Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


New Telephone Service For Hearing Impaired


Hon Amy Adams
Minister for Communications and Information Technology

28 February Media Statement

New Telephone Service For Hearing Impaired

Hundreds of hearing impaired people are set to benefit from a new Government-funded telephone service, Communications and Information Technology Minister Amy Adams says.

From tomorrow, for the first time in New Zealand, a hearing impaired person will be able to use a captioned telephone service.

With the help of a specially-designed Captel phone, hearing impaired people will be able to talk to someone, and then be able to read word-for-word captions of the other person’s response.

Captions are generated and transmitted almost simultaneously over the internet, with a small delay of about two seconds.

The new initiative was launched by Ms Adams during an event at Parliament tonight.

“This new service means that for the first time, a hearing impaired person will be able to easily take part in a telephone conversation at almost the same speed as ordinary conversations,” Ms Adams says.

“This fantastic service puts New Zealand ahead of most other countries in providing telecommunications services that enable people with impaired hearing to participate on an equal basis with others.”

More than 200 people have already signed up to the new service and this number is expected to grow to more than 1200 within the next four years, with scope to increase even further.

The National Foundation for the Deaf estimates more than 240,000 New Zealanders have a significant hearing impairment.

The Government has contributed $200,000 to the initiative. This funding is in addition to the $3.6 million a year the Government already spends on telecommunications services for the hearing impaired.

Question and Answers:

How does the Captel service work?

A Relay Assistant listens to the conversation going to the Captel user and re-voices the conversation into a machine, which converts the speech into text for display as captions on the Captel phone. The captions are sent by internet to the Captel phone.

Is privacy assured for customers?

Yes. All Relay Assistants must pass credit and police checks. There is a strict confidentiality agreement that every Relay Assistant must sign.

The Relay Centre has been visited by representatives of IRD, Baycorp, and banks who have all been satisfied on issues of privacy. There have been no breaches in the nine years since the Relay service started in New Zealand.

Are conversations through the service recorded?

The speech-to-text conversion is generated in a speech recognition machine.

Conversations are not recorded from the standpoint that there is no artefact or media representation of a conversation that can be retrieved after the Captel call ends.

All the details of a call except the start and end time are deleted automatically when the call terminates.

Can customers make 111 calls?

Yes. During Captel service hours of 8am to 9pm the calls will be captioned. Outside these hours the phone can be used the same as any other phone to make 111 calls.

Emergency service organisations and Telecom have been advised that a caller using a Captel phone outside the service hours will not have the benefit of the captioning function and so may not be able to hear the 111 call taker.

Will callers have to wait in a queue?

Captel calls, like all other text based relay calls, are subject to a service quality measure that requires 85 per cent of calls to be answered within 15 seconds.

A peak of activity is likely when the service first launches as people are eager to try it out. However, the Captel calling pattern is expected to follow normal calling patterns during the day, and so the Relay Centre can be staffed appropriately to meet the service quality measure.

What is the cost of a Captel phone?

A phone is available for a one-off charge of $323.00, a 50 per cent discount off the full price. There is no cost to users to use the service.


ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Labour's 'Future Of Work': Major Reform Of Careers And Apprenticeships

The next Labour Government will transform careers advice in high schools to ensure every student has a personalised career plan, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. More>>

ALSO:

State Investments Management: Treasury Likes IRD, Not Education Or Corrections

The Inland Revenue Department has scored an 'A' in the first tranche of the Treasury's investor confidence rating for state agencies that manage significant Crown investments and assets, gaining greater autonomy as a result, while the Corrections and Education ministries gained a 'C' rating. More>>

ALSO:

Govt Goal: NZ To Be "Predator Free" By 2050

Prime Minister John Key has today announced the Government has adopted the goal of New Zealand becoming Predator Free by 2050... “That’s why we have adopted this goal. Our ambition is that by 2050 every single part of New Zealand will be completely free of rats, stoats and possums." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The IOC’s Treatment Of Russian Sport, And Lone Wolf Terrorism

A blanket ban on Russian athletes would also have exposed the IOC to criticism that its treatment of Russia would have been marked contrast to its treatment say, of the track and field team from Kenya – a country about which the IOC has very similar doping concerns. More>>

ALSO:

Sounds Like A Plan: Auckland Council Receives Unitary Plan Recommendations

A key milestone in New Zealand planning history was reached today when the Independent Hearings Panel delivered the reports containing its recommendations on the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan. More>>

ALSO:

National Park Expansion: Forests And Coast Of Kahurangi Protected

Five parcels of high value land totalling more than 890 hectares have been formally gazetted as part of the National Park. More>>

ALSO:

PPP Go-Ahead: SkyPath Gets Unanimous Support

Auckland’s SkyPath project has been given the go-ahead to be delivered through a public private partnership, after a unanimous decision at today’s Finance and Performance Committee. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Reserve Bank, The UN Shortlist, And Trump

Can there really be there any link between the US presidential elections and yesterday’s RBNZ signals on interest rates and the NZ dollar? Well, maybe. And it would be this: the improving US economy is reportedly putting a tailwind behind the US dollar, and rendering the actions of our Reserve Bank virtually irrelevant. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On What John Key Should Be Asking Joe Biden

No doubt, US Vice-President Joe Biden will be updating Prime Minister John Key on the chances of a TPP vote taking place in the ‘ lame duck’ session of Congress that’s held between the November’s election and the inauguration of a new President in January. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news