World Congress

for freedom of scientific research

Free relay services for disabled people: Luca Cosconi Association integrates opinion on EC request

10/18/2007

“With reference to Luca Coscioni Association’s suggestion to address some of ‘116’ numbers to provide information and assistance to disabled people - namely by reserving several of the 200 numbers range to address people with different disabilities in particular: 1) relay services for text telephony; 2) relay services for video telephony - and your following communication INFSO/B1/IV/D(2007)828411 requiring more detailed info on such services, among others the evidence that there are organizations ready to supply them in around five Member States, please note the following�?: Our research found at least five European Member States- such as Great Britain, Italy, Denmark, Finland and Sweden - that use, through private or public sector, relay services for text telephony, relay services for video-telephony and products useful to allow aged or disabled people to join communication. Product and service providers are British Telecom, Telecom Italia, TeleDenmark AS/S, Novacall and Post-och telestyrelsen - PTS Sweden. In Great Britain, BT (British Telecom) started up Text Direct Service that translates a phone call between two users that use two different fixed telephones, an ordinary voice-phone and a text one. Spoken words are translated into written words and viceversa. In Italy Telecom Italia started up “Big Angel�?, including a tele-assistance service, a traditional cordless along with a simplified device to easily purchase emergency calls. In Denmark TeleDenmark AS provides a text-phone service and so Finnish Novacall does. Our research showed that in Sweden it is the national postal service, “Post och telestyrelsen�?, that implements relay services for text telephony and relay services for video telephony. The integration to public consultation “116�? was sent to the European Commission on the 15th of October, as requested. Please find enclosed the full document. Further to these info Luca Coscioni Association found out that the ENS (the Italian national institution for the protection of deaf people) has been experimenting for years a telephone relay service, known as "Servizio Ponte" ("bridge-service"), that allows deaf people to communicate, through a telephone operator who connects two users: the deaf person and the hearing one. To this purpose the operator uses special devices such as DTS ("Dispositivo Telefonico per Sordi", phone device for deaf people) together with e-mail, chat and sms. Moreover the European Disability Forum has just informed us that in Norway the national telecom company Telenor has as one of its clauses for the Government concession to provide services for disabled people. The link to Telenor is: http://www.telenor.com/cr/.

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