.8.1.)
    We also made several other ``housekeeping''-type changes to the 
standards referenced in the final rule. For example, because the Access 
Board is not addressing Real-Time Text at this time, see discussion 
above Section III.D (Major Issues--Real-Time Text), we have deleted the 
RTT-related references to TIA 825-A and IETF RFC 4103. In addition, 
because the final rule specifies requirements for characters on 
variable message signs (402.5) see Section IV.G (Summary of Comments 
and Responses on Other Aspects of the Proposed Rule--Chapter 4: 
Hardware), we have added a reference to ICC A117.1-2009 (Accessible and 
Usable Buildings and Facilities) in Chapter 7. Finally, we rearranged 
the list of referenced standards in Chapter 7 by alphabetical order of 
publisher name (rather than publisher acronym), which resulted in the 
reordering of some standards.
    Finally, two commenters (an open government non-profit organization 
and an accessible ICT services provider) objected to the Access Board's 
incorporation by reference of any voluntary consensus standard that are 
was not available to the public free of charge on the ground that such 
standards were not ``reasonably available.'' While the Access Board 
agrees that making referenced standards reasonably available to 
interested parties is required under both Federal administrative law 
and regulation, see 5 U.S.C 552(a); 1 CFR part 51, we strongly disagree 
with their contention that the standards referenced in the final rule 
do not collectively meet this standard. Prior to publication of the 
final rule, Access Board staff worked with the standards developing 
organizations (SDOs) to ensure that versions of the referenced 
standards were, to the greatest extent possible, available to the 
general public either without charge or at a reduced rate. See 
discussion infra Section V.G (Regulatory Process Matters--Availability 
of Materials Incorporated by Reference). As a result, nine of the ten 
standards incorporated by reference into the final rule will be 
available online free of charge, either because the standards 
developing organization makes the standard freely available on its Web 
site or a read-only copy of the standard will be made available on one 
or more SDO's online standards portal. Id. The only exception is TIA-
1083-B, which is referenced in 412.3.2 and 702.9.1. In discussions with 
Access Board staff, the SDO (Telecommunications Industry Association) 
declined to make a read-only version of this standard available

[[Page 5821]]

online. Nonetheless, TIA-1083-B is still reasonably available by 
purchase (i.e., publisher or online standards store) or personal 
inspection without charge at the offices of either the Access Board or 
the National Archives and Records Administration. See id.; see also 
702.9 (providing information on obtaining standard from publisher).

J. Revised 508 Standards: Compliance and Effective Dates

    In the NPRM, the Board noted that it was considering making the 
Revised 508 Standards effective six months after publication in the 
Federal Register. The Board also noted it was considering deferring to 
the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council (FAR Council) to establish 
the effective date for application of the Revised 508 Standards to new 
ICT contracts awarded after publication of the FAR Council's final 
rule, as well as existing ICT contracts with award dates that precede 
that final rule.
    The Board received 11 comments regarding the compliance date (seven 
from ICT companies and trade associations, two from state/local 
governments, one from a Federal agency, and one from an individual). 
Most of the commenters supported the Board's proposal to defer to the 
FAR Council for establishing the compliance date for new and existing 
ICT contracts. However, a few of the commenters also requested more 
than the six-month delay suggested in the NPRM for application of the 
Revised 508 Standards to ICT other than procurements. These commenters 
asserted that a six-month delay was too short given the amount of 
potential remediation required for legacy technology and content, and 
the limited availability of resources to effect the changes.
    As noted in Section IV.A (Summary of Comments and Responses on 
Other Aspects of the Proposed Rule--508 Chapter 2: Scoping 
Requirements), the Board has incorporated a safe harbor into the 
Revised 508 Standards (E202.2) that, generally speaking, exempts 
unaltered, existing (legacy) ICT from having to upgrade or modify to 
conform to the Revised 508 standards. The Access Board expects that the 
addition of this safe harbor provision in the final rule substantially 
addresses some agencies' concerns about the potentially high cost of 
remediating currently-compliant legacy Web sites and other public-
facing electronic content. In addition, to allow agencies to maximize 
planning and resources for timely compliance with the Revised 508 
Standards, the Board has extended the compliance date for the Revised 
508 Standards from six months (as proposed in the ICT NPRM) to twelve 
months from the date of publication of the final rule. Prior to this 
date, agencies must continue to comply with the existing 508 Standards. 
For ease of reference, the existing 508 Standards have been republished 
as Appendix D to 36 CFR part 1194. (Note that, while the text of each 
provision provided in Appendix D remains identical to the existing 508 
Standards, the numbering for each has been revised to conform to CFR 
publication requirements.)
    This one-year compliance for the Revised 508 Standards is 
applicable to all ICT except that which is covered by the Federal 
Acquisition Regulations. The Board continues to defer to the FAR 
Council to establish the compliance date for new and existing ICT 
procurements subject to the Revised 508 Standards.
    While the compliance date for the Revised 508 Standards is one year 
from the date of publication in the Federal Register, the overall 
effective date of the rule remains 60 days from publication. On the 
effective date of the rule, the existing 255 Guidelines will be 
replaced by the Revised 255 Guidelines, which may then be considered or 
adopted by the FCC pursuant to Section 255. Once the final rule is 
effective, the FAR Council within six months will incorporate the 
Revised 508 Standards into the FAR and establish an effective date for 
application of these revised regulations to new and existing 
procurements.

V. Regulatory Process Matters

A. Final Regulatory Impact Analysis

    Executive Orders 13563 and 12866 direct agencies to propose or 
adopt a regulation only upon a reasoned determination that its benefits 
justify its costs; tailor the regulation to impose the least burden on 
society, consistent with obtaining the regulatory objectives; and, in 
choosing among alternative regulatory approaches, select those 
approaches that maximize net benefits. Important goals of regulatory 
analyses are to (1) establish whether Federal regulation is necessary 
and justified to achieve a market failure or other social goal and (2) 
demonstrate that a range of reasonably feasible regulatory alternatives 
have been considered and that the most efficient and effective 
alternative has been selected. Executive Order 13563 also recognizes 
that some benefits are difficult to quantify and provides that, where 
appropriate and permitted by law, agencies may consider and discuss 
qualitatively those values that are difficult or impossible to 
quantify, including equity, human dignity, fairness, and distributive 
impacts.
    The Access Board contracted with an economic consulting firm, 
Econometrica, Inc. (Econometrica), to prepare a final regulatory impact 
analysis (FRIA) that assesses the likely benefits and costs of the 
Revised 508 Standards and 255 Guidelines. Expected benefits are 
evaluated and discussed and likely incremental costs for new or revised 
requirements are monetized for the projected 10-year regulatory 
timeframe. A complete copy of the final regulatory assessment is 
available on the Access Board's Web site (https://www.access-board.gov/
), as well the Federal Government's online rulemaking portal (https://www.regulations.gov/).
1. Summary of Methodology, Revisions, and Overall Results
    The Final RIA embodies a comprehensive benefit-cost analysis that 
assesses the incremental costs and benefits of the Revised 508 
Standards and 255 Guidelines relative to a primary baseline. While the 
methodological framework and assumptions underlying the Final RIA 
largely mirror those used in the Preliminary RIA, the final regulatory 
assessment nonetheless does reflect some revisions that were aimed at 
incorporating more recent data, responding to public comments, or 
accounting for changes in scoping or technical requirements in the 
final rule. The Access Board believes that the resulting benefit and 
cost estimates in the Final RIA represent a reasonable measure of the 
likely effects of the final rule that can be quantified and monetized. 
However, some potentially significant benefits (and costs) from the 
Revised 508 Standards and 255 Guidelines could not be evaluated in the 
Final RIA due to lack of data or other methodological constraints. 
These unquantified benefits and costs are described qualitatively in 
the final regulatory assessment.
    On the benefits side, the Final RIA monetizes benefits under the 
Revised 508 Standards attributable to, among other things, increased 
productivity of Federal employees who are expected to benefit from 
improved ICT accessibility, time savings to members of the public from 
more accessible Federal Web sites, and reduced call volumes to Federal 
agencies as individuals with disabilities shift their inquiries and 
transactions online due to improved online accessibility. In terms of 
benefit-side revisions reflected in the Final RIA, the beneficiary 
population has been modestly expanded. In order to evaluate

[[Page 5822]]

the impact of the new functional performance criteria addressed to 
limited cognitive abilities (section 302.9) and address public 
comments, the Final RIA adds individuals with learning and intellectual 
disabilities to the group of persons expected to experience monetizable 
benefits under the final rule (collectively referred to in the Final 
RIA as ``addressable disabilities''). Additionally, in the Final RIA, 
estimates concerning time loss due to inaccessible Web sites--which 
factor into the benefits equation--were adjusted slightly downward for 
persons with vision-related disabilities and slightly upward for 
persons with other types of addressable disabilities. Assumptions 
relating to productivity benefits to Federal employees with vision 
disabilities from the Revised 508 Standards were also modestly 
increased. These adjustments to benefits assumptions were spurred by 
public comments and are supported by additional empirical research. See 
Final RIA, Section 6.
    From the cost perspective, the Final RIA separately monetizes 
likely incremental compliance costs attributable to the Revised 508 
Standards and 255 Guidelines. For Federal agencies, contractors, and 
vendors, estimated costs under the Revised 508 Standards include both 
in-house ICT (e.g., policy development, employee training, development 
of Web sites and electronic documents to ensure accessibility under 
revised standards), and procured ICT (e.g., procurement of Section 508-
compliant hardware, software, services from Federal contractors and 
vendors). To address concerns expressed by commenters that the 
Preliminary RIA did not sufficiently account for the fact that, at many 
agencies, an ever-widening range of workers are becoming actively 
involved in ensuring the accessibility of electronic content, the Final 
RIA assumes that a larger number of Federal employees (across a wide 
range of job categories) will need to receive training on the Revised 
508 Standards. In addition, to address some commenters' concerns 
regarding evaluation and remediation of covered ICT (particularly 
certain types of so-called ``legacy'' content), the final rule includes 
a ``safe-harbor'' provision that exempts existing ICT from modification 
to conform to the Revised 508 Standards so long as such ICT complies 
with the existing 508 Standards and is not altered after the date upon 
which agencies must comply with the Revised 508 Standards (one year 
from the date of publication of the final rule). As a result, no 
remediation costs are taken into account.
    For manufacturers of telecommunications and customer premises 
equipment, projected costs under the Revised 255 Guidelines relate to 
ensuring that their respective support documentation and services 
(e.g., product support Web sites and electronic support documentation) 
comply with applicable accessibility requirements in WCAG 2.0. There 
were no material changes in the Final RIA relating to cost estimates 
for Section 255-covered equipment manufacturers under the revised 
guidelines.
    The Final RIA (as with the Preliminary RIA) evaluates incremental 
benefits and costs of the final rule relative to separate baselines 
applicable to Sections 508 and 255. Baseline compliance costs to 
covered entities under the existing 508 Standards are derived from 
current spending levels for relevant ICT-related products, services, 
and personnel. Current spending by Federal agencies, vendors, and 
contractors on compliance with the existing 508 Standards is estimated 
to be $1.3 billion annually. This amount represents less than 2 percent 
of annual ICT spending, which is estimated at $88 billion to $120 
billion, depending on which products and services are included in the 
total. Baseline compliance costs for telecommunications equipment 
manufacturers under the existing 255 Guidelines for accessible product 
documentation and user support is estimated at $106 million annually. 
Taken together, overall baseline compliance costs under the existing 
508 Standards and 255 Guidelines are therefore assumed to be $1.4 
billion annually.
    Finally, it bears noting that, in recognition of budget constraints 
that may initially limit any needed increases in resources for Section 
508 compliance, Federal agencies are required to comply with the 
Revised 508 Standards one year after publication of the final rule; 
thus, Federal agencies are expected to incur incremental costs starting 
in 2018. The Final RIA also assumes that both initial costs and 
benefits under the Revised 508 Standards will be spread over three 
years, rather than the 2-year period used in the Preliminary RIA. (A 
similar 3-year implementation period is assumed for Section 255-related 
costs and benefits in recognition that software development and similar 
technology tasks typically take place over an extended period of time.)
    Table 3 below summarizes the results from the Final RIA in terms of 
likely monetized benefits and costs, on an annualized basis, from the 
Revised 508 Standards and 255 Guidelines. All benefit and cost values 
are incremental to the applicable baseline, and were estimated for a 
10-year time horizon starting in 2018 (since the final rule requires 
Federal agencies to comply one year after its publication) and 
converted to annualized values using discount rates of 7 and 3 percent. 
Three scenarios of incremental benefits and costs are presented, using 
alternative parameters that are assumptions made (not based on 
published estimates). These three scenarios include: a low net benefit 
scenario using parameters that result in lower benefits and higher 
costs; an expected scenario consisting of expected values for assumed 
parameters; and a high net benefit scenario using parameters that 
result in higher benefits and lower costs.

                 Table 3--Annualized Value of Monetized Benefits and Costs Under the Revised 508 Standards and 255 Guidelines, 2018-2027
                                                              [In millions of 2017 dollars]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                             Low net benefit scenario            Expected scenario           High net benefit scenario
                                                         -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                            7% Discount     3% Discount     7% Discount     3% Discount     7% Discount     3% Discount
                                                               rate            rate            rate            rate            rate            rate
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                             Monetized Incremental Benefits
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Benefits to Federal agencies from increased productivity           $18.2           $19.3           $47.7           $50.6          $151.8          $160.9
 by Federal employees with addressable disabilities.....

[[Page 5823]]

 
Benefits to individuals with addressable disabilities                2.8             3.0             2.8             3.0             2.8             3.0
 from improved Federal Web site accessibility...........
Benefits to Federal agencies from reduced call volumes..            10.9            11.7            21.9            23.4            32.8            35.1
                                                         -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total Annualized Value of Monetized Incremental                 32.0            34.0            72.4            77.0           187.4           199.0
     Benefits...........................................
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                               Monetized Incremental Costs
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Costs to Federal agencies, contractors, and vendors.....           276.2           287.4           122.8           181.1           111.5           117.2
    (a) In-house........................................           150.1           156.2            93.8            98.3            60.4            63.5
    (b) Procured ICT....................................           126.1           131.2            79.0            82.8            51.1            53.7
Costs to telecommunications equipment and CPE                        9.5             9.6             9.5             9.6             9.5             9.6
 manufacturers for accessible Web sites and support
 documentation..........................................
                                                         -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total Annualized Value of Monetized Incremental                285.7           296.9           182.4           190.7           121.0           126.8
     Costs..............................................
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    It is important to note that some potentially material benefits and 
costs from the Revised 508 Standards and 255 Guidelines are neither 
reflected in the table above nor monetized in the Final RIA due to lack 
of data or for other methodological constraints. These unquantified 
benefits and costs are described qualitatively below.
2. Benefits of the Final Rule
    Overall, results from the Final RIA demonstrate that the Revised 
508 Standards will likely have substantial monetizable benefits to 
Federal agencies and persons with disabilities. As shown in Table 3 
above, the annualized value of monetized benefits from these revised 
standards is estimated to be $72.4 million at a 7 percent discount rate 
over the 10-year analysis period (sensitivity estimates of $32 million 
and $187.4 million). In calculating these monetized benefits, the Final 
RIA makes the following assumptions: (a) One-third of the recurring 
annual benefits derived from accessible ICT would be realized in the 
first year of implementation, two-thirds of the recurring annual 
benefits in the second year of implementation, and full annual benefits 
would start in the third year of implementation; and (b) the number of 
individuals with vision impairments and other addressable disabilities 
who visit Federal agency Web sites will increase every year, but a 
constant proportion of those individuals will visit such Web sites 
every year.
    It is also important to note that the final rule is expected to 
generate significant benefits that could not be evaluated in the Final 
RIA, either because they were not quantified or monetized (due to lack 
of data or for other methodological reasons) or are inherently 
qualitative. Estimating the economic impact of a civil rights-based 
regulatory initiative in an area--and marketplace--as dynamic as ICT is 
a complex and difficult task. Some of these unquantified (or inherently 
unquantifiable) benefits of the Revised 508 Standards are listed in 
Table 4 below. The fact that these benefits were not be formally 
assessed in this Final RIA should not diminish their importance or 
value.

            Table 4--Unquantified Benefits of the Final Rule
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Increased employment of individuals with disabilities.
Increased ability of individuals with disabilities to obtain information
 on Federal agency Web sites and conduct transactions electronically.
Greater independence for individuals with disabilities to access
 information and services on Federal agency Web sites without
 assistance.
More civic engagement by individuals with disabilities due to improved
 access to information and services on Federal agency Web sites.
Increased ability of individuals with disabilities to evaluate,
 purchase, and make full use of telecommunications products due to
 increased accessibility of support documentation and services.
Increased ability of individuals without disabilities to access
 information and conduct their business electronically when they face
 situational limitations (in a noisy place, in a low-bandwidth
 environment, or in bright sunlight).
Potential cost savings to Federal agencies due to reduced levels of in-
 person visits and mail correspondence.
Larger pool of ICT developers and content creators with accessibility
 knowledge and skills, providing more choice to Federal agencies due to
 use of internationally recognized, industry-driven standards).
Potential cost savings to manufacturers of telecommunications and CPE,
 state and local governments, and non-profit entities, as
 internationally harmonized standards reduce costs for ICT manufacturers
 and allow them to sell a single line of accessible products and
 services across all types of markets.

[[Page 5824]]

 
Intrinsic existence value that individuals both with and without
 disabilities derive from the non-discrimination and equity values
 served by Sections 508 and 255.
Cost savings to agencies already complying with equivalent WCAG 2.0
 standards because of the availability of WCAG 2.0 support materials.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

3. Costs of the Final Rule
    The Final RIA shows that the Revised 508 Standards and 255 
Guidelines will likely increase compliance costs substantially when 
first implemented, but will thereafter result in only a small 
percentage increase in recurring annual costs in later years. Overall, 
the Final RIA estimates that the total incremental cost of the Revised 
508 Standards and 255 Guidelines is expected to be $182.4 million on an 
annualized basis over the 10-year analysis period, based on a 7 percent 
discount rate with sensitivity estimates of $285.7 million and $121 
million (see Table 3 above). It is assumed that, given a variety of 
budget constraints Federal agencies have faced in recent years, the 
one-time incremental costs would be incurred across the first three 
years of implementation.
    The Final RIA does not, however, quantify and monetize all 
potential compliance costs arising from the final rule--due primarily 
to insufficient data or for other methodological limitations. The 
impact of the Revised 255 Guidelines on telecommunications equipment 
manufacturers is, as the Final RIA notes, particularly difficult to 
quantify. (Information on the impact of the proposed guidelines was 
solicited unsuccessfully in both the 2010 and 2011 ANPRMs, as well as 
the 2015 NPRM.)
    Some of these unquantified costs of the Revised 508 Standards and 
255 Guidelines are listed in Table 5 below.

              Table 5--Unquantified Costs of the Final Rule
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Possible increase in Federal Government expenditures to provide
 accommodations if the government hires more people with addressable
 disabilities.
Possible decrease in the amount or variety of electronic content
 produced, as government seeks to reduce Section 508 compliance costs.
Potential costs to state and local governments and non-profit
 organizations that may be required to make electronic content
 accessible in order to do businesses with Federal agencies.
Potential costs to ICT manufacturers of developing and producing
 hardware and telecommunications products that comply with the revised
 accessibility requirements.
Possible increase in social costs to people with certain vision
 disabilities because they would have to use commercial screen
 magnification tools rather than turning off the style sheets (free of
 charge) in order to read Web pages.
Costs of increased compliance by foreign telecommunications
 manufacturers shifted to U.S. end users (consumers).
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In addition, incremental cost estimates in the Final RIA do not 
reflect other potentially influential factors that may occur over 
time--such as future changes in the fiscal environment and its effect 
on ICT budgets, the impact of recent government-wide initiatives to 
manage ICT more strategically, efforts to harmonize standards for a 
global ICT market, and trends in technological innovation.
4. Conclusion
    While the Final RIA estimates that incremental costs, as assessed 
and monetized in the assessment, exceed the monetized benefits of the 
final rule, this finding represents only a piece of the regulatory 
story. Today, though ICT is now woven into the very fabric of everyday 
life, millions of Americans with disabilities often find themselves 
unable to use--or use effectively--computers, mobile devices, Federal 
agency Web sites, or electronic content. The Board expects this final 
rule to be a major step toward ensuring that current and future ICT is 
more accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities--both in 
the Federal workplace and society generally. Indeed, much--if not 
most--of the benefits expected to accrue from the final rule are 
difficult if not impossible to quantify or monetize, including: greater 
social equality, human dignity, and fairness. These are all values 
that, under Executive Order 13563,\5\ may properly be considered in the 
benefit-cost calculus.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \5\ See also Office of Management and Budget, Circular A-4 
(2003); Office of Management and Budget, Regulatory Impact Analysis: 
A Primer 3 (2011), available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/inforeg/regpol/circular-a-4_regulatory-impact-analysis-a-primer.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Moreover, American companies that manufacture telecommunications 
equipment and ICT-related products would likely derive significant 
benefits from the harmonized accessibility standards. Given the 
relative lack of existing national and globally-recognized standards 
for accessibility of mobile technologies, telecommunications equipment 
manufacturers would greatly benefit from harmonization of the 255 
guidelines with consensus standards. Similar benefits would likely 
accrue more generally to all ICT-related products as a result of 
harmonization. These manufacturers would earn return on investments in 
accessibility technology, remain competitive in the global marketplace, 
and achieve economies of scale created by wider use of nationally and 
internationally recognized technical standards.
    Accordingly, when considering all unquantified benefits and costs, 
the Access Board, along with its consulting economic firm 
(Econometrica), jointly conclude that the benefits of the Revised 508 
Standards and 255 Guidelines justify its costs.
5. Potential Regulatory Alternatives
    We considered two alternative approaches to updating the existing 
508 Standards and 255 Guidelines:
     In the 2010 ANPRM, the Board proposed a set of 
requirements that were based on, but not identical to, the WCAG 2.0 
standards and other voluntary consensus standards. Comments received 
from stakeholders and the public indicated that this approach was 
potentially confusing, as Federal agencies, contractors, and vendors 
would have to make specific compliance determinations in cases where 
the language used in updated 508 Standards differed from that in the 
referenced standard.
     The Board also considered requiring ICT to comply with the 
full set of functional performance criteria, which state in general 
terms the features

[[Page 5825]]

of ICT that ensure its accessibility to people with one or more of 
different types of disabilities. Comments from stakeholders indicated 
that this approach would make it difficult for ICT producers to be able 
to determine whether or not their products and services conformed to 
the updated 508 Standards.
    Based on the public feedback on the two policy alternatives, we 
determined that the clearest and most cost-effective way to set out 
revised accessibility requirements was to identify and directly 
reference existing, voluntary consensus standards, wherever possible.

B. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) requires Federal agencies to 
analyze the impact of regulatory actions on small entities, unless an 
agency certifies that the rule will not have a significant impact on a 
substantial number of small entities. 5 U.S.C. 604, 605(b). Section 604 
of the RFA requires agencies to prepare and make available for public 
comment a final regulatory flexibility analysis describing the impact 
of the final rule on small entities. Because the Revised 255 Guidelines 
regulate non-Federal entities (e.g., telecommunications equipment 
manufacturers), these guidelines fall within the purview of the RFA. 
The Revised 508 Standards, on the other hand, directly regulate only 
Federal entities, which are not covered by the RFA. Accordingly, the 
Access Board evaluates here only the impact of the Revised 255 
Guidelines on small entities. The Board provides below a final 
regulatory flexibility analysis (Final RFA) for these final guidelines.
    Objectives of, and need for, the final rule. Section 255 of the 
Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 255), as amended, requires 
telecommunication equipment to be accessible to and usable by 
individuals with disabilities, where readily achievable. The Access 
Board is statutorily responsible for developing accessibility 
guidelines for telecommunications equipment and customer premises 
equipment (CPE). The Access Board is also required to review and update 
the guidelines periodically. The Federal Communications Commission 
(FCC), however, is solely responsible for issuing implementing 
regulations and enforcing Section 255. The FCC is not bound to adopt 
the Access Board's guidelines as its own or to use them as minimum 
standards.
    In 1998, the Board issued the existing 255 Guidelines (36 CFR part 
1193). Since then, telecommunications technology and commercial markets 
have changed dramatically, along with the usage of telecommunications 
equipment. The Access Board is thus updating the existing 255 
Guidelines to keep pace with the revolution in ICT that has occurred 
since the promulgation of the initial guidelines nearly twenty years 
ago.
    The Board's Revised 255 Guidelines will provide a much-needed 
``refresh'' of the existing 255 Guidelines, and, thereby, better 
support the access needs of individuals with disabilities, while also 
taking into account incremental compliance costs to covered 
manufacturers of CPE and telecommunications equipment. The revised 
guidelines, if adopted by the FCC, will only be applicable to new 
products to the extent that compliance is readily achievable; they do 
not require retrofitting of existing equipment or retooling. 
Manufacturers may consider costs and available resources when 
determining whether, and the extent to which, compliance is required.
    Significant issues raised by public comments in response to the 
initial regulatory flexibility analysis. The Access Board received no 
public comment in response to the initial regulatory flexibility 
analysis provided in the NPRM.
    Agency response to comments filed by the Chief Counsel for Advocacy 
of the Small Business Administration in response to the proposed rule. 
The Access Board received no comments filed by the Chief Counsel in 
response to the proposed rule.
    Description and estimate of the number of small entities to which 
the final rule will apply. The Revised 255 Guidelines cover 
manufacturers of telecommunications equipment and CPE, as well as the 
manufacturers of equipment that functions as telecommunications and 
CPE.\6\ The Board used publicly available data from the United States 
Census Bureau (Census Bureau) and Small Business Administration (SBA) 
to estimate the number of small businesses that potentially would be 
affected by the revised guidelines, as well as the likely economic 
impact of these guidelines.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \6\ Examples of CPE include wireline and wireless telephones or 
computers when employed on the premises of a person to originate, 
route, or terminate telecommunications (e.g., Internet telephony, 
interconnected VoIP). Only a computer with a modem or internet 
telephony software can function as telecommunications equipment and 
only the modem functions are associated with telecommunications. 
Therefore, the requirements of the final rule apply only to the 
modem or internet telephony software functions and incidental 
functions required for turning the computer on and launching the 
telecommunications programs. All other functions of the computer not 
related to telecommunications would not be covered, such as word 
processing or file searching or video conferencing.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    To determine the number of small businesses potentially subject to 
the Revised 255 Guidelines, the Board reviewed SBA's small business 
size standards for ICT-related industry classifications, based on the 
North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).\7\ The Board 
determined that three NAICS-based industry classifications may be 
subject to the Revised 255 Guidelines. These industry categories and 
their accompanying six-digit NAICS codes are: (a) NAICS Code 334111--
Electronic and Computer Manufacturing; (b) NAICS Code 334210--Telephone 
Apparatus Manufacturing; and (c) NAICS Code 334220--Radio and 
Television Broadcasting and Wireless Communications Equipment 
Manufacturing. The Board then matched these three NAICS classifications 
with SBA size standards (based on number of employees) to determine the 
number of small businesses within each respective classification.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \7\ The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is 
the standard used by Federal statistical agencies to classify 
business establishments. The Census Bureau provides detailed NAICS 
information on the agency's Web site. See U.S. Census Bureau, 
Introduction to NAICS, http://www.census.gov/eos/www/naics/. SBA 
provides, on its Web site, small business size standards for each 
NAICS code. See U.S. Small Business Administration, Table of Small 
Business Size Standards, https://www.sba.gov/contracting/getting-started-contractor/make-sure-you-meet-sba-size-standards/table-small-business-size-standards (updated Feb. 26, 2016).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Table 6 below provides the potential number of small businesses, 
based on SBA size standards, for each of the three categories of 
telecommunications and customer premises equipment manufacturers (by 
NAICS code) that may be affected by the Revised 255 Guidelines.

[[Page 5826]]



                  Table 6--Small Businesses Potentially Affected by the Revised 255 Guidelines
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                              SBA small business     Number of       Number of
            NAICS code                  Industry title          size standard          firms       small firms *
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
334111...........................  Electronic Computer       1,250 or fewer                  382             365
                                    Manufacturing.            employees.
334210...........................  Telephone Apparatus       1,250 or fewer                  249             231
                                    Manufacturing.            employees.
334220...........................  Radio and Television      1,250 or fewer                  748             702
                                    Broadcasting and          employees.
                                    Wireless Communications
                                    Equipment Manufacturing.
                                                                                 -------------------------------
    Total........................  ........................  ...................           1,379           1,298
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    A few notes are in order about the foregoing estimates of the 
number of small firms potentially affected by the Revised 255 
Guidelines. First, because all telephone equipment is covered by 
Section 255, all entities included in the telephone apparatus 
manufacturing category (334210) are necessarily subject to the 
guidelines. However, not all entities in the remaining two industry 
categories (334220 and 334111) are covered by the revised guidelines 
because many of these entities may manufacture only equipment that 
falls outside the scope of Section 255. For example, only radio and 
broadcasting equipment that meets the statutory definition of 
telecommunications (that is, ``the transmission, between or among 
points specified by the user, of information of the user's choosing, 
without change in the form or content of the information as sent and 
received''), is covered by the revised guidelines. Also, computers 
lacking modems or Internet telephony software are not covered by the 
revised guidelines. However, the Board lacks quantitative information 
to differentiate regulated from non-regulated manufacturing firms 
within these two NAICS categories, as well as to determine how many of 
the ``small businesses'' in each NAICS category are subject to the 
final guidelines. The number of small entities listed in Table 6 that 
may be affected by the Revised 255 Guidelines should, therefore, be 
considered an upper-bound estimate.
    Second, the number of small firms listed under each NAICS code may 
include an unknown (though likely small) number of firms that modestly 
exceed the applicable SBA size standard. This potential over count 
results from a disconnect between the particular SBA size standard for 
these three NAICS classifications (1,250 or fewer employees) and the 
manner in which annual economic statistics for U.S. businesses are 
compiled by the Census Bureau and SBA. Specifically, the Census 
Bureau's annual ``Statistics of United States Businesses'' (which is 
also used by SBA) presents firm size-based data by various 
predetermined size ``bands'' only, the closest of which is the size 
band for businesses with 1,000 to 1,499 employees. Because there is no 
principled way to segment firms employing 1,250 or fewer persons from 
other firms falling within the 1,000-to-1,499 employee size band, all 
firms in this size band are deemed ``small businesses'' for purposes of 
this Final RFA.
    Third, given that manufacturers of telecommunications equipment and 
CPE must comply with Section 255 only to the extent such compliance is 
``readily achievable'' (i.e., easily accomplishable and able to be 
carried out without much difficulty or expense), there will likely be 
some small firms for which compliance with the final guidelines will 
prove too difficult or expensive. This is not a new proposition. Under 
both the existing guidelines and current FCC regulations, compliance 
for manufacturing firms of all sizes is limited by the readily 
achievable limitation, though it necessarily applies with greater 
frequency to smaller entities. (See 36 CFR 1193.21; 47 CFR 6.3(g)). The 
Access Board also understands that many small firms in the three NAICS 
categories relevant to this analysis serve as partners or suppliers to 
larger firms that provide a full range of products and services. For 
these reasons, the Board assumes that many small firms identified in 
Table 6--particularly those with fewer than 20 employees--likely would 
not incur new costs under the Revised 255 Guidelines. Accordingly, the 
mid-point estimate for the number of small businesses that may be 
affected by the Revised 255 Guidelines is assumed to be small firms 
that meet the applicable SBA size standard and employ twenty or more 
workers.
    Description of the projected reporting, record keeping, and other 
compliance requirements for small entities. As discussed above, the 
Revised 255 Guidelines contain many requirements that are similar to 
the existing guidelines. There is, however, one new accessibility 
requirement (final 602.3) in the revised guidelines. Section 602.3 
requires manufacturers of telecommunications equipment and CPE to make 
their electronic support documentation (such as Web-based self-service 
support and electronic manuals) accessible for users with disabilities 
by ensuring that such documentation conforms to all applicable Level A 
and Level AA Success Criteria and Conformance Requirements in WCAG 2.0. 
This new requirement for accessible electronic documentation would 
potentially impose new costs on small manufacturing firms. The Final 
RIA develops estimated incremental costs, heavily relying on the cost 
methodology used by the Department of Transportation (DOT) in the 
regulatory assessment of its recent final rule requiring, among other 
things, airlines to make their Web sites accessible to persons with 
disabilities.\8\ (See Section V.A--Regulatory Process Matters--Final 
Regulatory Impact Analysis).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \8\ Dept. of Transportation, Nondiscrimination on the Basis of 
Disability in Air Travel: Accessibility of Web Sites and Automated 
Kiosks at U.S. Airports, 78 FR 67882 (Nov. 12, 2013); Econometrica, 
Inc., Final Regulatory Analysis on the Final Rule on Accessible 
Kiosks and Web Sites (Oct. 23, 2013), available at https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=DOT-OST-2011-0177-0108; see also 
Preliminary RIA, Sections 6.3, 8.11
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Based on the methodology and estimates used in the Final RIA, the 
Board's Final RFA assesses potential compliance costs under the Revised 
255 Guidelines for small manufacturers of telecommunications equipment 
and CPE based on estimated (a) one-time costs to create accessible 
electronic support documentation and Web sites, and (b) recurring, 
annual maintenance costs. One-time costs are assumed to be spread 
equally over the first three years (i.e., one-third of covered firms 
realizing costs in the first year, and the other two-thirds equally in 
years two and three), with annual maintenance costs incurred thereafter 
for the remainder of the 10-year regulatory horizon. Estimated 
compliance costs are based on firm size. For small businesses with 100 
or more employees, average one-time costs are

[[Page 5827]]

assumed to be $125,000 for bringing their respective support 
documentation and Web sites into compliance with the revised 
guidelines. For firms with fewer than 100 employees, average per-firm 
one-time costs under the revised guidelines are assumed to be $25,000. 
Annual recurring maintenance costs are estimated as twenty percent of 
one-time costs regardless of firm size.
    Using these cost assumptions, the Final RFA evaluates the monetary 
impact of the Revised 255 Guidelines from three perspectives. The first 
scenario uses the upper-bound estimate for small businesses that may be 
affected by the final guidelines (i.e., all small firms meeting SBA 
size standards) to assess total one-time and annual maintenance costs 
across all affected industry categories. These costs, which should be 
considered an upper-bound estimate, are reflected below:

           Table 7--Estimated Incremental Costs for Small Firms Subject to the Revised 255 Guidelines
                                          [Scenario 1--all small firms]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                   Firms meeting
                                     SBA small     Average one-   Total one-time  Average annual   Total annual
            Firm size              business size   time cost per       costs        maintenance     maintenance
                                     standards         firm                        cost per firm       costs
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
100 or more employees...........             136        $125,000     $17,000,000         $25,000      $3,400,000
99 or fewer employees...........           1,162          25,000      29,050,000           5,000       5,810,000
                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total.......................           1,298  ..............      46,050,000  ..............       9,210,000
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Second, to reflect the reality that compliance may not be readily 
achievable for the smallest firms (and, as well, the fact that such 
firms often serve as suppliers to larger firms and thus may not be 
covered by Section 255), the second scenario uses the mid-point 
estimate for small businesses that may be affected by the revised 
guidelines (i.e., small firms that meet the SBA size standard and have 
twenty or more employees) to assess total one-time and annual 
maintenance costs across all industry categories. These costs, which 
should be considered a mid-point estimate, are reflected below:

           Table 8--Estimated Incremental Costs for Small Firms Subject to the Revised 255 Guidelines
                               [Scenario 2--small firms with 20 or more employees]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                   Firms meeting
                                     SBA small     Average one-   Total one-time  Average annual   Total annual
            Firm size              business size   time cost per       costs        maintenance     maintenance
                                     standards         firm                        cost per firm       costs
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
100 or more employees...........             136        $125,000     $17,000,000         $25,000      $3,400,000
20-99 employees.................             284          25,000       7,100,000           5,000       1,420,000
                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total.......................             420  ..............      24,100,000  ..............       4,820,000
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Third, to assess the magnitude of potential compliance costs for 
small businesses under the Revised 255 Guidelines relative to annual 
receipts, the third scenario evaluates the ratio of average annualized 
costs per-firm to average receipts per firm for each of the three NAICS 
codes. Average annualized costs represent the per-firm stream of 
estimated one-time and recurring annual costs over the 10-year 
regulatory horizon at a 7 percent discount rate. Annualized costs are 
assumed to be consistent across the three NAICS codes for each of the 
two studied small firm sizes (i.e., more or less than 100 employees) 
because the Board does not have NAICS code-based data differentiating 
receipts by firm size. Annual estimated average per-firm receipts for 
each NAICS code, in turn, are derived from the 2012 annual dataset of 
the Statistics of United States Businesses (SUSB) compiled by the 
Census Bureau. The ratio of average per-firm annualized costs and 
annual per-firm receipts is then calculated for each NACIS code and 
firm size, with the resulting percentage serving as a metric to 
evaluate the relative economic significance of compliance costs to 
small businesses under the Revised 255 Guidelines.
    The results are presented below in two separate tables by the size 
(in terms of number of employees) of small firms covered by Section 
255.

    Table 9--Annualized Per-Firm Costs as a Percentage of Per-Firm Receipts for Small Firms With 100 or More
                                                    Employees
                                                 [By NAICS Code]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                  Annualized per-
                                                                  Annualized per-  Average per-    firm costs as
             NAICS code                     Industry title        firm costs (7%    firm annual   percent of per-
                                                                  discount rate)    receipts *      firm annual
                                                                                                     receipts
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
334111.............................  Electronic Computer                 $34,883    $129,699,213            0.03
                                      Manufacturing.

[[Page 5828]]

 
334210.............................  Telephone Apparatus                  34,883      67,998,062            0.05
                                      Manufacturing.
334220.............................  Radio and Television                 34,883      63,164,314            0.06
                                      Broadcasting and Wireless
                                      Communications Equipment
                                      Manufacturing.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Note: Average per-firm annual receipts based on data from the Census Bureau's 2012 annual SUSB dataset. See
  U.S. Census Bureau, 2012 SUSB Annual Datasets by Establishment Industry, U.S. 6-digit NAICS, detailed
  employment sizes (release date June 22, 2015).\9\

     
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \9\ SUSB employer data is collected and produced by the U.S 
Census and contains, for each NAICS code, such information as: 
Number of firms, employment figures, estimated annual receipts, and 
annual payroll. In accordance with Federal law, certain SUSB data 
elements are ``masked'' (e.g., receipts for a particular 
establishment size range) when publication would disclose the 
identity of individual business establishments. See U.S. Census 
Bureau, Statistics of U.S Businesses (SUSB)--Methodology, http://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/susb/technical-documentation/methodology.html (last revised June 8, 2016); see also 13 U.S.C. 9. 
As a result, when calculating average per-firm annual receipts 
presented for each NAICS codes in Table 9 and Table 10, it was 
occasionally necessary to estimate missing data elements using other 
available, pertinent data for that NAICS code.

     Table 10--Annualized Per-Firm Costs as a Percentage of Per-Firm Receipts for Small Firms With 20 and 99
                                                    Employees
                                                 [By NAICS Code]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                  Annualized per-
                                                                  Annualized per-  Average per-    firm costs as
             NAICS code                     Industry title        firm costs (7%    firm annual   percent of per-
                                                                  discount rate)    receipts *      firm annual
                                                                                                     receipts
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
334111.............................  Electronic Computer                  $7,305     $11,654,754            0.06
                                      Manufacturing.
334210.............................  Telephone Apparatus                   7,305      10,602,855            0.07
                                      Manufacturing.
334220.............................  Radio and Television                  7,305      12,352,012            0.06
                                      Broadcasting and Wireless
                                      Communications Equipment
                                      Manufacturing.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Note: Average per-firm annual receipts based on data from the Census Bureau's 2012 annual SUSB dataset. See
  U.S. Census Bureau, 2012 SUSB Annual Datasets by Establishment Industry, U.S. 6-digit NAICS, detailed
  employment sizes (release date June 22, 2015).

    The results of these annualized cost/receipt analyses demonstrate 
that incremental costs of the Revised 255 Guidelines for small 
businesses--whether larger or smaller than 100 employees--are expected 
to be minimal relative to firm receipts. In no case would this ratio 
exceed one-tenth of one percent, with values ranging from a low of 
0.03% to a high of 0.07%. Accordingly, based on the foregoing analysis, 
the Board does not believe that the Revised 255 Guidelines are likely 
to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities.
    Description of significant alternatives to the Revised 255 
Guidelines. In the Board's view, there are no alternatives to the final 
guidelines that would accomplish the goal of meeting the access needs 
of individuals with disabilities, while taking into account compliance 
costs of manufacturers of telecommunications equipment and CPE.

C. Executive Order 13132: Federalism

    The final rule adheres to the fundamental Federalism principles and 
policy making criteria in Executive Order 13132. The Revised 508 
Standards apply to the development, procurement, maintenance, or use of 
ICT by Federal agencies. The Revised 255 Guidelines apply to 
manufacturers of telecommunications equipment and customer premises 
equipment and require that equipment is designed, developed, and 
fabricated to be accessible to and usable by individuals with 
disabilities, if it is readily achievable to do so. As such, the Board 
has determined that the final rule does not have Federalism 
implications within the meaning of Executive Order 13132.

D. Executive Order 13609: Promoting International Regulatory 
Cooperation

    Executive Order 13609 serves to promote international regulatory 
cooperation and harmonization. The Board has promoted the principles of 
the executive order by making concerted efforts with a number of 
foreign governments throughout the development of the Revised 508 
Standards and 255 Guidelines. For example, the Board and the European 
Commission have made significant efforts to coordinate development of 
their respective ICT standards. This cooperation began with the 2005 
EU-US Economic Initiative (http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2006/june/tradoc_127643.pdf) and our participation in regular meetings with 
the U.S. Trade Representative's office and the European Commission in 
discussions on e-accessibility around

[[Page 5829]]

the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). These 
cooperative efforts continued through the joint work of the Access 
Board and representatives from the European Commission, Canada, 
Australia, and Japan on the TEITAC Advisory Committee, which helped 
inform the requirements in the proposed 508 Standards and 255 
Guidelines. In our view, the Revised 508 Standards and 255 Guidelines 
are the product of the Board's coordination with international 
regulatory partners, which will ultimately help American companies 
better compete globally.

E. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act does not apply to regulations that 
enforce constitutional rights of individuals or enforce statutory 
rights that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, 
national origin, age, handicap, or disability. The Revised 508 
Standards are issued pursuant to the Rehabilitation Act. When Federal 
agencies develop, procure, maintain, or use electronic and information 
technology, they are required to ensure that the electronic and 
information technology allows Federal employees with disabilities to 
have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to 
the access enjoyed by Federal employees without disabilities, unless 
doing so would impose an undue burden on the agency. The statute also 
requires that members of the public with disabilities seeking 
information or services from a Federal agency have access to and use of 
information and data that is comparable to that provided to other 
members of the public unless doing so would impose an undue burden on 
the agency. The Revised 255 Guidelines, in turn, are issued pursuant to 
Section 255 of the Communications Act, which requires manufacturers of 
telecommunications equipment and customer premises equipment to ensure 
that the equipment is designed, developed, and fabricated to be 
accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, if it is 
readily achievable to do so. Accordingly, an assessment of the effect 
of the Revised 508 Standards and 255 Guidelines on state, local, and 
tribal governments is not required by the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.

F. Paperwork Reduction Act

    The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501-3521) 
requires Federal agencies to obtain approval from the Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) before requesting or requiring a 
``collection of information'' from the public. As part of the PRA 
process, agencies are generally required to provide a 60-day notice in 
the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information 
to solicit, among other things, comment on the necessity of the 
information collection and its estimated burden. 44 U.S.C. 
3506(c)(2)(A). The 255 Guidelines, in both their existing and revised 
form, impose PRA-covered ``information collection'' obligations on 
manufacturers of telecommunications equipment and customer premises 
equipment by requiring such manufacturers to ensure that their support 
documentation and services meet specified accessibility requirements. 
Accordingly, in the NPRM, the Board published a notice of proposed 
collection of information to accompany the proposed revisions to the 
existing 255 Guidelines. The Board received one responsive comment, 
which addressed our estimated PRA-related time burdens under the 
proposed guidelines. We discuss below our estimates under the Revised 
255 Guidelines of the projected annual time burden (in hours) on 255-
covered manufacturers to make their support documentation and services 
accessible.
    Section C206, in conjunction with the technical provisions in 
Chapter 6 (Support Documentation and Services), obligates manufacturers 
of telecommunications equipment and customer premises equipment to 
provide accessible support documentation and services, which constitute 
``collections of information'' under the PRA. More specifically, the 
revised guidelines require covered manufacturers, when providing 
support documentation and services, to ensure accessibility for 
individuals with disabilities in four respects: (1) Support 
documentation must list, and explain how to use, accessibility and 
compatibility features of telecommunications products (602.2); (2) 
electronic support documentation must conform to WCAG 2.0 (602.3); (3) 
non-electronic support documentation must be provided upon request in 
alternate formats (e.g., braille, large print) usable by individuals 
with disabilities (602.4); and (4) support services (e.g., help desks, 
call centers) must offer information on accessibility and compatibility 
features, as well as ensure a contact method that accommodates the 
communication needs of individuals with disabilities (603.2 and 603.3).
    Taken together, these four accessibility requirements in the final 
rule impose PRA-covered information collection obligations on Section 
255-covered manufacturers that are generally similar to those under the 
existing 255 Guidelines (which previously received PRA approval from 
OMB) (OMB Control Number 3014-0010), though compliance with WCAG 2.0 is 
new. The Revised 255 Guidelines do establish a new information 
collection by requiring that covered manufacturers ensure their 
electronic support documentation (such as Web-based self-service 
support or PDF user guides) complies with specified accessibility 
standards (602.3).
    The Board estimates the annual burden on manufacturers of 
telecommunications equipment and customer premises equipment for the 
four categories of information collections under the final rule as 
follows:

                        Table 11--Estimated Annual Recordkeeping and Documentation Burden
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                      Average        Estimated
        Provision in final rule            Number of        Annual number of       response time   annual burden
                                          respondents   responses per respondent      (hours)         (hours)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Section 602.2.........................           1,379  6.......................             1.5          12,411
Section 602.3.........................           1,379  95% of 6................             300       2,358,090
Section 602.4.........................           1,379  5% of 6.................              25          10,343
Section 603...........................           1,379  6.......................              .5           4,137
                                       -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total.............................  ..............  ........................  ..............       2,384,981
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 5830]]

    These estimates are based on the Access Board's experience with the 
current information collection requirements under the existing 255 
Guidelines, as well as public comment received in response to the 2010 
and 2011 ANPRMs. (While the Board received one comment to the 2015 NPRM 
suggesting that our assumptions about average response times were too 
high, for the reasons discussed below, we believe these time estimates 
are sound and have carried them forward to this PRA analysis.)
    Highlighted below are the key assumptions used in the burden 
estimation calculus reflected above in Table 11:
    Number of respondents. The estimated number of manufacturers of 
telecommunications equipment and customer premises equipment (1,384) is 
based on Census Bureau/NAICS data for the three ICT-related industry 
classifications potentially subject to the Revised 255 Guidelines. (See 
Section V.B (Regulatory Process Matters--Regulatory Flexibility Act)).
    Number of responses annually per manufacturer. The number of annual 
responses for each manufacturer (6) is based on the estimated number of 
new products released in 2013 according to the Consumer Electronic 
Association.
    Average response time. The Access Board estimates the average 
response time to comply with the accessibility requirements in Chapter 
6 of the Revised 255 Guidelines as follows:
     Section 602.2--The estimated response time assumes that 
documenting the accessibility and compatibility features will take 1.5 
hours for each new product.
     Section 602.3--The estimated response time assumes that 
development of accessible electronic support documentation will take 
300 hours for each new product. This estimate, in turn, is based on the 
assumption that each product will have, on average, 200 pages of 
electronic documentation, and that each page will require 1.5 hours of 
formatting and editing to comply with WCAG 2.0. With respect to the 
annual number of responses for each manufacturer, it is assumed that 
support documentation for nearly all new products will be provided in 
an electronic format given current trends in the telecommunications 
industry. Specifically, it is estimated that 95 percent of the six new 
products introduced annually by each manufacturer (7,889 products) will 
have electronic support documentation that must conform to the 
accessibility requirements for electronic support documentation in 
602.3.
    An NPRM commenter expressed concern that our time estimate of 1.5 
hours per page to make electronic support documentation compliant with 
WCAG 2.0 was overly generous, stating that 10 to 20 minutes per page 
would be more likely. In our experience, while text-only or other less 
complex documents may well take, on average, only 10 to 20 minutes per 
page to ensure accessibility, the electronic documents at issue here--
user manuals and Web-based self-service support--are typically more 
complex and often feature pictures, graphics, or tables interspersed 
with textual material. This complexity would likely make the process of 
ensuring compliance with applicable accessibility requirements more 
time intensive as compared to text-only documents. Consequently, to be 
conservative, we have retained the 1.5 hours per page assumption used 
in both the NPRM and Preliminary RIA.
     Section 602.4--The estimated response time assumes that 
development of accessible non-electronic support documentation in 
alternate formats (e.g., braille, large print) will take 25 hours for 
each new product. With respect to the annual number of responses for 
each manufacturer, it is assumed that support documentation for only a 
few new products will have support documentation in a non-electronic 
format in recognition of the fact that most support documentation is 
now posted online or otherwise provided in electronic formats. Thus, it 
is assumed that only 5 percent of the six new products introduced 
annually by each manufacturer (415 products) will have non-electronic 
support documentation that must conform to 602.4.
     Section 603.1--The estimated response time assumes that, 
for each new product in a given year, manufacturers will receive three 
10-minute telephone calls to support centers (or emails or chat-based 
interactions) from individuals with disabilities seeking information on 
the accessibility and compatibility features of these products.

G. Availability of Materials Incorporated by Reference

    Regulations issued by the Office of the Federal Register (OFR) 
require Federal agencies to describe in their regulatory preambles the 
steps taken to ensure that incorporated materials are reasonably 
available to interested parties, as well as summarize the contents of 
referenced standards. See 1 CFR part 51.
    In keeping with these obligations for materials that are 
incorporated by reference in the Revised 508 Standards and 255 
Guidelines, the Access Board provides below: (a) Information on the 
public availability of these ten standards (or, alternatively, how 
Access Board staff attempted to secure the availability of these 
materials to the public at no cost or reduced cost, if not already 
publicly available free of charge by the standards development 
organization); and (b) summaries of the materials to be incorporated by 
reference. In addition to the information provided below relating to 
public availability, a copy of each referenced standard is available 
for inspection at the Access Board's office, 1331 F Street NW., Suite 
1000, Washington, DC 20004.

ATSC A/53 Part 5: 2014, Digital Television Standard, Part 5--2014 AC-3 
Audio System Characteristics (2014) (see 414.1.1, 702.2.1). The 
standard for digital television provides the system characteristics for 
advanced television systems. The document and its normative parts 
provide detailed specification of system parameters. Part 5 provides 
the audio system characteristics and normative specifications. It 
includes the Visually Impaired (VI) associated service, which is a 
complete program mix containing music, effects, dialogue and a 
narrative description of the picture content. Availability: Copies of 
this standard may be obtained from the Advanced Television Systems 
Committee (ATSC), 1776 K Street NW., Suite 200, Washington, DC 20006-
2304. Free copies of ATSC A/53 Digital Television Standard are 
available online at the organization's Web site (https://atsc.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/A53-Part-5-2014.pdf).
ANSI/AIIM/ISO 14289-1-2016, Document Management Applications--
Electronic Document File Format Enhancement for Accessibility--Part 1: 
Use of ISO 32000-1 (2016) (PDF/UA-1) (see 504.2.2, 702.3.1). This 
standard (known as PDF/UA-1) defines how to represent electronic 
documents in the PDF format in a manner that allows the file to be 
accessible. This is accomplished by identifying the set of PDF 
components that may be used and restrictions on the form of their use. 
Availability: Copies of this standard may be obtained from Association 
for Information and Image Management (AIIM), 1100 Wayne Ave., Ste. 
1100, Silver

[[Page 5831]]

Spring, Maryland 20910. This standard is available without cost to AIIM 
professional members and for a small fee ($15.00) by other members of 
the public through the AIIM Web site (http://www.aiim.org/Resources/Standards/AIIM_ISO_14289-1). It is also the Board's understanding, 
based on discussions with the standards developer, that a free, read-
only copy of the referenced portions of ANSI/HFES 200.2 would be made 
available on ANSI's IBR Standards Portal (https://ibr.ansi.org/Standards/hfes.aspx) following publication of the final rule.
ANSI/HFES 200.2, Human Factors Engineering of Software User 
Interfaces--Part 2: Accessibility (2008) (see 502.4, 702.4.1). This 
standard provides design specifications for human-system software 
interfaces to increase accessibility for persons with disabilities. It 
covers the design of accessible software for people with a wide range 
of physical, sensory and cognitive abilities, including those with 
temporary disabilities and older adults. Availability: Copies of this 
standard may be obtained from the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 
(HFES), P.O. Box 1369, Santa Monica, CA 90406-1369. This standard is 
also available for purchase on the HFES Web site (http://www.hfes.org). 
In discussions with Access Board staff, an HFES senior representative 
noted that, consistent with the Society's standard practice of making 
read-only copies of standards available when incorporated by reference 
into Federal regulations, a free, read-only copy of the referenced 
portions of ANSI/HFES 200.2 would be made available on ANSI's IBR 
Standards Portal (https://ibr.ansi.org/Standards/hfes.aspx) following 
publication of the final rule.
ANSI/IEEE C63.19-2011 American National Standard for Methods of 
Measurement of Compatibility between Wireless Communications Devices 
and Hearing Aids (2011) (see 412.3.1, 702.5.1). This standard provides 
a uniform method of measurement for compatibility between hearing aids 
and wireless communications devices. Availability: Copies of this 
standard may be obtained from the Institute of Electrical and 
Electronics Engineers (IEEE), 10662 Los Vaqueros Circle, P.O. Box 3014, 
Los Alamitos, CA 90720-1264. This standard is also available for 
purchase on the IEEE Web site (http://www.ieee.org). Additionally, a 
free, read-only version of ANSI/IEEE C63.19-2011 is available on the 
ANSI IBR Standards Portal.
ICC A117.1-2009, Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities (2010) 
(see 402.5, 702.6.1). This standard provides technical criteria for 
making sites, facilities, buildings, and elements accessible to and 
usable by people with disabilities. Availability: Copies of this 
standard may be obtained from ICC Publications, 4051 W. Flossmoor Road, 
Country Club Hills, IL 60478-5795 (http://www.iccsafe.org). A free, 
read-only version of ICC A117.1 is available online at the ICC's public 
access standards portal (http://codes.iccsafe.org/app/book/toc/ICC%20Standards/ICC%20A117.1-2009/index.html).
ITU-T Recommendation E.161, Series E: Overall Network Operation, 
Telephone Service, Service Operation and Human Factors--International 
operation--Numbering plan of the international telephone service, 
Arrangement of digits, letters and symbols on telephones and other 
devices that can be used for gaining access to a telephone network 
(2001) (see 407.3.3, 702.7.1). This standard defines the assignment of 
the basic 26 Latin letters (A to Z) to the 12-key telephone keypad. 
Availability: This standard may be obtained from ITU-T, Place des 
Nations CH-1211, Geneva 20, Switzerland. Free copies of ITU-T 
Recommendation E.161 are available online at the organization's Web 
site (http://www.itu.int/rec/T-REC-E.161-200102-I/en).
ITU-T Recommendation G.722.2: Series G: Transmission Systems and Media, 
Digital Systems and Networks, Digital terminal equipments--Coding of 
analogue signals by methods other than PCM, Wideband coding of speech 
at around 16 kbit/s using Adaptive Multi-Rate Wideband (AMR-WB) (2003) 
(see 412.4, 702.7.2). This standard describes the high quality Adaptive 
Multi-Rate Wideband (AMR-WB) encoder and decoder that is primarily 
intended for 7 kHz bandwidth speech signals. AMR-WB operates at a 
multitude of bit rates ranging from 6.6 kbit/s to 23.85 kbit/s. 
Availability: This standard may be obtained from the International 
Telecommunication Union, Telecommunications Standardization Sector 
(ITU-T), Place des Nations CH-1211, Geneva 20, Switzerland. Free copies 
of ITU-T Recommendation G.722.2 are available online at the 
organization's Web site (http://www.itu.int/rec/T-REC-G.722.2-200307-I/en).
IETF RFC 6716, Definition of the Opus Audio Codec (2012) (see 412.4, 
702.8.1). This standard establishes specifications that define the Opus 
interactive speech and audio codec. The Opus codec is designed to 
handle a wide range of interactive audio applications, including Voice 
over IP, videoconferencing, in-game chat, and even live, distributed 
music performances. This codec scales from low bitrate narrowband 
speech at 6 kbit/s to very high quality stereo music at 510 kbit/s. 
Availability: Free copies of this standard are available online at the 
Internet Engineering Task Force's Web site (http://www.rfc-base.org/txt/rfc-6716.txt).
TIA-1083-B: Telecommunications--Communications Products--Handset 
Magnetic Measurement Procedures and Performance Requirements (2015) 
(TIA-1083-B) (see 412.3.2, 702.9.1). This standard defines measurement 
procedures and performance requirements for the handset generated audio 
band magnetic noise of wireline telephones. This standard also 
addresses magnetic interference issues not covered by 47 CFR part 68. 
This standard can be used to evaluate devices with analog interfaces 
and digital interfaces that provide narrowband and wideband 
transmission. Availability: Copies of this standard, which is published 
by the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), may be obtained 
from the IHS Standard Store (IHS), 15 Inverness Way East, Englewood, CO 
80112. This standard is also available for purchase on the IHS Markit 
Standards Store (http://www.global.ihs.com). In March 2016, Access 
Board staff spoke with TIA representatives to explore potential options 
for making TIA-1083-B readily available to the public. TIA took the 
position that this standard is available for sale and is, therefore, 
reasonably available.
WCAG 2.0, Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, W3C Recommendation 
(2008) (see E205.4, E205.4 Exception, E205.4.1, E207.2, E207.2 
Exception 2, E207.2 Exception 3,

[[Page 5832]]

E207.2.1, E207.3, C203.1, C203.1 Exception, C203.1.1, C205.2, C205.2 
Exception 2, C205.2 Exception 3, C205.2.1, C205.3, 408.3 Exception, 
501.1 Exception, 504.2, 504.3, 504.4, 602.3, and 702.10.1). WCAG 2.0, 
published by the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (W3C), specifies 
success criteria and requirements to make Web content more accessible 
to all users, including persons with disabilities. The W3C Web site 
also provides online technical assistance materials linked to each 
success criteria and technical requirement. Availability: Copies of 
this standard may be obtained from the W3C Web Accessibility 
Initiative, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 32 Vassar Street, 
Room 32-G515, Cambridge, MA 02139. Free copies of WCAG 2.0, and its 
related technical assistance materials, are available online at W3C's 
Web site (http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20).

List of Subjects

36 CFR Part 1193

    Civil rights, Communications, Communications equipment, 
Incorporation by reference, Individuals with disabilities, Reporting 
and recordkeeping requirements, Telecommunications.

36 CFR Part 1194

    Civil rights, Communications, Communications equipment, Computer 
technology, Electronic products, Government employees, Government 
procurement, Incorporation by reference, Individuals with disabilities, 
Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Telecommunications.

    Approved by vote of the Access Board on September 14, 2016.
David M. Capozzi,
Executive Director.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, and under the authority of 
47 U.S.C. 255(e), the Board amends 36 CFR chapter XI as follows:

PART 1193--[REMOVED]

0
1. Remove part 1193.

PART 1194--INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY STANDARDS AND 
GUIDELINES

0
2. The authority citation for part 1194 is revised to read as follows:

    Authority: 29 U.S.C. 794d, 47 U.S.C. 255.


0
3. The heading for part 1194 is revised to read as set forth above.

0
4. Remove the designations of subparts A through D.

0
5. Add appendix D to part 1194 to read as follows:

Appendix D to Part 1194--Electronic and Information Technology 
Accessibility Standards as Originally Published on December 21, 2000

    Sections D1194.6 through D1194.20 [Reserved]
    Sections D1194.27 through D1194.30 [Reserved]
    Sections D1194.32 through D1194.40 [Reserved]
    Sections D1194.42 through D1194.50 [Reserved]


Sec. Sec.  1194.1 through 1194.5  [Transferred to Appendix D to Part 
1194 as Sections D1194.1 through D1194.5]

0
6. Redesignate Sec. Sec.  1194.1 through 1194.5 as sections D1194.1 
through D1194.5, respectively, and transfer to appendix D to part 1194.


Sec. Sec.  1194.21 through 1194.26  [Transferred to Appendix D to Part 
1194 as Sections D1194.21 through D1194.26]

0
7. Redesignate Sec. Sec.  1194.21 through 1194.26 as sections D1194.21 
through D1194.26, respectively, and transfer to appendix D to part 
1194.


Sec.  1194.31  [Transferred to Appendix D to Part 1194 as Section 
D1194.31]

0
8. Redesignate Sec.  1194.31 as section D1194.31 and transfer to 
appendix D to part 1194.


Sec.  1194.41  [Transferred to Appendix D to Part 1194 as Section 
D1194.41]

0
9. Redesignate Sec.  1194.41 as section D1194.41 and transfer to 
appendix D to part 1194.

Appendix--Figures to Part 1194 [Transferred to Appendix D to Part 1194 
as Section D1194.51]

0
10. Redesignate Appendix--Figures to Part 1194 as section D1194.51 and 
transfer to appendix D to part 1194, and revise its heading to read 
``Figures''.

0
11. Add Sec. Sec.  1194.1 and 1194.2 to read as follows:


Sec.  1194.1  Standards for Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.

    The standards for information and communication technology 
developed, procured, maintained, or used by Federal agencies covered by 
Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act are set forth in Appendices A, C 
and D to this part.


Sec.  1194.2  Guidelines for Section 255 of the Communications Act.

    The guidelines for telecommunications equipment and customer 
premises equipment covered by Section 255 of the Communications Act are 
set forth in Appendices B and C to this part.

0
12. Add appendices A through C to part 1194 to read as follows:

Appendix A to Part 1194--Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act: 
Application and Scoping Requirements

Table of Contents

508 Chapter 1: Application and Administration

E101 General
E102 Referenced Standards
E103 Definitions

508 Chapter 2: Scoping Requirements

E201 Application
E202 General Exceptions
E203 Access to Functionality
E204 Functional Performance Criteria
E205 Content
E206 Hardware
E207 Software
E208 Support Documentation and Services

508 Chapter 1: Application and Administration

E101 General

    E101.1 Purpose.These Revised 508 Standards, which consist of 508 
Chapters 1 and 2 (Appendix A), along with Chapters 3 through 7 
(Appendix C), contain scoping and technical requirements for 
information and communication technology (ICT) to ensure 
accessibility and usability by individuals with disabilities. 
Compliance with these standards is mandatory for Federal agencies 
subject to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended 
(29 U.S.C. 794d).
    E101.2 Equivalent Facilitation. The use of an alternative design 
or technology that results in substantially equivalent or greater 
accessibility and usability by individuals with disabilities than 
would be provided by conformance to one or more of the requirements 
in Chapters 4 and 5 of the Revised 508 Standards is permitted. The 
functional performance criteria in Chapter 3 shall be used to 
determine whether substantially equivalent or greater accessibility 
and usability is provided to individuals with disabilities.
    E101.3 Conventional Industry Tolerances. Dimensions are subject 
to conventional industry tolerances except where dimensions are 
stated as a range with specific minimum or maximum end points.
    E101.4 Units of Measurement. Measurements are stated in metric 
and U.S. customary units. The values stated in each system (metric 
and U.S. customary units) may not be exact equivalents, and each 
system shall be used independently of the other.

E102 Referenced Standards

    E102.1 Application. The specific editions of the standards 
listed in Chapter 7 are incorporated by reference into 508 Chapter 2 
(Scoping Requirements) and Chapters 3 through 6 to the prescribed 
extent of each such reference. Where conflicts occur between the 
Revised 508 Standards and the

[[Page 5833]]

referenced standards, these Revised 508 Standards apply.

E103 Definitions

    E103.1 Terms Defined in Referenced Standards. Terms defined in 
referenced standards and not defined in E103.4 shall have the 
meaning as defined in the referenced standards.
    E103.2 Undefined Terms. Any term not defined in E103.4 or in 
referenced standards shall be given its ordinarily accepted meaning 
in the sense that the context implies.
    E103.3 Interchangeability. Words, terms, and phrases used in the 
singular include the plural and those used in the plural include the 
singular.
    E103.4 Defined Terms. For the purpose of the Revised 508 
Standards, the terms defined in E103.4 have the indicated meaning.
    Agency. Any agency or department of the United States as defined 
in 44 U.S.C. 3502, and the United States Postal Service.
    Alteration. A change to existing ICT that affects 
interoperability, the user interface, or access to information or 
data.
    Application. Software designed to perform, or to help the user 
to perform, a specific task or tasks.
    Assistive Technology (AT). Any item, piece of equipment, or 
product system, whether acquired commercially, modified, or 
customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve 
functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.
    Audio Description. Narration added to the soundtrack to describe 
important visual details that cannot be understood from the main 
soundtrack alone. Audio description is a means to inform individuals 
who are blind or who have low vision about visual content essential 
for comprehension. Audio description of video provides information 
about actions, characters, scene changes, on-screen text, and other 
visual content. Audio description supplements the regular audio 
track of a program. Audio description is usually added during 
existing pauses in dialogue. Audio description is also called 
``video description'' and ``descriptive narration''.
    Authoring Tool. Any software, or collection of software 
components, that can be used by authors, alone or collaboratively, 
to create or modify content for use by others, including other 
authors.
    Closed Functionality. Characteristics that limit functionality 
or prevent a user from attaching or installing assistive technology. 
Examples of ICT with closed functionality are self-service machines, 
information kiosks, set-top boxes, fax machines, calculators, and 
computers that are locked down so that users may not adjust settings 
due to a policy such as Desktop Core Configuration.
    Content. Electronic information and data, as well as the 
encoding that defines its structure, presentation, and interactions.
    Document. Logically distinct assembly of content (such as a 
file, set of files, or streamed media) that: Functions as a single 
entity rather than a collection; is not part of software; and does 
not include its own software to retrieve and present content for 
users. Examples of documents include, but are not limited to, 
letters, email messages, spreadsheets, presentations, podcasts, 
images, and movies.
    Existing ICT. ICT that has been procured, maintained or used on 
or before January 18, 2018.
    Hardware. A tangible device, equipment, or physical component of 
ICT, such as telephones, computers, multifunction copy machines, and 
keyboards.
    Information Technology. Shall have the same meaning as the term 
``information technology'' set forth in 40 U.S.C. 11101(6).
    Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Information 
technology and other equipment, systems, technologies, or processes, 
for which the principal function is the creation, manipulation, 
storage, display, receipt, or transmission of electronic data and 
information, as well as any associated content. Examples of ICT 
include, but are not limited to: Computers and peripheral equipment; 
information kiosks and transaction machines; telecommunications 
equipment; customer premises equipment; multifunction office 
machines; software; applications; Web sites; videos; and, electronic 
documents.
    Keyboard. A set of systematically arranged alphanumeric keys or 
a control that generates alphanumeric input by which a machine or 
device is operated. A keyboard includes tactilely discernible keys 
used in conjunction with the alphanumeric keys if their function 
maps to keys on the keyboard interfaces.
    Label. Text, or a component with a text alternative, that is 
presented to a user to identify content. A label is presented to all 
users, whereas a name may be hidden and only exposed by assistive 
technology. In many cases, the name and the label are the same.
    Menu. A set of selectable options.
    Name. Text by which software can identify a component to the 
user. A name may be hidden and only exposed by assistive technology, 
whereas a label is presented to all users. In many cases, the label 
and the name are the same. Name is unrelated to the name attribute 
in HTML.
    Non-Web Document. A document that is not: A Web page, embedded 
in a Web page, or used in the rendering or functioning of Web pages.
    Non-Web Software. Software that is not: A Web page, not embedded 
in a Web page, and not used in the rendering or functioning of Web 
pages.
    Operable Part. Hardware-based user controls for activating, 
deactivating, or adjusting ICT.
    Platform Accessibility Services. Services provided by a platform 
enabling interoperability with assistive technology. Examples are 
Application Programming Interfaces (API) and the Document Object 
Model (DOM).
    Platform Software. Software that interacts with hardware or 
provides services for other software. Platform software may run or 
host other software, and may isolate them from underlying software 
or hardware layers. A single software component may have both 
platform and non-platform aspects. Examples of platforms are: 
Desktop operating systems; embedded operating systems, including 
mobile systems; Web browsers; plug-ins to Web browsers that render a 
particular media or format; and sets of components that allow other 
applications to execute, such as applications which support macros 
or scripting.
    Programmatically Determinable. Ability to be determined by 
software from author-supplied data that is provided in a way that 
different user agents, including assistive technologies, can extract 
and present the information to users in different modalities.
    Public Facing. Content made available by an agency to members of 
the general public. Examples include, but are not limited to, an 
agency Web site, blog post, or social media pages.
    Real-Time Text (RTT). Communications using the transmission of 
text by which characters are transmitted by a terminal as they are 
typed. Real-time text is used for conversational purposes. Real-time 
text also may be used in voicemail, interactive voice response 
systems, and other similar application.
    Revised 508 Standards. The standards for ICT developed, 
procured, maintained, or used by agencies subject to Section 508 of 
the Rehabilitation Act as set forth in 508 Chapters 1 and 2 (36 CFR 
part 1194, Appendix A), and Chapters 3 through 7 (36 CFR part 1194, 
Appendix C).
    Software. Programs, procedures, rules, and related data and 
documentation that direct the use and operation of ICT and instruct 
it to perform a given task or function. Software includes, but is 
not limited to, applications, non-Web software, and platform 
software.
    Software Tools. Software for which the primary function is the 
development of other software. Software tools usually come in the 
form of an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) and are a suite 
of related products and utilities. Examples of IDEs include 
Microsoft[supreg] Visual Studio[supreg], Apple[supreg] 
Xcode[supreg], and Eclipse Foundation Eclipse[supreg].
    Telecommunications. The signal transmission, between or among 
points specified by the user, of information of the user's choosing, 
without change in the form or content of the information as sent and 
received.
    Terminal. Device or software with which the end user directly 
interacts and that provides the user interface. For some systems, 
the software that provides the user interface may reside on more 
than one device such as a telephone and a server.
    Text. A sequence of characters that can be programmatically 
determined and that expresses something in human language.
    TTY. Equipment that enables interactive text based 
communications through the transmission of frequency-shift-keying 
audio tones across the public switched telephone network. TTYs 
include devices for real-time text communications and voice and text 
intermixed communications. Examples of intermixed communications are 
voice carry over and hearing carry over. One example of a TTY is a 
computer with TTY emulating software and modem.
    Variable Message Signs (VMS). Non-interactive electronic signs 
with scrolling, streaming, or paging-down capability. An example of 
a VMS is an electronic message

[[Page 5834]]

board at a transit station that displays the gate and time 
information associated with the next train arrival.
    Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). A technology that provides 
real-time voice communications. VoIP requires a broadband connection 
from the user's location and customer premises equipment compatible 
with Internet protocol.
    Web page. A non-embedded resource obtained from a single 
Universal Resource Identifier (URI) using HyperText Transfer 
Protocol (HTTP) plus any other resources that are provided for the 
rendering, retrieval, and presentation of content.

508 Chapter 2: Scoping Requirements

E201 Application

    E201.1 Scope. ICT that is procured, developed, maintained, or 
used by agencies shall conform to the Revised 508 Standards.

E202 General Exceptions

    E202.1 General. ICT shall be exempt from compliance with the 
Revised 508 Standards to the extent specified by E202.
    E202.2 Legacy ICT. Any component or portion of existing ICT that 
complies with an earlier standard issued pursuant to Section 508 of 
the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (as republished in 
Appendix D), and that has not been altered on or after January 18, 
2018, shall not be required to be modified to conform to the Revised 
508 Standards.
    E202.3 National Security Systems. The Revised 508 Standards do 
not apply to ICT operated by agencies as part of a national security 
system, as defined by 40 U.S.C. 11103(a).
    E202.4 Federal Contracts. ICT acquired by a contractor 
incidental to a contract shall not be required to conform to the 
Revised 508 Standards.
    E202.5 ICT Functions Located in Maintenance or Monitoring 
Spaces. Where status indicators and operable parts for ICT functions 
are located in spaces that are frequented only by service personnel 
for maintenance, repair, or occasional monitoring of equipment, such 
status indicators and operable parts shall not be required to 
conform to the Revised 508 Standards.
    E202.6 Undue Burden or Fundamental Alteration. Where an agency 
determines in accordance with E202.5 that conformance to 
requirements in the Revised 508 Standards would impose an undue 
burden or would result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of 
the ICT, conformance shall be required only to the extent that it 
does not impose an undue burden, or result in a fundamental 
alteration in the nature of the ICT.
    E202.6.1 Basis for a Determination of Undue Burden. In 
determining whether conformance to requirements in the Revised 508 
Standards would impose an undue burden on the agency, the agency 
shall consider the extent to which conformance would impose 
significant difficulty or expense considering the agency resources 
available to the program or component for which the ICT is to be 
procured, developed, maintained, or used.
    E202.6.2 Required Documentation. The responsible agency official 
shall document in writing the basis for determining that conformance 
to requirements in the Revised 508 Standards constitute an undue 
burden on the agency, or would result in a fundamental alteration in 
the nature of the ICT. The documentation shall include an 
explanation of why and to what extent compliance with applicable 
requirements would create an undue burden or result in a fundamental 
alteration in the nature of the ICT.
    E202.6.3 Alternative Means. Where conformance to one or more 
requirements in the Revised 508 Standards imposes an undue burden or 
a fundamental alteration in the nature of the ICT, the agency shall 
provide individuals with disabilities access to and use of 
information and data by an alternative means that meets identified 
needs.
    E202.7 Best Meets. Where ICT conforming to one or more 
requirements in the Revised 508 Standards is not commercially 
available, the agency shall procure the ICT that best meets the 
Revised 508 Standards consistent with the agency's business needs.
    E202.7.1 Required Documentation. The responsible agency official 
shall document in writing: (a) The non-availability of conforming 
ICT, including a description of market research performed and which 
provisions cannot be met, and (b) the basis for determining that the 
ICT to be procured best meets the requirements in the Revised 508 
Standards consistent with the agency's business needs.
    E202.7.2 Alternative Means. Where ICT that fully conforms to the 
Revised 508 Standards is not commercially available, the agency 
shall provide individuals with disabilities access to and use of 
information and data by an alternative means that meets identified 
needs.

E203 Access to Functionality

    E203.1 General. Agencies shall ensure that all functionality of 
ICT is accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, 
either directly or by supporting the use of assistive technology, 
and shall comply with E203. In providing access to all functionality 
of ICT, agencies shall ensure the following:
    A. That Federal employees with disabilities have access to and 
use of information and data that is comparable to the access and use 
by Federal employees who are not individuals with disabilities; and
    B. That members of the public with disabilities who are seeking 
information or data from a Federal agency have access to and use of 
information and data that is comparable to that provided to members 
of the public who are not individuals with disabilities.
    E203.2 User Needs. When agencies procure, develop, maintain or 
use ICT they shall identify the needs of users with disabilities to 
determine:
    A. How users with disabilities will perform the functions 
supported by the ICT; and
    B. How the ICT will be developed, installed, configured, and 
maintained to support users with disabilities.

E204 Functional Performance Criteria

    E204.1 General. Where the requirements in Chapters 4 and 5 do 
not address one or more functions of ICT, the functions not 
addressed shall conform to the Functional Performance Criteria 
specified in Chapter 3.

E205 Electronic Content

    E205.1 General. Electronic content shall comply with E205.
    E205.2 Public Facing. Electronic content that is public facing 
shall conform to the accessibility requirements specified in E205.4.
    E205.3 Agency Official Communication. Electronic content that is 
not public facing shall conform to the accessibility requirements 
specified in E205.4 when such content constitutes official business 
and is communicated by an agency through one or more of the 
following:
    A. An emergency notification;
    B. An initial or final decision adjudicating an administrative 
claim or proceeding;
    C. An internal or external program or policy announcement;
    D. A notice of benefits, program eligibility, employment 
opportunity, or personnel action;
    E. A formal acknowledgement of receipt;
    F. A survey questionnaire;
    G. A template or form;
    H. Educational or training materials; or
    I. Intranet content designed as a Web page.
    EXCEPTION: Records maintained by the National Archives and 
Records Administration (NARA) pursuant to Federal recordkeeping 
statutes shall not be required to conform to the Revised 508 
Standards unless public facing.
    E205.4 Accessibility Standard. Electronic content shall conform 
to Level A and Level AA Success Criteria and Conformance 
Requirements in WCAG 2.0 (incorporated by reference, see 702.10.1).
    EXCEPTION: Non-Web documents shall not be required to conform to 
the following four WCAG 2.0 Success Criteria: 2.4.1 Bypass Blocks, 
2.4.5 Multiple Ways, 3.2.3 Consistent Navigation, and 3.2.4 
Consistent Identification.
    E205.4.1 Word Substitution when Applying WCAG to Non-Web 
Documents. For non-Web documents, wherever the term ``Web page'' or 
``page'' appears in WCAG 2.0 Level A and AA Success Criteria and 
Conformance Requirements, the term ``document'' shall be substituted 
for the terms ``Web page'' and ``page''. In addition, in Success 
Criterion in 1.4.2, the phrase ``in a document'' shall be 
substituted for the phrase ``on a Web page''.

E206 Hardware

    E206.1 General. Where components of ICT are hardware and 
transmit information or have a user interface, such components shall 
conform to the requirements in Chapter 4.

E207 Software

    E207.1 General. Where components of ICT are software and 
transmit information or have a user interface, such components shall 
conform to E207 and the requirements in Chapter 5.
    EXCEPTION: Software that is assistive technology and that 
supports the

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accessibility services of the platform shall not be required to 
conform to the requirements in Chapter 5.
    E207.2 WCAG Conformance. User interface components, as well as 
the content of platforms and applications, shall conform to Level A 
and Level AA Success Criteria and Conformance Requirements in WCAG 
2.0 (incorporated by reference, see 702.10.1).
    EXCEPTIONS: 1. Software that is assistive technology and that 
supports the accessibility services of the platform shall not be 
required to conform to E207.2.
    2. Non-Web software shall not be required to conform to the 
following four Success Criteria in WCAG 2.0: 2.4.1 Bypass Blocks; 
2.4.5 Multiple Ways; 3.2.3 Consistent Navigation; and 3.2.4 
Consistent Identification.
    3. Non-Web software shall not be required to conform to 
Conformance Requirement 3 Complete Processes in WCAG 2.0.
    E207.2.1 Word Substitution when Applying WCAG to Non-Web 
Software. For non-Web software, wherever the term ``Web page'' or 
``page'' appears in WCAG 2.0 Level A and AA Success Criteria and 
Conformance Requirements, the term ``software'' shall be substituted 
for the terms ``Web page'' and ``page''. In addition, in Success 
Criterion in 1.4.2, the phrase ``in software'' shall be substituted 
for the phrase ``on a Web page.''
    E207.3 Complete Processes for Non-Web Software. Where non-Web 
software requires multiple steps to accomplish an activity, all 
software related to the activity to be accomplished shall conform to 
WCAG 2.0 as specified in E207.2.

E208 Support Documentation and Services

    E208.1 General. Where an agency provides support documentation 
or services for ICT, such documentation and services shall conform 
to the requirements in Chapter 6.

Appendix B to Part 1194--Section 255 of the Communications Act: 
Application and Scoping Requirements

Table of Contents

255 Chapter 1: Application and Administration

C101 General
C102 Referenced Standards
C103 Definitions

255 Chapter 2: Scoping Requirements

C201 Application
C202 Functional Performance Criteria
C203 Electronic Content
C204 Hardware
C205 Software
C206 Support Documentation and Services

255 Chapter 1: Application and Administration

C101 General

    C101.1 Purpose. These Revised 255 Guidelines, which consist of 
255 Chapters 1 and 2 (Appendix B), along with Chapters 3 through 7 
(Appendix C), contain scoping and technical requirements for the 
design, development, and fabrication of telecommunications equipment 
and customer premises equipment, content, and support documentation 
and services, to ensure accessibility and usability by individuals 
with disabilities. These Revised 255 Guidelines are to be applied to 
the extent required by regulations issued by the Federal 
Communications Commission under Section 255 of the Communications 
Act of 1934, as amended (47 U.S.C. 255).
    C101.2 Equivalent Facilitation. The use of an alternative design 
or technology that results in substantially equivalent or greater 
accessibility and usability by individuals with disabilities than 
would be provided by conformance to one or more of the requirements 
in Chapters 4 and 5 of the Revised 255 Guidelines is permitted. The 
functional performance criteria in Chapter 3 shall be used to 
determine whether substantially equivalent or greater accessibility 
and usability is provided to individuals with disabilities.
    C101.3 Conventional Industry Tolerances. Dimensions are subject 
to conventional industry tolerances except where dimensions are 
stated as a range with specific minimum or maximum end points.
    C101.4 Units of Measurement. Measurements are stated in metric 
and U.S. customary units. The values stated in each system (metric 
and U.S. customary units) may not be exact equivalents, and each 
system shall be used independently of the other.

C102 Referenced Standards

    C102.1 Application. The specific editions of the standards 
listed in Chapter 7 are incorporated by reference into 255 Chapter 2 
(Scoping Requirements) and Chapters 3 through 6 to the prescribed 
extent of each such reference. Where conflicts occur between the 
Revised 255 Guidelines and the referenced standards, these Revised 
255 Guidelines apply.

C103 Definitions

    C103.1 Terms Defined in Referenced Standards. Terms defined in 
referenced standards and not defined in C103.4 shall have the 
meaning as defined in the referenced standards.
    C103.2 Undefined Terms. Any term not defined in C103.4 or in 
referenced standards shall be given its ordinarily accepted meaning 
in the sense that the context implies.
    C103.3 Interchangeability. Words, terms, and phrases used in the 
singular include the plural and those used in the plural include the 
singular.
    C103.4 Defined Terms. For the purpose of the Revised 255 
Guidelines, the terms defined in C103.4 have the indicated meaning.
    Application. Software designed to perform, or to help the user 
perform, a specific task or tasks.
    Assistive Technology (AT). Any item, piece of equipment, or 
product system, whether acquired commercially, modified, or 
customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve 
functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.
    Audio Description. Narration added to the soundtrack to describe 
important visual details that cannot be understood from the main 
soundtrack alone. Audio description is a means to inform individuals 
who are blind or who have low vision about visual content essential 
for comprehension. Audio description of video provides information 
about actions, characters, scene changes, on-screen text, and other 
visual content. Audio description supplements the regular audio 
track of a program. Audio description is usually added during 
existing pauses in dialogue. Audio description is also called 
``video description'' and ``descriptive narration.''
    Authoring Tool. Any software, or collection of software 
components, that can be used by authors, alone or collaboratively, 
to create or modify content for use by others, including other 
authors.
    Closed Functionality. Characteristics that limit functionality 
or prevent a user from attaching or installing assistive technology.
    Content. Electronic information and data, as well as the 
encoding that defines its structure, presentation, and interactions.
    Customer Premises Equipment (CPE). Equipment used on the 
premises of a person (other than a carrier) to originate, route, or 
terminate telecommunications service or interconnected VoIP service, 
including software integral to the operation of telecommunications 
function of such equipment. Examples of CPE are telephones, routers, 
switches, residential gateways, set-top boxes, fixed mobile 
convergence products, home networking adaptors and Internet access 
gateways which enable consumers to access communications service 
providers' services and distribute them around their house via a 
Local Access Network (LAN).
    Document. Logically distinct assembly of content (such as a 
file, set of files, or streamed media) that: Functions as a single 
entity rather than a collection; is not part of software; and does 
not include its own software to retrieve and present content for 
users. Examples of documents include, but are not limited to, 
letters, email messages, spreadsheets, presentations, podcasts, 
images, and movies.
    Hardware. A tangible device, equipment, or physical component of 
ICT, such as telephones, computers, multifunction copy machines, and 
keyboards.
    Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Information 
technology and other equipment, systems, technologies, or processes, 
for which the principal function is the creation, manipulation, 
storage, display, receipt, or transmission of electronic data and 
information, as well as any associated content.
    Keyboard. A set of systematically arranged alphanumeric keys or 
a control that generates alphanumeric input by which a machine or 
device is operated. A keyboard includes tactilely discernible keys 
used in conjunction with the alphanumeric keys if their function 
maps to keys on the keyboard interfaces.
    Label. Text, or a component with a text alternative, that is 
presented to a user to identify content. A label is presented to all 
users, whereas a name may be hidden and only exposed by assistive 
technology. In many cases, the name and the label are the same.

[[Page 5836]]

    Manufacturer. A final assembler of telecommunications equipment 
or customer premises equipment that sells such equipment to the 
public or to vendors that sell to the public.
    Menu. A set of selectable options.
    Name. Text by which software can identify a component to the 
user. A name may be hidden and only exposed by assistive technology, 
whereas a label is presented to all users. In many cases, the label 
and the name are the same. Name is unrelated to the name attribute 
in HTML.
    Non-Web Document. A document that is not: A Web page, embedded 
in a Web page, or used in the rendering or functioning of Web pages.
    Non-Web Software. Software that is not: A Web page, not embedded 
in a Web page, and not used in the rendering or functioning of Web 
pages.
    Operable Part. Hardware-based user controls for activating, 
deactivating, or adjusting ICT.
    Platform Accessibility Services. Services provided by a platform 
enabling interoperability with assistive technology. Examples are 
Application Programming Interfaces (API) and the Document Object 
Model (DOM).
    Platform Software. Software that interacts with hardware or 
provides services for other software. Platform software may run or 
host other software, and may isolate them from underlying software 
or hardware layers. A single software component may have both 
platform and non-platform aspects. Examples of platforms are: 
Desktop operating systems; embedded operating systems, including 
mobile systems; Web browsers; plug-ins to Web browsers that render a 
particular media or format; and sets of components that allow other 
applications to execute, such as applications which support macros 
or scripting.
    Programmatically Determinable. Ability to be determined by 
software from author-supplied data that is provided in a way that 
different user agents, including assistive technologies, can extract 
and present the information to users in different modalities.
    Real-Time Text (RTT). Communications using the transmission of 
text by which characters are transmitted by a terminal as they are 
typed. Real-time text is used for conversational purposes. Real-time 
text also may be used in voicemail, interactive voice response 
systems, and other similar application.
    Revised 255 Guidelines. The guidelines for telecommunications 
equipment and customer premises equipment covered by Section 255 of 
the Communications Act as set forth in 255 Chapters 1 and 2 (36 CFR 
part 1194, Appendix B), and Chapters 3 through 7 (36 CFR part 1193, 
Appendix C).
    Software. Programs, procedures, rules, and related data and 
documentation that direct the use and operation of ICT and instruct 
it to perform a given task or function. Software includes, but is 
not limited to, applications, non-Web software, and platform 
software.
    Software Tools. Software for which the primary function is the 
development of other software. Software tools usually come in the 
form of an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) and are a suite 
of related products and utilities. Examples of IDEs include 
Microsoft[supreg] Visual Studio[supreg], Apple[supreg] 
Xcode[supreg], and Eclipse Foundation Eclipse[supreg].
    Specialized Customer Premises Equipment. Assistive technology 
used by individuals with disabilities to originate, route, or 
terminate telecommunications or interconnected VoIP service. 
Examples are TTYs and amplified telephones.
    Telecommunications. The signal transmission between or among 
points specified by the user of information and of the user's 
choosing without change in the form or content of the information as 
sent and received.
    Telecommunications Equipment. Equipment, other than customer 
premises equipment, used by a carrier to provide telecommunications 
service or interconnected VoIP service and includes software 
integral to the operation of telecommunications function of such 
equipment.
    Terminal. Device or software with which the end user directly 
interacts and that provides the user interface. For some systems, 
the software that provides the user interface may reside on more 
than one device such as a telephone and a server.
    Text. A sequence of characters that can be programmatically 
determined and that expresses something in human language.
    TTY. Equipment that enables interactive text based 
communications through the transmission of frequency-shift-keying 
audio tones across the public switched telephone network. TTYs 
include devices for real-time text communications and voice and text 
intermixed communications. Examples of intermixed communications are 
voice carry over and hearing carry over. One example of a TTY is a 
computer with TTY emulating software and modem.
    Variable Message Signs (VMS). Non-interactive electronic signs 
with scrolling, streaming, or paging-down capability. An example of 
a VMS is an electronic message board at a transit station that 
displays the gate and time information associated with the next 
train arrival.
    Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). A technology that provides 
real-time voice communications. VoIP requires a broadband connection 
from the user's location and customer premises equipment compatible 
with Internet protocol.
    Web page. A non-embedded resource obtained from a single 
Universal Resource Identifier (URI) using HyperText Transfer 
Protocol (HTTP) plus any other resources that are provided for the 
rendering, retrieval, and presentation of content.

Chapter 2: Scoping Requirements

C201 Application

    C201.1 Scope. Manufacturers shall comply with the requirements 
in the Revised 255 Guidelines applicable to telecommunications 
equipment and customer premises equipment (and related software 
integral to the operation of telecommunications functions) when 
newly released, upgraded, or substantially changed from an earlier 
version or model. Manufacturers shall also conform to the 
requirements in the Revised 255 Guidelines for support documentation 
and services, including electronic documents and Web-based product 
support.
    C201.2. Readily Achievable. When a manufacturer determines that 
conformance to one or more requirements in Chapter 4 (Hardware) or 
Chapter 5 (Software) would not be readily achievable, it shall 
ensure that the equipment or software is compatible with existing 
peripheral devices or specialized customer premises equipment 
commonly used by individuals with disabilities to the extent readily 
achievable.
    C201.3 Access to Functionality. Manufacturers shall ensure that 
telecommunications equipment and customer premises equipment is 
accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities by 
providing direct access to all telecommunications functionality. 
Where manufacturers can demonstrate that it is not readily 
achievable for such equipment to provide direct access to all 
functionality, the equipment shall support the use of assistive 
technology and specialized customer premises equipment where readily 
achievable.
    C201.4 Prohibited Reduction of Accessibility, Usability, and 
Compatibility. No change shall be undertaken that decreases, or has 
the effect of decreasing, the net accessibility, usability, or 
compatibility of telecommunications equipment or customer premises 
equipment.
    EXCEPTION: Discontinuation of a product shall not be prohibited.
    C201.5 Design, Development, and Fabrication. Manufacturers shall 
evaluate the accessibility, usability, and interoperability of 
telecommunications equipment and customer premises equipment during 
its product design, development, and fabrication.

C202 Functional Performance Criteria

    C202.1 General. Where the requirements in Chapters 4 and 5 do 
not address one or more functions of telecommunications or customer 
premises equipment, the functions not addressed shall conform to the 
Functional Performance Criteria specified in Chapter 3.

C203 Electronic Content

    C203.1 General. Electronic content that is integral to the use 
of telecommunications or customer premises equipment shall conform 
to Level A and Level AA Success Criteria and Conformance 
Requirements in WCAG 2.0 (incorporated by reference, see 702.10.1).
    EXCEPTION: Non-Web documents shall not be required to conform to 
the following four WCAG 2.0 Success Criteria: 2.4.1 Bypass Blocks, 
2.4.5 Multiple Ways, 3.2.3 Consistent Navigation, and 3.2.4 
Consistent Identification.
    C203.1.1 Word Substitution when Applying WCAG to Non-Web 
Documents. For non-Web documents, wherever the term ``Web page'' or 
``page'' appears in WCAG 2.0 Level A and AA Success Criteria and 
Conformance Requirements, the term ``document' shall be substituted 
for the terms ``Web page'' and ``page.'' In addition, in Success 
Criterion in 1.4.2, the phrase ``in a

[[Page 5837]]

document'' shall be substituted for the phrase ``on a Web page.''

C204 Hardware

    C204.1 General. Where components of telecommunications equipment 
and customer premises equipment are hardware, and transmit 
information or have a user interface, those components shall conform 
to applicable requirements in Chapter 4.
    EXCEPTION: Components of telecommunications equipment and 
customer premises equipment shall not be required to conform to 402, 
407.7, 407.8, 408, and 415.

C205 Software

    C205.1 General. Where software is integral to the use of 
telecommunications functions of telecommunications equipment or 
customer premises equipment and has a user interface, such software 
shall conform to C205 and applicable requirements in Chapter 5.
    EXCEPTION: Software that is assistive technology and that 
supports the accessibility services of the platform shall not be 
required to conform to the requirements in Chapter 5.
    C205.2 WCAG Conformance. User interface components, as well as 
the content of platforms and applications shall conform to Level A 
and Level AA Success Criteria and Conformance Requirements in WCAG 
2.0 (incorporated by reference, see 702.10.1).
    EXCEPTIONS: 1. Software that is assistive technology and that 
supports the accessibility services of the platform shall not be 
required to conform to C205.2.
    2. Non-Web software shall not be required to conform to the 
following four Success Criteria in WCAG 2.0: 2.4.1 Bypass Blocks; 
2.4.5 Multiple Ways; 3.2.3 Consistent Navigation; and 3.2.4 
Consistent Identification.
    3. Non-Web software shall not be required to conform to 
Conformance Requirement 3 Complete Processes in WCAG 2.0.
    C205.2.1 Word Substitution when Applying WCAG to Non-Web 
Software. For non-Web software, wherever the term ``Web page'' or 
``page'' appears in WCAG 2.0 Level A and AA Success Criteria and 
Conformance Requirements, the term ``software'' shall be substituted 
for the terms ``Web page'' and ``page.'' In addition, in Success 
Criterion 1.4.2, the phrase ``in software'' shall be substituted for 
the phrase ``on a Web page.''
    C205.3 Complete Processes for Non-Web Software. Where non-Web 
software requires multiple steps to accomplish an activity, all 
software related to the activity to be accomplished shall conform to 
WCAG 2.0 as specified in C205.2.

C206 Support Documentation and Services

    C206.1 General. Where support documentation and services are 
provided for telecommunications equipment and customer premises 
equipment, manufacturers shall ensure that such documentation and 
services conform to Chapter 6 and are made available upon request at 
no additional charge.

Appendix C to Part 1194--Functional Performance Criteria and Technical 
Requirements

Table of Contents

Chapter 3: Functional Performance Criteria

301 General
302 Functional Performance Criteria

Chapter 4: Hardware

401 General
402 Closed Functionality
403 Biometrics
404 Preservation of Information Provided for Accessibility
405 Privacy
406 Standard Connections
407 Operable Parts
408 Display Screens
409 Status Indicators
410 Color Coding
411 Audible Signals
412 ICT with Two-Way Communication
413 Closed Caption Processing Technologies
414 Audio Description Processing Technologies
415 User Controls for Captions and Audio Descriptions

Chapter 5: Software

501 General
502 Interoperability with Assistive Technology
503 Applications
504 Authoring Tools

Chapter 6: Support Documentation and Services

601 General
602 Support Documentation
603 Support Services

Chapter 7: Referenced Standards

701 General
702 Incorporation by Reference

Chapter 3: Functional Performance Criteria

301 General
    301.1 Scope. The requirements of Chapter 3 shall apply to ICT 
where required by 508 Chapter 2 (Scoping Requirements), 255 Chapter 
2 (Scoping Requirements), and where otherwise referenced in any 
other chapter of the Revised 508 Standards or Revised 255 
Guidelines.

302 Functional Performance Criteria

    302.1 Without Vision. Where a visual mode of operation is 
provided, ICT shall provide at least one mode of operation that does 
not require user vision.
    302.2 With Limited Vision. Where a visual mode of operation is 
provided, ICT shall provide at least one mode of operation that 
enables users to make use of limited vision.
    302.3 Without Perception of Color. Where a visual mode of 
operation is provided, ICT shall provide at least one visual mode of 
operation that does not require user perception of color.
    302.4 Without Hearing. Where an audible mode of operation is 
provided, ICT shall provide at least one mode of operation that does 
not require user hearing.
    302.5 With Limited Hearing. Where an audible mode of operation 
is provided, ICT shall provide at least one mode of operation that 
enables users to make use of limited hearing.
    302.6 Without Speech. Where speech is used for input, control, 
or operation, ICT shall provide at least one mode of operation that 
does not require user speech.
    302.7 With Limited Manipulation. Where a manual mode of 
operation is provided, ICT shall provide at least one mode of 
operation that does not require fine motor control or simultaneous 
manual operations.
    302.8 With Limited Reach and Strength. Where a manual mode of 
operation is provided, ICT shall provide at least one mode of 
operation that is operable with limited reach and limited strength.
    302.9 With Limited Language, Cognitive, and Learning Abilities. 
ICT shall provide features making its use by individuals with 
limited cognitive, language, and learning abilities simpler and 
easier.

Chapter 4: Hardware

401 General

    401.1 Scope. The requirements of Chapter 4 shall apply to ICT 
that is hardware where required by 508 Chapter 2 (Scoping 
Requirements), 255 Chapter 2 (Scoping Requirements), and where 
otherwise referenced in any other chapter of the Revised 508 
Standards or Revised 255 Guidelines.
    EXCEPTION: Hardware that is assistive technology shall not be 
required to conform to the requirements of this chapter.

402 Closed Functionality

    402.1 General. ICT with closed functionality shall be operable 
without requiring the user to attach or install assistive technology 
other than personal headsets or other audio couplers, and shall 
conform to 402.
    402.2 Speech-Output Enabled. ICT with a display screen shall be 
speech-output enabled for full and independent use by individuals 
with vision impairments.
    EXCEPTIONS: 1. Variable message signs conforming to 402.5 shall 
not be required to be speech-output enabled.
    2. Speech output shall not be required where ICT display screens 
only provide status indicators and those indicators conform to 409.
    3. Where speech output cannot be supported due to constraints in 
available memory or processor capability, ICT shall be permitted to 
conform to 409 in lieu of 402.2.
    4. Audible tones shall be permitted instead of speech output 
where the content of user input is not displayed as entered for 
security purposes, including, but not limited to, asterisks 
representing personal identification numbers.
    5. Speech output shall not be required for: The machine 
location; date and time of transaction; customer account number; and 
the machine identifier or label.
    6. Speech output shall not be required for advertisements and 
other similar information unless they convey information that can be 
used for the transaction being conducted.

[[Page 5838]]

    402.2.1 Information Displayed On-Screen. Speech output shall be 
provided for all information displayed on-screen.
    402.2.2 Transactional Outputs. Where transactional outputs are 
provided, the speech output shall audibly provide all information 
necessary to verify a transaction.
    402.2.3 Speech Delivery Type and Coordination. Speech output 
shall be delivered through a mechanism that is readily available to 
all users, including, but not limited to, an industry standard 
connector or a telephone handset. Speech shall be recorded or 
digitized human, or synthesized. Speech output shall be coordinated 
with information displayed on the screen.
    402.2.4 User Control. Speech output for any single function 
shall be automatically interrupted when a transaction is selected. 
Speech output shall be capable of being repeated and paused.
    402.2.5 Braille Instructions. Where speech output is required by 
402.2, braille instructions for initiating the speech mode of 
operation shall be provided. Braille shall be contracted and shall 
conform to 36 CFR part 1191, Appendix D, Section 703.3.1.
    EXCEPTION: Devices for personal use shall not be required to 
conform to 402.2.5.
    402.3 Volume. ICT that delivers sound, including speech output 
required by 402.2, shall provide volume control and output 
amplification conforming to 402.3.
    EXCEPTION: ICT conforming to 412.2 shall not be required to 
conform to 402.3.
    402.3.1 Private Listening. Where ICT provides private listening, 
it shall provide a mode of operation for controlling the volume. 
Where ICT delivers output by an audio transducer typically held up 
to the ear, a means for effective magnetic wireless coupling to 
hearing technologies shall be provided.
    402.3.2 Non-private Listening. Where ICT provides non-private 
listening, incremental volume control shall be provided with output 
amplification up to a level of at least 65 dB. A function shall be 
provided to automatically reset the volume to the default level 
after every use.
    402.4 Characters on Display Screens. At least one mode of 
characters displayed on the screen shall be in a sans serif font. 
Where ICT does not provide a screen enlargement feature, characters 
shall be 3/16 inch (4.8 mm) high minimum based on the uppercase 
letter ``I''. Characters shall contrast with their background with 
either light characters on a dark background or dark characters on a 
light background.
    402.5 Characters on Variable Message Signs. Characters on 
variable message signs shall conform to section 703.7 Variable 
Message Signs of ICC A117.1-2009 (incorporated by reference, see 
702.6.1).

403 Biometrics

    403.1 General. Where provided, biometrics shall not be the only 
means for user identification or control.
    EXCEPTION: Where at least two biometric options that use 
different biological characteristics are provided, ICT shall be 
permitted to use biometrics as the only means for user 
identification or control.

404 Preservation of Information Provided for Accessibility

    404.1 General. ICT that transmits or converts information or 
communication shall not remove non-proprietary information provided 
for accessibility or shall restore it upon delivery.

405 Privacy

    405.1 General. The same degree of privacy of input and output 
shall be provided to all individuals. When speech output required by 
402.2 is enabled, the screen shall not blank automatically.

406 Standard Connections

    406.1 General. Where data connections used for input and output 
are provided, at least one of each type of connection shall conform 
to industry standard non-proprietary formats.

407 Operable Parts

    407.1 General. Where provided, operable parts used in the normal 
operation of ICT shall conform to 407.
    407.2 Contrast. Where provided, keys and controls shall contrast 
visually from background surfaces. Characters and symbols shall 
contrast visually from background surfaces with either light 
characters or symbols on a dark background or dark characters or 
symbols on a light background.
    407.3 Input Controls. At least one input control conforming to 
407.3 shall be provided for each function.
    EXCEPTION: Devices for personal use with input controls that are 
audibly discernable without activation and operable by touch shall 
not be required to conform to 407.3.
    407.3.1 Tactilely Discernible. Input controls shall be operable 
by touch and tactilely discernible without activation.
    407.3.2 Alphabetic Keys. Where provided, individual alphabetic 
keys shall be arranged in a QWERTY-based keyboard layout and the 
``F'' and ``J'' keys shall be tactilely distinct from the other 
keys.
    407.3.3 Numeric Keys. Where provided, numeric keys shall be 
arranged in a 12-key ascending or descending keypad layout. The 
number five key shall be tactilely distinct from the other keys. 
Where the ICT provides an alphabetic overlay on numeric keys, the 
relationships between letters and digits shall conform to ITU-T 
Recommendation E.161 (incorporated by reference, see 702.7.1).
    407.4 Key Repeat. Where a keyboard with key repeat is provided, 
the delay before the key repeat feature is activated shall be fixed 
at, or adjustable to, 2 seconds minimum.
    407.5 Timed Response. Where a timed response is required, the 
user shall be alerted visually, as well as by touch or sound, and 
shall be given the opportunity to indicate that more time is needed.
    407.6 Operation. At least one mode of operation shall be 
operable with one hand and shall not require tight grasping, 
pinching, or twisting of the wrist. The force required to activate 
operable parts shall be 5 pounds (22.2 N) maximum.
    407.7 Tickets, Fare Cards, and Keycards. Where tickets, fare 
cards, or keycards are provided, they shall have an orientation that 
is tactilely discernible if orientation is important to further use 
of the ticket, fare card, or keycard.
    407.8 Reach Height and Depth. At least one of each type of 
operable part of stationary ICT shall be at a height conforming to 
407.8.2 or 407.8.3 according to its position established by the 
vertical reference plane specified in 407.8.1 for a side reach or a 
forward reach. Operable parts used with speech output required by 
402.2 shall not be the only type of operable part complying with 
407.8 unless that part is the only operable part of its type.
    407.8.1 Vertical Reference Plane. Operable parts shall be 
positioned for a side reach or a forward reach determined with 
respect to a vertical reference plane. The vertical reference plane 
shall be located in conformance to 407.8.2 or 407.8.3.
    407.8.1.1 Vertical Plane for Side Reach. Where a side reach is 
provided, the vertical reference plane shall be 48 inches (1220 mm) 
long minimum.
    407.8.1.2 Vertical Plane for Forward Reach. Where a forward 
reach is provided, the vertical reference plane shall be 30 inches 
(760 mm) long minimum.
    407.8.2 Side Reach. Operable parts of ICT providing a side reach 
shall conform to 407.8.2.1 or 407.8.2.2. The vertical reference 
plane shall be centered on the operable part and placed at the 
leading edge of the maximum protrusion of the ICT within the length 
of the vertical reference plane. Where a side reach requires a reach 
over a portion of the ICT, the height of that portion of the ICT 
shall be 34 inches (865 mm) maximum.
    407.8.2.1 Unobstructed Side Reach. Where the operable part is 
located 10 inches (255 mm) or less beyond the vertical reference 
plane, the operable part shall be 48 inches (1220 mm) high maximum 
and 15 inches (380 mm) high minimum above the floor.
    407.8.2.2 Obstructed Side Reach. Where the operable part is 
located more than 10 inches (255 mm), but not more than 24 inches 
(610 mm), beyond the vertical reference plane, the height of the 
operable part shall be 46 inches (1170 mm) high maximum and 15 
inches (380 mm) high minimum above the floor. The operable part 
shall not be located more than 24 inches (610 mm) beyond the 
vertical reference plane.
    407.8.3 Forward Reach. Operable parts of ICT providing a forward 
reach shall conform to 407.8.3.1 or 407.8.3.2. The vertical 
reference plane shall be centered, and intersect with, the operable 
part. Where a forward reach allows a reach over a portion of the 
ICT, the height of that portion of the ICT shall be 34 inches (865 
mm) maximum.
    407.8.3.1 Unobstructed Forward Reach. Where the operable part is 
located at the leading edge of the maximum protrusion within the 
length of the vertical reference plane of the ICT, the operable part 
shall be 48 inches (1220 mm) high maximum and 15 inches (380 mm) 
high minimum above the floor.
    407.8.3.2 Obstructed Forward Reach. Where the operable part is 
located beyond the leading edge of the maximum protrusion within the 
length of the vertical reference plane, the operable part shall 
conform to 407.8.3.2. The maximum allowable forward

[[Page 5839]]

reach to an operable part shall be 25 inches (635 mm).
    407.8.3.2.1 Operable Part Height for ICT with Obstructed Forward 
Reach. The height of the operable part shall conform to Table 
407.8.3.2.1.

 Table 407.8.3.2.1--Operable Part Height for ICT With Obstructed Forward
                                  Reach
------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Reach depth                      Operable part height
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Less than 20 inches (510 mm)...........  48 inches (1220 mm) maximum.
20 inches (510 mm) to 25 inches (635     44 inches (1120 mm) maximum.
 mm).
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    407.8.3.2.2 Knee and Toe Space under ICT with Obstructed Forward 
Reach. Knee and toe space under ICT shall be 27 inches (685 mm) high 
minimum, 25 inches (635 mm) deep maximum, and 30 inches (760 mm) 
wide minimum and shall be clear of obstructions.
    EXCEPTIONS: 1. Toe space shall be permitted to provide a clear 
height of 9 inches (230 mm) minimum above the floor and a clear 
depth of 6 inches (150 mm) maximum from the vertical reference plane 
toward the leading edge of the ICT.
    2. At a depth of 6 inches (150 mm) maximum from the vertical 
reference plane toward the leading edge of the ICT, space between 9 
inches (230 mm) and 27 inches (685 mm) minimum above the floor shall 
be permitted to reduce at a rate of 1 inch (25 mm) in depth for 
every 6 inches (150 mm) in height.

408 Display Screens

    408.1 General. Where provided, display screens shall conform to 
408.
    408.2 Visibility. Where stationary ICT provides one or more 
display screens, at least one of each type of display screen shall 
be visible from a point located 40 inches (1015 mm) above the floor 
space where the display screen is viewed.
    408.3 Flashing. Where ICT emits lights in flashes, there shall 
be no more than three flashes in any one-second period.
    EXCEPTION: Flashes that do not exceed the general flash and red 
flash thresholds defined in WCAG 2.0 (incorporated by reference, see 
702.10.1) are not required to conform to 408.3.

409 Status Indicators

    409.1 General. Where provided, status indicators shall be 
discernible visually and by touch or sound.

410 Color Coding

    410.1 General. Where provided, color coding shall not be used as 
the only means of conveying information, indicating an action, 
prompting a response, or distinguishing a visual element.

411 Audible Signals

    411.1 General. Where provided, audible signals or cues shall not 
be used as the only means of conveying information, indicating an 
action, or prompting a response.

412 ICT With Two-Way Voice Communication

    412.1 General. ICT that provides two-way voice communication 
shall conform to 412.
    412.2 Volume Gain. ICT that provides two-way voice communication 
shall conform to 412.2.1 or 412.2.2.
    412.2.1 Volume Gain for Wireline Telephones. Volume gain 
conforming to 47 CFR 68.317 shall be provided on analog and digital 
wireline telephones.
    412.2.2 Volume Gain for Non-Wireline ICT. A method for 
increasing volume shall be provided for non-wireline ICT.
    412.3 Interference Reduction and Magnetic Coupling. Where ICT 
delivers output by a handset or other type of audio transducer that 
is typically held up to the ear, ICT shall reduce interference with 
hearing technologies and provide a means for effective magnetic 
wireless coupling in conformance with 412.3.1 or 412.3.2.
    412.3.1 Wireless Handsets. ICT in the form of wireless handsets 
shall conform to ANSI/IEEE C63.19-2011 (incorporated by reference, 
see 702.5.1).
    412.3.2 Wireline Handsets. ICT in the form of wireline handsets, 
including cordless handsets, shall conform to TIA-1083-B 
(incorporated by reference, see 702.9.1).
    412.4 Digital Encoding of Speech. ICT in IP-based networks shall 
transmit and receive speech that is digitally encoded in the manner 
specified by ITU-T Recommendation G.722.2 (incorporated by 
reference, see 702.7.2) or IETF RFC 6716 (incorporated by reference, 
see 702.8.1).
    412.5 Real-Time Text Functionality. [Reserved].
    412.6 Caller ID. Where provided, caller identification and 
similar telecommunications functions shall be visible and audible.
    412.7 Video Communication. Where ICT provides real-time video 
functionality, the quality of the video shall be sufficient to 
support communication using sign language.

413 Closed Caption Processing Technologies

    413.1 General. Where ICT displays or processes video with 
synchronized audio, ICT shall provide closed caption processing 
technology that conforms to 413.1.1 or 413.1.2.
    413.1.1 Decoding and Display of Closed Captions. Players and 
displays shall decode closed caption data and support display of 
captions.
    413.1.2 Pass-Through of Closed Caption Data. Cabling and 
ancillary equipment shall pass through caption data.

414 Audio Description Processing Technologies

    414.1 General. Where ICT displays or processes video with 
synchronized audio, ICT shall provide audio description processing 
technology conforming to 414.1.1 or 414.1.2.
    414.1.1 Digital Television Tuners. Digital television tuners 
shall provide audio description processing that conforms to ATSC A/
53 Digital Television Standard, Part 5 (2014) (incorporated by 
reference, see 702.2.1). Digital television tuners shall provide 
processing of audio description when encoded as a Visually Impaired 
(VI) associated audio service that is provided as a complete program 
mix containing audio description according to the ATSC A/53 
standard.
    414.1.2 Other ICT. ICT other than digital television tuners 
shall provide audio description processing.

415 User Controls for Captions and Audio Descriptions

    415.1 General. Where ICT displays video with synchronized audio, 
ICT shall provide user controls for closed captions and audio 
descriptions conforming to 415.1.
    EXCEPTION: Devices for personal use shall not be required to 
conform to 415.1 provided that captions and audio descriptions can 
be enabled through system-wide platform settings.
    415.1.1 Caption Controls. Where ICT provides operable parts for 
volume control, ICT shall also provide operable parts for caption 
selection.
    415.1.2 Audio Description Controls. Where ICT provides operable 
parts for program selection, ICT shall also provide operable parts 
for the selection of audio description.

Chapter 5: Software

501 General

    501.1 Scope. The requirements of Chapter 5 shall apply to 
software where required by 508 Chapter 2 (Scoping Requirements), 255 
Chapter 2 (Scoping Requirements), and where otherwise referenced in 
any other chapter of the Revised 508 Standards or Revised 255 
Guidelines.
    EXCEPTION: Where Web applications do not have access to platform 
accessibility services and do not include components that have 
access to platform accessibility services, they shall not be 
required to conform to 502 or 503 provided that they conform to 
Level A and Level AA Success Criteria and Conformance Requirements 
in WCAG 2.0 (incorporated by reference, see 702.10.1).

502 Interoperability With Assistive Technology

    502.1 General. Software shall interoperate with assistive 
technology and shall conform to 502.
    EXCEPTION: ICT conforming to 402 shall not be required to 
conform to 502.
    502.2 Documented Accessibility Features. Software with platform 
features defined in platform documentation as accessibility features 
shall conform to 502.2.

[[Page 5840]]

    502.2.1 User Control of Accessibility Features. Platform 
software shall provide user control over platform features that are 
defined in the platform documentation as accessibility features.
    502.2.2 No Disruption of Accessibility Features. Software shall 
not disrupt platform features that are defined in the platform 
documentation as accessibility features.
    502.3 Accessibility Services. Platform software and software 
tools that are provided by the platform developer shall provide a 
documented set of accessibility services that support applications 
running on the platform to interoperate with assistive technology 
and shall conform to 502.3. Applications that are also platforms 
shall expose the underlying platform accessibility services or 
implement other documented accessibility services.
    502.3.1 Object Information. The object role, state(s), 
properties, boundary, name, and description shall be 
programmatically determinable.
    502.3.2 Modification of Object Information. States and 
properties that can be set by the user shall be capable of being set 
programmatically, including through assistive technology.
    502.3.3 Row, Column, and Headers. If an object is in a data 
table, the occupied rows and columns, and any headers associated 
with those rows or columns, shall be programmatically determinable.
    502.3.4 Values. Any current value(s), and any set or range of 
allowable values associated with an object, shall be 
programmatically determinable.
    502.3.5 Modification of Values. Values that can be set by the 
user shall be capable of being set programmatically, including 
through assistive technology.
    502.3.6 Label Relationships. Any relationship that a component 
has as a label for another component, or of being labeled by another 
component, shall be programmatically determinable.
    502.3.7 Hierarchical Relationships. Any hierarchical (parent-
child) relationship that a component has as a container for, or 
being contained by, another component shall be programmatically 
determinable.
    502.3.8 Text. The content of text objects, text attributes, and 
the boundary of text rendered to the screen, shall be 
programmatically determinable.
    502.3.9 Modification of Text. Text that can be set by the user 
shall be capable of being set programmatically, including through 
assistive technology.
    502.3.10 List of Actions. A list of all actions that can be 
executed on an object shall be programmatically determinable.
    502.3.11 Actions on Objects. Applications shall allow assistive 
technology to programmatically execute available actions on objects.
    502.3.12 Focus Cursor. Applications shall expose information and 
mechanisms necessary to track focus, text insertion point, and 
selection attributes of user interface components.
    502.3.13 Modification of Focus Cursor. Focus, text insertion 
point, and selection attributes that can be set by the user shall be 
capable of being set programmatically, including through the use of 
assistive technology.
    502.3.14 Event Notification. Notification of events relevant to 
user interactions, including but not limited to, changes in the 
component's state(s), value, name, description, or boundary, shall 
be available to assistive technology.
    502.4 Platform Accessibility Features. Platforms and platform 
software shall conform to the requirements in ANSI/HFES 200.2, Human 
Factors Engineering of Software User Interfaces--Part 2: 
Accessibility (2008) (incorporated by reference, see 702.4.1) listed 
below:
    A. Section 9.3.3 Enable sequential entry of multiple (chorded) 
keystrokes;
    B. Section 9.3.4 Provide adjustment of delay before key 
acceptance;
    C. Section 9.3.5 Provide adjustment of same-key double-strike 
acceptance;
    D. Section 10.6.7 Allow users to choose visual alternative for 
audio output;
    E. Section 10.6.8 Synchronize audio equivalents for visual 
events;
    F. Section 10.6.9 Provide speech output services; and
    G. Section 10.7.1 Display any captions provided.

503 Applications

    503.1 General. Applications shall conform to 503.
    503.2 User Preferences. Applications shall permit user 
preferences from platform settings for color, contrast, font type, 
font size, and focus cursor.
    EXCEPTION: Applications that are designed to be isolated from 
their underlying platform software, including Web applications, 
shall not be required to conform to 503.2.
    503.3 Alternative User Interfaces. Where an application provides 
an alternative user interface that functions as assistive 
technology, the application shall use platform and other industry 
standard accessibility services.
    503.4 User Controls for Captions and Audio Description. Where 
ICT displays video with synchronized audio, ICT shall provide user 
controls for closed captions and audio descriptions conforming to 
503.4.
    503.4.1 Caption Controls. Where user controls are provided for 
volume adjustment, ICT shall provide user controls for the selection 
of captions at the same menu level as the user controls for volume 
or program selection.
    503.4.2 Audio Description Controls. Where user controls are 
provided for program selection, ICT shall provide user controls for 
the selection of audio descriptions at the same menu level as the 
user controls for volume or program selection.

504 Authoring Tools

    504.1 General. Where an application is an authoring tool, the 
application shall conform to 504 to the extent that information 
required for accessibility is supported by the destination format.
    504.2 Content Creation or Editing. Authoring tools shall provide 
a mode of operation to create or edit content that conforms to Level 
A and Level AA Success Criteria and Conformance Requirements in WCAG 
2.0 (incorporated by reference, see 702.10.1) for all supported 
features and, as applicable, to file formats supported by the 
authoring tool. Authoring tools shall permit authors the option of 
overriding information required for accessibility.
    EXCEPTION: Authoring tools shall not be required to conform to 
504.2 when used to directly edit plain text source code.
    504.2.1 Preservation of Information Provided for Accessibility 
in Format Conversion. Authoring tools shall, when converting content 
from one format to another or saving content in multiple formats, 
preserve the information required for accessibility to the extent 
that the information is supported by the destination format.
    504.2.2 PDF Export. Authoring tools capable of exporting PDF 
files that conform to ISO 32000-1:2008 (PDF 1.7) shall also be 
capable of exporting PDF files that conform to ANSI/AIIM/ISO 14289-
1:2016 (PDF/UA-1) (incorporated by reference, see 702.3.1).
    504.3 Prompts. Authoring tools shall provide a mode of operation 
that prompts authors to create content that conforms to Level A and 
Level AA Success Criteria and Conformance Requirements in WCAG 2.0 
(incorporated by reference, see 702.10.1) for supported features 
and, as applicable, to file formats supported by the authoring tool.
    504.4 Templates. Where templates are provided, templates 
allowing content creation that conforms to Level A and Level AA 
Success Criteria and Conformance Requirements in WCAG 2.0 
(incorporated by reference, see 702.10.1) shall be provided for a 
range of template uses for supported features and, as applicable, to 
file formats supported by the authoring tool.

Chapter 6: Support Documentation and Services

601 General

    601.1 Scope. The technical requirements in Chapter 6 shall apply 
to ICT support documentation and services where required by 508 
Chapter 2 (Scoping Requirements), 255 Chapter 2 (Scoping 
Requirements), and where otherwise referenced in any other chapter 
of the Revised 508 Standards or Revised 255 Guidelines.

602 Support Documentation

    602.1 General. Documentation that supports the use of ICT shall 
conform to 602.
    602.2 Accessibility and Compatibility Features. Documentation 
shall list and explain how to use the accessibility and 
compatibility features required by Chapters 4 and 5. Documentation 
shall include accessibility features that are built-in and 
accessibility features that provide compatibility with assistive 
technology.
    602.3 Electronic Support Documentation. Documentation in 
electronic format, including Web-based self-service support, shall 
conform to Level A and Level AA Success Criteria and Conformance 
Requirements in WCAG 2.0 (incorporated by reference, see 702.10.1).
    602.4 Alternate Formats for Non-Electronic Support 
Documentation. Where support documentation is only provided in non-
electronic formats, alternate formats usable by individuals with 
disabilities shall be provided upon request.

[[Page 5841]]

603 Support Services

    603.1 General. ICT support services including, but not limited 
to, help desks, call centers, training services, and automated self-
service technical support, shall conform to 603.
    603.2 Information on Accessibility and Compatibility Features. 
ICT support services shall include information on the accessibility 
and compatibility features required by 602.2.
    603.3 Accommodation of Communication Needs. Support services 
shall be provided directly to the user or through a referral to a 
point of contact. Such ICT support services shall accommodate the 
communication needs of individuals with disabilities.

Chapter 7: Referenced Standards

701 General

    701.1 Scope. The standards referenced in Chapter 7 shall apply 
to ICT where required by 508 Chapter 2 (Scoping Requirements), 255 
Chapter 2 (Scoping Requirements), and where referenced in any other 
chapter of the Revised 508 Standards or Revised 255 Guidelines.

702 Incorporation by Reference

    702.1 Approved IBR Standards. The Director of the Office of the 
Federal Register has approved these standards for incorporation by 
reference into this part in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 
CFR part 51. Copies of the referenced standards may be inspected at 
the U.S. Access Board, 1331 F Street, NW., Suite 1000, Washington, 
DC 20004, (202) 272-0080, and may also be obtained from the sources 
listed below. They are also available for inspection at the National 
Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the 
availability of this material at NARA, call 202-741-6030 or go to 
http://www.archives.gov/Federal_register/code_of_Federal_regulations/ibr_locations.html.
    702.2 Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC). Copies of 
the referenced standard may be obtained from the Advanced Television 
Systems Committee, 1776 K Street NW., Suite 200, Washington, DC 
20006-2304 (http://www.atsc.org).
    702.2.1 ATSC A/53 Part 5:2014, Digital Television Standard, Part 
5--AC-3 Audio System Characteristics, August 28, 2014, IBR approved 
for Appendix C, Section 414.1.1.
    702.3 Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM). 
Copies of the referenced standard may be obtained from AIIM,1100 
Wayne Ave., Ste. 1100, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910 (http://www.aiim.org/Resources/Standards/AIIM_ISO_14289-1).
    702.3.1 ANSI/AIIM/ISO 14289-1-2016, Document Management 
Applications--Electronic Document File Format Enhancement for 
Accessibility--Part 1: Use of ISO 32000-1 (PDF/UA-1), ANSI-approved 
February 8, 2016, IBR approved for Appendix C, Section 504.2.2.
    702.4 Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES). Copies of the 
referenced standard may be obtained from the Human Factors and 
Ergonomics Society, P.O. Box 1369, Santa Monica, CA 90406-1369 
(http://www.hfes.org/Publications/ProductDetail.aspx?Id=76).
    702.4.1 ANSI/HFES 200.2, Human Factors Engineering of Software 
User Interfaces--Part 2: Accessibility, copyright 2008, IBR approved 
for Appendix C, Section 502.4.
    702.5 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). 
Copies of the referenced standard may be obtained from the Institute 
of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, 10662 Los Vaqueros Circle, 
P.O. Box 3014, Los Alamitos, CA 90720-1264 (http://www.ieee.org).
    702.5.1 ANSI/IEEE C63.19-2011, American National Standard for 
Methods of Measurement of Compatibility between Wireless 
Communications Devices and Hearing Aids, May 27, 2011, IBR approved 
for Appendix C, Section 412.3.1.
    702.6 International Code Council (ICC). Copies of the referenced 
standard may be obtained from ICC Publications, 4051 W. Flossmoor 
Road, Country Club Hills, IL 60478-5795 (http://www.iccsafe.org).
    702.6.1 ICC A117.1-2009, Accessible and Usable Buildings and 
Facilities, approved October 20, 2010, IBR approved for Appendix C, 
Section 402.5.
    702.7 International Telecommunications Union Telecommunications 
Standardization Sector (ITU-T). Copies of the referenced standards 
may be obtained from the International Telecommunication Union, 
Telecommunications Standardization Sector, Place des Nations CH-
1211, Geneva 20, Switzerland (http://www.itu.int/en/ITU-T).
    702.7.1 ITU-T Recommendation E.161, Series E. Overall Network 
Operation, Telephone Service, Service Operation and Human Factors--
International operation--Numbering plan of the international 
telephone service, Arrangement of digits, letters and symbols on 
telephones and other devices that can be used for gaining access to 
a telephone network, February 2001, IBR approved for Appendix C, 
Section 407.3.3.
    702.7.2 ITU-T Recommendation G.722.2, Series G. Transmission 
Systems and Media, Digital Systems and Networks--Digital terminal 
equipment--Coding of analogue signals by methods other than PCM, 
Wideband coding of speech at around 16 kbit/s using Adaptive Multi-
Rate Wideband (AMR-WB), July 2003, IBR approved for Appendix C, 
Section 412.4.
    702.8 Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Copies of the 
referenced standard may be obtained from the Internet Engineering 
Task Force (http://www.ietf.org).
    702.8.1 IETF RFC 6716, Definition of the Opus Codec, September 
2012, J.M. Valin, Mozilla Corporation, K. Vos, Skype Technologies 
S.A., T. Terriberry, Mozilla Corporation, IBR approved for Appendix 
C, Section 412.4.
    702.9 Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA). Copies of 
the referenced standard, published by the Telecommunications 
Industry Association, may be obtained from IHS Markit, 15 Inverness 
Way East, Englewood, CO 80112 (http://global.ihs.com).
    702.9.1 TIA-1083-B, Telecommunications--Communications 
Products--Handset Magnetic Measurement Procedures and Performance 
Requirements, October 2015, IBR approved for Appendix C, Section 
412.3.2.
    702.10 Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C). Copies of the referenced 
standard may be obtained from the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative, 
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 32 Vassar Street, Room 32-
G515, Cambridge, MA 02139 (http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20).
    702.10.1 WCAG 2.0, Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, W3C 
Recommendation, December 11, 2008, IBR approved for: Appendix A 
(Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act: Application and Scoping 
Requirements), Sections E205.4, E205.4 Exception, E205.4.1, E207.2, 
E207.2 Exception 2, E207.2 Exception 3, E207.2.1, E207.3; Appendix B 
(Section 255 of the Communications Act: Application and Scoping 
Requirements), C203.1, C203.1 Exception, C203.1.1, C205.2, C205.2 
Exception 2, C205.2 Exception 3, C205.2.1, C205.3; and Appendix C 
(Functional Performance Criteria and Technical Requirements), 408.3 
Exception, 501.1 Exception, 504.2, 504.3, 504.4, and 602.3.

[FR Doc. 2017-00395 Filed 1-17-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 8150-01-P