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March 31, 2005

CSD ANNOUNCEMENT: Innovative Video Relay Services Launched by CSD -

From: CSD - Mar 31, 2005

Innovative Video Relay Services Launched by CSD

     Signed Video Release Is Available at
Innovative Video Relay Services Launched by CSD
     SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – 31 March 2005 – CSD, a leader in services for deaf and hard of hearing individuals, has launched CSDVRS, an innovative service where a caller using sign language communicates with a live video interpreter via a video connection. The video interpreter signs the telephone conversation with the sign language user and voices to the hearing person, who uses a standard telephone.
     Users of nearly all videophone equipment brands will be able to access CSDVRS via high-speed Internet connection. Sign language users can use PCs and web cams with NetMeeting software or single D-Link devices.
     Hearing callers dial a toll-free number (1-800-538-9881) on their telephone and give the Internet protocol (IP) address of the deaf or hard of hearing consumer they wish to connect to.
     CSDVRS is available Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 12 a.m. CST and on weekends/holidays from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. CST by going to
     As the first deaf-owned VRS provider in the country, CSD is capitalizing on its 30 years of experience in providing sign language interpreting, telecommunications and video relay services, and call center operations. In addition to fast connections, CSDVRS offers callers professional, certified sign language interpreters and seamless conversations, where facial expressions and nuances can be portrayed spontaneously.
     With the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and other major legislation in recent years mandating equal access to communications and telecommunications services, qualified and certified interpreters are in high demand. As not to impose significant drain on local interpreter resources in any specific part of the country, CSDVRS coordinates joint alliances with vendors through ten video relay centers in the U.S. All vendors share CSD's approach to balancing local community needs with CSDVRS manpower requirements.
     "As a deaf-owned and deaf-operated organization, we are extremely conscious not to drain local sign language interpreting resources," says Benjamin J. Soukup, CEO of CSD. "This has been a major issue with many local deaf communities across the U.S."
     CSD and Sprint are long-time partners in offering video relay services. Beginning in 1994, CSD and Sprint participated in several state-sponsored trials to develop the video relay concept. To meet the needs of consumers who use sign language as their primary method of communication, CSD and Sprint then launched the first nationwide service, now known as Sprint Video Relay Service (VRS), in May 2002.
     CSD remains fully committed as a partner with Sprint and continues its close working relationship in providing telecommunications relay services and video relay services nationwide.
     "Sprint and CSD view this service as an opportunity to expand options available to VRS users nationwide", says Tony D'Agata, vice president and general manager, Sprint Government Systems Division.
     Demand for VRS has intensified in recent years. Consumers who use sign language as their primary mode of communication appreciate the quicker pace and more natural flow of VRS conversations. It is proving to be a significant communication alternative for those who are not comfortable using written English and/or find the physical act of typing on a text telephone to be challenging.
About CSD
CSD (Communication Service for the Deaf, Inc.) is a private, nonprofit telecommunications and human services organization based in Sioux Falls, S.D. In its 30-year history, CSD has expanded its communication service offerings and currently manages over 20 call centers in the U.S. CSD offers telecommunications relay services (TRS), video relay services (VRS), equipment distribution programs (TEDP) and Interpreting Online. Additionally, CSD's National Programs provides human services in 15 locations in eight states. For more information, see
     Signed Video Release Is Available at