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July 13, 2004

Phone service for deaf

From: Otago Daily Times, New Zealand - Jul 13, 2004

Wellington: A telecommunications service for deaf and hearing-impaired people was on track to start in November, Disability Issues Minister Ruth Dyson said yesterday.

The Government said an agreement had been negotiated with Sprint International New Zealand to supply the service for deaf, hearing-impaired and speech-impaired people.

The Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) worked with an intermediary assistant relaying phone calls between a hearing or speech-impaired person and a hearing person.

The assistant would speak to a hearing person words typed by a hearing-impaired person on a textphone. The relay assistant also turned the hearing person's response into type back to the hearing-impaired person.

Users would be able to apply for a textphone before the TRS was operational. Information on how to do this would be provided soon to the Deaf Association, Hearing Association and other disability organisations. - NZPA

© 2004 Otago Daily Times