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With the final rule of the Section 508 Refresh now published, we now have a fairly clear picture of the timetable for Section 508 compliance. The compliance date for conformance to the revised standards for information and communication technology (ICT) that is used, maintained, or developed is January 18, 2018.  The Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council (FAR) has not issued a new procurement policy, establishing the compliance date for procured ICT, but is required to do so within six months of the final rule being published. We anticipate that the date for compliance will be the same date January 18, 2018, but this area remains fluid. Below, you can see the updated timeline:

Milestone Date
NPRM draft to OIRA for economic impact assessment 3/31/2014
OIRA completes NPRM review 6/29/2014
OIRA review notes incorporated into draft NPRM 2/17/2015
NPRM published in Federal Register 2/27/2015
NPRM comment period 5/28/2015
Board approves draft rule text 9/14/2016
Rule submitted to OIRA for review 10/24/2016
OIRA completes final regulation review 1/9/2017
Final rule published in Federal Register 1/18/2017
Rule effective date (Administrative in nature) 3/21/2017
FAR and procurement policy updates due  (no date set but must be updated within six months) 7/18/2017
Final Compliance Dates 1/18/2018*

*Note that compliance to the revised standards is required for ICT that is used, maintained, developed, and procured after January 18, 2018 with a safe harbor for existing ICT.  When components of ICT have been updated after January 18, 2018, those components must follow the revised standards.  ICT that is developed before January 18, 2018 but not used until after that date should follow the revised Section 508 standards.

In addition, even if you are familiar with the proposed Section 508 rules, be aware that, based on public comment, the Access Board made several changes to the proposed rules when the Final was published. Here are some of the critical changes:

  • Intranet content posted as a web page was added as a category of non-public facing content required to be accessible.
  • Instead of creating a custom set of rules for non-Web ICT, the Access Board relied on W3C’s guidance on applying WCAG 2.0 to non-Web ICT.
  • PDF/UA-1 was not incorporated as an alternative standard to WCAG 2.0 for PDF documents.
  • The Final Rule does not include standards for real-time texting (RTT). The FCC intends to regulate in the area of RTT.
  • The Functional Performance Criteria were modified, particularly in the areas of limited vision and limited hearing.

Want to Learn More?

To make sure you’re up to speed with Section 508, download our free whitepaper, Section 508 Refreshnow updated with the latest information and changes.

Content provided by Level Access is intended for general information and education. The materials and facts presented do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon in the face of pending litigation. If you have specific legal questions, please contact a lawyer.