Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) announced today that Sioux Falls-based Communication Service for the Deaf, Inc. (CSD) will receive a $14,988,657 Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP) grant to expand broadband internet access to thousands of individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. In March, Johnson wrote a letter to the Department of Commerce in support of awarding the funding to CSD from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
“I am pleased to see that this stimulus funding will be used to improve the lives of those deaf or hard of hearing in our state and nationally while also creating jobs in South Dakota,” Johnson said. “Many hearing-impaired individuals are disadvantaged by inadequate or non-existent access to broadband and this funding will help bridge that digital and information divide.”
In addition to expanding broadband access to 16,000 individuals through discounted services, the project will also add 60 new staff members in South Dakota for voice, text and video-enabled broadband training; enhance 911 safety services for hearing-impaired individuals; and study the effect of broadband adoption and barriers to accessibility.
CSD has been serving the deaf and hard of hearing for more than 34 years and is the nation’s largest provider of contact center services. The organization offers sign language and phone translation services, and provided technical assistance to the Federal Communications Commission during the nationwide transition to digital television.
The stimulus package signed by President Obama is focused on tax cuts for the middle class, infrastructure investments and job creation. This funding is a prime example of the kind of resources the legislation provides to help improve communities while advancing South Dakota’s economy.