Deaf groups demand better phone tech

Deaf campaigning group, TAG, demand better access and affordability for phone services for the hard of hearing

TAG, the campaigning group that works to get deaf people equal access to communications technologies, is lobbying Parliament to improve phone access for the deaf and hard of hearing.

TAG Chairman Ruth Myers is concerned about the range of text relay, video relay and captioned telephony services on offer to the deaf.

The recent closure of a captioned telephony, speech recognition service last December due to lack of funding has prompted the group's concern that deaf people are being left behind.

Ms Myers told the BBC that: "No-one can participate fully in today's fast-moving society without easy and affordable access to the telephone.

"Much better access has been shown to be within grasp, but most of the services that deliver it have folded because they are too expensive for deaf individuals."

Deaf struggle with tech

TAG's campaign is being fronted by Malcolm Bruce MP - Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Deafness – who notes that: "Four decades after telephones became commonplace in British households, many deaf people still struggle to use the telephone network and some cannot use it at all.

"Deaf people are bereft of key telephone services that could help them gain social, educational and professional equality with the rest of society.

"Modernised phone relay systems can dramatically improve their telecommunications, but the powers that be are dragging their feet in ensuring they are available and affordable."