WASHINGTON – United States Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., Chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, today welcomed over $1.3 million in broadband expansion grants from the Department of Commerce Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP) for the The Betty and Leonard Phillips Deaf Action Center in Shreveport, Louisiana.

“The The Betty and Leonard Phillips Deaf Action Center has been a longtime advocate for people with hearing disabilities,” Sen. Landrieu said. “Since 2006, the AccessAmerica Video Remote Interpreting project has provided low-cost remote American Sign Language interpretation to institutions across Louisiana. With these funds, the Deaf Action Center will be able to install 81 new videoconferencing stations, and enhance services at 19 existing stations that serve individuals who have hearing disabilities across Louisiana, and in sites in Alabama, California and Texas. Enhancing these services will allow the Deaf Action Center to improve delivery of health care information, legal services, job training, and education to people who are deaf by offering low-cost interpretation services. The funds will provide our hearing disabled citizens with job opportunities that might not have previously been available to them.”

“This is a great day for persons who are Deaf or hard of hearing and living in our service areas,” said David Hylan, Executive Director of The Betty and Leonard Phillips Deaf Action Center. “We are proud to be chosen through this funding to provide such a valuable service.”

The funds from the Department of Commerce Broadband Technology Opportunity Program were made available from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Applications for the second round of funding are currently being accepted. Guides for applying for these funds can be found by clicking here.

Senator Landrieu has been an avid supporter of expanding broadband internet service to rural America to create jobs and spur small business growth. To view more of Sen. Landrieu’s broadband efforts, please click here.