Deaf users of the outgoing CapTel phone system should contact the National Relay Service.
Deaf users of the outgoing CapTel phone system should contact the National Relay Service. Kevin Farmer

Deaf phone service provider blamed for user anguish

DEAF Toowoomba residents affected by a Federal Government decision to not renew the Captel captioned telephone service should contact the National Relay Service.

The Department of Communications and the Arts said it had replacement services on offer after the incumbent provider, the Australian Communication Exchange, lost its contract to run NRS phone service to Concentrix

A department spokesman said it awarded the next three year contract after a competitive tender process, with no reduction in overall funding.

Concern over changes to vital phone service: Patricia Woods is concerned about losing her CapTel phone service that she uses to overcome deafness and communicate on the phone after Federal Government changes to the national relay service.
Concern over changes to vital phone service: Patricia Woods is concerned about losing her CapTel phone service that she uses to overcome deafness and communicate on the phone after Federal Government changes to the national relay service.

The spokesman said the owner of the CapTel proprietary technology, Access Comm, made the transition needlessly hard.

"While the CapTel handsets have served people well over the years, the operator of this technology in Australia is unwilling to work with the new NRS provider and accordingly CapTel will stop its service from February 2020," she said.

"The operators of CapTel have repeatedly refused to provide details of users of the service to help them transition to alternative services provided by the NRS.

"CapTel users are encouraged to contact the NRS to explore alternatives to meet their individual needs and the help that they will be provided to support the transition."