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

Patience: Drive Safe

Be patient before passing is the AA's message for drivers this Labour weekend.

"People taking crazy risks to get past other vehicles is one of the most dangerous things on the road,” says AA spokesperson Dylan Thomsen.

“The weather is looking good for the long weekend so the roads will be busy. Unfortunately, that also increases the chances of people getting frustrated and trying a risky passing manoeuvre. When they get past, there will probably be more traffic up ahead anyway so it won’t get people there faster.” More>>

 
 

Parliament Today:

Employment Relations Bill: Govt Strains To Get Tea Break Law Through

The Government has been left with egg on its face - failing to get its much-vaunted, but hugely unpopular, meal break law passed in the first week of its new term, Labour spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says. More>>

ALSO:

Guns: Police Association Call To Arm Police Full Time

"The new minister gave his view, that Police do not need to be armed, while standing on the forecourt of parliament. The dark irony was that the interview followed immediately after breaking news of a gunman running amok in the Canadian parliament in Ottawa..." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Tokenism Of New Zealand's Role Against Islamic State

Our contribution against IS will be to send SAS forces to train the Iraqis? That’s like offering trainers to General Custer just as the 7th cavalry reached the Little Big Horn. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Shell And Todd Caught Drilling Without Approval

Multi-national oil company Shell’s New Zealand arm and local energy giant Todd Energy have breached the new law governing New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the Environmental Protection Authority says in an Oct. 10 document released by the Green Party. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Pharmac, Gough Whitlam And Sleater-Kinney

We’re not at the outset of these negotiations. The outset was six years ago, and negotiators were hoping to have some sort of ‘framework’ deal finished in time for the APEC meeting in a few weeks’ time. These ‘extreme’ positions are what we’ve reached near the intended end of the negotiations… More>>

ALSO:

PM Of Many Hats: Questions, No Answers On Whale Oil

Dr RUSSEL NORMAN (Co-Leader – Green) to the Prime Minister: How many times since November 2008 has he spoken with blogger Cameron Slater on the phone and how many times, if any, has he texted him?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): None in my capacity as Prime Minister. More>>

ALSO:

Aussie Investigation Dropped: Call On Minister McCully To Pursue The Case Of Balibo Five

West Papua Action is deeply concerned at the lack of any clear outcome from the Australian Federal Police inquiry into the 1975 deaths of the ‘Balibo Five’ including NZ journalist Gary Cunningham. More>>

ALSO:

'Feed The Kids' Bill: Metiria Turei To Lead Fight On Feeding Hungry Children

Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei is urging all political parties to support the Feed the Kids Bill which she inherited today from Mana leader Hone Harawira. More>>

ALSO:

Parliament Today: State Opening Of Parliament

The House sat at 10.30am on Tuesday before MPs were summoned to hear the Speech from the Throne in the Legislative Council Chamber. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news