BT Next Generation Text Relay Service on Hold

BT logoDue to safety issues, BT has not launched Next Generation Text Relay (NGT) service for people with hearing and speech impairments as planned.

SCoD News readers will be aware that this new service is designed to offer a more natural way for people with hearing and speech impairments to communicate and will be available via an App downloaded on to smartphones and tablets. Extensive pre-launch testing has identified an issue with the sound quality on calls to the emergency services. This situation means potentially life affecting information is not being relayed effectively and could put end users at risk.
As a result, BT has had to take the difficult decision to postpone the launch. Ofcom and other communication providers have been made aware of this situation, and we have also put a news item on www.textrelay.org and www.ngts.org.uk.

The existing Text Relay service is unaffected and will continue to be available to BT’s end users and those of other Communication Providers.

This situation is regrettable but clearly launching a service that potentially places the safety of end users at risk is not an option. Work is continuing to understand the issue, including live call testing with help from the Text Relay user-base. Undertaking this user testing with as extensive a mix of end-user equipment and originating network is critical. You can express interest by contacting Lorna Stephenson, Head of Service Development, at lorna.stephenson@bt.com if you or your contacts would be willing to help; they will be registered to make calls using the test version of the downloadable NGT app.

On behalf of BT, we would like to apologise for any inconvenience this situation may cause  and reassure you that we are doing all we can to understand the underlying issues so the new service can be launched as soon as possible. We will keep you informed.
Announcement posted by Fiona Miller of Consumer Affairs at BT