Abstract - The Information Society 19(2)

Leaving It up to the Industry: People with Disabilities and the Telecommunications Act of 1996

Tomoko Kanayama


This paper examines whether Section 255 of the 1996 Act achieves accessibility for people with disabilities. Taking the interest group approach, it shows that FCC implemented Section 255 in a way that is favorable to the telecommunications industry and not people with disabilities. FCC’s regulations only encourage the telecommunication industry to consider accessibility issues for people with disabilities. This pro-industry regulatory bias is in keeping with the established pattern of policy making in other areas concerning people with disabilities. The paper argues that if FCC continues to rely on the voluntary efforts of the industry, people with disabilities will not enjoy benefits of access to telecommunications systems.

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