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May 2024

The next generation of relay services

Ofcom have published a statement about the next generation of relay services. The statement is a welcome step in the right direction and an important moment in ensuring a significant change in provision for deaf people. But there is still a long way to go before deaf people have access to 21st century telecommunication services.

It is vital there is a timely implementation of the next generation of relay services in a way that is sustainable and delivers high quality, innovative provision to deaf people. If services are to replicate, and support with text, the natural flow of a telephone conversation that most take for granted, there is much work to do.

In addition to the promising work that is taking place on funding a range of relay services, UKCoD looks forward to working with Ofcom, BT, mobile operators and other providers to fully engage deaf people with the implementation, service delivery and on-going innovations of relay services.

UKCoD’s Chair, Jim Edwards reacted to the statement: “Telephones connect us to each other in many ways, so today’s Ofcom statement on the next generation of relay services for deaf people is a welcome step in the right direction. There are many challenges ahead, particularly around the natural flow of conversation and how that is supported, and so it is important deaf people are fully engaged in the implementation and innovation of new services. Only then will deaf people be able to make the connections most take for granted.”