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The National Broadband Plan and Access for People with Cognitive Disabilities

October 22nd, 2010 by Elizabeth Lyle - Special Counsel for Innovation, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau

Elizabeth Lyle delivered these remarks to the Tenth Annual Coleman Institute Conference in Westminister, Colorado.

I recently had the chance to work on the accessibility recommendations in the National Broadband Plan that the Federal Communications Commission released in March of this year.

Last year in the Recovery Act, Congress and the President charged the Commission with writing a plan to bring high-speed Internet and its benefits to all Americans.

As FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski would say, broadband is our generation’s major infrastructure challenge. It’s like roads, canals, railroads and telephones for previous generations.

Historically, it has taken years – even decades – for people with disabilities to have anything close to equal access to communications. Designers of equipment, services, and networks have often failed to consider accessibility issues in the design and development stage – and retrofit solutions are expensive.

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