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New Ofcom research highlights the needs of deaf people for modernised telephone services

Posted Feb 18 2011 11:21am

TAG, a consortium of deaf organisations, calls for the immediate setting up of captioned relay and video relay services for deaf people following the latest independent consumer research undertaken for Ofcom.

The research highlights more evidence of the barriers that deaf and hard-of-hearing people find in using existing telecoms services. More modern services that could be available to deaf people have proved very popular, but are often beyond the financial means of deaf individuals.

Ruth Myers, Chairman of TAG said: "TAG welcomes the findings of Ofcom's independent research into telephone relay services for deaf people. They confirm that for years the majority of deaf people have been excluded from
using the telephone. The Report shows that Text Relay only meets the needs of a handful of deaf people and requires considerable modernisation."

Myers continued: "Deaf people need telephone services that are equivalent to those used by hearing people. That is quite feasible with modern technologies and deaf consumers could even have a choice of systems such as
Video Relay and Captioned Relay and of service providers. But a Governmental initiative is needed to make this a reality for deaf UK citizens."

The Ofcom research showed that most deaf people found the existing text relay to be incapable of enabling a "real conversation" and that services available to them often lacked speed, accuracy, accessibility, availability,
mobility and confidentiality.

Newer services like captioned relay and video relay received wide support from those who had used them and were considered to be much more effective in meeting deaf people's communication needs.

The independent Ofcom research, conducted by Opinion Leader, is available here .

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