Charter Communications has received the prestigious Helen Keller Achievement Award from the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), for breakthrough innovations in expanding inclusive media for audiences who are blind and low vision.
Charter and the Honorable Tony Coelho, former California congressman and champion for disability rights who led the introduction of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), were the two recipients of the 2023 Helen Keller Achievement Award.
"Both of our honorees this year embody the heart and passion of Helen Keller in their efforts to create a more inclusive and just world for people with disabilities," said AFB Board Chair Debbie Dennis. "Their contributions to society not only expanded equal access for people who are blind and low vision, but they continue to remind us all that the desire to dream something new is alive and well in the age of digital inclusion."
For more than 40 years, Helen Keller was AFB’s leading ambassador, inspiring millions of people around the world. Since 1994, AFB has honored her legacy by recognizing exceptional individuals and organizations that expand possibilities for those who are blind or low vision. Artists and musicians, including Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder, have been honored, as well as leading corporations such as Apple, Comcast, Google and Netflix.
“Charter’s commitment to accessibility, both in the workplace and in the Spectrum products and services we provide to millions of customers, is fundamental to how we operate as a business,” said Steve Raymond, Charter's Vice President of Accessibility. ”We are honored to be recognized with the Helen Keller Achievement Award as a result of our efforts."
Charter Advances Innovations in Accessible Technology
Charter continues to drive forward the spirit of digital inclusion by finding innovative ways film and television can become more accessible for the millions of customers who are blind and low vision. The Spectrum Access App, which is free and available to anyone in the U.S., allows media with audio description to be accessed not just in the comfort of the home, but anywhere a user goes.
From being able to control who hears the audio description, to streaming it through Bluetooth hearing aids, and even reading captions through electronic Braille displays, Charter has made the user experience more inclusive by making audio description both functional and convenient as the entertainment industry continues to change the ways people consume media.
“Our connection to the accessibility community continues to drive the app’s feature developments and user experience,” said Petr Kucheryavyy, Charter’s Senior Manager of Accessibility and product owner of Spectrum Access who has been legally blind since age 10. Kucheryavvy and more than half of Charter’s Accessibility team employees have disabilities and live the experience of relying on assistive technology to do their jobs.
Charter recently received a patent for the technology known as Auto Resync which allows real-time synchronization for audio description and closed captioning. It gives users the ability to use the app with any medium, including linear TV.
Charter is set to receive the award April 19, 2023, at the Crystal City Hyatt Regency in Arlington, Virginia. For more information on the Helen Keller Achievement Awards, visit the American Foundation for the Blind website.
For more information about Spectrum’s Accessible products and services click here.