IM this article to a friend!

September 3, 2007

New internet phone service for the deaf

From: Sydney Morning Herald - Sydney,New South Wales,Australia - Sept 3, 2007

Deaf and hearing and speech-impaired people can now use the internet to make telephone calls without fixed phone landlines, thanks to a new service launched by the federal government.

People with hearing and speech disabilities can now use the internet to access the National Relay Service - including via laptops or mobile telephones.

National Relay service users who cannot speak type messages which are verbally relayed by an operator to the other person taking part in a call.

The operator also types the verbal responses.

Service users previously had to use text telephones known as TTYs which are connected to landlines.

Special Minister of State Gary Nairn said the new internet service would allow users to be more independent.

"Internet relay is the next big advance in disability communication," Mr Nairn said.

© 2007. The Sydney Morning Herald.