Businesses may be able to take advantage of the new features of NGT, by using the NGT Lite to communicate directly with their customers. We hope that businesses will be able to download the app and use this as an alternative to relay or minicom access giving customers more choice of access methods.

Talking to customers

NGT helps you meet the part of the Equality Act that says people who use textphones should have the same access to an organisation's people and services as any other customer or employee. This applies to calls to and from an organisation as well as calls within it.

While more people are using new technologies like email, websites and SMS-based communications, these aren't the same as a voice phone call, as none involve real-time conversations. NGT, along with a textphone (sometimes called a Minicom) and computer textphone software, give an equivalent voice phone service for deaf, hard of hearing and speech-impaired people.

Contact numbers for customers who use real-time text

If you ask your customers for contact phone numbers, either on a website, through an IVR system, or simply by an advisor taking the number please make sure that your customers who need to use NGT are able to enter 18002 plus their phone number. Often organisations set this contact phone number field to only allow a standard phone number (11 digits). These organisations won't be able to call back customers who are deaf or speech-impaired. For some customers this may be their only means of contact, though it's recommended that you give everyone the chance to provide another contact option such as an email address as well.

Access for your people

If you've got employees who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech-impaired and already use a computer, you can download and install software that will turn their computer into a textphone. This can be a very cost-effective way of providing textphones to your employees, as the software is often relatively cheap. In the case of the NGT Lite, it's free.

Calling your call centre

Automated systems that give customers options can cause problems when customers who use a textphone try to call your business. If there's no direct text number a relay assistant will have to relay all the options and your customer's responses. This can be very time consuming and difficult for the relay assistant.

Using NGT Lite

NGT Lite is designed to work with individual fixed and mobile phone numbers. Organisations wanting to use the app must ensure that the Calling Line Identification (CLI) for outgoing calls is unique to the phone being used. The CLI must also match the incoming phone number for NGT Lite to be able to receive calls.

It's worth knowing…

Most textphone users communicate in text because they can't hear. The language they use varies from standard English to concept based British Sign Language and often means that they get straight to the point and don't pad out conversations with unnecessary words.

Customer service agents need to be aware of this and make sure both they and the caller understand each other. You can find out more on the Action on Hearing Loss website.

Customer service agents need to be aware of this and make sure both they and the caller understand each other.

Charges

Please contact your telephone service provider for information about their call charges. More information to follow...

Firewalls and NGT Lite

Most NGT Lite users will not need to worry about the app working with their firewall. However for some corporate networks with stricter security settings might block the connection between the app and NGTS service. We have included the information below so that network administrators can make the necessary adjustments to enable their users to use NGT.

The NGT Lite establishes the following IP connections with the NGT Service:

  • node1.ngts.org.uk
  • node2.ngts.org.uk
  • node3.ngts.org.uk
  • node4.ngts.org.uk

These are TLS 1.2 connections using port 443 over TCP and are established from NGT Lite to the NGT Service, there are no incoming IP connections. The connections are only required during a call, to add new phone numbers, or check for an incoming call.

Proxy servers

There are three types of business internet connection:

graphic shows 3 types of business internet connection, these are described below

  1. Direct – NGT Lite works ‘out of the box’
  2. Via a proxy server – you might need to change the config file so that NGT Lite knows about the proxy (see: below)
  3. Via a proxy server that requires a user name and password – NGT Lite doesn’t support this

The NGT Lite will get proxy information automatically Internet Options available via Windows Control Panel or Internet Explorer (in Tools), or you can manually set up the host and port by creating a text file called ProxyOverride.cfg in the NGTS folder. The first time you run NGT Lite the NGTS folder is created in your Documents folder in Windows (e.g. C:\Users\username\Documents\NGTS), or your home (username) directory on Mac and Linux computers. A typical ProxyOverride.cfg is shown below:
{
"m_sManualProxyHost":"proxy.intra.companyname.com"
"m_sManualProxyPort":"8080"
}

The NGT Lite does not support authenticated proxies, network administrators must make sure the app can go through the proxy server without requiring password authentication.

Frequently asked questions about security and privacy

This section aims to help you, as businesses or organisation, to decide if the use of Next Generation Text (NGT) Service is appropriate for your customers, or if direct real-time text conversations would be better.

Do we need to sign a separate contract to use NGT?

No, NGT is provided by your telephone service provider as part of your telephone service in the same way as access to the emergency services.

Who manages NGT?

BT manages the NGT Service, this includes the text relay.

How is the NGT Service assessed for security and privacy?

The NGT Service undergoes an annual compliance check against the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) and has an Attestation of Compliance. For more information about PCI DSS please click here to visit the PCI Security Standards Council website.

Are conversations through NGT recorded?

There are three main types of calls handled through NGT are listed below:

1. Relay conversations

We record a sample of relay conversations for quality and training purposes. These samples are kept for 90 days.

2. Emergency conversations

All emergency conversations handled by NGT are recorded, this includes 18000 and emergencySMS calls. As with voice 999 call recordings these text recordings are kept for 93 days.

3. Direct conversations

No recordings/samples are taken when text-users are connected direct i.e. not through relay.

What type of data is in the recordings/samples?

The contents of the recordings/samples vary depending upon the phone conversations.

Are the recordings used for anything else?

The samples of relay calls are only used for training and quality. The recordings of emergency conversations can be requested by the emergency services using the same process as voice 999 calls.

Are all parts of the NGT Service located in the UK?

Yes, all parts of NGT e.g. the servers and relay centres are within the UK.

Are phone conversations encrypted?

As required by PCI-DSS we use TLS 1.2 to encrypt the connections that carry the text part of the conversation for NGT Lite and relay. Telephone calls over Publicly Available Telephone Services (PATS) are not encrypted.

Does NGT have a backup?

NGT resilience is provided by using independent multiple geographically separated sites for both the servers and relay centres. The loss of a single site will not impact the availability of the NGT Service, however for a short period there might be a reduction in the number of calls we can handle.

Updated: 19 August 2016