Insights Ofcom publishes consultation on proposals for providing deaf people with access to video relay services for emergency calls

Ofcom has previously consulted on plans to require communications providers to offer a free, 24/7 video relay service for British Sign Language users who need to call the emergency services.

Ofcom explains that the video relay service works like this: the deaf person makes a video call to an interpreter in a call centre. The interpreter translates what the deaf user is signing into spoken English for the emergency services to hear, and signs what the emergency services are saying to the deaf end user.

Ofcom is now consulting on some additions to the proposed rules. This includes requiring providers to either deliver the video relay service themselves or contract another organisation to. Ofcom is also proposing that any data that customers use to make the video call is “zero rated” and therefore the service remains free for the user, just as other emergency calls are.

Ofcom invites responses to the consultation by 30 March 2021. It will confirm our decisions in summer 2021. To access the consultation, click here.