A pair of hands touches a braille display.

On August 4th, the Federal Communications Commission – FCC, made permanent the iCanConnect program that provides free communications equipment to low-income individuals who are deaf-blind.

iCanConnect was created as a pilot program in 2012 and will continue with its original structure, where the distribution of the equipment and the provision of related services is managed by certified entities on each state and territory of the United States.  A certified entity has to demonstrate “expertise in the field of deaf-blindness, the ability to communicate effectively with individuals who are deaf-blind, adequate staffing and facilities, and experience with the distribution and use of communications equipment.”

To qualify to be served by the program, a person has to:

  • Have a significant combined vision and hearing loss that has been verified by a specialist
  • Have a household income that does not exceed 400% of 2016 Federal Poverty Guidelines.

When a person enters the program, a specialist evaluates first the needs of the person and the person’s family.  Then, the specialist installs the appropriate equipment and provides training on its use.  The equipment provided through the program includes smartphones, tablets, computers, screen readers, braille displays, and adaptive software.

For more information on the program visit iCanConnect.

back to index blog technology