textphone pbx configuration for deaf, hearing and speech impaired assistance
BT launched its TextDirect service in July 2001. The service offers a simple way for textphone users, and those who want to phone them, to connect to Typetalk, the text relay service. For those who haven't come across textphones before, they enable hearing-impaired users to use a phone by sending and receiving messages in text form. Operators in the text relay service translate text into voice, and vice versa.
More information is available from the Royal National Institute for Deaf People .
Oftel (now Ofcom) has allocated short access codes for TextDirect. These codes are not exclusive to BT and should be accessible from all fixed-line public networks.
The codes are:
18000 for access to the emergency services
18001 for calls made from a textphone
18002 for calls made from a telephone by hearing people.
However, there have been difficulties reported by people trying to dial these numbers from their place of work, as numbers beginning with "1" are sometimes barred on workplace PBXs. Oftel (now Ofcom) would encourage systems administrators to reconfigure their PBXs so that these numbers may be used for accessing TextDirect. (You may need to contact your supplier or maintainer to do this). Bear in mind that even if no one in your workplace uses a textphone there will be occasions when hearing users need to phone out to a textphone. This is likely to happen more frequently as companies respond to the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act by publicising a dedicated textphone number for their customer service helplines.
Reviewed January 2011
last updated : 21/01/2011
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