Members of the hearing and speech impaired communities can now hold faster, more fluent phone conversations following the launch of a ‘next generation’ text relay 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 upgraded service, developed by BT, will be offered by all landline and mobile telephone providers and will also be accessible on smartphones and tablets via a dedicated app.
It was due to launch in April 18th but that date was pushed back after testing revealed problems with the quality of emergency calls.
The technical hitches have now been resolved and telecoms regulator Ofcom says it’s “fully confident that the service is working as it should.”
Colin Lees, BT Business chief information officer, said: “This is a really important development. Whatever your hearing or speech impairment, this will make using the phone much simpler and easier.
“The app is free and easy to download and will give you greater flexibility and freedom – you can use the service at home, at work or on the move without the need for a specialised device.”
Claudio Pollack, Ofcom’s Consumer and Content Group Director, said: “We’re pleased that hearing and speech impaired customers can finally start to benefit from the new ‘next generation’ text relay service.
“The enhanced service delivers real improvements to the text relay experience, allowing users to have conversations more easily and fluently. We’ll monitor the performance of the new service to ensure it meets our expected standards.”
More information: www.ngts.org.uk