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The Benefits of Broadband for Disabled Users

Why Broadband is Beneficial for Disabled Users

Internet users with special needs can benefit tremendously from using broadband Internet.  There are many software programs and systems that have been developed over recent years that allow people with special needs to use the Internet

Some examples of programs for Internet users with special needs include screen readers and Braille screens for the blind and webcams and other video equipment for the deaf.  The majority of these programs need a broadband Internet connection to run properly.

Special Needs Programs:  For the Deaf and Hearing Impaired

Today, with the help of broadband Internet, there are several ways for the deaf to communicate over the Internet.  One popular technique that many deaf people are turning to involves the use of Web cameras.  When people use webcams on both sides of the connection, it is called two-way video, and these people with special needs can communicate through sign-language.  Although this requires both users to have Web cameras and broadband Internet, the majority of deaf people say they like it better than any other method. 

TRS, or telecommunications relay services, are also available for people with special needs.  TRS allows the deaf party to type in a message, and this message is then relayed through the telephone or the Internet in a voice to the other end.  VRS, or video relay services, are also now available.  VRS is when a certified sign language interpreter helps convey messages through a Web camera and screen.  

Special Needs Programs:  For the Blind and Visually Impaired

There are two good options for people who are blind when it comes to using the Internet.  The first option is getting a screen reader program.  These programs will audibly describe Web sites to the user.  Although there are a few complications with screen reader programs, such as inconsistencies in layout and language, interference with popup windows, and java elements, they seem to be well-liked among the special needs communities.

Braille screens are another way for those with special needs to surf the Internet with a broadband connection.  The screen is interpreted into Braille with the help of special software for people with special needs. 

Why Choose Broadband over Dial-Up?

Programs and software for people with special needs, such as two-way video, video response systems, screen readers, and Braille screens require a broadband connection for use.  Getting disconnected from a dial-up line or any kind of lag would disrupt the message.   Therefore, it would be beneficial for those with special needs to have a broadband connection for their computer.