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December 14, 2006

Press Release-CSD Announces New Spin-Off Venture Known as CSDVRS

From: Communication Service for the Deaf, Inc. - Dec 14, 2006

PRESS ANNOUNCEMENT For Immediate Release
By Rick Norris (
Communications Office

CSD Announces New Spin-Off Venture Known as CSDVRS

The Nation’s oldest and most experienced video relay provider spins off into a new for-profit company with multiple investment capital groups.

Sioux Falls, SD (Dec. 14, 2006) Today, Communication Service for the Deaf, Inc. (CSD), a private, non-profit organization based in South Dakota, announces its newest venture or spin-off known as CSDVRS. The new entity incorporates all aspects of CSD’s former Video Relay Services (VRS) and related products. Due to a thriving industry and interest generated through investment capital groups, CSD has joined with other investors to galvanize CSDVRS, offering customers cutting edge technology and unparalleled services.

CSD was the first to commercially develop and perfect video relay applications for deaf and hard of hearing consumers launching limited video services in 2000. CSD’s video relay service, which would later become known as CSDVRS, was the first of its kind and it spawned a highly successful and booming VRS industry. CSDVRS was the first to introduce many features including Spanish VRS, Voice Carry Over services, Video Mail, and many others. CSDVRS was also the first to develop stringent video interpreter standards as well as training and quality assurance, ensuring the utmost professionalism and confidentiality for users.

“In the past, CSD provided a wide array of programs and services such as Human Services, Telecommunication Relay Services, Camp Lakodia, and interpreting services, including VRS. Now, CSDVRS will be able to focus on only one goal, taking Video Relay Services to the next level. By combining the strengths of CSD’s industry experience with the additional financial and technical resources to further develop exciting new video technologies, our consumers will benefit immeasurably,” said Dr. Benjamin J. Soukup, CSD’s Chief Executive Officer (C.E.O.).

Sean Belanger, the newly designated CSDVRS C.E.O., stated, “I see the potential for CSDVRS to pioneer the industry, once again. We believe this is an excellent opportunity for everyone involved. Loyal consumers and the interpreters who work within our network will all have the continued benefit of working with an experienced service provider.” Belanger went on to say, “CSDVRS remains committed to providing a top quality service and we will continue a close association with CSD as they will continue to be a major shareholder in this new entity and Benjamin Soukup will lead the organization as chairman of its Board of Directors.”

Belanger was most recently the C.E.O. of the Paradyne Networks firm and was the driving force behind the unveiling of technology which resulted in increasing internet access to millions of customers, including major telephone companies. Prior to Paradyne Networks, Belanger was General Manager of 3Coms Network Service Provider division.

VRS offers the nation’s 28 million deaf and hard of hearing individuals the ability to communicate using sign language when making telephone calls. With CSDVRS, a caller using sign language can communicate via a Video Interpreter (VI) by using a video connection. The VI signs the telephone conversation with the sign language user and voices to the hearing person using a standard telephone. Video relay is comparable to Voice Over Internet Protocol services and is free to all users requiring only a personal computer and a Web camera or a television and set-top video box along with high-speed Internet connectivity such as DSL or a cable modem.

CSDVRS will continue to use the same platform, network, interpreters, managers, vendors and infrastructure and would expect hardly any noticeable difference at all for VRS consumers. VRS can still be accessed by anyone, whether deaf or hearing, by the same Web site, phone numbers or IP addresses, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Connect to CSDVRS by any of the following:

Voice: (866) 926-8877 or (866) WANT-VRS

More announcements on upcoming plans will be shared in the near future. For more information about VRS see our Web site at, or write to us at: CSDVRS, 102 N. Krohn Place, Sioux Falls, SD 57103. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST, Monday through Friday.

About CSD: Communication Service for the Deaf, Inc. is the nation's largest and most widely-recognized private, nonprofit human service and telecommunication organization serving deaf and hard of hearing individuals. It is estimated that nearly 15 million Americans receive assistance from CSD each year through telecommunications relay programs or a broad array of human services that range from providing advocacy and peer counseling, vocational and independent living services, relief for disaster victims, outreach to the elderly, housing to the homeless and educational opportunities for underprivileged children. For more information, go to


* CSD ~ An Official Sponsor of the 2007 Winter Deaflympics