Insights Ofcom approves Sign Language Interactions’ emergency video relay service

Ofcom has decided to approve Sign Language Interactions’ application to provide an emergency video relay service.

Video relay services are a way of enabling deaf people who use British Sign Language (BSL) to communicate effectively with people who do not use BSL. The deaf BSL user makes a video call using a connected device to an interpreter in a location such as a call centre. The interpreter translates what the deaf user is signing into spoken English for the hearing person, and signs what the hearing person is saying to the deaf user.

From 17 June 2022, telecoms and broadband companies will be required to offer a free, 24/7 video relay service for BSL users to contact 999 or 112, via a dedicated mobile app and website. Telecoms firms can either deliver the service themselves, or contract another organisation to do so, but the service must be approved by Ofcom.

Having assessed Sign Language Interactions’ application against its criteria, and following consultation, Ofcom has approved its emergency video relay service with immediate effect. Ofcom will monitor the performance of the service once it is in operation. To read Ofcom’s Statement in full, click here.