Thursday, April 11, 2019

Brazil: Latin America’s biggest market promoting mobile accessibility

With the introduction of the General Regulation on Accessibility in 2016, Brazil became one of Latin America’s most active promoters of making telecommunications accessible for people with disabilities and older users. One important part of this initiative, is informing Brazilian citizens about the kind of accessibility features and solutions that they can already find on the market today and in mainstream devices.

Furthermore, ANATEL, Brazil’s national regulatory authority for telecommunications, is also working with the country’s network providers and device manufacturers, encouraging them to improve their offers to persons with disabilities. We have asked Miss Patrícia Rodrigues Ferreira responsible for Gerência de Universalização e Ampliação do Acesso at ANATEL to share some insights into her agency’s key activities in promoting mobile accessibility throughout the country.

What is ANATEL’s experience in promoting the accessibility of telecommunications? 

Anatel has been promoting accessibility:

  • On Anatel’s website and social media, such as Facebook and YouTube. On YouTube, Anatel published the General Regulation on Accessibility (Resolution nº 667/2016) in Libras (Brazilian sign language):
  • At public events organized for private and public sectors.  It’s important to highlight  the “Anatel Prize for Accessibility 2019”. The first event will take place on 16 April, and Anatel will reward the operator most committed to accessibility in telecommunications services, based on a Ranking of Accessibility;

What measures have worked best so far to improve mobile accessibility? 

Anatel has involved in its regulation activities persons with disabilities, telecommunication companies, public bodies, associations representing persons with disabilities. This dialogue with the sector has been improving the regulation, helping Anatel to get to know the needs of the sector, especially in the mobile service, the most widely used service in Brazil;

Where do you see the biggest potential for improvement?

The biggest potential for improvement of the accessibility in telecommunication services is the expansion of the broadband. Anatel is working to expand the broadband in Brazil (which is a very large country) encouraging companies, establishing new covering commitments for operators and improving the regulation;

How does ANATEL use GARI for advancing mobile accessibility? 

Companies are enforced to disseminate the accessibility technologies available in the commercialized devices according to each disability, as it is established in the General Regulation on Accessibility. Anatel encourages the companies to use GARI to fulfil this obligation, because GARI is a worldwide platform. It is also important to mention that Anatel’s website includes information about GARI:

What do you see as the necessary next steps? 

The next steps involve evaluating the impacts of Resolution nº 667  through a dialogue with telecommunication companies, public bodies and associations representing persons with disabilities.

What would you want from industry to support your objectives? 

The information about the accessibility technologies from industry is very useful for the companies to disseminate these information on their websites and on other platforms. So, the support from industry at this point is crucial for the success of the accessibility in telecommunication services.

Many thanks to Patrícia and ANATEL and we are looking forward to hearing about the winners of the “Anatel Prize for Accessibility 2019”.