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Verizon Introduces Broadband Video Call Center Link for Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing Customers in Mid-Atlantic Region
Date:9/19/2007

munications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Inc. (TDI), a national consumer advocacy organization based in Silver Spring, Md., said, "TDI congratulates Verizon for providing one more way for its customers who use sign language to contact a company service representative by videophone. Verizon continues to make the extra effort to stay competitive with its services, which need to be not only accessible to customers who are deaf or hard of hearing, but which also leverage today's digital technologies."

Verizon already offers several options to customers for communicating with the company in their native language. The options are: Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), Korean, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese.

People can have a video conversation in ASL with a videophone -- a set-top box with a built-in camera connected to a broadband router; or a free-standing desk unit with a small screen; or a Web cam supported by a computer and appropriate software. Each equipment option will require a high-speed Internet connection to receive good picture quality; lower-bandwidth services will result in pixilation and low frame rates on most products.

ASL is a unique language that incorporates hand gestures and facial expressions, and provides a more expressive and fulfilling telecommunications experience than either TTY (teletype) equipment or relay services.

"Due to the widespread availability and affordability of broadband, more and more deaf or hard-of-hearing consumers have a videophone," said Boudrow. "In addition to the advantages that face-to-face interaction provides, initial results show that customer support in ASL via videophone has increased sales by twofold."

This pilot ASL video link is only available to support customers in the Mid-Atlantic region at this time. Callers from other areas should continue to use alternate access methods pending possible expansion of the service.

The Verizon Center for Customers with Disabilities provides
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SOURCE Verizon
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