New communication services for deaf people in New Zealand soon

Asia-Pacific, July 28 2011

New Zealand: New communication services will be introduced later this year that allow Deaf, deaf-blind, speech and hearing-impaired persons to better communicate over the phone.

The services will be progressively introduced from December and will include captioned telephony, which allows people to read live captions of spoken phone conversations.

People will also be able to contact the relay contact centre by mobile phone, and use a prepaid calling card to make international calls by Internet relay.

Minister for Communications and Information Technology Steven Joyce says the services will be amongst the best in the world.

“The Deaf, deaf-blind, speech and hearing-impaired community will have a full suite of telecommunication services that suits individual circumstances and needs”, Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Steven Joyce, announced today.

“We are enhancing traditional relay services such as internet relay access, speech-to-speech, and video-assisted relay. We will provide captioned telephony and cellular messaging, and we’ll lead the world in video-assisted speech-to-speech relay services.

Minister of Disability Issues Tariana Turia says the telecommunication relay services are vital for New Zealand’s Deaf, deaf-blind, speech and hearing-impaired community.

“It has been proven popular overseas in that it is much more natural and occurs in “real-time” which will make it much easier for people to phone people with hearing loss.”

The new services will be created by communications company Sprint.


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