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Parliament: Deaf and the Digital Switchover

Alistair Carmichael (Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Affairs; Orkney & Shetland, Liberal Democrat)

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether there are plans to set up an email helpline for Digital UK to enable those with hearing difficulties to make enquiries on digital switchover.

Andy Burnham (Secretary of State, Department for Culture, Media & Sport; Leigh, Labour)

Digital UK intends to introduce a public e-mail contact channel in autumn 2008. The RNID has advised that e-mail is an accessible communications channel for deaf and hard of hearing people and a specific address for them would not be required. Digital UK's customer contact centre staff have undergone disability awareness training and are able to answer questions relating to all aspects of digital switchover.

Digital UK promotes its text service number 0845 234 0380 on all information leaflets, including door-drops sent to every household in a TV region in the build up to switchover. In addition their leaflets are available on request in large print, Braille and other accessible formats on 0845 234 0388 or through their general call centre number on 08456 50 50 50.

As digital switchover approaches in a region, Digital UK will work through organisations which represent deaf people at a local or regional level to reach those who may need extra help to switch. This was the approach taken in the Copeland area.

RNID and TAG, a consortium of national organisations working on behalf of deaf people to promote equality of access to broadcasting and other electronic communications, are members of the Consumer Expert Group which advises Government and Digital UK on consumer issues relating to digital switchover.

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