Kink in techno loop?

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People with disabilities aren't receiving equal access to telecommunications technologies, according to a governmental discussion paper.

The paper - prepared by telecommunications and disabilities expert William Jolley - looked at the impact of current and future telecommunications technology on people with disabilities. It also assessed recommendations for addressing existing and potential inequalities or discrimination.

Dr Sev Ozdowski, acting disability discrimination commissioner, argued that many people with disabilities were being left behind in access to telecommunications technologies.

'For example, deaf people who use tele-typewriters to communicate over the phone network can't use mobile phones since the analogue network closed three years ago,' Ozdowski said in a statement.

Issues identified by the paper included lack of text connectivity for people who were deaf; a need for more detailed minimum standards on telco equipment to help people with disabilities; and lack of access to more advanced functionality on mobile phones for people who were blind.

The acting commissioner said that he was planning a high level forum to look at issues surrounding access to telecommunications technologies by people with disabilities. 'I hope that an agreed work plan for the industry to address such issues can come out of that forum,' Ozdowski said.

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