The five-hour blackout of a prominent mobile service provider affected different people to varying degrees.

Aravind Dinesh, a software professional with a speech and hearing disability, uses an app, ‘talkbytext’ and a variety of other web-based tools to work and communicate. “Even the little bit of hearing I am capable of is because of the apps that amplify sound for me. I felt helpless for over five hours. Without data connectivity, none of the apps worked. Even my texts to the service centre bounced,” he added.

“Over the years, texting has revolutionised the life of people with hearing disability. Now, even a day without a mobile phone is difficult for many of them,” said S. Krishnaswamy, advisor, Ability Foundation.

Ashok Nagaraju, a student with a speech and haring impairment, who studies B. Com at Presidency College, said he has been reliant on SMSs for almost three years now. “I use a very simple phone with no app. On Thursday, I was angry as I could not communicate and very few of my friends understand sign language” he said.

Also affected were ambulance services. R. Krishnaveni, a volunteer with St. John’s ambulance, said on Thursday that it was difficult coordinating medical services as many of those involved were not reachable. “And, many people use services of the operator here. In many cases, all helplines of a hospital are of the same service provider.”

More In: Chennai | News