Tuesday, 21 April 2020 12:42

ACMA sets new phone accessibility rules

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The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has updated industry rules to help ensure people with specific communications needs – such as people with vision and hearing impairments – can find out whether particular phones support their requirements.

"Some phones have features designed to be used by people with specific accessibility requirements, others don't, and consumers need to know the difference," said ACMA member Fiona Cameron.

"The rules assist people to identify which phones best suit their requirements and help consumers with particular communications needs benefit from modern phones to the same extent as everyone else.

"Accessibility features such as screen readers or the ability to connect to hearing aids can make the world of difference to some people."

Promulgated under an updated accessibility code developed by Communications Alliance, the new rules require equipment suppliers to provide information about the accessibility features of customer equipment to telcos so they in turn can inform their customers.

"There is a wide array of telecommunications devices on the market with features to help people with disabilities," said Communications Alliance CEO John Stanton.

"But understanding each of the features and finding the best device to meet a particular customer's needs can be a challenging process."

"The strengthened code will make it easier for customers to find the phone that will add real benefit to their everyday lives."

The revised rules apply to all phones sold in Australia, including portable, mobile, wireless and satellite models, and are more closely aligned with international requirements, making life easier for suppliers.

Consumer information is available here.


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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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