The U.S. Census Bureau and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will soon introduce direct video calling technology to allow Deaf citizens to communicate directly with American Sign Language (ASL)-fluent call operators, the White House announced this week.
Citizens who are deaf usually have to reach federal agencies via third-party interpreters who interpret to those on the other end of the line. But broadband and faster connections have made direct video calling commonplace.
Last year the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) became the first federal agency to accept direct video calls from the Deaf. The FCC is also funding the development of a free open-source software platform to be released in May 2016 — the Video Access Platform (VAP) application — which would allow citizens with hearing and speech impairments to communicate via video and text simultaneously using any computer or smartphone.
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