Telecom Authority of Trinidad & Tobago launches Subsidised Accessible Devices initiative to Persons with Disabilities

As noted in an article in the July 24 2019 Trinidad Guardian newspaper, The Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT), in partnership with the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU), is launching the Subsidised Accessible Devices project for persons with disabilities in Trinidad and Tobago.

The project is described as providing mobile handsets to hearing impaired and visually impaired persons (over 18 years) in Trinidad and Tobago that meet certain criteria. According to TATT’s Deputy Chairperson Dr Kim Mal­lalieu, the pi­lot phase of the Subsidised Accessible Devices Project will be from from Sep­tem­ber to De­cem­ber 2019 with a full roll­out from Jan­u­ary 2020 to Sep­tem­ber 2021.

Such subsided handsets will have access to the Caribbean Video Assistance Service (CVAS). CVAS is a collaboration between the CTU and VTCSecure which, according to the CTU :

“…provides a video relay service (VRS) for deaf, hard of hearing and speech impaired sign language users, and video assistance for the blind or the visually impaired. This service enables the deaf not only to call each other and communicate directly, but also to speak with agents (sign language interpreters), who relay conversations between them and hearing parties. The agents will also assist blind users, enabling them to resolve issues for which they need the assistance of a sighted person.”

Here’s a 2017 YouTube video by the CTU demonstrating the use of CVAS. In the video, a blind person uses his smartphone to contact an agent who helps the blind person to read his medication labels he is supposed to take and guide him through the building to a specific room.

YouTube video of a demonstration of CVAS by the CTU in 2017.