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September 29, 2004

Sprint and CSD Provides Equipment for Video Relay Service to Illinois School for the Deaf

From: Sprint - Sep 29, 2004

Media Contact:
Stephanie Taliaferro, 913-794-3658


Sprint and CSD Provides Equipment for Video Relay Service to Illinois School for the Deaf

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - Sept. 29, 2004 - Sprint (NYSE: FON) and Communications Services for the Deaf (CSD) have donated and installed services so the students and staff at Illinois School for the Deaf (ISD) can communicate with friends, family and businesses through Sprint Video Relay Service (VRS), powered by CSD. The Illinois School for the Deaf, founded in 1839, is located in Jacksonville, Ill., and focuses on educating students who are deaf or hard of hearing and preparing them to be responsible, self-supporting citizens.

"The students and staff at ISD are excited about this wonderful communication opportunity," said Marybeth Lauderdale, Director of Media and Curriculum at Illinois School for the Deaf. "We've been at a loss since GTE/Verizon took away our students' pay phones/TTYs, due to lack of revenue. Sprint and CSD's pilot program will allow our students to communicate more independently in the pursuit of becoming responsible, self-supporting citizens."

"As an organization with a significant number of deaf and hard of hearing employees, CSD understands the communication challenges deaf and hard of hearing students face," said Benjamin J. Soukup, CEO of CSD. "We are pleased to be able to offer an alternate solution that allows easy and quick communication access, while also encouraging independence by empowering students to make their own phone calls."

Specifically, Sprint and CSD have donated televisions, D-Links (to enable high-speed Internet access) and an ATM high-speed Internet network so ISD students and staff have access to Sprint VRS. VRS is a free service that allows deaf and hard of hearing individuals to communicate easily and naturally with family and friends over the Internet using American Sign Language (ASL) and a video interpreter. VRS is accessed by using a high-speed Internet connection along with a computer and webcam, or a television and a videophone device. Sprint and CSD launched the first nationwide Video Relay Service in May 2002.

"Sprint feels it is important to provide video relay service and equipment to schools like ISD to foster convenient, dependable communications among the students, faculty and staff," said Mike Ligas, region vice president - Sprint Relay.

About Sprint Relay

Sprint provides FCC-compliant relay services for the federal government, 31 states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and New Zealand. Sprint Relay began in 1990 and provides state-of-the-art technology, a full range of features, and highly trained, professional staff to ensure users are able to communicate easily and effectively every time they place a relay call. Relay service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with no restrictions on the number of calls placed or call length. Information about Sprint Relay services is available at

Sprint Government Systems Division ( is based in Herndon, Va., and offers the full range of Sprint product and service offerings for federal and state government customers.

About Sprint

Sprint is a global integrated communications provider serving more than 26 million customers in over 100 countries. With more than $26 billion in annual revenues in 2003, Sprint is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying state-of-the-art network technologies, including the United States' first nationwide all-digital, fiber-optic network and an award-winning Tier 1 Internet backbone. Sprint provides local communications services in 39 states and the District of Columbia and operates the largest 100-percent digital, nationwide PCS wireless network in the United States. For more information, visit