People with disability have the right to access voice telephony, or an equivalent, under the Universal Service Obligation (USO).
The Telecommunications (Equipment for the Disabled) Regulations 1998 specifies the equipment and features that must be available to people with disability for use with the standard telephone services (STS) under the USO. These are:
equipment that allows access to the National Relay Service—for example, a teletypewriter (TTY), modem or telebraille
one-touch dialling memory
hands-free capability—a speaker and/or a handset cradle
built-in hearing aid coupler
cochlear implant telephone adaptor
volume control—to amplify either the incoming or outgoing caller's voice
alternative alerts to indicate that the telephone is ringing—either an additional ringing device with adjustable volume, tone and pitch, or a visual alert
the facility to connect a second piece of equipment in parallel with the existing telephone.
In addition, the ACMA has made a standard, Telecommunications Disability Standard (Requirements for Customer Equipment for use with the Standard Telephone Service – Features for special needs of persons with disabilities 2015, which requires certain customer equipment used with the STS, including fax machines with a handset system, to have:
a raised 'pip' on the '5' digit key—this tactile indicator helps the vision-impaired to locate number keys
hearing aid couplers built into the handset—this limits the strength of the magnetic field radiated from standard handset receivers to minimises interference for a person with a hearing aid.
Under the USO, Telstra offer the full range of equipment for people with disability through its Disability Equipment Program. For more information, contact Telstra:
Tel: 1800 068 424 (voice)
TTY: 133 677
Fax: 1800 814 777
Optus also offer certain services and equipment to assist people with disability,. For more information, contact Optus:
Tel: 133 301 937 (voice)
TTY: 1800 500 002
Another good resource is the Global Accessibility Reporting Initiative, which allows you to compare features of mobile equipment, which may assist with particular disabilities.
National Relay Service Equipment
The National Relay Service (NRS) helps people who are deaf, deafblind or have a hearing- or speech-impairment communicate over the telephone network via operator-assisted text and voice telephony. For more information about the range of products and services available from the NRS to assist with communication needs, visit the NRS website or contact the NRS on:
Tel: 1800 555 660 (voice)
TTY: 1800 555 630
SMS 0416 001 350
Fax: 1800 555 690