National Relay Service contracts extended
Deaf, hearing and speech impaired Australians will continue to have access to the successful relay and outreach communications services delivered by the two existing providers for a further two years.
The NRS acts as an essential bridge between deaf, hearing and speech impaired Australians who use text based communication devices, such as teletypewriters (TTYs), the internet, and others, generally those that can use voice telephony. Specially trained officers relay what is said by each party, typically converting text to voice and voice to text as required. It also has an emergency call capability.
'The NRS provides a vital communications service to the Australian community, and these extended contracts will provide certainty of service delivery during a two year transition period,' said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman.
The two companies, Australian Communication Exchange (ACE) and Westwood Spice, will maintain the service while the government's review of access to telecommunication services by people with disability, older Australians and people experiencing illness, is underway. It will also provide sufficient time for a new tender to be undertaken for the provision of services from 1 July 2013 onwards, when the contracts are expected to be managed by a new entity, the Telecommunications Universal Service Management Agency (TUSMA), as announced by government on 23 June 2011.
TUSMA will be established by the Australian Government and is set to begin in July 2012. Over time it will become the entity responsible for the delivery of the Universal Service Obligation (USO), the NRS and other public interest services.
ACE is a not-for-profit organisation that has been at the forefront of delivering communication solutions for Deaf, hearing and speech impaired Australians for more than 16 years.
WestWood Spice is a specialist consulting group with expertise in the community and human services sectors. It works in collaboration with the Australian Federation of Deaf Societies to deliver the NRS Outreach contract.
Please note: since this video was recorded the Australian Government has announced that the new entity referred to in the media release will be named the Telecommunications Universal Service Management Agency (TUSMA), and not USO Co." For more information please see the Ministers announcement www.minister.dbcde.gov.au/media/media_releases/2011/204.
For more information and interviews, contact: Emma Rossi, Media Manager, on (02) 9334 7719, 0434 652 063, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are Deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment phone through the NRS. Dial 133 677 and ask for (02) 9334 7719 or 0434 652 063; if you are using Speak and Listen, dial 1300 555 727 and ask for (02) 9334 7719 or 0434 652 063. Internet relay users, go to www.relayservice.com.au and ask for (02) 9334 7719 or 0434 652 063.
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The ACMA is Australia's regulator for broadcasting, the internet, radiocommunications and telecommunications. The ACMA's strategic intent is to make communications and media work in Australia's public interest. For more information: www.acma.gov.au.
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