BT have now publically committed to a launch of their Next Generation Text (NGT) Relay service on 1 October, nearly six months late.
The new platform has been tested throughout July, August and September and is now handling all text relay calls. A user trial has also been taking place, and over 400 people have participated. Sense welcomes this important but long overdue step to improved access to telecommunications for deafblind people.
The new NGT service will replace TextRelay and many users may already have noticed their calls going through the new BT have now solved the problems with the platform that led to the postponed launch last April, but if you experience problems when your call goes through NGT please let BT know at on the Next Generation Text Pilot website, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The user trial has involved testing the new NGT apps, with versions available for Windows PCs, Linux machines, Android devices and Mac OS desktops and laptops. The apps mean that text relay will be available from a variety of mainstream devices, and will be mobile for the first time. The trial is drawing to a close, but your views are still important:
- Trial feedback form
- Email feedback can be sent to email@example.com
- NGT Helpdesk can be contacted – 0800 500 888 (text) 0800 7311 888 (hearing)
- Android app available from Google Play
- iOS app available from the Apple App store
- Windows desktop app available to trialists
It is particularly important that BT understand the experience of deaf people with a visual impairment and braille users, so Sense wants as many people use NGT as possible. We know there are some issues for braille users that BT are committed to solving, so it is vital to ensure the new service is compliant with Ofcom’s criteria for next generation text relay services.
Anyone looking to use NGT in an office environment will need to take heed of the BT advice around Call Line Identification (CLI).
A number of questions you may have about the new service may already be covered in the FAQs BT have developed.
Joff McGill is Head of Information, Advice and Research at Sense