Telephony: Hearing impaired people would be too neglected by operators

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Telecom operators have been required, since the end of 2018, to provide an offer of electronic communications services, allowing deaf, hard of hearing, blind and aphasic people to be able to make phone calls. But, as reported BFM TV this Friday, many would still encounter difficulties in accessing these services.

Indeed, in his report on accessibility indicators for the 2nd quarter of 2021, Arcep, the regulatory authority for electronic communications, posts and press distribution, noted that despite the offer proposed by new operators, “a very large fraction of the deaf and hard of hearing French population continues not to use the services set up ”. For example, with regard to sign language, the number of users has increased, in one year, from 2,217 to 3,140.

Too long access times

Figures which could be explained by difficulties of access. As Arcep told our colleagues, most deaf and hard of hearing people use French sign language. However, it would be difficult for them to have access to this service within a reasonable period of time. Only 25% of requests would be taken care of in less than 30 seconds and 42% in less than 3 minutes.

While the offer intended for users with aphasia has still not been implemented, Arcep has indicated that “its launch must become a priority for operators”. As for the offer dedicated to blind and visually impaired people, it has only just been launched by certain operators during this second quarter.

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