DO DISABLED PEOPLE REALLY NEED BROADBAND? ABSOLUTELY!!
Broadband development must address the needs of disabled people. Not only will this be required to satisfy the requirements of the ADA and rehabilitation act provisions, but it can change the lives of disabled people all over the country.
Broadband communications are digital . Regardless of the sender's protocol, they can be converted to the one the disabled person chooses. Just 15% of working-age (16-64) adults with disabilities have internet-connected PCs (Kaye, S. "Computer and Internet Use Among People with Disabilities." *San Francisco, CA: Disability Statistics Center, UCSF).* That is just 1 in every 7.* The vast bulk of these people have slow, dial-up modems.
Broadband can bring entire books in synthesizer-readable format to people who are blind or have dyslexia.
Deaf people especially will benefit, by being able to sign to each other and utilize economically and creatively the limited number of interpreters available in the US. No reading will be required, a great boon for those with limited reading and writing skills. What now takes 15 minutes to say in other telecommunications modalities would take about 30 seconds.
Broadband "transports" people over vast distances, so they may "commute" to college courses - seeing and hearing the professor, receiving handouts, et cetera, as if in the classroom.
Disabled people truly need high-speed communications using every possible technology --be it wires, wireless, satellite, or anything else -- and they need it at an affordable price.
If you encourage broad industry
competition, costs will drop rapidly, and finally, disabled people will
be connected to the larger community in ways hitherto undreamed of.
Cheryl A. Davis
608 Channing Ave.
Palo Alto, CA 94301