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Sprint Launches to Meet Needs of Deaf

From: CSD - Oct 3, 2003


Sprint Launches to Meet Needs of Deaf

Re-branded video relay service still powered by CSD; Company adds new support for traditional videoconferencing users

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. & SIOUX FALLS, SD - Oct. 3, 2003-Sprint (NYSE: FON, PCS) announced today it is launching, re-branding the service formerly known as "USA VRS," the nation's first Video Relay Service (VRS) introduced last year by Sprint and Communication Service for the Deaf., powered by CSD, will continue to provide industry-leading video relay services for the deaf, hard-of-hearing and speech-disabled communities with an easier-to-remember name and new streamlined appearance.

Sprint is also introducing a new service that will allow users of more traditional videoconferencing equipment to directly connect to a Sprint video relay interpreter by simply entering in their videoconferencing software's IP address/number-to-dial field. requires a videophone, such as a D-Link i2eye device, high-speed Internet connection and a television monitor.

"We believe the new name will help attract even more users to the nation's leading video relay service," said Mike Ligas, region vice president, Sprint Relay. "The Sprint brand increases overall marketability, while the reference 'powered by CSD' informs the consumer that the service continues to take advantage of CSD's expertise."

"CSD and Sprint were the first to market a national Video Relay Service when we launched USA VRS last year," said Benjamin Soukup, chief executive officer, CSD. "Repositioning the service to not only clarifies the level of commitment Sprint has to the deaf and hard-of-hearing community, but also its trust in CSD to provide the best video relay technologies and services in the market today."

About offers the nation's 28 million deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals the ability to communicate with the hearing using American Sign Language (ASL) in a format comparable to standard videoconferencing. A deaf caller contacts a Video Interpreter via the Web site and uses a Web cam to sign to an interpreter. The interpreter then translates the caller's ASL into speech for hearing users, and speech into ASL for the deaf user. is free to all users and requires only a personal computer or television monitor, a Web camera or videophone and high-speed Internet connectivity such as DSL or a Cable modem.

Service is provided via an industry-leading network of eight centers across the country. More centers equal more interpreters and the ability to provide shorter wait times for users. Video relay hours are6 a.m.tomidnightCT, Monday through Friday. Weekend and holiday hours are 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. CT.

Sprint Government Systems Division ( is based inHerndon,Va., and offers the full range of Sprint product and service offerings for federal and state government customers. Sprint Relay began in 1990 and provides state-of-the-art technology, a full range of features and highly trained, professional staff to ensure users are able to communicate easily and effectively every time they place a relay call. Sprint provides relay services to 30 states,Puerto Ricoand the federal government, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with no restrictions on the number of calls placed or call length. Sprint also provides a national Internet Relay service online at

About Sprint

Sprint is a global integrated communications provider serving more than 26 million customers in over 100 countries. With approximately 70,000 employees worldwide and nearly $27 billion in annual revenues, Sprint is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying state-of-the-art network technologies, including the United States' first nationwide all-digital, fiber-optic network and an award-winning Tier 1 Internet backbone. Sprint provides local communications services in 39 states and theDistrict of Columbiaand operates the largest 100-percent digital, nationwide PCS wireless network in theUnited States. For more information, visit

About CSD

CSD (a.k.a. Communication Service for the Deaf, Inc.) is a private, nonprofit telecommunications and human services agency headquartered inSioux Falls, SD. Altogether, CSD employs more than 2,500 individuals in 39 locations across the country. It is estimated that CSD makes a direct impact on approximately 15 million Americans every year. Since its inception in 1975, CSD has been dedicated to providing quality services; ensuring public accessibility; and increasing awareness of issues affecting deaf, hard of hearing and individuals with speech disabilities. For more information, please visit



Help Kids Hear is a site dedicated to helping parents of deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) children. We are parents of hard of hearing kids and simply want to "give back" to the community. We welcome your comments, questions & suggestions. Please drop us a note at