FCC seeks comments on extending deadline for closed captioning of IP content

The Federal Communications Commission is seeking comment on a pair of petitions filed by the Digital Media Association (DiMA) asking the agency to exempt video programming distributors temporarily from parts of agency's rule requiring closed captioning of Internet protocol distributed content.

The association has requested the commission to grant a temporary exemption from the portion of the rule that requires applications, plug-ins or devices provided by a video programming distributor to comply with user configuration and formatting requirements of commission rules [Section 79.103(c)].

DiMA told the commission that a delay in implementing provisions, such as the requirement to allow consumers to change the font and color of the closed captions, until Jan. 1, 2014, wouldn't impact the fundamental requirement to provide captioned video to consumers. According to the association, several video program distributors have said that the technical challenges involved complying with this portion of the rule too great to overcome in the six months set up by the commission for compliance.

The association's second petition asks from an exemption till Jan. 1, 2014, regarding parts of the rule related to rendering captions. According to DiMA, the exemption would affect those video program distributors that don't currently provide captioning. The rendering requirements "present significant technical difficulties" to overcome by the current deadline of Sept. 30, 2012, DiMA told the commission in its petition.

Comments regarding the petitions are due at the commission June 15. The deadline for reply comments is July 2. The FCC is permitting both electronic and paper filing for comments on the petitions. The FCC will treat the proceeding as "permit but disclose" for purposes of its ex parte rules.