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December 7, 2006

Service for deaf lifts GoAmerica

From: - Hackensack,NJ,USA - Dec 7, 2006


Shares of GoAmerica Inc. surged Wednesday, one day after the Hackensack company announced a new video relay service for the deaf.

Shares gained $2.13, or 37.6 percent, to $7.80, a 52-week closing high. More than 5 million shares exchanged hands; the average volume is about 79,600 shares.

The company's new service, unveiled Tuesday after markets closed, gives deaf users a way to use sign language while making calls over the Web. The user needs a computer, Web camera and broadband connection.

Using, a deaf caller begins a call by communicating directly with a sign-language interpreter over a live video connection; the interpreter places the call on the deaf person's behalf and translates the sign language into audible speech for a hearing person, and back into sign language for the deaf caller. The real-time call enables a deaf person to have phone conversations with hearing friends, family and colleagues using sign language, which is considered more natural than typing.

While there are other video relay products on the market, investors think the latest technology is an improvement.

GoAmerica, one of the earliest providers of wireless service to businesses, shifted its focus in 2003 to provide wireless services for the deaf. In 2000, GoAmerica purchased Wynd Communications, which specialized in providing wireless services to the deaf.

In July 2005, GoAmerica merged with California-based Hands On, a company that provided services for the deaf including a video relay service.

About 28 million Americans are deaf or hard of hearing, the company said.

For its i711 VRS interpreting resources, GoAmerica has partnered with Visual Language Interpreting, a sign-language interpreting company based in Washington, D.C., GoAmerica said.


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