Congress acts to give blind better Web, MP3 access

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WASHINGTON (AP) - The blind will have greater access to the Internet through smart phones, and devices such as iPhones and Blackberrys will have to be hearing aid compatible, under legislation Congress has sent to the president.

Mark Richert of the American Foundation for the Blind says the measure was one of the most comprehensive bills in decades to improve access for the disabled. Richert, who is blind, says, “It breaks down barriers for all of us.”

The measure sets federal guidelines assuring that the blind will have access to the Web through improved user interfaces for smart phones. It also requires that over time more than 60 hours a week of video programming will have audio descriptions. And it requires that MP3 players be capable of audio descriptions.

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