Updates

Access

2019

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) published a report on the use of misleading or aggressive retail sales practices by Canada’s large telecommunications carriers. The report identified aggressive tactics and noted that these tactics present difficulties for individuals who may be more vulnerable due to their age, disability, or language barrier, and who already face obstacles to making informed choices. Consumer and disability advocacy groups explained how these sales practices can have a disproportionately negative impact on Canadians with disabilities, who already face challenges in obtaining accessible products, services, and information.

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) has been signed by Ghanaian Celltel Networks, Roberta Annan Consulting (RAC), and the Chinese government’s international co-operation company (CEIEC) to collaborate on a Ghana Smart Cities project branded ArisCel that would enable nationwide wi-fi. The project is focused on leveraging the wi-fi network for the provision of affordable nationwide access to citizens that will align with the delivery of paperless services at government institutions.

UK Space Agency funding of £18 million has been awarded to OneWeb, a UK business through the European Space Agency according toa report. This is to support the development of next generation satellite constellation with the vision to provide affordable global internet coverage.

In approximation, according to the report, the system will be composed of 650 satellites initially and will scale to 900 satellites over time. The initiative is poised to leverage the use of cost effective spacecraft launch to deploy satellites that could ensure global internet connectivity to individuals and businesses across the world.

A partnership between Vodafone Ghana and Facebook has been formed in order to provide affordable access to Ghanaian citizens through the deployment of express wi-fi hotspots across the country. The project aims to bring low-cost wi-fi services to underserved areas, while hoping to remove access barriers and enable increased entrepreneurial activity

According to a report, Jamaica’s Universal Service Fund (USF) has as its target in 2019 to set up more community Access Points (CAP) to a broaden access to internet services to citizens and businesses across the island states. This year’s deployment will complement efforts over the years which has seen the establishment of over 300 CAP sites through the USF.

According to Kwan Wilson, director of projects at the agency, the fund will also focus on increasing the number of free Wi-Fi zones on top of the already implemented secured public hotspots currently in the high traffic areas of the country. This according to him will facilitate greater access.

Google has launched two new apps that will cater to the deaf and  the hearing impaired. In a recent blog post, the company mentioned the apps Live Transcribe and Sound Amplifier, designed mainly for the Android OS. The apps which come pre-installed on Pixel 3 phones in accessibility settings will also be available in the Google Play Store. According to the post, Live Transcript is an app that automatically transcribes speech in near-real time allowing people to communicate in peculiar situations where communications would be difficult. Sound Amplifier on the other hand is an app designed for people with hearing loss, allowing such users to tweak sound settings to improve the quality of their hearing.

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