FCC to build an open source video platform for ASL users

The FCC is developing a video access platform that will allow American Sign Language (ASL) users to communicate with businesses and government agencies more easily, Chairman Tom Wheeler announced on Thursday. With it, users will be able to make video calls as well as send text and audio to the person on the other end of the line. What's more, the platform will not only enable the creation of function-specific desktop and mobile apps that, say, allow users to connect with FCC reps through a relay service staffed by people fluent in ASL. It will also serve as an interoperability standard for existing IP-based video conferencing apps like Skype or Google Hangouts. And, since the code is open source, any developer will be able to integrate this functionality into their app.

"It is time for people who speak with their hands and hear with their eyes to enjoy modern advancements in communications technologies," Wheeler stated during the announcement. "It's time for you to be able to have your video products work together, so you can call whomever you wish, whenever you wish, from anywhere." The FCC plans to have a beta version ready by the end of this year and release the final version by next spring.

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