Real-Time Texting: FCC Announces New Communication for Deaf and Hard of Hearing

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced that starting December 2017 the TTY will be gone. Instead of the TTY, Real Time Texting (RTT) will be put in place.

The FCC recognized that an overwhelming number of deaf and hard of hearing use cell phones to communicate with families and friends. With this recognition and a petition from AT&T, an IP-based texting system was developed without the need to hit “send.”

Here is a list of features and how it will benefit the deaf/hard of hearing community:

Voice-to-text and Text-to-Voice are possible on mobile devices
As you type, your message can and will be voiced to the hearing caller. The caller just talks and the words will be typed out on your phone, allowing for real time communication during a phone call instead of relying on text messages and emails the majority of the time. With this text based communication, you’ll be able to call a hearing person and receive phone calls.

Live texting means the other person can see what you are writing
This is incredibly useful for emergencies if you can’t finish the text before hitting “send.” The 911 operator can still read what you’ve typed out so far and act quickly. Due to phones having IP access and geolocation, the 911 operator would be able to quickly find your location and dispatch help. Any incomplete messages to 911 will still be received.

The live chat enables faster communication than traditional SMS/texting
With the other end reading as you’re typing, they can reply quickly and so can you, because you will be able to see their writing too. Communication overall will be faster and in real-time.

The technology has already been tested extensively and has proven results with a very low rate of errors compared to the soon to be antiquated TTY. Real time texting is due to be put in full operation and released in December 2017.

For more information: FCC’s announcement of Real Time Text


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