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FCC provides new ways to connect

fcc-seal_black-large(1)It was recently reported in a local Montana newspaper that the Federal Communications Commission provided $70,000 for Montanans to use towards free communication equipment for their residents suffering from vision and hearing loss.

The money cam from telephone relay fees collected by the FCC under a Federal Law instated in 2010 with the purpose of increasing technology accessibility for people who have experienced hearing or vision problems. Qualifying participants, an estimated 3,000 people, will have access to iPads, phone amplifiers, screen reading software, as well as brail devices, free of charge. Participants will also be able to work with program specialists who can show them how to use their new equipment. Many people who qualify for the program use hearing aids (link to hearing aids page), but may not consider themselves to be deaf. The Director for the National Deaf Blind Equipment Distribution Program, Steven Rothstein, wants to ensure that people are aware of the free technology available to them and the ability to receive free training that will help them to stay connected with others.

Rothstein worked with local Montana stakeholders to get the word out about the new program, which will receive an additional $71,000 in July of 2014. More information about the program can be found by calling 1-800-825-4595, by TTY at 1-888-320-2656, or by visiting icanconnect.org.

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