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Telecoms Giant BT Helps Deaf People with Free Relay UK App

Monday, November 25th, 2019 (2:17 pm) - Score 2,695
bt_relay_uk_app

BT’s Next Generation Text Service (NGTS), which since 2014 has been run on behalf of all UK landline or mobile phone providers and helps people with hearing and speech difficulties to communicate over the phone, has today been rebranded to Relay UK and upgraded to provide new functionality for users.

The Ofcom regulated service simply translates text to speech and vice versa with the help of a specially trained Relay Assistant based in one of BT’s contact centres around the country. The new Relay UK app similarly enables a user to easily make a call based on their own accessibility needs. The user can connect to a call by selecting one of three options: Type & Read, Speak & Read, or Type & Hear.

As before the new app is free to use and is available to UK mobile customers, although users will still be charged the standard rate to make a call as determined by their call plan. Relay UK supports Android v6 upwards and iOS 10 (iPhones etc.) upwards. A desktop version to replace the NGT Lite app for Windows PCs and Macs will be available during 2020. Relay UK is available in English only.

Katherine Ainley, MD BT Ventures, said:

“How we use technology to connect with each other has changed rapidly in recent decades, and this simple service transforms the calling experience for the estimated 12 million deaf people in the UK.

We know from conversations with the community that bad telephone experiences are putting people off from using the phone to contact businesses, which can make certain services inaccessible. We’re urging businesses to alert frontline staff to the service and download our helpful Relay UK Business Toolkit, which includes educational content about the service – and what to expect when taking a call from one of our Relay Assistants. We hope that by downloading the toolkit, businesses will be able to provide a seamless call experience for their deaf customers.”

Jesal Vishnuram, Technology Manager, Action on Hearing Loss, said:

“Relay UK provides a vital text relay service to help people communicate by phone with the use of a text relay assistant in real time. This service can be pivotal in keeping people with hearing loss and deafness in employment, access healthcare including emergency services and other services as well as help keep them in touch with friends and family.”

Steps to download Relay UK

1. Search for the “Relay UK” at the App Store for iPhone or iPad, and in Google Play for Android devices.

2. Install the app on your device.

3. Link the app to the phone number you want to use to make calls from.

4. Choose how you want to use the app: Type & Read, Speak & Read, or Type & Hear.

5. Now you’re ready to make your first call.

Leave a Comment
1 Response
  1. NGa for all says:

    Any volumes available on the legacy relay service or text relay terminals? The Deaf kids are using Video/Text. Sign language is a visual language. I understand there was a legal requirement for the legacy service, but younger deaf kids were stating a preference that available funds would go towards cheaper mobile subscriptions and their use of what’s app.

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