Committed to connecting the world


ITU-R Sector contribution to Bridging the Digital Disabilities Divide


Wireless technologies are rapidly emerging as an important medium to send and receive data, text, voice and video in a seamless and ubiquitous manner. Wireless devises are likely to become an integral part of daily life, and these technologies will be best placed to give accessibility to people with disabilities and avoid their exclusion from the information society.

​ITU-R Sector contributes wireless technological development though the production of Recommendations, Reports and Questions relating to people with disabilities, and by so doing to improving their accessibility and to reducing the overall Digital Disabilities Divide.​ ​

​ITU-R Resolution ​

Resolution ITU-R 67-1​ (Geneva 2019)-“Telecommunication/ICT accessibility for persons with disabilities and persons with specific needs”  resolves to invite ITU-R to continue conducting studies, research, guidelines and recommendations, related to telecommunication/ICT accessibility for persons with disabilities and persons with specific needs, taking into account  Resolutions 191 (Rev. Dubai, 2018) and 200 (Rev. Dubai, 2018) of the Plenipotentiary Conference, and in close cooperation with ITU-T and ITU-D.


ITU-R deliverables on accessibility matter

Recommendation ITU-R SM.1896- “Frequency Ranges for Global or Regional Harmonization of Short-Range Devices.”  It includes a new harmonized band for “Telecoil Replacement Systems (TRS) for the hearing impaired”.

Recommendation ITU-R M.1076- "Wireless communication system s for persons with impaired hearing.” This Recommendation provides the technical and operational characteristics for wireless accessibility of hearing aids to public, home and personal audio services operating in the land mobile service.

Recommendation ITU-R RS.1346- “sharing  between  the  Meteorological  Aids  Service  and  Medical Implant  Communication  systems  (MICS)  operating  in  the mobile  service  in  the  frequency  band  401-406MHz.” This Recommendation provides the characteristics of Medical Implant Communication System and the mitigation requirements for the sharing with Meteorological Aids Systems in above band.

Recommendation ITU-R BT.2123- “Video parameter values for advanced immersive audio-visual (AIAV)systems for production and international programme exchange in broadcasting.” In order to produce high-quality comfortable images, AIAV systems require video system parameters that go beyond the levels of UHDTV as well as additional system parameters to support omnidirectional image representation. This Recommendation specifies AIAV system parameters for production and international programme exchange.

Recommendation ITU-R BT.1702- “Guidance for the reduction of photosensitive epileptic seizures caused by television.” The guidance proposed in this Recommendation is for the protection of the vulnerable section of the viewing population who have photosensitive epilepsy, and who are therefore prone to seizures triggered by flashing lights, including certain types of flashing television images.

Report ITU-R SM.2153- “Technical and Operating Parameters and Spectrum Use for Short Range Radiocommunication Devices. ” This Report sets out common technical and non-technical parameters for short-range radiocommunication devices (SRDs) among that including wireless applications in healthcare, such as hearing aid, guiding system for the blind and medical implant communications systems (MICS).

Report  ITU-R  BT.2448- “Technical realization of signing in digital television.” The scope of this Report is to describe methods of making sign language available to the end users. This Report describes practical solutions for closed signing in regular TV programmes, which include the provision of two video signals, one with and one without the signer or alternatively the transmission of the signer video as additional stream.

Report ITU-R BT.2342- “Production, emission and exchange of closed captions for all worldwide language character sets (Latin and non-Latin​).” This Report describes the efforts have been made to develop technologies such as efficient production methods and closed captioning content exchange methods. This Report also describes the recent status of techniques used for the production, exchange and broadcast of closed captions.

Report ITU-R BT.2207- “Accessibility to broadcasting services for persons with disabilities.” This Report lists some approaches to address the following accessible matters: Hearing disabilities; Sight impairment ;Aging audience; Receiver user-friendliness.

Report ITU-R BT.2447​​​- “Artificial intelligence systems for programme production and exchange.” This Report lists a number of approaches on how to tap into the potential of using AI for accessibility, for example, Automation of content recognition, including Speech to text and text to speech; Dialogue tools for Audio Description; Translation –eliminating then unintended; Object and Scene recognition.

ITU-R Study Question

Question ITU-R 145/6-  “Systems for enabling access to broadcast and cooperative media for persons with disabilities on Accessibility on AV,” which decides that the following questions should be studied;

  1. What systems can be used for delivering sub-titling/closed captioning, and systems to deliver audio into text, appropriate to the delivery of broadcast media and related services.
  2. What systems can be used for delivering signing/closed signing appropriate to the delivery of broadcast media and related services?
  3. What systems can be used for delivering audio description/described video for video content appropriate to the delivery of broadcast media and related services?
  4. What systems can be used for delivering ‘clean audio’ (facility to improve the clarity of foreground sound) for the delivery of audio for broadcast media, and related services?
  5. What systems can be used for delivering haptic information appropriate to the delivery of broadcast media, and related services?
  6. What use of intelligent agents and related technologies could assist in the development and application of access systems and services?
  7. What technologies could be used to enhance the understanding of broadcast media content for persons of differing abilities?
  8. What are the preferred ways that can allow a person with different ranges of ability (vision, hearing, motor impairment) to take part in interactive programme content?

  9. ​​further decides:
  1. that the results of the above studies should be included in one or more Recommendations and Reports;
  2. that the above studies should be completed by 2023.