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

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

Midwives On Pay Equity: Historic Bill Of Rights Case For High Court

“We have been left with no choice.” That from Karen Guilliland, the Chief Executive of the New Zealand College of Midwives, as the organisation prepares to file a pay parity discrimination case on the basis of gender under the NZ Bill of Rights Act in the High Court. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Children’s Commission Report On CYF

Accusing the overworked and underfunded staff at Child, Youth and Family of a “dump and run culture of neglect” is the kind of luxury that a Children’s Commissioner can afford to indulge in from his own comfy perch in the bureaucracy. More>>

ALSO:

Mt Eden Prison: Serco Inquiry Extended

A two month delay to the Government investigation into prison fight clubs shows the extent of problems within the Serco circus, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. More>>

ALSO:

Health And Safety: Late Addition Of National Security Provisions A Concern

The New Zealand Law Society has expressed its significant concerns at the last-minute addition to the Health and Safety Reform Bill of provisions for a closed material procedure for court proceedings where national security is involved. More>>

ALSO:

Rugby And Beer: World Cup Alcohol Bill Passes

ACT MP David Seymour’s Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Extended licensing hours during Rugby World Cup) Bill completed its third reading by 99 to 21... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news