Over the last year, MPs have received large numbers of postcards from constituents calling on them to support the VRS Today! campaign.
This campaign is calling for equal access to telecoms for British Sign Language (BSL) users, an issue in which I have become increasingly involved. At first glance, you may think that Deaf people already have access to telecoms services: we have all seen the textphone numbers on our utility bills, and there was recently a high profile launch of a text service for emergency services.
However, many people don’t realise that for the majority of the estimated 50,000 BSL users in the UK, it is often difficult to communicate through written English. After all, English is their second language, and BSL is their primary mode of communication. In the United States Video Relay Service (VRS) has been universally available for over 8 years. VRS allows people to communicate with the hearing in Sign Language, via an interpreter through a video link.