What is Real-Time Text?

Real-time text, or RTT, is a new accessibility solution to replace text telephone (TTY) on Internet Protocol (IP) based networks like Southern Linc’s LTE network. With RTT, as soon as text is typed into a device, it is received in near real-time on the receiving device. Unlike today’s messaging applications that allow users to type desired content and press Send, RTT will send text immediately on a character-by-character basis without pressing Send. RTT will also include public safety enhancements, including allowing 911 centers to turn on audio during an RTT 911 session to listen in on what is happening around the RTT caller, even if the caller cannot speak or hear.

When will RTT be available on Southern Linc?

The international standards for how RTT operates are still being finalized, and Southern Linc plans to offer RTT when standards are finalized and incorporated into our handsets and network. Under the FCC’s implementation timeline, Southern Linc will provide either a RTT-enabled device or over-the-top application by June 30, 2020. Additionally, by June 30, 2021, all new devices sold will be required to send and receive RTT calls. Currently, Southern Linc enables customers to text-to-911 in areas where the 911 center has enabled the interim text-to-911 solution. For more information on calling or texting emergency services, visit our 911 and Text-to-911 website.

What are the benefits of Real-Time Text (RTT) over TTY?

  1. For the disability community, RTT can eliminate the need to purchase specialized devices, such as TTY machines, to send text in real-time over wireless phones.
  2. RTT uses the same ten-digit phone numbers as voice calls.
  3. Both parties to a RTT session can simultaneously send and receive text, unlike TTYs, which require taking turns on who can transmit text.
  4. RTT is more reliable than TTY over IP networks, which means there will be less drop-offs and garbling.
  5. RTT utilizes the full international character set, unlike TTY, which does not allow symbols, emojis and other language characters.
  6. Improved experiences in contacting 911 for the deaf and hearing-impaired community.

Can I use TTY or RTT on my iDEN handset?

The iDEN network and handsets still support TTY, which has been the trusted text communications accessibility solution since the 1970s. Real-time text only works on newer IP-based networks, such as Southern Linc’s new Critical Linc LTE network.