Thursday, 13 June 2019 10:33

ACCAN welcomes appointment of NRS service provider

By
ACCAN CEO Teresa Corbin ACCAN CEO Teresa Corbin

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network has welcomed the Federal Government’s appointment of a service provider for the National Relay Service which delivers accessible telecommunications for the deaf or speech impaired.

ACCAN says the NRS is a vital service that allows its users to communicate for work, socially, and in emergencies.

“All Australians deserve the right to reliable communications whether they access it through traditional telco technology or through the NRS,” said ACCAN chief executive Teresa Corbin.

“ACCAN is pleased that the NRS will maintain existing call relay options when the new provider, Concentrix, begins delivering the service in October. This means that many users who rely upon the essential communications service will be unaffected by the new arrangement. However, ACCAN notes that users of the handset-based Captioned Relay service will need support to transition to a new technology option.

“While we know that many NRS users are now using messaging and video calls, some people do still prefer the familiarity of a phone handset when accessing the NRS. It’s important that these users have the help they need to transition to an appropriate alternative before the NRS stops supporting these devices in February 2020.”

Corbin said that as Australia’s peak body for communications consumers, ACCAN would be actively engaging with NRS users, Concentrix, and the Department of Communications and the Arts to ensure a seamless transition process for all NRS users.

“This service is too important to all Australians to allow it to falter as changes take place in the background,” she explained. “NRS users must be able to trust that they will have continuity of service during the transition.”

Corbin said that with a contract now in place for the NRS until 2022, ACCAN strongly urges the government and Concentrix to make sure that the whole Australian community are adequately informed about this important service. “All NRS users must also be properly supported to determine the best technology for them to access the NRS, and how to use it.”

ACCAN says that for many years, the NRS has enabled Australia to be a world-leader in delivering accessible telecommunications for those who are deaf or have hearing or speech impairment, and it is hopeful that this can continue throughout the transition and into the future.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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