University of Maryland


Real-Time Text Update for Access Board and FCC

May 25th, 2009

Trace Center Director Gregg Vanderheiden and other team members from the RERC on Telecommunications Access provided an update on current status, standards, and work in industry on real-time text. Presentations were made to the U.S. Access Board at their meeting in Boston on Wednesday, May 27, and at the Federal Communications Commission in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, May 28, 2009.

As the VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) infrastructure is being created, implementation of equitable access via text is especially important to address. The RERC’s Proposal R1 for Implementation of Real-Time Text Across Platforms provides a common point of discussion and clarifies what is involved in implementing real-time text. It builds on the industry-consumer consensus provisions on real-time text included in the Telecommunications and Electronic and Information Technology Advisory Committee (TEITAC) April 2008 report to the Access Board.

Vanderheiden explains: “The potential of real-time text is exciting because of the improvements it will provide for those who must rely on text communication and the fact that, like video captions, the ability to have text on phone calls is likely to be useful for many people without disabilities as well. Also, due to the critical role that text communication will play in next-generation emergency systems, it is important to begin to address the infrastructure questions now so that it will work reliably as we move to an IP-based system.”