"I feel more equal, more independent. It changed my life" – Lori Siedman, Boston, Massachusetts
"I just don’t have the words to explain how exciting this is for me and how very significant this is to me." – Rosetta Brown, Conyers, Georgia
"I’ve been given a chance to be a productive member of society." – Ramona Rice, Riverdale, Utah
When you hear people speaking in such powerful terms, you take notice. When they are talking about a program under your jurisdiction that is due to expire, you take action.
Established by the FCC in July 2012, the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program, what we call iCanConnect, empowers low-income individuals who are deaf-blind to access 21st Century communications services.
The program provides up to $10 million annually for communications technologies for individuals who have both significant vision loss and significant hearing loss. In addition, it provides training for these individuals to ensure they can fully utilize the equipment they receive.
Programs are in place in all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, and they are having a powerful impact. Thousands of individuals like Lori Siedman, Rosetta Brown, and Ramona Rice have been served, thousands of pieces of equipment have been distributed, and many hours of training have been delivered.
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