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August 25, 2005

CSD Calls For Greater High-Speed Internet Access

From: KELOLAND TV, SD - Aug 25, 2005

Federal Communications Commissioner, Jonathan Adelstein, is touring the state addressing issues like access to broadband internet service in rural areas.

One of his stops was at Communication Services for the Deaf, where high speed internet access is essential to keeping the lines of communication open.

In recent years communication services for the deaf has taken a big leap forward, thanks to technology.

Rick Norris, Interprets a video relay call; "A sign language caller is using video relay service to connect with you. The caller and I can se each other on a video screen, I'll be interpreting between the two of you."

In the past, the deaf or hard of hearing had to communicate in person, or rely on teletype relay services. But broadband internet access and a web cam make it possible to communicate via video relay services.

Tim Rarus, Chief Marketing Officer for CDS says, "VRS works better for those who prefer to sign and not to type."

One of the biggest advantages of VRS is being able to express emotion with the person you're talking to.

Rarus says, "If you want to know the tone, and the mood of someone, seeing them on video through an interpreter is much more effective than reading it on an LCD display."

But without high-speed internet access, the deaf and hard of hearing have to rely on older, less-effective ways to communicate.

"The feeling is a lot of the urban cities do have high speed internet connectivity but there's a lot in the rural areas that need to have that made available as well," he says.

Video Relay Service has been available for several years, but CSD hopes with greater the accessibility to high-speed internet, the greater the access will be to VRS.

Communication Services For The Deaf has 14 Video Relay Service Call centers in the United States, and recently began offering VRS services in Great Britain. VRS is available at no cost to the user.

Communication Services for the Deaf

Cathy McLeer

© 2005 KELOLAND TV. All Rights Reserved.