Modernised National Relay Service (For hearing impaired) – Australian Example which India needs.
Around 6% population of India suffers from some hearing difficulty, making it one of the countries with the highest number of hearing impaired. Of these, one in 1,000 people are born with hearing defect, while one in 10,000 children have a structural anomaly, rendering their ears too small to be able to hear well. <source>
The NRS is an Australian Government initiative funded by a levy on eligible telecommunications carriers.
The NRS consists of:
- a Relay Service Provider which runs the call centre where relay officers relay your calls to other people, and
- an Outreach Service Provider which runs the outreach service to provide a Helpdesk, and education and information activities which support awareness, training and use of the NRS.
You can type and read your conversation entirely via a TTY or via internet relay on a computer or mobile phone. Depending on your particular requirements, the relay officer can become “your voice” and read out your conversation to the other person. The relay officer can also listen to the response and type it back for you to read.
The privacy of all parties is respected and all calls are treated confidentially.
Following a competitive tender process, the Telecommunications Universal Service Management Agency (TUSMA) signed – in February 2013 – new contracts with Australian Communication Exchange and WestWood Spice to deliver the National Relay Service (NRS). The Government’s aim throughout this process was to ensure that a broad range of technologies was used to provide efficient services to those that need it most.
The improved NRS will enable hearing and speech impaired people to:
· For the first time, use SMS to contact emergency service organisations
· Make and receive phone calls through a new two-way internet relay service
· Access all NRS services through a new application available on smart-phone and other internet-enabled devices
· Access a video relay service, which will be available between 7am and 6pm on business days
· Use a web-based service that provides captioned telephony for the hearing impaired
Regulatory changes will be required for a number of these initiatives, they are expected to be in place by the time the new NRS contract begins on 1 July. This will allow new services to be progressively introduced as soon as possible in the second half of 2013.
The NRS will continue to provide its existing teletypewriter (TTY) and speech services 24-hours a day, every day of the year, as well as its extensive training and education services.
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