In December 2010, the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, the Hon Senator Stephen Conroy, officially launched the Convergence Review.
In the world of communications technology, ‘convergence’ refers to the major communications platforms (broadcasting, telecommunications and online) coming together so that their once separate functions overlap. Video content, for example, that used to be available only on television can now be viewed easily over the Internet.
The Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy is providing regular updates on convergence developments, both relating to the Review and in general, through its Twitter account, @DBCDEgov.
Convergence Review Developments
The Convergence Review is set to follow this schedule:
- July 2011: Hearings
- Late July/Early August 2011: Submissions for inclusion in detailed discussion papers due
- August 2011: Detailed discussion papers released
- 28 October 2011: Final submissions due
- March 2012: Final report
Access to convergent media
Media Access Australia believes that there are four broad and complementary elements to providing access to digital technology and access to online media:
Accessibility of media content
For media content (such as a YouTube video or a catch-up TV program) to be made accessible, it must be provided with audio description and captioning.
Accessibility of software
To enable people who are blind or vision impaired, or Deaf or hearing impaired, to use digital media and technology, software such as viewers, media players, applications and web browsers must be able to support audio description and captioning, and allow use with assistive technology.
Accessibility of devices
Devices, including computers, tablets and smartphones, must be able to support assistive technology and be fully navigable by someone who is blind or vision impaired, or Deaf or hearing impaired.
Accessibility of infrastructure
Without appropriate and accessible infrastructure, such as a high-speed Internet connection made available to people with disabilities, the accessibility of the device, software or media content is irrelevant.
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