Benefits » Enabling People With Disabilities
High speed Internet empowers people with disabilities to become more independent. An Internet connection with enough speed to allow two-way voice, data, and video transfer can remove barriers that keep people with disabilities from participating in everyday activities such as employment, education, civic responsibilities and social connection.
According to the 2008 U.S. Census, 50 million Americans have some kind of disability. Not only does this substantial segment of our population stand to benefit greatly from universally accessible broadband, but we all benefit from the increased participation when more people are broadband users.
Expert studies find that Americans with disabilities currently use the Internet approximately half as much as those without disabilities and their rate of adoption lags behind that of the general population. This is true for people with disabilities in both urban and rural environments. With 60 percent of working-age persons with disabilities unemployed or underemployed, affordable, universal access to broadband at home is crucial. Those without high speed Internet access at home who must use public computers contend with transportation challenges and inaccessible locations.
Benefits of High Speed Internet for Enabling People with Disabilities
- Live streaming video and instant text communication liberate people who are deaf, or hard of hearing, and those with speech disabilities, from dependency on the phone.
- High speed Internet makes new services available to people with physical disabilities, such as attending classes remotely, online medical consultations with far away specialists, or applying for and securing jobs, eliminating the need for unnecessary or difficult commutes or trips.
- Programs that read text and describe visual contents aloud in a synthetic voice or a Braille display enable people who are blind or visually impaired to search the Internet, understand videos, and communicate online.
- For persons with certain mental conditions or learning disabilities, slow download speeds discourage Internet use.
- Video relay services (VRS), which require high speed Internet to run, allow people who are deaf to have phone conversations in their native sign language by means of an online interpreter.
- Initiatives to expand high speed Internet should include, as a principle, provisions to ensure not only affordability, but also accessibility and usability, for people with disabilities.
- Measures undertaken to increase employment through deploying more high speed Internet availability should include the employment needs of people with disabilities.
- Research on high speed Internet access should look at the economic benefits of assimilating marginalized segments of society as a means of integration.
For More Information
Related Blog Posts:
- 11-05-2013: Broadband in the hills and hollows of West Virginia
- 08-21-2013: One-fifth of Americans still donít use the Internet
- 06-25-2013: Engineering and law make tech more accessible
- 05-14-2013: The Truth About Lifeline
- 04-26-2013: Republican attack on Lifeline runs into strong defense
- 12-20-2012: FCC presents accessibility awards
- 11-19-2012: CWA stands with video interpreters
- 06-20-2012: Yes, Netflix, the ADA does apply to you
- 06-08-2012: To help the disabled, mobile needs more spectrum
- 03-05-2012: Digital technology makes the disabled more able
- 01-18-2012: FCC advances with Internet video closed captioning
- 12-21-2011: Genachowski and Knight Foundation name winners of “Apps for Communities” project
- 10-20-2011: House Dems Ask FCC To Develop Internet In Nation’s School And Libraries
- 10-13-2011: FCC Takes Major Step For People With Disabilities
- 08-29-2011: FCC Mandates Closed Captioning On Streaming Video
- 08-19-2011: Telemedicine Does Reduce Patient Travel
- 07-29-2011: Administration Presses Federal Government On Technology Accessibility
- 07-28-2011: FCC Sets Six Month Deadline for Online Closed Captioning
- 07-22-2011: Disabled Can Increase Employment Opportunities With Assistive Technology
- 07-08-2011: Bring Broadband to the Billion with Disability
- 06-30-2011: Lawsuit Against Netflix Exposes Need for Closed Captioning
- 06-20-2011: COAT Adds Its Support For AT&T/T-Mobile Merger
- 04-25-2011: App Design Challenge Offers Crowd-sourced Solution for Underserved Communities
- 04-14-2011: FCC Adopts Equipment Program for Persons with Disabilities
- 03-11-2011: AAPD Hosting Policy Forum on Telerehabilitation
- 03-08-2011: FCC Proposes Rules to Expand Access for the Disabled
- 02-16-2011: Americans With Disabilities are Underserved by Online Technologies
- 11-09-2010: NTIA/ESA Report Sheds Light on Broadband Gaps
- 11-01-2010: Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, CWA Urge FCC to Act
- 10-15-2010: Accessibility Act Signed Into Law
- 09-28-2010: Digital Disability Access Bill Passes Senate
- 08-24-2010: The Benefits of Broadband
- 08-10-2010: Senate Unanimously Approves Historic Accessibility Legislation
- 07-26-2010: The FCC Celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the ADA
- 07-21-2010: Senate committee approves new technology accessibility standards
- 06-02-2010: Kerry: Legislation Ensuring Broadband Access for Disabled May Pass in 2010
- 04-30-2010: Commerce announces $28.5 million in grant money for One Economy
- 04-28-2010: FCC begins work on new public safety broadband network
- 04-28-2010: Broadband adoption rates low among Americans with disabilities, according to FCC
- 04-22-2010: Hollis: National recovery efforts must include Internet equality
- 03-10-2010: High-speed Internet brings improved dental care to underserved community
- 02-01-2010: Disability advocates laud CWA’s broadband plan recommendations
- 02-01-2010: CWA calls for broadband goal of 50 mbps downstream and 20 upstream by 2015
- 11-20-2009: APT re-launches, focusing on broadband adoption
- 11-12-2009: Redefining “access” - broadband for those with disabilities
- 10-15-2009: Advances in telemedicine accelerate
- 07-15-2009: Speed matters to the American Association of People with Disabilities
- 06-15-2009: Broadband tools overcome barriers for quality healthcare
- 06-08-2009: National broadband plan must include public hearings, benchmarks for progress
- 06-05-2009: Broadband stimulus progress report stipulates grant application deadlines
- 09-19-2008: Hearing shows high speed Internet opening doors for the disadvantaged
- 09-03-2008: Telemedicine allows doctors to get regular vital signs from patients
- 11-09-2007: Broadband changes lives
- 09-20-2007: Children with Disabilities: Logging on to Learn
- 06-14-2007: High speed for the hard of hearing
- 10-09-2006: A picture is worth a thousand words
- 09-12-2006: Giving the Deaf a Welcome Sign
- 09-12-2006: Bringing More of the World to the Blind