RNIB responds to Ofcom’s work plan 2023/2024
RNIB has pushed Ofcom to start looking at the accessibility of Gaming and the Metaverse in their plan for next year. We have also stressed that the work on affordability of communication services needs to consider blind and partially sighted people.
RNIB has responded to Ofcom’s work plan for the coming year. Every year Ofcom publishes it’s work plan and gives stakeholders an opportunity to comment. This year’s work plan provided space for Ofcom to work on setting quotas for access services on video on demand services if the government gives the go ahead. The government still needs to create this legislation before Ofcom can do anything more and with changes planned for DCMS (the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is losing its remit for digital technologies) it’s unclear when this will happen.
Two years ago, RNIB highlighted the lack of work planned around gaming but gaming and virtual reality such as metaverse platforms are still not mentioned in Ofcom’s plan of work. We have pointed out that with virtual concerts happening on platforms such as Fortnight and Roblox they are already acting as broadcasting platforms so this is the time to research accessibility issues.
We also highlighted the results of the RNIB Accessible Gaming Report that showed there was an interest among developers to make games more accessible but often they didn’t know how to do it. In the past Ofcom have hosted industry roundtables to enable and encourage knowledge sharing so even without legislation there is useful work Ofcom can do in this area.
There is already work planned to assess the affordability of communications services. We have highlighted that since blind and partially sighted people are less likely to be in work and will have extra expenses linked to their sight loss any work on the affordability of communications services needs to take them into account.