Ofcom have announced that deaf people and people with speech impairments should now be able to hold faster, more fluent telephone conversations with the ‘next generation’ text relay service, which is now live.
Text relay enables deaf people to communicate with others over the telephone. A relay assistant acts as an intermediary to convert speech to text, and vice versa for the two people in conversation.
In October 2012, Ofcom decided that an improved text relay service must be made available to UK users, allowing them to have more natural conversations and easier access on a wider range of mainstream devices, such as PCs, laptops, tablet computers and smartphones.
The new service has been developed by BT, but all landline and mobile telephone providers are making it available to their customers.
Ofcom say the new service should lead to faster, more fluent conversations because it allows for parallel speech, hearing and text, with the ability to interject for the first time, and without the need to say or type ‘go ahead’ after each part of a conversation.
It should also allow people to use the service while on the move using devices such as smartphones, tablet computers and laptops.
There is also no need to use a prefix. Text relay users can now link their landline and/or mobile number to a ‘TextNumber’ – a standard 11-digit phone number that will bring the relay service into the call automatically.
This means that people who use TextNumbers no longer have to dial the 18002 prefix before their number, nor do they need to know about the text relay service in advance.
Ofcom has today published a new consumer guide to text relay to help users make the most of the additional benefits offered by the ‘next generation’ service, which you can find by clicking below:
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