Broadband Adoption and People with Disabilities


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A presentation to the 2012 Minnesota Broadband Task Force from Jay Wyant at the Commission of Deaf, Deafblind and Hard of Hearing Minnesotans, Office of Enterprise Technologies (OET)

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  • The 2009 legislation really set up a program, with multiple projects, governance, and targeted funding to create a better understanding and a starting point for the accessibility of State of MN IT systems and applications.The legislation is focused on end users (both citizens and state employees) and specifically excludes infrastructure (back office) technology. The legislation also focuses on future systems and applications and not IT already in place. The idea being that as we continue to replace outdated technology, we will be replacing it with accessible systems.
  • you want to cultivate a culture of use, you have to ensure that it is first accessible to people in your population. Another important component concerning the population of rural residents with disabilities is that number of people with disabilities will continue to increase as the baby boomers continue to age. According to the Chamber of Commerce, over 50% of people over the age of 75 have a disability.
  • 41%: Technology: Examples, screen-access technology for computers $800- $1,000, braille display average cost approximately $3,500 to $15,000. Problem complicated by low employment rate for people with disabilities, in 2007, the employment rate of people with disabilities aged 21 to 64 was about 37 percent, compared to nearly 80 percent for people without disabilities in the same age range.” Also complicated by a wage gap, in 2007, the median annual income of a household with at least one working-age person with a disability was $38,400, while households without a person with a disability earned over $60,000.In addition, some of the assistive technology takes considerable amounts of bandwidth so people with disabilities often require a higher level broadband service and current computers (story of Barry who is deafblind and could not fully participate in the conference because his hardware was not adequate for the program). Often people are unfamiliar with assistive technology so they view computers and the internet as unusable.
  • The Chamber of Commerce paper recommended, to improve broadband adoption:-Need affordable broadband options for users -Educate people with disabilities about how the internet can improve educational and employment options. And provide new options in health care…-Provide trainings to teach people how to use computers and assistive technology-Assist people with disabilities in purchasing computers and other equipment -Encourage provider compliance and government enforcement of accessibility regulations
  • Tools for Life in Georgia: “to increase access to assistive technology devices and assistive technology services for Georgians of all ages and disabilities so individuals can live, learn, work, and play independently in communities of their choice.”-Services: Four resourcecenters in the state do “consumer intake, assistive technology scholarships, assistive technology training through hands-on assistive technology demonstrations and educational workshops, Touch the Future Expo, and the Microsoft Life Long Learning Lab.”-Theresource centers have “’hands-on’ learning centers for demonstration, education, and evaluation.” The centers are important becausepeople like to have an opportunity to try equipment/devices before they purchase them. -Provide assistance for new small business owners, including information on developing a business plan, finding business training, and applying for loans to start a business-According to the Chamber of Commerce paper, in 2007 the organization trained over 3000 people on how to use assistive technologyBroadband Changed My Life (Now defunct)Is a nationwide campaign promoted by the Alliance for Public Technology. The campaign “highlights the breadth and scope” of the impact of broadband on individual citizens. Although this is not specific for people with disabilities, it does promote how broadband can improve a person’s quality of life. The winners receive a cash prize and their broadband stories are advertised by the Alliance for Public Technology. A similar campaign could be launched in Minnesota with a focus on the use of broadband by rural Minnesotans.
  • Some assistive technology devices are paid for my government programs. However, the purchase of these devices is determined by their ability to match government definitions. For example, Medicare will pay for assistive technology if the product is “durable medical equipment.” This allows the government to purchase an $8000 alternative augmentative communications (ACC) device, but not a $300 smartphone with $150 text-to-speech software which works more effectively than the ACC device because the smartphone is not considered a medical device. Expanding assistive technology device definitions would free up funding for the government to buy more people with disabilities necessary devices. (Source: Giant Leap reference in word document p.13)
  • - MCDHH and OET co-created a course on accessible websites: OET produced a course on making Word accessible: produced a course on captioning (web) video:
  • Before digging into how the project will accomplish the work set out by the legislature, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page when we talk about accessibility.Use curb-cut and building electrical outlet examples of accessibility. Contrast: reading glasses are an accommodation.
  • Central to the legislation was the funding and directives to OET and Admin.Responding to the statuteOET set up a project to adopt standards and figure out how to implement them into processes (including purchasing) to move the state toward the goal of technology access for both employees and citizensBy default we manage the overall program, coordinating the monthly advisory committee meetings and managing the touch points between project deliverables and advisory committee responsibilities
  • How does this impact the Task Force’s mandate to “develop an action plan for identifying and correcting disparities in access and adoption of Broadband in all Minnesota communities – urban, rural, and suburban”?(FCC just released a map illustrating zero 3G coverage in much of western US as a prelude to announcing Mobility Fund action scheduled for September.)How does this impact my job and what I will be doing for the next 17 months?
  • Broadband Adoption and People with Disabilities

    1. 1. Broadband Adoption and People with DisabilitiesCommission of Deaf, Deafblind and Hard of HearingMinnesotansOffice of Enterprise Technologies (OET)
    2. 2. 2009 Legislation • Mandated that OET adopt accessibility standards • Specifies the incorporation of Section 508 and WCAG 2.0 into the standards • Funds through June 30, 2011 • Sets up an advisory committee • Funds two other projects related to captioning (Legis. Coordination Committee and Commission for Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing Minnesotans)2 3/31/2010
    3. 3. Rural Communities and People with Disabilities • People with disabilities are more likely than most other groups to live in rural areas • At least 20 percent of people with disabilities, 11 million people, live in rural areas of the United States.3 3/31/2010
    4. 4. Jobs and People with Disabilities • When the ADA was passed in 1990, 22% of people with disabilities were employed • 22 years later, that number remains the same • People with disabilities employed in state government decreased from 10.1% in 1999 to 4.6% in 20114 3/31/2010
    5. 5. Why are so many people with disabilities still offline? By 2009 only 41% of Americans with disabilities had adopted broadband. (39% of all non-adopters are people with disabilities.) • Assistive technology is too expensive • Broadband speed is insufficient - Internet may be seen as inaccessible and unnecessary5 3/31/2010
    6. 6. Recommendations: Education and Training• Make training and educational materials accessible – Provide transportation – Publish Braille materials – Offer sign language interpretive services• Some example programs: – Tools for Life in Georgia • Resource Centers • Small Business Education – Broadband Changed My Life! • Campaign to promote benefits of Broadband8 3/31/2010
    7. 7. Recommendations: Fund Assistive Technology • Government funds and grants – TAM a potential resource – CenturyLink Settlement • Equipment recycling and exchanges • Expand definition of assistive technology • Economic development funds10 3/31/2010
    8. 8. Recommendations: Regulation Compliance • Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1978 • Web Content Access Guidelines 2.0 • 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act signed on 10/08/10 by President Obama11 3/31/2010
    9. 9. Section 508 and Web Content Access Guidelines • Through MCDHH’s advocacy the State of Minnesota adopted federal accessibility standards in 2009 • All websites and content must be accessible- captioned live streaming, content in ASL, captioned videos • MCDHH and OET produced/co-produced courses on web and document accessibility12 3/31/2010
    10. 10. Accessibility: Quick Introduction • Not an accommodation – it’s built-in – everyone uses it • Technology centered; not focused on a person who is disabled • Proactive • It’s an electronic curb-cut!13 3/31/2010
    11. 11. Technology Accessibility Standards Implementation Project • Supports OET’s mandate to establish technology accessibility standards and implement the processes needed to put them into effect • OET and MMD are working together to assure the state is purchasing accessible hardware, software, and online applications under Minnesota Statutes 2009, section 16C.14 3/31/2010
    12. 12. 2009 Legislation: Current Status • 2011: TAM Appropriation • Created position of CIAO15 3/31/2010
    13. 13. Broadband Issues • What is “Broadband”?16 3/31/2010
    14. 14. Broadband: Broadly Defined • Size of the pipe • Type of pipe • Type of device • Content (apps and data)17 3/31/2010
    15. 15. OET and Accessibility • Policy framework • Process recommendations • Dialogue • Incentives18 3/31/2010
    16. 16. THANK YOU!Mary 431-5965www.mncdhh.orgJay (cell)