July 19, 2010; Source: Government Technology | The growth of broadband technology is leading to increased use of video and other real-time communications services that make it easier for the deaf and hearing impaired to stay in touch with each other. Now, to expand the availability of such services for these individuals, the U.S. Commerce Department has given $15 million to the Communications Service for the Deaf, Inc. (CSD).

According to an announcement from the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the nonprofit CSD “intends to expand broadband adoption among people who are deaf and hard of hearing, and provide them with tools to more fully participate in the digital economy.” Through its Project Endeavor, CSD will provide a range of services and programs that include discounted pricing for broadband connections, specialized computers, online technology training, and public access to videophones at community centers across the country.

The CSD is also planning to expand staff at its contact center in South Dakota who are proficient in sign language and aims to provide training to up to 200,000 people who are deaf and hard hearing to use video, text-messaging and related communications technologies.—Bruce Trachtenberg