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10.18.2004
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
NCTA opposes tougher closed captioning rules

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) has asked the FCC not to institute a major overhaul of closed captioning rules as advocated by the Telecommunications for the Deaf and other groups.

Major changes are not needed, the group said, because most captioning complaints are triggered by “technical glitches” that don’t warrant significant rule changes. The trade group argued that with cable operators carrying an average of 100 channels that added record-keeping obligations would impose significant paperwork burdens on its members.

The cable group opposed a modification of the FCC’s complaint procedures and argued against new rules to ensure technical quality of captions.

Advocates of the deaf want the FCC to maintain a database with updated contact information for programmers and to create improved complaint procedures for viewers that can be used when compliance problems are discovered. FCC audits of compliance are also recommended.

Captioning is taking on a larger role as new FCC requirements go into effect that mandate all English-language programming - except for news and other exempt shows - be captioned beginning Jan. 1, 2006.

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