In the 1960’s, TTY was first introduced.  At the time, it was revolutionary.  People who were deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, or had a speech disability could finally communicate with friends, family and 911 operators – either directly in a TTY-to-TTY session, or indirectly through a telecommunications relay service (TRS) provider as a result of technological deployments in the 1970s and 1980s.  Since then, although technological innovation in communications has been exponential, in 2017, people with hearing loss and speech disabilities are still communicating with a TTY or via text messaging.

That’s why today, AT&T is pleased to announce the launch of a new service – Real-time Text (RTT) – that replaces TTY and brings communications for people with hearing loss and speech disabilities into the 21st Century.  RTT is a text-based communication service that alleviates many of TTY’s short comings.  TTY requires turn taking, allows for the use of only a small set of device-generated characters, and is very slow.  With RTT, each text character is transmitted and received in near real time, allowing for a conversational flow of communication, simultaneously with voice.  This allows for a two-way conversation without requiring turn taking.

Read more on the AT&T Public Policy Blog.

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