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New Report Highlights Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program Success

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We have issued our Annual Report for the Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program (DDTP), demonstrating the program’s success to hundreds of thousands of Californians who are hearing impaired and those who have vision, speech, mobility, and cognitive disabilities.  

Our Executive Director wrote a cover letter for the report, as follows: 

The Program reaches out across the entire State and brings positive benefits to both rural and urban communities. 

With advice from the two public consumer advisory committees, the Telecommunications Access for the Deaf and Disabled Administrative Committee (TADDAC) and the Equipment Program Advisory Committee (EPAC), the Program provides accessibility of telecommunication devices to those of greatest need and in many languages including English, Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin), Hmong, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese.  

During Fiscal Year 2015-16, the California Telephone Access Program (CTAP) component of the Program continued to expand its support to State residents. It has added over 15,000 new customers and is now supporting more than 667,000 Californians with specialized equipment. Also, the Program staffs 13 Service Centers to include seven full-time and six part-time facilities. Two new part-time Service Centers were opened this past year, one in San Jose and the other in West Covina.     

The California Relay Service (CRS) component of the Program remains an important method for making the public telephone network, including 911 and emergency services, accessible to those who are Deaf and who have hearing and speech difficulties. During FY 2015-16, the CRS was used to complete over two million calls.

More recently, through enabling legislation, the CPUC has provided Program participants funding for Speech Generating Devices. In the first three years, the Program has approved 187 applications and provided $1,378,670 in funding to fully or partially subsidize Speech Generating Devices and required accessories.

On behalf of the CPUC and its Commissioners, I am proud of the DDTP and the essential services they maintain. Their ability to keep people connected through the substantial technological challenges of a changing telecommunications environment earns our heartfelt thanks. 

 

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