On January 18, 2017 United States Access Board has released an update for the final rule on standards for electronic and information technology developed, procured, maintained, or used by Federal agencies covered by section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as well as the guidelines for telecommunications equipment and customer premises equipment covered by Section 255 of the Communications Act of 1934. The Section 508 standards and Section 255 guidelines refresh are intended to ensure that information and communication technology covered by the respective statutes is accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. The Revised 508 Standards and 255 Guidelines replace the current product-based regulatory approach with an approach based on ICT functions.
Highlights of section 508 final rule
- New Regulatory Approach and Format
- Broad Application of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0
- Harmonization With International Standards
- Delineation of Covered Electronic ‘‘Content
- Expanded Interoperability Requirements
- Extended Compliance Date and Incorporation of Safe Harbor Provision for Section 508-Covered Legacy ICT
Section 508 final rule key Dates
- The Section 508 final rule is effective from March 20, 2017. This means All ICT that is published on or after March 20, 2017 must be compliant as per the new Section 508 standards.
- ICT that is published before March 20, 2017 must be still compliant as per old Section 508 standards.
- Compliance with the section 508-based standards is not required until January 18, 2018.
- Compliance with the section 255-based guidelines is not required until the guidelines are adopted by the Federal Communications Commission.