Around 14% of adults in the UK have some form of
disability. Some 7.5 million people have some hearing loss, about 1 million are visually
impaired, more than 1 million people have learning difficulties and 70% of disabled people
develop mobility problems. There are others who are not included in the official figures
but have impairments making their day to day lives more difficult than would otherwise be
the case. There are over 10.5 million older people and as we age we become more likely to
suffer from disabilities. These are issues for us all. Taking into account partners,
parent and children, 1 in 4 of the population are disabled or have a friend or relative
with significant disability.
- DIEL says: Provision for disabled and
elderly users of telecommunications equipment and services should be inclusive and based
on the concept of 'design for all'. We believe that equipment and services should be
available in ways that do not exclude elderly and disabled consumers. This approach relies
on the positive actions of telecom companies, be they network operators, service providers
or terminal equipment manufacturers.
It also depends on OFTELs continued ability to enforce
licence obligations and to champion the additional needs of disabled and elderly people in
relation to telecommunications. DIEL liaises with OFTEL and its other Advisory Committees
(CCE, SACOT, NIACT, WACT, CfB) to ensure that these needs are always taken into account.
The telecoms industry should:
- seize the sizeable market opportunity represented by
elderly and disabled consumers; and
- meet the additional needs of these consumers by
incorporating their requirements into the design of products and services.