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Government to consider upgrade of National Relay Service

The Australian government said it will look at how to improve telecommunications for people with disabilities.

The government accepted all recommendations in the Review of Access to Telecommunication Services by People with Disability, Older Australians and People Experiencing Illness. As a result, the Telecommunications Universal Services Management Agency plans to soon release a tender for an enhanced National Relay Service.

In accordance with the recommendations, the government will review how the National Relay Service could be improved through use of new technologies and services. It will increase discussion about the subject among the industry, community and government. More information will be provided to people with disabilities about using telecom products, and the government will hold periodic discussions with stakeholders about current and emerging telecom access issues.

"Telecommunications technology is advancing at a rapid rate, so it's important to explore how it can be used to improve services to some of Australia's most vulnerable people," said Senator Stephen Conroy, minister of broadband, communications and the digital economy.

"The review found that the National Relay Service is highly valued by people who are hearing impaired, but that it could be improved by additional services," Conroy said.

"All Australians have a right to access telecommunications services, including people with a disability, older Australians and people experiencing illness," added Senator Jan McLucas, Parliamentary secretary for disabilities and carers.

Follow Adam Bender on Twitter: @WatchAdam

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