Users of BT’s text relay service – previously known as Typetalk – have been promised “significant” improvements after telecoms and media regulator Ofcom approved an updated version of the service.
Text relay enables people to communicate with others via a relay assistant who converts speech to text, and vice versa, for the two people in conversation.
The next generation version of the service will offer users “faster, more fluent conversations” as well as the option to access it on more devices, including via smartphones and tablets.
In October 2012 Ofcom ordered that a next generation text relay service must be made available to all UK landline and mobile customers by 18 April 2014.
The regulator’s approval means BT can offer the improved service to customers as well as provide wholesale access to other phone providers.
Claudio Pollack, Ofcom’s Consumer Group Director, said: “We‘ve taken another significant step in our work to ensure that users can access reliable, up-to-date text relay services. Once in operation, we will be monitoring the performance of BT’s approved next generation text relay service closely to ensure it continues to meet Ofcom’s expected standards.”
A spokesperson for BT said: “BT is delighted that Ofcom has approved our Next Generation Text Relay Service (the BT NGT).
“The BT NGT will replace our current Text Relay service in April to enable people in the UK who are deaf, deafened, hard of hearing or speech impaired to communicate with each other and with hearing people on standard telephones by using text.”