OUR invites comments on proposals to improve access in telecoms for Persons with DisabilitiesWednesday, April 21, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica— The Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) has issued a Consultation Document, inviting comments on proposals to improve access and choice in the telecommunications sector for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).
According to a statement from the OUR, ''access to Information and Communication Technology (ICT), must be made as equitable as possible, given the increasingly central role of digital communication.''
The utilities regulator also said it is evident that much of an individual's success may be determined by access to, and the ability to use ICT.
''PWDs' use and access to telecommunications devices and services are often limited by the lack of the necessary features to make them accessible,'' the statement said.
The OUR noted that its role prescribed in the Telecommunications Act includes the promotion of “universal access to telecommunications services for all persons”.
''This makes it imperative that initiatives that are developed and implemented provide a minimum level of accessibility to telecommunication services for all persons residing in Jamaica,'' the OUR statement said.
The Consultation Document entitled, “Ensuring Equivalence of Access and Choice for Persons with Disabilities in Telecommunication Markets”, discusses the equivalency issues regarding the provision of telecommunications services to PWDs. It also identifies measures proposed to improve PWDs' access to, and choice of, telecommunication services. Comments are invited from stakeholders on the issues and proposals in the document.
The purpose of this consultation is to:
· Present the OUR's preliminary views on improving equivalent access and choice in telecommunication services; and
· Seek the views of consumers, end-users with disabilities, representative organisations, service providers and other stakeholders on the proposed initiatives.
Aspects of OUR's proposed measures to improve Equivalence of Access and Choice include:
· Provision of accessible devices;
·Provision of bills and contracts in an accessible format;
·Provision of general information on services in an accessible format;
·Full information to Persons with Disabilities on the products and services suitable for them;
·Accessible customer support services;
· Accessible directory assistance services; and
·Accessible emergency services.
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