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April 25, 2003

CSD VRS Center Opens in Houston

From: CSD - April 23, 2003

PRESS  ANNOUNCEMENT            For Immediate Release:April 25, 2003

                                                        Contact: Rick Norris

CSD Communications Office

CSD and Communication Axess Ability Create Alliance

to Provide Web-based Video Relay Services

     SIOUX FALLS, S.D.? CSD and Communication Axess Ability Group of Houston, Texas have created an alliance to provide the newest innovation in accessible technology for deaf and hard of hearing people across the nation ? video relay services (VRS). A new VRS center located in Houston will reach CSD's goal of having a network of nine centers completed by the end of June 2003. This agreement combines videoconferencing technology with a workforce of highly qualified sign language interpreters.

    The complementary arrangement provides for CSD to establish access to its robust platform - the only one in the industry that provides 24 hour accessibility, instant call routing, Macintosh compatibility, enhanced customer service and Spanish capability (during specific hours) - for business, educational, medical and general telecommunications applications. In addition, it gives the Communication Axess Ability Group the responsibility of administering and managing a local workforce of VRS agents or sign language interpreters in the Houston area. Together, the CSD and Axess alliance will provide customers with unparalleled service.

    "This agreement supports CSD's continuing commitment to better serve deaf and hard of hearing communities, collaborate with sister agencies that share similar goals and to strengthen its capabilities through telecommunications technology," said Benjamin Soukup, CSD chief executive officer.  "On a broader scale, it illustrates our intent to bring to our customers the newest and most advanced technologies that help provide greater options for communication access and, in effect, make a positive difference in the lives of our consumers."

    "We are pleased to partner with a company that is leading the way in creating new IP communication solutions for deaf and hard of hearing people," said Dave Hancock, president of Communication Axess Ability Group. "Together we will help create a new era in realm of effective communication."

About Communication Axess Ability

The Communication Axess Ability Group exists solely to serve the needs of the deaf and hard of hearing community. The company's goal is to offer a strong foundation that bridges diverse populations and promotes equal communication. Our desire is to become the business, social and cultural center for the deaf and hard of hearing community in Texas, with plans underway for nationwide expansion. We expect to utilize leading edge technology to provide enhanced services to the business and our deaf and hard of hearing consumers. For more information, see the company web site

About CSD

CSD (also known as Communication Service for the Deaf, Inc.) was established in 1975, primarily to provide sign language interpreting services to deaf and hard of hearing citizens in South Dakota. Today, CSD employs over 2,000 individuals nationwide to provide social and human services, as well as telecommunications relay services. CSD is a private, nonprofit agency dedicated to providing quality services; ensuring public accessibility; and increasing public awareness of issues affecting deaf, hard of hearing and speech-impaired individuals. For more information, see the company web site