The population of the Omani consists of a sizeable portion of people with special needs: restricted vision, impaired hearing or mobility and in some cases even the lack of ability to use basic telecommunication facilities. The government is required “to provide telecommunications services to persons with special needs” as per the Royal Decree (121/2008), in order to achieve the goals of economic and social objectives of the telecommunication sector.
Article 9 of the “International convention of the rights of persons with disabilities” which is related to “accessibility” where mandatory, appropriate measures to promote access for persons with disabilities to new information and communication technologies and systems, even the internet, are required by the state parties.
The TRA developed draft guidelines, of which a public consultation was held in December 2012 in order to consider various stakeholders’ feedback before finalizing them, to indicate minimum service levels to be provided by telecom service providers in the Sultanate. The TRA is aiming at increasing accessibility of telecom services to persons with special needs, disability and the elderly by implementing those guidelines.