HomeInsightsOfcom consults on its proposal to approve an emergency video relay service

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Video relay services are a way of enabling people who use British Sign Language to communicate effectively with people who do not. The deaf BSL user makes a video call using a connected device to an interpreter in a call centre. The interpreter translates what the deaf user is signing into spoken English for the hearing person to hear, and signs what the hearing person is saying back to the deaf user.

From June 2022, telephone and broadband companies will be required to offer a free, 24/7 video relay service for BSL users to contact 999 or 112, via a dedicated mobile app and website. Telecoms firms can either deliver the service themselves, or contract another organisation to do so, but the service must be approved by Ofcom.

Ofcom is proposing to approve Sign Language Interactions’ emergency video relay service, having assessed its application against Ofcom criteria. Ofcom is inviting feedback by 17 December 2021, before publishing its final decision in January 2022. To access the consultation, click here.

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